How to Clean a Futon?

A futon is a Japanese mattress invented centuries ago. Today, the Japanese still use it and have passed on the practice to the outside world. 

The futon comes with a fold in the center, for it comes with two uses – to seat and sleep on.

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The fold enables the user to fold it and use it as a couch. You only need to flatten it if you want to use it as a mattress.

Due to its duo purpose, the futon gets dirty quickly. 

If you visit Japan, you will see futons hanging outside peoples’ balconies or clotheslines.

It is because futons accumulate much dirt, dust, stains, and odors that need to be gotten rid of.

Some air them frequently after cleaning or dusting them. Otherwise, you may not want to use a dirty futon. It is a ticket to various health problems.

In this article, you will learn the proper ways of cleaning your futon. As a result, you will enjoy a germ-free futon for a long time. It, therefore, gets recommended that you take care of your futon regularly.

The way you clean a futon depends on various things. Before we look into the futon’s cleaning guide, let us discuss what determines a futon’s specific cleaning method.

Reasons Determining Various Futon Cleaning Methods

clean futon

I. Materials Used In Its Making

Most futons get made using microfibers that are water and stain-resistant. A great example is suede material. But this does not mean that they are free from spills and damage. Here is how to clean such a futon.

How to Clean a Futon Made with Microfibers

Step 1: Pick a Reliable Cleaning Solution

Every futon contains a tag indicating the cleaning solution to use. The information may appear as a code. Ensure you learn what the codes indicate. If you find the letter ‘W’ on your tag, it means you use a water-based cleaning product or solution.

Letter ‘S’ indicates you use a solvent-based cleaning product or solution. The ‘W-S’ letter code means you use both cleaning solutions. When you see the letter ‘X’ code on your tag, it means not to use any cleaning product or solution.

Step 2: Vacuum Your Futon

Futons usually have a lot of dust, debris, and crumbs, depending on how people use them. Before using any cleaning solution on your futon, you must remove the debris and such dirt for effective cleaning.

Step 3: Apply the Appropriate Cleaning Solution Onto the Futon

After vacuuming the futon, put the required cleaning product all over the futon. A spraying bottle will come in handy. Put the solution in the bottle and spray it all around the futon. Do not leave any part without the cleaning solution.

For an excellent water-based cleaner, use soap and water. You can rub in alcohol such as ethanol or isopropanol as solvent-based cleaners. But be careful not to saturate the futon.

Step 4: Remove Excess Cleaning Solution

While spraying, it is difficult to know the amount of solution to apply. Sometimes the solution may be excess. In this case, blot up any excess liquid. A clean, dry towel or piece of cloth would work out great.

Step 5: Dry the Futon

After you have removed the excess solution from your futon, allow it to dry for about 20 minutes.

II. The Kind of Stains Available


Because of its frequent use, a futon is likely to get stains of all kinds. If used as a couch, stains related to various foods and drinks such as wine, tea, and soup are inevitable.

When utilized as a mattress, stains like urine are common.

Regardless, besides the stain, you’ll also need to address the unpleasant odor originating from your futon, as both stem from the same source.

The stain can either be dry or wet. Others like urine come with odors. Fortunately, there is a way of cleaning stains on your futon. Depending on the kind of stain you are dealing with, you can remove it using vinegar or baking soda.

Stubborn stains can use a concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution. For better insight, here is a guide on how to clean a stain on your futon.

How to Clean a Futon with Stains

If you have kids, the elderly, or invalids, getting stains like urine or vomit on your futon is inevitable. The cleaning method used depends on whether the stain is dry or wet.

A wet stain like fresh urine gets cleaned as follows;

How to Clean a Wet Stain on Your Futon

Step 1: Remove the Excess Stain

If someone poured soup or any drink, urinated, or vomited on the futon a while ago, it’s possible that the stain is still wet and lot. You need to remove the excess of it first.

Use a paper towel or a clean piece of cloth to wipe it out. Ensure you blot up as much stain as you can.

Step 2: Apply Baking Powder to the Stained Area

Baking soda is an excellent stain remover. It removes the stain and its smell. Ensure all stained areas get covered with baking soda for optimal results.

Step 3: Apply Vinegar to the Stained Area

After applying baking soda to the affected part, put vinegar. Spraying it all around the stained areas will work out great. Use a spray bottle. You may not like the strong smell of freshly applied vinegar, but you shouldn’t worry as it lessens with time.

Allow the vinegar to settle for approximately five minutes. If you can’t access vinegar, you can use an enzyme made purposely for this work. You will find such enzymes in online shops or various stores around you.

If using the enzyme, leave it to settle on the stained area for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the Excess Moisture

After applying baking soda and vinegar to the stained parts, the mixture may drift to the futon’s unaffected parts.

