Are your mattresses hygienically clean, or just physically clean? Our complete guide to mattress decontamination.

At a time when infection control and prevention is paramount in care homes, how do you ensure that your mattresses are hygienically clean as well as physically clean?

Regulation 12 of CQC KLOE’s – safe care and treatment outlines that Providers must make sure that equipment being used is safe and that includes prevention of and controlling the spread of infection.

Close contact between residents and mattresses means that transmission of microorganisms between residents and mattresses and vice versa is facilitated. Bed components such as bed frames, mattresses and side rails may become contaminated with micro-organisms through direct contact with the skin scales and body fluids, thereby becoming the source of infections and or cross infection.

Poor maintenance of foam mattresses and their covers may lead to staining of the foam or inner surfaces of the mattress covers. Recent research highlights that different types of trauma to mattress covers can result in damage which is not visible to the naked eye, but can allow fluid to enter the mattress.

During the current epidemic, infection control is paramount, and although wiping down of a mattress can give the illusion of physical cleanliness, it does not guarantee that the risk of infection is eliminated.

When wiping a mattress over for a general clean think about the zips, the whole top cover including the covers over the zips, under edges of mattresses where a build-up of contaminate is at most risk, bases of the mattresses and if the cover is damaged the interior foam/cells might be contaminated.

We have a FREE Complete Mattress Decontamination Guide available when you subscribe to our weekly news bulletins. Email us at to receive your free copy today.

What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of mattresses?

There is more than one correct method for decontaminating mattresses. The recommended method varies depending on the perceived infection risk and prevention protocols.

Here are the key differences between each method:

  • Cleaning physically removes dirt, germs and bacteria from the surface of the mattress using detergents. You should use a disposable cleaning wipe, or a clean cloth dampened with warm water (at least 40 °C) and detergent.
  • Disinfection uses chemicals to kill bacteria on the mattress. You should use a disinfectant, such as a mild chlorine solution, on a disposable cloth. Then wait, don’t wipe the mattress dry immediately, leave at least 5 minutes so the disinfectant has enough contact time to kill the bacteria. A hot washing machine cycle is also an option for disinfecting mattress covers.
  • Sterilisation uses heat or chemicals to kill all microbes on the mattress. This means that sterilisation eliminates harmless microbes as well as harmful ones, ensuring anything which disinfection may have missed will also be destroyed.

Here’s how to clean your mattress according to risk level…

Infection Risk – Low

When the mattress has not been in contact with a patient or has only been in contact with healthy skin.

Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning

Infection Risk – Medium

When the mattress has been in contact with mucous membranes; is at risk of contamination with virulent or readily transmissible organisms; has been in contact with blood or bodily fluids; or is going to be used for someone with a compromised immune system.

Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning followed by disinfection

Infection Risk – High

When the mattress has been in close contact with broken skin or broken mucous membranes or is going to be used in a sterile area.

Decontamination Recommended: Cleaning followed by sterilisation

It is recommended, as part of the PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) that all mattresses undergo a decontamination process at least once a year or more if needed in order for your organisation to remain compliant.

With our mattress decontamination service, you can rest assured that your residents’ mattresses are just as clean as their sheets.

Hcsuk offer a full certificated decontamination, diagnostic and repair service on a wide range of static, hybrid, dynamic alternating pressure, bariatric and turning mattresses as well as air/foam cushion seating supports and cot bumpers.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency recommends that mattresses have their covers removed and are inspected inside to check the surface and the mattress core for staining or contamination.

With our Mattress Decontamination Service we can take care of it all for you, ensuring the mattress is cleaned to MHRA standards – we will even arrange your collection and redelivery*. Your residents can sleep snug-as-a-bug in a clean, safe bed.

To book your mattress decontamination now, contact Lee at

This essential service:

  • Meets PUWER regulations – from the HSE
  • Meets DoH95 (18) – regulations
  • Immersion process formulated to kill HCAIs (Healthcare Associated Infections)
  • Demonstrates you are operating a ‘Safe’ service to CQC, under Regulation 12.

