In case you haven’t noticed, sleeping is a dirty job. While dozing off, our bodies release various nasty fluids through the skin (e.g. sweat), or sometimes we just go to bed dirty.
All of this goes into the mattress, and after a while, it will need cleaning if you want it to remain pleasant to sleep on.
Memory foam mattresses and toppers are very popular these days, but you cannot wash them in the same way you would any old mattress. Since this material is so specific, you need to know a bit about its characteristics to be able to take care of it properly.
In today’s article, I’m going to show you how to clean a memory foam mattress topper in just a few simple steps. Also, I threw in some useful tips that’ll make your life and bed maintenance easier.
Preparation for cleaning
Now, before I jump into the cleaning process, I’d like to lay out all the things you need to have and consider before starting. You’ll require:
- Enough space to lay the topper down for washing and drying
- A couple of towels or cotton sloths
- Non-abrasive detergent for clothes washing (liquid is the way to go)
- Vinegar/detergent/baking soda
- Plain spray bottle
- Hair dryer
- Vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment for mattress cleaning
Partial or total cleaning?
Depending on how dirty the mattress topper is, there are two different cleaning processes - partial or spot cleaning and washing the entire thing. I’m going to describe both ways, starting with the former.
This is one is for the those who wish to remove the stain from a specific spot on the topper. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Vacuuming the surface
Take the topper off from the mattress and spread it across a clean and dry surface. An example of this would be a room lined with a plastic sheet.
Once you’ve placed the topper, vacuum clean it using the mattress-vacuuming extension. In this way, you will remove the dust or small debris that might have found its way to the topper.
For this step, you will need a mattress vacuum cleaner! Be sure to check out our mattress vacuum guide before you make a purchase.
2. Cleaning the stains
After vacuuming, it’s time to locate and remove those nasty stains and dirty spots. There are multiple cleaning agents that you can use, but I recommend either vinegar and detergent combo, or baking soda.
The first option is better if you’re looking to remove the odors as well as the stains, while the other one will only clean it.
Dilute the vinegar with a small amount of water. Apply the solution on the stain bit by bit and wipe with a cloth until you remove it.
When the spots are gone, it’s time to apply the detergent. Same as the vinegar, dilute it, although this time you might need more water. Take a dry cloth, soak it into the diluted detergent and spread over the area where the stain used to be.
You can also spray it with a spray bottle if you like. Now, let it sit for around half an hour as it takes time to do its job.
b) Baking soda
Mix water and baking soda in a 2:1 ratio and stir it around until they form a white solution. Apply the solution with a cloth and wipe until the spots are gone. Leave it to sit for about an hour. Here is a good video showing how it's done.
After the recommended time, fill the spray bottle with water and spray it on the surface covered with detergent/baking soda. After each spray, wipe off the water using a soft cloth as this will remove the cleaning agent foam from the area.
When there’s no more soapy layer forming, take an absorbent towel and tap the spot with it, to remove the excess moisture. When the cloth gets wet, take a dry one and repeat the same process.
After the cleaning is done, drying is up next. The slow way is to leave the mattress to lay in an airy room or direct a fan onto it.
A quicker method is to blow dry the wet spots using a hairdryer. If you opt for the latter, make sure not to bring the dryer too close to the surface of the topper because it might damage it.
In case that both faces of the mattress topper were stained, merely flip the topper and repeat these six steps on the other side.
Washing the entire mattress topper
When it comes to large and deep stains, such as those caused by urine, coffee, juice, or other liquid spillages, spot-cleaning won’t cut it, but you’ll have to wash the entire thing.
The reason for this is that the liquids have gotten soaked up by the memory foam so you have to clean it thoroughly.
Speaking of pee, those of you who have little kids that don’t sleep on a memory foam mattress need to know that removing urine stains from a normal mattress is a different process than the one presented in this article.
So, how do you do you clean an entire topper?
First, perform the first five steps from the previous section, from vacuuming to blotting, and then do the following:
As your topper is spread on an even and clean surface, wash it with cold water. As you do this, pay attention to whether all of the detergent has been rinsed away. If you see any soapy surfaces forming, wipe them off and rinse again.
Now that the topper is soaked roll it inwards while gently pressing to get rid of the extra water. Do not squeeze it too hard and definitely don’t tumble dry it as this will damage its structure and softness.
The best place to dry the topper is somewhere with a lot of airflow and hidden from direct sunlight. Also, fans and blow dryers can be utilized to speed up the process.
What not to do when cleaning a memory foam topper
In this section, I’m going to discuss some do’s and don’ts of memory foam topper washing. As I’ve mentioned before, memory foam is a specific material, and you cannot clean it the same way as other fabrics.
Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid:
Do not place the topper back on the mattress until you’re sure that it is completely dry. If there is even the slightest bit of moisture left, it will create perfect conditions for mold forming, which is very bad for your health.
Never leave the topper to dry under direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. Place it in the shade and make sure that there’s a lot of dry air flowing through there. In the late afternoon, when the heat dies down a bit, it’s ok to leave it open in the sun.
Do not use cheap and low-quality detergent to clean the stains as this might cause discoloration of the topper’s surface.
When blow-drying, keep the dryer on low and on a safe distance from the surface of the topper as high heat might damage it.
Machine washing, tumble drying, or squeezing are to be avoided at all cost. These actions will hurt the consistency of the memory foam and hurt its functionality.
Don’t wash it with hot water.
Prolonging the memory foam mattress topper’s life
Use a cover
A cover is one of the best things you can have to help preserve your favorite topper. Not only will it protect the memory foam from superficial staining and keep it clean, but it is also very easy to maintain and costs very little.
Nowadays, there are many different covers available, and I suggest you get a cotton one. Cotton feels great under the skin, and it’s much healthier than synthetic materials.
If your planning on getting one a cover, I wrote an in-depth guide on choosing the best encasement for you mattress
Flip the topper
Over time, memory foam tends to lose its firmness and thus its functionality, and it is a good idea to flip it every now and then. By doing this, the side that’s been taking all the pressure from the top will be able to “rest”, while the intact side will take its place.
Check the label
Make sure to always check the care label on the topper as it will provide you with some information on what to do and what not to do when washing this product.
Washing the mattress topper might not be a super easy task, but it is a necessary one. Just follow the steps I provided you with, and you’ll be able to keep your memory foam topper nice and clean, and proper maintenance will make it last for a long time.