I’ve noticed our mattress is a little… whiffy. Is there an easy way to clean it and make it smell nice again? I don’t have $1500 for a new one, FYI.

Miss Mattress, I know the whiff of which you speak. It’s a little unsettling, isn’t it, to strip off your sheets to air the very mattress you’ve been sleeping on to find… it kind of smells. Ugh. Rest assured (yes, pun entirely intended) that we are all in the same boat here. Everyone’s mattress acquires a certain mustiness after a while. After all, you spend at least eight hours every night in the thing – is it any wonder that it takes on a note of eau de you?

So what to do?

First of all, strip the thing. Air it completely. Not in your bedroom – no. Take it out into the sunshine (if you don’t have a backyard, pop it on a balcony for the day. Failing that, take it to your largest window). Sun is nature’s antibacterial wipe – it’s the reason your clothes look, feel and smell so much better when they’ve been dried on the line rather than in a machine.

While your mattress is laying in the sun, spritz it with a mix of equal parts vodka and water. FYI, use cheap vodka. It’s just as effective as the good stuff, which you should obviously keep for yourself and a steady supply of ice chips. Don’t be too liberal with the spray – you just want enough to create a fine mist over the mattress. The alcohol will kill any bacteria on the mattress’s surface, and as that is what is creating the funk of which you write, it’ll get rid of it, stat.

Leave the mattress in the sun for a full day, and then when you’ve brought it back inside, dust a fine layer of cornstarch over it, before popping your fitted sheet back on. The cornstarch will help absorb moisture, which is where bacteria loves to set up camp.

Sleep well.

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