To avoid such, you need to dry up any excess moisture. A paper towel will work out great. Ensure you dry the area as much as possible.

Step 5: Put Some More Baking Powder

When you’ve removed all the excess moisture, add more baking powder to the stained parts and entire mattress. It will help remove any foul smell on your futon.

Step 6: Dry the Mattress

After you’ve put baking powder on every part of the futon, leave it to dry for about 24 hours in the sun.

If the weather outside is not conducive, allow it to dry indoors, but ensure all windows are open to boost the drying process. If you have a fan, it is advisable to use it to fasten the drying process.

Step 7: Remove the Baking Soda and Vacuum the Futon

After a day, check whether the futon has dried completely. If not, give it some more time. Then remove the baking powder. Ensure none is left. Take a vacuum cleaner and clean your futon. Voila! Your futon is successfully clean.

Not only will this ensure your you bed remains clean, but also acts as a preventive measure against attracting bed bugs to your futon.

But as explained earlier, the stain may be dry. If it’s the case with your futon, you will need to use a more robust cleaning solution using the following method;

How to Clean a Dry Stain on Your Futon

dry stain

You may wonder why you need to use a strong cleaning solution. It is because dry stains are hard to remove. You will need to use something that will tackle the stubbornness of such stains. Here is how you do it;

Step 1: Make a Tough Solution of Hydrogen Peroxide

To create this solution, you will require;

  • Baking soda : 3 tablespoons
  • Hydrogen peroxide : 3%
  • Dishwashing detergent: 2 drops

Mix all the above ingredients properly.

Step 2: Apply the Hydrogen Solution onto the Stain

After the mixture gets mixed correctly, apply it to the dry stain. Use a piece of clean cloth to apply the solution. Be keen not to apply too much. It will make your futon too wet to dry fast.

Step 3: Put a Mixture of Water and Laundry Powder over the Stained Area

The water and laundry mixture should get prepared as a paste, not a solution. You will therefore require a tablespoon of water mixed with three tablespoons of a reliable laundry powder.

When the mixture is ready, spread it over the stained area and leave it to settle for about 30 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the Paste from Your Futon

After 30 minutes, the solution and paste applied to the stain will have dried up. You will require scraping it off to remove it. Use a brush or spoon.

Step 5: Vacuum Your Futon

The scraped dry paste will leave some dust and particles on your futon. Finalize your cleaning by vacuuming the entire futon. Ensure no particles or dust gets left.

III. Wet or Moldy Nature

Besides being stained, a futon can be wet or have mold and mildew. Such a case will require a different type of cleaning. If you want to know whether your futon has mildew and mold, look out for black or green spots. You will also smell a moldy odor.

Temperature and humidity changes are the leading cause of molds and mildew on your futon. Most people panic when they find them on their futons, but it shouldn’t be the case.

Luckily, there exist two ways of cleaning them, as explained below. But you need to follow all the steps correctly for optimal results. Here is what to do;

How to Clean a Futon with Mildew or Mold

First, you will need to collect the following necessary cleaning items;

  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Chlorine bleach solution
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Washcloth or towel
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Alcohol-based hand-sanitizing wipes
  • Pure vodka
  • Household disinfectant

Then follow the following steps;

Method 1

Step 1: Vacuum the Entire Futon

Immediately you discover your futon has got mold or mildew, take it outdoors. As a result, you will have prevented it from spreading mold or mildew in your room. While outside, vacuum it entirely on both sides and around it.

Ensure no part goes vacuumed. Otherwise, you will have done zero work. The non-vacuumed section will spread the mildew or mold to the futon.

Step 2: Clean the Futon with Soap and Water

Before cleaning the futon with soap and water, you need to be cautious of its fabric type. Also, consider whether the soap you want to use is compatible with the material. The best way to know is to conduct a test.

Begin by putting the water and soap mixture in a small portion of your futon. It is not a must for you to carry out the test on the affected area. If there is no reaction or damagego ahead and apply the mixture to the affected part.

For the futons with colorfast fabrics, use a clean cloth to apply the solution to the mold area. Start by dipping the washcloth in the solution, then wring out the excess solution and dab the affected area.

You may wipe the affected area with soapy water, but the mold stain remains. In this case, mix salt and lemon juice solution and apply to the affected area. Then leave the futon in the sun to dry.

In case this does not work, put a ¼ tablespoon solution of chlorine bleach in a cup full of water. Then mix the two properly. But first, test whether this solution is safe for your futon by using it in a small area, as explained before.

If okay, apply it to the mold or mildew stain using a clean towel or piece of cloth.

