Medical Beds

7 Ways to Keep a Hospital Bed Clean

Keeping a hospital bed clean can seem like an uphill battle at times, especially for caretakers of people who spend a lot of time in bed. Knowing how to clean hospital beds properly can not only prevent disease or injury, it can also increase their longevity and comfort.

Wash Sheets At Least Once Per Week

Hospitals have to maintain the cleanliness of their facilities. Part of this means ensuring that the sheets on the hospital beds their patients use are as clean and sterile as possible. Because of this, hospitals often outsource their linen cleaning to third-party services that know how to clean hospital bed sheets thoroughly, ensuring they’re free of biohazards, germs, and pests like bedbugs. These companies usually have access to powerful machines like hydraulic presses that clean, disinfect, rinse, and dry hospital bed sheets and pillowcases. Obviously, most people don’t have access to equipment like this. Still, there are steps you can take to ensure that your sheets and pillowcases are as clean and sterile as possible using a conventional washing machine and dryer.

It’s essential to regularly clean the sheets and pillowcases used on your hospital bed. Ideally, you should do so once per week, but wait no longer than every two weeks. This is especially true for people who are bedridden or otherwise spend a lot of time in bed. Because our bodies naturally secrete organic matter like oils and dead skin cells while we sleep, our bedsheets become more filled with it the longer we stay in bed. This promotes the growth and spread of bacteria and mold, which can feed off of it.

If you are washing someone else’s sheets, especially a patient who may have a contagious health condition, it’s vital that you use protective equipment like gloves, a face mask, and eye protection. It’s particularly crucial if you are aware of the presence of biohazards on the sheets like blood or urine. It is also a good idea to use impermeable bags to transport soiled linens to and from the room in which the hospital bed lies.

When you wash dirty sheets, do so on the highest heat setting possible with plenty of detergent. Heat sterilization will kill any bacteria present on the sheets. The detergent will also help kill any pathogens present and will rinse organic matter out of them. If possible, pre-rinse and press the laundry to ensure everything is rinsed thoroughly.

If your sheets are contaminated with biohazardous materials, sterilizing the hospital bed and cleaning the sheets in a machine washing with bleach and detergent is recommended. That said, some sheets may not withstand some of these chemicals, and their use on bedsheets may require thorough rinsing to prevent them from causing skin irritation and stains on the patient’s clothes. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for warnings and recommended cleaning instructions. 

For more tips on making a hospital bed, you can read our guide.

Use A Mattress Cover or An Easy To Clean Mattress

Mattress covers, or mattress protectors, are layers of fabric that are fitted over the mattress like fitted sheets. They protect mattresses from bodily fluids and other biohazards by providing a buffer between the mattress and the sheets of a bed.

Hospital bed mattress covers can be made of many different kinds of material and have multiple classifications depending on the kind of protection they offer. Water-resistant means that a mattress cover keeps water and similar liquids from seeping into the material, but it’s not guaranteed to keep all liquids out. Water-repellent offers greater protection from liquids by repelling water before it can soak into the material. Waterproof means that the material repels all liquid even when submerged in water. Mattress covers may also be coated in an antimicrobial solution, which prevents viruses and bacteria from growing.

Mattress covers not only increase the longevity of your mattress, but also make it easier to clean. Regularly inspecting your mattress cover to check for stains, rips, and tears ensures that it protects your mattress the way it is supposed to and should be part of your routine hospital bed cleaning procedure.

Some hospital bed mattresses don’t need mattress covers. This is because they’re designed to be easy to clean or come with coverings that do the job of regular mattress covers.

Use Pillow Protectors and Change Pillows Every One To Two Years

Like with mattresses, using a pillow protector can make it much easier to keep your pillows clean. A pillow protector is a cloth cover that may be water-resistant, water-repellent, or waterproof that you can slip over your pillow, creating a buffer that prevents some of the oils and bodily fluids that your body naturally secretes from soaking into the fabric.

Unless the manufacturer of your pillows advises against it, it’s usually a good idea to regularly wash your pillows along with pillowcases if possible, even if you use pillow protectors (which should also be washed regularly). You should also replace your pillows once per year regardless of the condition they’re in, as they can become less supportive over time, which can lead to issues like back and neck pain.

