Essential Guide to Mattress Decontamination and Repair

Published On: 4th July 2022

10 Minute Read

Mattresses, along with profiling beds, are some of the most common care equipment found in care facilities. Due to the nature of these care environments, mattresses can pose an increased risk of infection to both service users and staff.

However, ensuring mattresses are clean, safe and functioning can be a considerable task for healthcare organisations. Especially pressure area care mattresses such as Air Flow or Dynamic Mattresses. Many organisations don’t have the time, resources or expertise to properly decontaminate or repair broken mattresses, so they dispose of them and buy new ones. This can cost those healthcare facilities a huge amount of unnecessary expense.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the different aspects of mattress decontamination and repair, so you can decide if it’s right for your care facilities.

1. Why Should I get my Mattress Decontaminated?

Decrease the Risk of Cross-Contamination

Mattress decontamination will decrease the risk of cross-contamination between service users and staff, and the devastating consequences that come with it, especially for those most vulnerable.

Mattresses can house a variety of bacteria which could be harmful to staff and service users, as they are in regular contact with service user’s skin. Often pressure area care mattresses are in contact with those who have pressure sores or open wounds which can leak bodily fluids, contaminating the mattress with potentially harmful fluids.

Whilst a simple cleaning schedule will ensure the mattress cover is clean, the cover may have unseen holes or cuts, which can leak contaminated fluids onto the mattress surface – this is called strike through. This can occur during use or storage, for example from a needle stick or other sharp object, abrasion during handling, movement or transport, as well as incorrect cleaning and decontamination.

If this happens, you should have the mattress properly decontaminated, and the cover repaired or replaced. If bodily fluids get into the mattress cells, they can become compromised and stop working as efficiently.

You should also always get your mattress decontaminated between service users, to avoid any risks of cross-infection.

Ensure that you Comply with Industry Regulations

During CQC inspections, they will inspect you against the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: Regulation 15.

Section 15(2) of the regulation states that providers must comply with guidance from the Department of Health about the prevention and control of infections: Health and Social Care Act 2008: The Code of Practice for health and adult social care on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance.

It outlines that “equipment must be cleaned, decontaminated and/or sterilised in line with current legislation and guidance and manufacturers’ instructions” and that “all staff must understand the risk to people who use services if they do not adhere to this”.

2. How Often Should you get your Mattress Decontaminated or Repaired?

Mattress manufacturers should provide instructions in their user manuals, that describe how and when to inspect, clean and decontaminate the equipment.

There are frequent scenarios which could prompt you to get your mattress decontaminated and repaired:

1. In Between Service Users

Mattresses and their associated beds should be decontaminated appropriately between service users. For instance, when a patient is discharged or a service user moves on, and before the next person needs to use it.

You should also always get your mattress decontaminated between service users, to avoid any risks of cross-infection.

2. After Regular Checks are Performed

In busy hospitals, patients could be discharged and admitted multiple times a day and so the mattress would be decontaminated frequently if following the guidelines above.

However, in long-term care settings, the same service user could be using the same mattress for many months. This means you must perform regular checks on the mattresses, and make sure a frequent inspection regime is carried out, to ensure it is still hygienic and safe for use.

Mattress checks include:

  • Inspection of the exterior surface of the mattress cover for signs of damage or strike-through
  • Remove the cover and inspect the inside surface and mattress core, for staining or contamination

If you notice that the mattress has been contaminated, you will need to get it decontaminated immediately.


3. If you Identify a Fault in the Mattress

When performing regular checks, or during personal care, you may notice a fault in the mattress. This is when you should look to get it repaired. Examples of faults include:

  • Holes in the cover (seen or unseen)
  • Air cells not pumping up – sometimes called cell leakage
  • Faulty pump unit, including the wiring

If you have any of these faults or would like your care mattress decontaminated – check out Medaco’s Mattress Decontamination and Repair Service here.

3. How Does Mattress Decontamination and Repair Work?

Mattress Decontamination and Repair can work in different ways for different suppliers, but with Medaco, this involves a thorough 5 stage process:

  • Step 1 – Collection: Once you have requested the service, you will be sent specialist packaging for your contaminated equipment. After you have informed us that it has been packaged up, we will then arrange to have it collected.

  • Step 2 – Decontamination: Your mattress and pump will then arrive at our purpose-built decontamination centre, where a rigorous decontamination process is followed, in a clean and controlled environment. The mattress cover will be removed and decontaminated with specialist chemicals. The air cells will be stripped out and wiped down with specialist chemicals, along with the mattress pump system.

  • Step 3 – Inspection and Testing: After decontamination, your system will arrive in the clean zone, where trained engineers rebuild, inspect and test your mattress and pump systems, to ensure full functionality and assess the need for any repairs. For example, they use specialist testing equipment to pressure test and calibrate the pump and mattress.

  • Step 4 – Repairs: Should your mattresses need a repair; our team will send across a quotation for the work. Our expert engineers have access to a wide range of spare parts at the repair centre, to ensure they can repair many mattress systems quickly.

  • Step 5 – Delivery: Once your mattress has been decontaminated and repaired, it will be delivered back to you in new packaging, with the decontamination certificate, ready to use again.

4. Why Should I Use a Specialist Decontamination and Repair Supplier?

Ensuring all mattresses remain hygienic, and fit for use, can be a huge task for care facilities, especially with the lack of staff, time and resources, being felt by the healthcare industry. The level of deep cleaning needed, and the chemicals and equipment required, can prove very costly.

If you are facing this challenge, consider using a specialist decontamination and repair supplier who has already invested in a purpose-built centre, developed strict processes and procedures, with access to expert engineers and a vast number of spare parts.

For example, Mattress decontamination from Medaco, and other specialist suppliers, follow a rigorous procedure, which will conform to BS EN 14476 standards.

This guarantees to kill over 99% of germs and viruses, including Coronavirus.


Trained engineers can inspect and test the pump and mattress system to ensure full functionality. They will also re-calibrate the system, to make sure it provides the correct pressure relieving properties. The repair centre holds the many spare parts required should a repair be needed.

By using a specialist and trusted supplier, you can benefit from keeping service users and staff safe, reducing equipment downtime, improving the whole life costs of your mattresses, as well as reducing your carbon footprint, by reusing mattresses that might have otherwise been disposed of.

Book your Mattress Decontamination and Repair Today:

Medaco supports many Care Home Groups and Hospitals to help keep their pressure care mattresses clean, safe and functional.

If you would like to learn more about this service, visit our Mattress Decontamination and Repair Services Page where you can also book a collection to have your mattress decontaminated and inspected for repair.

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2023-01-31T12:17:00+00:004th July 2022|News & Insights|
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