Step 3: Allow the Futon to dry for Some Time

Applying the soapy and other solutions as explained in the above step will leave the futon wet.

You, therefore, need to leave it to dry. Ensure it’s completely dry before returning it indoors and using it. Otherwise, you will get faced with the same problem again within a short time.

Method 2

Step 1: Vacuum Your Futon

Like in the previous method, vacuuming the futon is the first step. Ensure your vacuum cleaner runs on every part of the futon.

Also, place it outside to avoid spreading the mold or mildew on its resting and the surrounding area. Remember, mold spores spread very quickly, especially in a humid environment.

Step 2: Apply Rubbing Alcohol

First, look for a disposable container. Then put water and add isopropyl alcohol in equal amounts. Ensure the solution mixes well. Then take a clean towel or piece of cloth and dip it into the solutionScrub all places of the futon with mold or mildew.

In case you don’t get access to the isopropyl alcohol, use pure vodka or alcohol-based hand-sanitizing wipes.

Step 3: Rinse the Alcohol Applied Area

After putting alcohol and scrubbing all the areas with molds or mildew, rinse using warm water. 

Cold water will not remove the alcohol effectively. When all the alcohol and mold stains are gone, take a reliable household disinfectant and apply it to the affected places.

If you rinse out the alcohol and still find mold or mildew stains, repeat the procedure until the area is spotlessly clean.

Step 4: Dry the Futon

Then put your futon in the sun to dry. Don’t return it indoors when not properly dry as the mold will appear again.

Give it enough time to dry and inspect it properly for any humidity before keeping it in your room.

IV. The Amount and Type of Dirt and Dust

With time, futons get dirty and require cleaning. Mostly, the general cleaning method of a futon gets used in cleaning it.

Only when the futon has complications like stains, molds, mildew, and fabric types do the cleaning method change.

To clean a soiled futon, you need to follow the following cleaning method that generally applies to all of them.

The General Method of Cleaning Futons

Step 1: Vacuuming the Futon

As illustrated by the other methods above, vacuuming a futon is the first step to cleaning it. Futons pick on a lot of dirt and of various types.

You can get crumbs, fruit pieces, dust, debris, hair, and other particles on your futon.

Use a reliable vacuum to remove all of them. Vacuum your futon’s both sides. If your futon is in the sitting position, make it flat before vacuuming. Start by unfolding it and removing its frame. Because corners are tricky to clean, use a nozzle.

In the inaccessible gaps, remove any debris using a brush.

Step 2: Use Baking Soda to Deodorize the Futon

As they do with dirt, futons accumulate bad smells with time. It is because of the things spilled on them. Excellent examples are sweat, soup, alcohol, urine, food, water, and other things.

Fortunately, baking soda removes all types of odors.

Sprinkle it onto your entire futon and allow it to sit for approximately an hour. Then remove it by running a vacuum cleaner on the futon. Vacuum until all baking powder is gone.

Step 3: Remove Stains

In this step, you can use the method of removing stains as described earlier. Alternatively, you can use a mild detergent

Fresh stains are easier to remove. When you attend to a spill immediately, it becomes easy to soak a lot of it out.

The first thing to do is wipe the stained area with a dry, clean cloth, sponge, or paper towel. Use a clean washcloth dipped in a mixture of soap or an appropriate detergent and cold water to wipe the affected area.

Some detergents may discolor or affect your futon.

It depends on the kind of fabric used in making your futon. Therefore, test the detergent first by applying only a small portion of your futon. If it doesn’t damage or affect it in any way, then it’s safe to use with your futon.

In case it damages or discolors your futon, try another detergent. The best way of doing this is to know the materials used in making your futon before applying the detergent. Then use the detergent made for that kind of material. 

If not sure of what to use, ask an expert.

After you dab the stained area with a damp sponge, towel, or piece of cloth, allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then rinse off the detergent using clean water. It would be best if you were careful about how you rinse the area. 

Too much water may make your futon moist, exposing it to mildew and mold growth.

Thanks to the advent of technology, some minor stains can get removed using a specially made pen known as a ‘stain-removing pen.’ You only need to press it on the affected area and scrub it off.

If you need one, order it online or from the stores next to you.

For tough stains, get rid of them, as discussed earlier in this article.

Step 4: Clean Your Futon’s Frame

It doesn’t make sense to clean the futon and leave its frame. The buildup of mold, dirt, and dust on the stand will soil your clean futon, making it prone to bacteria and germs. Clean out the dirt using a clean piece of damp cloth.

Most frames get made with metals that corrodeAvoid using dusting solutions that can make them rust or discolor.

After your futon’s frame is clean, fix it back to the dry, clean futon. Hurray! Your dirty futon is now clean and safe to use.

