How to Clean and Disinfect a Futon


Toby asked: To whom it may concern. I left my futon for about 6 months and my futon has become quite dirty. However, I cannot remove the futon cover because there are irremovable buttons. How should I clean my futon mattress without removing the cover? I need to definitely clean it well so I don’t get Hantavirus (a mouse disease). If you could let me know whether to steam clean, shampoo it or bring it to the dry cleaners and ask them if they would dry clean the whole thing. Please let me know what to do.

When furniture sits in rodent-infested areas, it requires a very thorough cleaning and must be disinfected to prevent any further contamination. Use the guidelines below to remove any harmful dirt and animal waste from the piece.

You Will Need

  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Face mask (optional)
  • Bleach  or a commercial disinfectant or shampoo
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bag
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Steam cleaner

Steps to Clean and Disinfect the Futon

  1. Begin by protecting yourself with rubber gloves and a face mask to keep from inhaling any of the virus particles that may be present.
  2. Mix a bleach solution of 1 and ½ cups bleach with 1 gallon of water.
  3. Spray the solution on any hard surfaces, such as the frame and railings and wipe away with a clean paper towel. Dispose of all towels in a trash bag.
  4. For the cover and mattress, clean both thoroughly with a steam cleaner along with a commercial disinfectant or shampoo. It is best to lay the mattress flat and work on one entire side first.
  5. Moisten the entire mattress before attempting to move it to help contain the dust and dirt until it can be removed with the steam cleaner. If the cover is white, it may be possible to apply the bleach solution to that as well. Be sure to rinse completely with clean water so the bleach does not damage the fibers.
  6. Flip the mattress over and clean the other side.
  7. Prop the mattress up or set it back on the frame and allow it to dry completely.
  8. Seal the trash bag and dispose of all used paper towels.
  9. When you are finished cleaning, disinfect the gloves prior to taking them off.
  10. After removing the gloves, wash hands with an antibacterial soap.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Protect yourself from Hantavirus by using a face mask and rubber gloves. Avoid breathing in any dust that may be contaminated with rodent droppings, saliva or urine. More information about Hantavirus and its effects is available online.
  • For items that cannot have bleach on them, such as clothing, stuffed animals, etc. place in the washing machine with laundry detergent and wash with hot water. Dry in the dryer on high heat.
  • The sun is a natural disinfectant. Place the mattress in a rodent-free area in direct sunlight for several hours. Flip over and leave the other side in direct sunlight for several hours.
  • Do not vacuum carpets or upholstery as the vacuum will redistribute the virus into the air.
  • If you locate any dead rodents while you are cleaning, spray them with disinfectant and dispose of them properly.
  • If you are concerned that an at-home cleaning may not remove all of the dirt and germs, do not hesitate to have it professionally cleaned.


  1. Jil says:

    Take the cover off and throw it away. Buy a new one. Or buy a whole new futon mattress and cover; they aren’t that expensive. Then, clean the frame as instructed.

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