How To Clean A Japanese Shikibuton Futon Mattress

A shikibuton futon mattress is a traditional Japanese bedding that has become increasingly popular in Western countries due to its comfort and convenience. While the minimalist design of the mattress makes it easy to fold and store, its cleaning process can be quite challenging for those who are not familiar with it.

The delicate material and unique construction of the shikibuton require specific cleaning techniques to maintain its quality and extend its lifespan. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to clean your Japanese shikibuton futon mattress effectively.

We will explore different methods that you can use to remove stains, wash and rinse the futon, as well as dry it without causing any damage or shrinkage. Additionally, we will share some tips on how to properly maintain your shikibuton futon so that you can enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep for years to come.

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Before beginning the cleaning process, it is necessary to gather all the essential supplies required for effectively sanitizing and preserving the longevity of your bedding.

In order to clean a Japanese shikibuton futon mattress, you will need a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment, baking soda or a specialized enzyme cleaner, distilled white vinegar, and a spray bottle.

It is recommended to opt for eco-friendly options when selecting cleaning solutions. For instance, instead of using harsh chemicals that can potentially damage the fabric or cause allergic reactions, one can choose organic cleaners that are gentler on both the environment and human health.

Additionally, it is important to note that certain materials may require specific cleaning agents; therefore it is advisable to check the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding with any cleaning procedures.

Spot Clean the Stains

Removing stains from the surface of the bedding ensures a hygienic and visually appealing sleeping environment. When it comes to shikibuton futon mattresses, it is essential to spot clean any stains promptly to prevent them from setting into the fibers.

For tough stains, vinegar can be used as a natural cleaning agent that breaks down and dissolves dirt and grime effectively. To begin, mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply directly onto the stain. Allow the solution to sit for 10-15 minutes before gently blotting with a clean cloth or towel.

It is important not to rub too vigorously as this can damage the delicate fibers of the mattress. By preventing futon stains through regular maintenance practices such as spot cleaning, one can ensure that their shikibuton futon mattress remains fresh, clean, and comfortable for years to come.

Wash and Rinse the Futon

Washing and rinsing the bedding is a crucial step towards maintaining a hygienic sleeping environment by removing accumulated dirt, dust, and sweat from the fibers. However, it is important to take some precautions during washing to avoid damaging the shikibuton futon mattress.

Before starting the washing process, ensure that there are no rips or tears in the fabric; if there are any, repair them first. Then, choose the right detergent for your futon; avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach-based products as they can damage or discolor the fabric. Use a mild detergent instead and add white vinegar to deodorize the mattress and remove any bad smells.

When washing, use cold water on a gentle cycle with low spin speed and avoid using hot water as it can shrink or damage the fibers. After washing, rinse thoroughly with cold water until all soap residue is gone before air drying in direct sunlight for several hours until completely dry.

Dry the Futon

To properly dry a Japanese shikibuton futon mattress, there are several methods that can be employed.

First, it is important to squeeze out any excess water by pressing down on the wet areas with a clean towel or cloth.

After this step, air drying the futon is the most recommended method, as direct sunlight can damage the fabric and cause shrinkage.

However, if time is of the essence, using a fan or dryer on low heat can speed up the drying process without causing damage to the futon.

Squeeze Out Excess Water

Gently press down on the soaked material to remove excess liquid until the fabric is no longer dripping and is slightly damp.

Avoid wringing out the futon as this may damage its internal structure and cause it to lose its shape.

Instead, use a squeezing technique by folding the wet areas in half and pressing them together with your hands.

Continue doing this until you have squeezed out as much water as possible.

Once you are satisfied that most of the water has been removed, leave your shikibuton in a well-ventilated area or outside under direct sunlight to air dry completely.

The drying time will depend on various factors such as humidity levels, temperature, and airflow but generally takes around 24-48 hours for it to be fully dry.

Make sure not to put your futon away before it is completely dry, or else it can develop mold or mildew which can be harmful to your health.

Air Dry the Futon

Properly drying your bedding is crucial to preventing the growth of harmful mold and mildew, therefore it is important to air dry a Japanese shikibuton futon mattress in a well-ventilated area or under direct sunlight until completely dried.

After squeezing out excess water, lay the futon flat on a clean surface and flip it occasionally so that it dries evenly.

It is also important to consider how to properly store a shikibuton when not in use as this will help maintain its quality and prolong its lifespan.

When storing, ensure that the futon is completely dry and stored in a cool, dark place with good ventilation.

Additionally, there are many benefits of using a shikibuton over a traditional mattress such as improved sleep posture, better circulation and reduced pressure points.

By taking proper care of your shikibuton through regular cleaning and appropriate storage techniques you can ensure that you continue enjoying these benefits for many years to come.

Use a Fan or Dryer to Speed Up the Drying Process

Using a fan or dryer to expedite the drying process of a bedding item such as a shikibuton can be an effective method, although it is important to exercise caution when using these methods to prevent damage or shrinkage.

When using a fan, place it near the wet spot and keep it on low speed to avoid creating too much wind, which may cause the filling inside the futon to shift and bunch up.

Alternatively, use a dryer with no heat setting and select the delicate cycle option. Place some clean tennis balls into the dryer along with the futon to help fluff up the filling while it dries.

It is crucial not to over-dry your shikibuton as this can lead to shrinkage, so check on it frequently during the drying process.

Overall, these tips provide alternatives for those who need their futons dried quickly but still want them to retain their shape and quality for years of use.

Maintenance Tips

Maintaining the hygiene of a bedding item is crucial not only for ensuring a healthy sleeping environment but also for preserving its longevity and functionality.

To keep your Japanese shikibuton futon mattress clean, it is important to take preventative measures by using a protective cover, avoiding eating or drinking on the bed, and keeping pets away from it.

Additionally, the frequency of cleaning will depend on how often you use your futon mattress. For daily users, it is recommended to air out the futon in the morning and regularly vacuum or spot clean any stains.

For less frequent usage, washing the futon every six months to one year can help remove accumulated dust mites, sweat and other debris that can cause allergies or irritations.

Proper maintenance helps ensure that your Japanese shikibuton futon mattress remains comfortable and durable over time.


In conclusion, cleaning a Japanese shikibuton futon mattress requires careful attention to detail and patience.

Before beginning the cleaning process, gather all necessary cleaning supplies including a mild detergent, soft-bristled brush, and a vacuum cleaner.

Start by spot-cleaning any stains with a mixture of water and detergent using a gentle circular motion.

Once all visible stains have been removed, wash the entire futon with cold water in a bathtub or large sink.

After washing, rinse the futon thoroughly until no soap remains before gently squeezing out excess water.

To dry the futon, lay it flat on an elevated surface such as a drying rack or patio furniture and allow it to air dry completely.

It is important to avoid using high heat or direct sunlight when drying as this can damage the fibers of the futon.

To maintain your shikibuton futon mattress over time, regularly rotate its position on your bed frame to promote even wear and tear.

Additionally, consider using protective covers or sheets to prevent spills and stains from occurring in the first place.

By following these simple maintenance tips and taking care when cleaning your shikibuton futon mattress, you can enjoy its comfortable support for years to come.