If you’re a regular reader on this site, you know that we highly recommend washing your sheets on a weekly basis. We also recently discovered that we’re probably not vacuuming underneath our bed nearly often enough. But what about the mattress itself? Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news, according to Dr. Mehmet Göker, a Dermatology Specialist.

The good news is that you don’t need to vacuum your mattress all that often. Dr. Göker recommends giving your bed a hoover once every six months. The bad news is that the stuff that builds up in your mattress (yes, even through mattress pads and fitted sheets) is pretty gross.

For starters, there’s dust and dirt. There’s also dead skin cells and hair, which says, Dr. Göker are the main food source for dust mites. Those mites, he adds, “leave behind their dead bodies, saliva, and feces which can cause unpleasant and unsightly allergy flare-ups, and itchy skin.” Like we said: Gross.

Luckily, with spring around the corner, this is the perfect time of year to give your mattress a good once-over with a powerful vacuum cleaner. Here’s how to do it:

How to Vacuum Your Mattress

Ideally, you’ll want to use the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner. If it doesn’t have an upholstery attachment (or if, like me, you can’t remember which cupboard the attachment is lurking in the back of), just use the most convenient attachment. And make sure to give the attachment a quick wipe down first if it’s been cleaning your floors for months or years.

Vacuum horizontally in straight lines going from the left side of the bed to the center, in parallel lines from top to bottom, then go around the bed and do the same from the right side to the center. 

If this is your first time vacuuming a well-used mattress, you could also vacuum in a cross-hatch the other way (in vertical lines from the top to the center, then the bottom to the center), to really give it a thorough clean.

If you haven’t flipped or rotated your mattress in a while, do that too. Finally, make your bed with freshly-laundered sheets and enjoy one of life’s best low-effort luxuries.