How to Clean a Merino Wool Mattress Cover

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Merino wool mattress covers are warm and comfortable. If you've purchased one, you might have thought it was worth the investment every night as you slept. Then, one day, you may have realized that your luxurious mattress cover was looking a little ragged and could use a good cleaning. But you can't simply throw it into the washer and dryer. Here are instructions on how to clean the cover without ruining the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mild soap
  • Towel or chamois
  • Be sure your mattress cover really needs cleaning. Unlike other natural or man-made fabrics, wool does not need to be cleaned often and does not harbor bacteria or mold. Take it outside and shake it out well. Depending on the size, you may need someone to assist you with this--it is much easier and there is less chance of damaging your fine mattress cover.

  • Air out your merino wool mattress cover. Wool has an extraordinary natural self-cleaning ability. Avoid direct sunlight for extended periods of time, as this can fade any dyes and cause a bleaching effect.

  • Check the care tag for instructions. There are various types or merino wool, and within those types, each manufacturer may treat their products differently. Dry cleaning, wet cleaning, handwashing and in some cases even machine washing are all types of care and cleaning instructions you should be looking for. If the tag is no longer on your mattress cover, contact the manufacturer for cleaning instructions.

  • Spot clean your wool mattress cover as needed. Cold water and a mild soap will remove a lot of stains. Research the type of stain you are trying to remove for tips and methods.

  • If you still determine your cover needs cleaning, the preferred method is usually to take it to a professional to have it drycleaned. A more environmentally friendly method called wet cleaning may be available to you. Consult your local cleaners for more information. Make sure you inform your cleaner that your mattress cover is merino wool, and check to see whether they offer any guarantees against shrinkage. Doing research into several cleaners in your area may save you time, money and a huge hassle.

  • If you finally decide to do it yourself, you can handwash most merino wool mattress covers. This is recommended only to those who have the time and space to do this properly. As wool can absorb 30 percent of its own weight in water, this can quickly become a cumbersome and unmanageable task because of the bulk of the mattress cover. Use cold or lukewarm water, along with a mild soap or detergent (Woolite, Revivex and Liquid Castile soap are a few options). Because of the typical size of a mattress cover, your bathtub may be the best place to do this. Fill the tub about half-full and add your soap or detergent, stirring lightly with your hands to mix well. Place your mattress cover in the tub and soak for about 5 minutes, while gently squeezing the suds through the material. Do not agitate, wring, twist or rub the wool together. This can cause felting. Rinse twice in water that is the same temperature as the wash water. Softly squeeze and press out excess water. Press a towel or chamois against the mattress cover (do not rub) to help soak up even more of the water. Line dry or drape across a deck railing to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the care instructions label on your mattress cover. This is essential to ensure proper care of your item. Improper care or cleaning can lead to shrinkage, felting or worse.

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