How To Clean An Air Mattress: Removing Mold & Stains

An air mattress is a flexible, easy-to-use, and cost-effective sleeping solution for when guests are around or on other occasions, such as camping. Unfortunately, inflatable beds are prone to dirt, stains, and mold, and they, therefore, require regular cleaning. Learning how to clean your air mattress helps prevent odors, mold, and other contaminants.   

Clean your air mattress lightly before and after use by clearing away any dirt or other debris. To remove existing mold or stains, inflate the mattress, vacuum it, sanitize it with disinfectant, and then let it dry completely while still inflated. Always store it in a dry, well-ventilated location.  

A dirty mattress is unhealthy to use and unpleasant to look at. Let’s learn how to properly clean an air mattress and remove mold, odors, and stains so that you can have the best possible sleeping experience. 

How Do You Clean and Sanitize an Air Mattress?

Man`s hand cleans a modern white mattress with a professional cleaning agent

If you have an air mattress in your home, cleaning the sleep system regularly improves performance and extends its lifespan. After a camping trip, your inflatable bed will likely have dirt, and other debris stuck to the vinyl body or on the flock (the special velvet-like coating). Failure to clean the dirt after use increases the risk of punctures, mold, and stains. 

If you store your air mattress without cleaning, the sweat, moisture, and dust on the surface provide an ideal habitat for microorganisms to grow. Your air bed can become smelly and unattractive to look at, and you might even have to replace it. 

You can avoid an unpleasant sleeping experience or the replacement costs by cleaning the air mattress regularly with the following tips:

Clean the Mattress Lightly After Use

After using an air mattress, clean it lightly before storage. Clear away any debris by brushing any particles on the surface. A handheld vacuum (on Amazon) is an excellent tool for removing pet hair, small particles, and dirt before you store the mattress.

Deep Clean

If you’ve used your air mattress for outdoor camping or you want to store it for a long time, deep cleaning is a great option. To deep clean your airbed, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the air mattress by inflating it, and then unplug the built-in air pump if your mattress has one.
  2. Clean around the pump housing with a damp cloth.
  3. Vacuum the air mattress to remove difficult particles and stains on the surface. 
  4. Target stubborn stains on the surface using a stain remover (Amazon)
  5. Sanitize the mattress with rubbing alcohol or another disinfectant all over the surface with a soft cloth.
  6. Let the mattress air dry.

After cleaning an air mattress, don’t rush to pack it for storage. Make sure to let the air mattress dry, such as by placing it in the sun. For the best effect, dry the mattress when inflated to remove moisture from all surfaces. 

How to Remove Stains From an Air Mattress

Stains can ruin the attractive appearance of an air mattress. If you don’t use a mattress cover, there’s a higher risk of staining. To remove the stains from your air mattress, follow these steps:

  1. Inspect the mattress: Before a routine cleaning of an air mattress, check every inch of the surface for stains. Inflatable beds are prone to stains because they sit on the floor either in the house or on camping grounds. 
  2. Vacuum the air mattress: Vacuuming removes the lighter particles and dirt. Note any stained areas that remain after vacuuming.
  3. Clean the mattress: Use a mild cleaning solution to wipe down your air mattress and run the cleaning cloth over the stained spots. Check whether the stains are still there. 
  4. Use the right stain removal technique: To remove stains on an air mattress, use small circular motions and apply more pressure than in routine cleaning.  Start working from outside inward to remove stains effectively.

    You can use a soft cloth dipped in an alcohol solution to wipe your air mattress and focus on the stubborn stains.

    However, if detergent and alcohol solutions don’t work to remove the stain, buy a stain remover. To remove the stains, apply more pressure, but use a soft cloth for the procedure.
  5. Wipe the stained area: After trying out each of these stain removal techniques, wipe the stained area with a clean wet cloth to confirm if the procedure is successful. 

How Do You Get the Musty Smell Out of an Air Mattress?

Portable air bed

A smelly air mattress ruins your sleeping experience while camping and is the last thing you want your guests to experience. Musty odors develop if you store a dirty or damp mattress since it provides a perfect place for mold growth.

Mold is an allergen and causes a wide range of allergic symptoms that can affect the quality of life. Using an air bed infested with mold can lead to sneezing, itching, coughing, eye and skin irritation, wheezing, headache, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and a runny nose. 

To successfully remove the musty smell from your air mattress, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Find a flat surface outdoors and set the mattress on the covered surface.
  2. Inspect your mattress and look for any signs of mold growth, which you can identify through black or green spots. A musty, pungent odor is also a sign of mold growth.
  3. If you find mold spores, use a soft-bristled to wipe them off.
  4. Deep clean your mattress using a soft cloth dipped in a soap solution. Focus on one area at a time.
  5. Turn the mattress around and clean the other side. 
  6. If the musky smell remains, use a water and vinegar solution, a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water, or a disinfectant. Use a sponge to clean every surface of your mattress to remove the mold infestation and allow it to dry before use or storage.
  7. If you can’t find mold growth or other microorganisms, sprinkle a layer of baking solution on the mattress. Let the powder rest on the mattress for some time, and then vacuum it.

How Can You Prevent Black Mold on Air Mattress?

Removing mold from an air mattress is a tedious job. To avoid the hassle, here are some ways to prevent black mold on your air mattress:

  • Proper drying: Always dry your mattress properly before use or storage.
  • Invest in a mattress cover: If you’re always using your air mattress outdoors, buy a machine-washable vinyl zip cover (Amazon) to protect against mold infestation.
  • Proper storage: Use a well-ventilated area to store your mattress or add a dehumidifier in the storage area to reduce moisture in the air.

How to Dry an Air Mattress

Properly drying your mattress is the easiest way to prevent mold growth and musty odors. After deep cleaning your inflatable mattress, allow it to dry completely to eliminate the risk of trapped moisture on the surface. 

Air drying an air mattress in the sun is an effective idea to remove any moisture from the surface and prevent mold growth. If the weather doesn’t allow for that, place your air bed near a fan for drying before storage. For the best results, keep the air mattress inflated to remove moisture trapped in folds or other surfaces.