Deep Clean Your Mattress Twice Per Year

Deep cleaning your mattress should be a regular part of your hospital bed cleaning procedure. It ensures that it remains free of mold, bacteria, biohazards, loose food, and other problematic substances that can reduce the longevity of your mattress and potentially lead to health problems. Experts recommend deep cleaning your mattress twice per year. Some mattresses should also be flipped, but most TransferMaster hospital bed mattresses do not.

Check your mattress’s manufacturer warnings before cleaning, as certain kinds of cleaner might harm your mattress. For example, memory foam mattresses are not supposed to get wet, so alternative cleaning methods may be required. If you have questions about the cleaning or maintenance of a TransferMaster hospital bed mattress, you can contact us.

To deep clean your mattress, start by stripping it of any mattress covers, sheets, pillows, and anything else on top of it, then washing them as described earlier in this article. Next, vacuum your mattress using a hand vacuum or an upholstery attachment on a conventional home vacuum cleaner.

Spot clean your mattress with a solution of soap and water or use a solution of equal parts white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and cold water. For stains, use stain remover according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the cleaner sit for a few minutes, blot it with plain cold water, and then dry with a paper towel. Allow your mattress to dry, ideally with plenty of fresh air and sunlight. If this isn’t an option for you, you can also sprinkle baking soda on the mattress to help kill any remaining bacteria. 

Let the mattress rest as long as possible, if not overnight. Before putting your clean sheets on your newly-cleaned mattress, be sure to go over it with a vacuum one more time to ensure that no unwanted particles remain.

Keep Your Room Clean and Dust-Free

Another good way to keep your hospital bed and mattress clean is to keep the room that they’re in clean. Hospitals will regularly clean a patient’s room to prevent the spread of disease and biohazardous materials like potentially infected bodily fluids. For a home hospital bed user, it should be no different.

Regularly discarding and emptying the trash in your patient or loved one’s room helps ensure that airborne health hazards like mold cannot grow in the same place in which your patient or loved one sleeps. Make sure that the room in which your patient or loved one’s hospital bed is free of clutter. In addition to tripping hazards, clutter gives dirt, dust, and other undesirable materials a good place to accumulate. If they have curtains, blinds, or ceiling fans in their room, check these for dust regularly, as they can tend to collect dust.

Clean Bedside Accessories After Use

If you or the person you care for regularly uses hospital bed accessories, it is recommended that you clean them after use. For example, if a hospital bed user uses a special tray to eat in bed, bodily substances like saliva may build up unless cleaned, causing bacteria to grow on them. Excess crumbs or other food particles can do the same, or worse, find their way into your bedsheets. 

Bedside grip and safety rails and similar accessories like hospital bed trapezes are objects that frequently get touched, so they are at high risk for containing germs. It’s essential to clean these after use to ensure that the person using them doesn’t get an infection from the tools they rely on.

Wash Your Hands

Think about how often you touch your face without thinking about it. We use our hands to manipulate tools and other objects we rely on daily. If our hands become contaminated and we neglect to wash them, we spread these germs to everything else we touch afterward. Anybody who touches a contaminated surface and then touches their nose, eyes, mouth, or face could become infected.

Washing your hands, especially after touching something that may be contaminated with germs or harmful substances, is a basic part of personal hygiene, and it’s one of the best ways to avoid becoming infected with germs. If you are in a hospital environment, this is especially important, because germs may be present anywhere.

Washing your hands is also a big part of keeping your hospital bed clean. Just like anywhere else, your bed can become a teeming colony of germs if not cared for properly. Avoid contaminating your pillow, sheets, mattress, and any bedside accessories you use by washing your hands frequently.


Questions? Contact a Bed Expert.

Our friendly staff is here to answer your questions and can help configure a bed to fit your needs.

Call Us @ 877-445-6233

Other ways to contact us

Transfer Master

About Transfer Master

Transfer Master has built electric adjustable hospital beds for the home and medical facility since 1993. We started with a simple goal that hospital beds should allow wheelchair users to transfer independently in and out of bed. Thirty years later, our customers are still at the center of everything we do. You’ll feel the difference.