How To Clean An Air Mattress To Remove Stains and Odor

You can clean tough stains on an air mattress effectively with rubbing alcohol. Dab some rubbing alcohol, diluted with water or concentrate, directly to the stain or on a sponge. Apply the solution on the stain using gentle circular motions for best results.

Air mattresses are very convenient for unexpected guests, camping, and students constantly shifting apartments. Here are some tips on how to clean an air mattress and increase its durability.

how to clean an air mattress

Clean Your Air Mattress Regularly

Even when not in use, you should clean your mattress once a month or at least once a season. If you spot mold building up, make an exception and tackle it immediately. 

Without regular cleaning, your air mattress might start to smell bad, and develop stains, mold, and fungi. 

Air mattresses are made up of different materials like polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane plastics, and different rubber compounds. You can clean most of them using mild solutions and stain removers.

Step 1: Unplug and Reconnect

Most air mattresses come with an in-built plug, so make sure to remove the plug from the power source before you begin cleaning to avoid damage. 

If the pump is detachable, remove it to make cleaning easier. If you cannot remove it, make sure the solution does not reach the pump while cleaning.

Step 2: Remove and Clean the Sheets 

Take off the cover, and put it straight in the washing machine to get rid of the odor and dirt. If you use the mattress regularly, change the sheets or covers at least twice a month.

Step 3: Vacuum or Brush Away the Dirt and Dust

You can use a soft brush to clean dust, pet hair, and debris. However, the best option is to use a good vacuum, as rubbing may push the dirt deeper into the fibers of the mattress.

Inflate the mattress to get rid of any wrinkles and begin to run the vacuum from top to bottom. Pay attention to the corners too. Run the vacuum twice if you feel there is still dirt or dust on the surface.

Step 4: Use Baking Soda to Get Rid of Bad Odor

Keeping a mattress tucked away for too long leads to a bad odor. If you have pets, they may pee or leave their body odor on the mattress. 

Use baking soda to get rid of this bad odor. 


  • Sprinkle some baking soda on the mattress. Do not use too much of it. 
  • Lightly cover the air mattress.
  • Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. 
  • Vacuum it up.  

Clean it in a well-lit area, preferably outdoors. It helps get rid of any moisture and speeds up the drying time. 

Step 5: Get Rid of Any Visible Stains With Soap or Rubbing Alcohol

For Easy Stains

  • Simply apply a soapy damp sponge to the stain. 
  • Let it dry.
  • Use a slightly damp sponge to remove the dried-up soap. 

For Tough Stains

If the stains are too tough for the soap, use rubbing alcohol. Old stains require a stronger cleaning solution. 

  • Simply pour a small quantity of rubbing alcohol onto the stain or sponge. You can dilute the rubbing alcohol with some water to make it easier on the fabric.
  • Rub the solution on the stain vigorously using circular motions. 

Other Tips

  • Handle different fabrics differently. 
  • Do not rub velvet or velour surfaces too hard. 
  • Use circular motions to make the process more effective without eroding the fibers off the surface.

Step 6: Use Vinegar to Remove Mold or Mildew

Mold and mildew grow in the presence of moisture and bacteria. Avoid storing your air mattress in a moisture-ridden dark place. Put it out in the sun once a week to kill any budding bacteria or dry out unnecessary moisture.

In the case of an already built-up mold, you try vinegar, disinfectant, and isopropyl alcohol.


  • Mix white vinegar and water in equal parts and rub it over your mattress with a soft sponge. Rinse it with a damp sponge and allow it to air dry.
  • Use disinfectant to kill any mold or mildew. Disinfectant also helps to avoid bacteria formation and spores.
  • Mix isopropyl alcohol with warm water and use a sponge to clean. Rinse with water and let the mattress dry naturally.

Step 7: Dry out the Mattress

It is important to air-dry the mattress after a good cleaning session. The quickest and most efficient way to dry your mattress is to put it out in the sun. If you live in a cloudy area, you can place your mattress near a fan running at full speed. 

Keep the mattress intact when drying it out. An inflated mattress exposes it completely to the sun and makes the process easier and faster.

Be careful while folding and deflating your mattress. Make sure all the air is out and the pumps are unplugged. 

FAQs on How To Clean An Air Mattress

Can I use a handheld vacuum cleaner on my air mattress?

While a stronger vacuum cleaner ensures deeper cleaning, a handheld one will work just fine. You can run the handheld vacuum cleaner over the same area again if you feel there is still dust left on the surface.

How can I get rid of human or cat urine?

Dab the area with a dry cloth to absorb excess urine on the surface. Sprinkle baking soda  on the stain and let it sit. Apply a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water to the soiled area. Repeat if part of the stain remains.

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