Millions of mattresses are swarming with mould, bacteria and dust, it was revealed last month.
Foam mattresses can provide the best breeding ground for bacteria, and could lead to infections, and trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
But, a new mattress made from plastic noodles could help to reduce the risk, and has been hailed as “life-saving” by an expert.
It’s believed to be the first mattress that can be easily washed in the shower, which could kill most harmful bacteria, according to the manufacturer, Squirrel Medical.
Squirrel Medical’s Technical Director said: “I think that this is the first time in 70,000 years that mankind can simply wash a mattress down. It’s a simple concept and should be of tremendous benefit for those with dust mite allergies and respiratory illnesses.
“This is more than adequate for killing most pathogens, dust mites and removing dust.”
Foam mattresses can absorb up to 46 per cent more moisture than any other type of mattress, according to bed maker Harrison Spinks.
The moisture makes them a perfect place for bacteria to grow and breed.
Bacteria that reside in mattresses include Staphylococci, Enterococci, and even the deadly MRSA superbug.
Infections form these bacteria can lead to painful lumps on the skin, cellulitis, collections of pus under the skin, pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
The new mattress – appropriately named Noodles – could be used in hospitals and care homes to lower the risk of spreading infections.
It could also be used domestically to improve hygiene, and to reduce dust and dust mites.
“This mattress is very clever,” said health policy analyst, Roy Lilley.
“It looks a bit like dried Japanese rice noodles, and is a really neat, innovative piece of technology.
“There’s a big demand – in hospitals especially – for a mattress that’s easily cleaned, and less likely to harbour infections.
“It’s not a stretch to say it could save lives.”
The mattress was launched in the UK on November 18.
About 300,000 people in England acquire healthcare-associated infections each year.
That includes around 9,000 deaths every year from both MRSA, and the deadly superbug Clostridium difficile (C. diff).
The NHS spends about £1billion a year on treating these infections, according to Squirrel Medical.
A 10-year old mattress could hold more than 10lb in dead skin, it was estimated.