The decontamination facility we use has been built with infection control in mind throughout, including separate “contaminated” and “decontaminated” areas. Both areas have their own entries and exits to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Staff at all times adhere to strict hygiene policy, and colour coded gloves/aprons are used in each of the areas.

The facilities have been viewed and approved by NHS/PCT trusts and our service offers a swift turn-around, usually 7-10 days.

What is the decontamination process used?

The top/base cover of each mattress is removed and laundered to DoH specification using only non-biological detergents.

The inners (cells) of the mattress are then transferred into our immersion tank which is filled with a biocidal solution that is proven to kill HCAI’s (healthcare associated infections) includingMRSA, C-Diff, Ecoli, Salmonella. It also has a pleasant fragrance which removes unpleasant odours. The chemical actually kills on impact but the whole tank process takes around 20-30 minutes to ensure that every mattress gets an intensive decontaminatio

In addition to cleaning your mattress, it will also go through a diagnostic health check as part of our service and we can provide quotes and recommendations for any repairs to ensure you get the most life out of your mattresses too. No work is carried out until you have agreed to quotes for any work required.

Want more? What about a loan mattress?

For £40 we will loan you a mattress to use whilst yours is being cleaned! So you can be sure you have the equipment in place for your residents as all times.

All equipment has a complete audit trail, once cleaned and quality checked, all systems are certificated with a decontamination certificate as evidence that the equipment has completed our decontamination procedure.

Book your mattress decontamination by contacting Lee at:

Don’t forget your FREE Complete Mattress Decontamination Guide by subscribing to Hcsuk weekly news bulletins. To subscribe, email us at to request your copy.

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Saying hello to Jan, newest member of our Hcsuk family

We are delighted to announce that Jan Kelly joined the business and has a wealth of experience working In the care sector, having worked for Medequip, Essential Healthcare and Wallace Cameron.

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Customer Testimonials

“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Hcsuk over many years, having used them to source, install and service our medical training equipment. We have always found the team very professional, helpful, and well-organised. We’d like to give a particular shout out to Phil, the technician / engineer who has been the consistent friendly face visiting our business to inspect and test our mobility hoists every 6 months. Thank you for all your support and advice.”

P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Savills Estate Agents

We would just like to pass on our thanks for all of your help with our orders and would be pleased if you would also pass on our thanks to the manufacturers for being so accommodating in meeting our requirements. We have found everyone very helpful.

Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

It is brilliant that we are able to ring Health Care Services and that you will go the extra mile to get us the stock we need as soon as possible.

Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistently good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

Thanks to Jo for going over and above to get us our items in time for our special event at Buddleia House – it was very much appreciated. A massive thankyou for your continued assistance as a supplier to ourselves.

Buddleia House

We have always received excellent services from everyone at HCS at our 2 care homes, especially Lee, Jo and Phil. Always professional with a quick response time. Nothing ever seems too much trouble. Recently I had to use them personally for equipment to enable my mothers discharge from hospital. I had a response within the hour for prices and delivery came straight from the manufacturer to speed up delivery. Phil arrived at the same time to put the equipment together for us! I can’t thank them enough for putting our minds at ease and for the continued support from a personal and professional perspective. I’d recommend them to anyone requiring care equipment and its nice to support local businesses. Especially when they do such a good job!!

Orla House

I contacted HCSUK trying to find a hoist that could be operated unaided by the client. I had become very disheartened, no-one was really helpful until I spoke to Donna at HCSUK.

Donna was incredibly understanding, her professionalism raised my spirits again. Everything Donna said she would do she did, including arranging for me to speak to Andrew the salesman who like Donna was incredibly helpful, happy to bring two machines to demonstrate.

I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are good people.

Penelope C

I spoke to Lee Atterbury 2 weeks ago, when I was despairing about the prospect of finding any equipment to help my husband in the bathroom. I had tried all the popular brands, but none were right for his needs.

When I spoke to Lee he understood what I was saying and set about trying to find what we need. He was so patient and understanding and gave me the confidence to explore outside the box.

I spoke to Lee today and was able to tell him that we, hopefully, have found the solution. I am sorry that it was not a product you sell, though you may in the future, but will certainly look first to HCS for other products.

Thank you so much to Lee for first class customer service.

Christine G, Sheffield

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.


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