Because of its dual use, a futon is susceptible to various contaminants and pathogens. As a result, people suffer from different health problems like asthma, allergies, and breathing complications.

To enjoy a healthy futon, cleaning it is not enough. It would help if you sanitized your futon frequently to avoid undergoing such problems.

Unfortunately, not most people are aware of how futons get disinfected. If you are one of them, no need to fret. Here is how you do it;

How to Sanitize a Futon

Step 1: Safeguarding Yourself

When disinfecting a futon, you will use chemicals that may harm your skin or health. That is why you need to protect yourself before starting the process.

Wear a mask to prevent inhaling harmful gases. Because you will be using your hands, you need to wear gloves.

If sanitizing your futon indoors, ensure you open all the windows and doors. Otherwise, it is better to carry out the process outside.

Step 2: Make a Bleach Solution

For every gallon of water, add 1 ½ cups of reliable bleach. Then mix them properly. Alternatively, you can find a ready-made disinfectant from a store near you. You can also order one online. 

Vodka and Lysol spray also work out great when used in place of the bleach solution.

Step 3: Apply the Bleach Solution to the Futon

Put the bleach solution in a spray bottle and spray it on the entire futon. While ensuring that you do not saturate the futon, apply the solution to every part of the mattress.

When finished, allow it to sit for a short time, and then wipe out the solution. A clean, dry piece of cloth, towel, rag, or paper towel will do an excellent job of drying the bleach solution.

If you want to treat your futon with a deep cleaning procedure, use a steam cleaner. Ensure you steam everywhere for optimal results. The steaming will kill all bacteria and germs in a way friendly to the environment.

Step 4: Dry the Futon Thoroughly

Ensure the futon dries entirely before use. The best way of drying it is under the sun. Here is how you do it;

Sun Drying a Futon

futon drying

Did you know that the sun kills bacteria? That is why drying your futon in the sun is the best method. Use the following procedure;

Step 1: Take Out the Futon

First, remove your futon’s frame and take it out in the sun.

Step 2: Set the Futon

After removing the frame:

  1. Please take it in the sun.
  2. Please place it in an ideal place where it can access sunlight maximally.
  3. Ensure all parts of the futon get hit by the sun. It would help if you also were careful not to soil your futon.
  4. Please place it in a clean place. If setting it on the ground spread a clean blanket (read our article on Best Kotatsu Futon Blanket) or sheet first.
  5. Turn the futon regularly after some time to ensure the entire futon enjoys the hot rays of the sun.

Step 3: Allow the Futon to Stay in the Sun for a While

Sunlight removes moisture, rejuvenates the fibers, and cleans the futon. It, therefore, gets recommended to leave it in the sun for a substantial time.

You shouldn’t take the futon back indoors if it hasn’t finished a few hours outside.

Not all days are sunny. What happens when you need to dry your futon? Other than the sun, there are other ways you can dry your futon. They include;

Other Ways of Drying a Futon

You can get rid of any moisture from your futon through;

  • Vacuuming it using a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer
  • Dabbing it with a dry and clean towel, piece of cloth, or paper towels
  • Sprinkling it with baking soda or other reliable absorbing products like Sprinkle Cat Litter
  • Turning on a dehumidifier or fan directly onto the futon

If you want your futon to remain safe and last long, you don’t have to wait for it to get dirt to clean it. Regular maintenance will work like magic. The following are tips for maintaining your futon clean and safe.

Helpful Hints to Maintaining a Clean, Safe, and Long-Lasting Futon

  1. Always keep your futon dry. Accessories like water-proof covers will help protect the futon from getting soiled or absorbing any kind of liquid. However, you should regularly wash the cover to avoid the buildup of germs, bacteria, and other kinds of dirt.
  2. Air your futon regularly in the sun. Also, open your room’s windows and doors daily to allow sunlight and fresh air.
  3. Ensure you flip your futon regularly. Otherwise, it would form lumps and start sagging. Turn it in at least once per month.
  4. Keep your futon off the floor. Elevate it using a slatted surface to allow air to circulate freely to all parts of the futon. The futon will get dirty quickly while on the floor, and it gets susceptible to pathogens, mildew, and dirt buildup.


As illustrated above, futons are essential in our homes. Because they get used to sleeping and sitting, getting dirty is inevitable.

Fortunately, despite the kind of dirt, you can clean it off your futon, as explained above. The above cleaning techniques enlighten on cleaning a futon with stains or any dirt based on the material used in its making it.

If you are struggling with cleaning your dirty futon, this guide is for you.

Follow all the given steps keenly, and you will enjoy optimal results. But if you want your futon always to remain clean, and safe, and serve you for many years, you must disinfect it regularly, as illustrated above.