How to Clean a Water Bed Mattress

21 February 2017
 Categories: , Blog

If you own a waterbed mattress, it still needs regular cleaning to keep it free from bacteria. They are low-maintenance, but they still require proper attention. Like other mattresses, water beds undergo much use, which makes them susceptible to mildew and body moisture.

You should be able to clean the mattress yourself. Here are tips to clean waterbed mattresses.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • rubber gloves for cleaning mold
  • bowl
  • washcloths
  • dish towel
  • bucket or large spray bottle
  • scrub brush
  • mild detergent
  • disinfectant borax or vinegar
  • mattress conditioner
  • water bed drain or fill hose

Remove all blankets and pillows. Add vinegar or borax to the laundry detergent. Don't add bleach, since it produces toxic fumes.

Use a damp cloth to wipe down the cover. Work from top to bottom in straight lines. Then repeat two more times.


Vinyl cleaners are often suggested, but Pine Sol is an alternative. Pine Sol works to remove odor and bacteria. If in doubt, read the manufacturer's suggestions.

Mix two or three capfuls of the disinfectant and warm water in a bowl or large spray bottle. Ensure the water isn't steaming.

Wipe the mattress in circular motions with the cloth beginning from the top. Repeat three more times with a clean rag for each pass. Use the towel to dry the mattress.

Remove Mold and Mildew

Wear rubber gloves to remove mold and mildew. Mix a fourth cup of borax or plain vinegar with half a cup of warm water. Allow the borax to completely dissolve.

Squirt the mixture on the mold or mildew, and let it stand several minutes. Use a brush to work the mixture in the vinyl. It isn't necessary to rinse, since the residue repels mildew. Allow the mattress to dry naturally, or dry it with a clean towel. 

To clean mold or mildew inside the mattress, smell the air to determine the cleaning method. A moderate smell can be treated with a conditioner.

Use the suggested amount of conditioner, and remove extra air before you reattach the valve. If you feel bubbles, it means mold or algae is present, and you need to add more conditioner.

If the smell is bad, shut off the heater, and drain the matress; following manufacturer's instructions. Empty the waste water in a sink or the, and clean the drain. Fill the bed with fresh water.

Your water bed should be ready to enjoy again. If you don't trust your skill, or the mattress won't come clean, contact a housekeeping service.