How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 9 minLast updated March 15, 2021

Here’s the deal:

Even the best memory foam mattress can’t last forever.

However, you may increase its lifespan by giving it a thorough clean once in a while. Additionally, I’m sure you can agree that it would feel much more pleasant to sleep on a fresh mattress.

So, let’s learn how to clean a memory foam mattress properly and keep it fresh longer. Let’s cut right to the chase!

Your Regular Cleaning Routine

Cleaning a memory foam mattress involves a few steps, and some of them may depend on the situation. Below, I suggest the methods that you could use for a usual clean every few months or so (I prefer to clean mine at the beginning of every new season).

A quick note before we begin: if your mattress is old and saggy, you might want to get rid of it and invest in a new one. After all, no matter how many times you clean an overly old mattress, it won’t be the same. But if you have picked among the top mattresses that don’t sag, giving it a thorough clean can make it feel like new.

So, are you ready to freshen up your memory foam mattress? Here are the steps you might want to follow.

Step 1: Take care of the cover

Now, you will need to remove the cover to give it a proper clean. However, keep in mind that some foam mattresses contain fiberglass, so removing the cover would not be an option (unless you want to release all that fiberglass into the room and say goodbye to all of your stuff). However, if you were lucky enough to buy one of the best memory foam mattresses without fiberglass, you can probably remove the cover if it has a handy zipper. Wash it separately (following the manufacturer’s recommendations).

Step 2: Get rid of dust and small debris

To clean a memory foam mattress properly, you should vacuum it first. Now, try not to be too vigorous and choose a low setting to avoid tearing the material. Make sure you go over the entire surface of the mattress, including corners and the sides. If you can, flip the mattress and vacuum the other side too. My experience shows that a handheld vacuum works the best in this case (and it’s more convenient), but a regular one will do as well. If you have a small brush attachment, it will help you be more thorough.

Step 3: Spot-clean your mattress

If you notice any stains, you will need to make a cleaning solution for them. Now, you have a couple of options:

  • Diluted dishwashing liquid. A few drops per cup of water should be enough. You can use a cloth or a soft sponge, damp it in the solution, and gently rub the stained spot until you get rid of the dirt.
  • Vinegar + water. This solution would work for stubborn stains. The vinegar to water ratio should be at least 1:2. For your convenience, you can transfer the solution into a spray bottle and thoroughly spray the stain. However, don’t make the mattress too wet. Next, you can blot the excess moisture using paper towels or a piece of clean cloth.
  • Hydrogen peroxide + water. Another strong solution for old and stubborn stains, the combo of hydrogen peroxide and water can discolor fabrics and foam, so you need to be careful with it. The recommended ratio is 1:4 (to dilute hydrogen peroxide and to protect the foam from potential damage). You can spray the mixture over the stain and rub it gently with a cloth if needed.
  • Mild laundry detergent. Mix it with water (a few drops per cup), dip a piece of cloth in the solution, and rub it gently onto the stain. This mixture can cause bubbles and soapy foam. Therefore, you might want to wipe the spot using a clean damp cloth afterward.

Step 4: Leave it to dry

Once you are done cleaning a memory foam mattress, make sure you give it enough time to dry completely. Memory foam is highly absorbent and takes longer to dry. If you start using your mattress while it’s still damp inside, it can lead to mold growth, and that’s now good news for your health (1). As an alternative (and for less patient users), you can check out some of the best mattresses without memory foam in the future. 

Now, the best way to let your memory foam mattress dry is by taking it outside and leaving it in the sun. Another option is placing it near the window in a well-ventilated room (however, make sure you avoid the draft yourself). You can also use a hairdryer or a fan to speed up the process. Make sure you set your hairdryer to a colder mode and don’t hold it too close to the mattress surface (5-6 inches should be enough).

How to Get Rid of Odors

The most common (and widely available) deodorizing solution you can use for your memory foam mattress is baking soda. All you have to do is sprinkle the surface (when it’s dry) with a generous amount of baking soda and leave it there for at least an hour. You can even leave it overnight for a better result. Then, vacuum the mattress and make sure you get all of the baking soda particles.

Now, some users are afraid to try this little trick because they think baking soda can damage their vacuum cleaner. But here’s the deal: just like any other type of extra-small debris, baking soda can clog the vacuum filter. But if the filter is removable, you can simply wash it and deal with the issue easily. Plus, you won’t vacuum baking soda too often (only once every few months), which means you can avoid any serious damage. 

If you are hesitant, however, you can use a store-bought deodorizing solution or spray. Make sure it’s safe for furniture and does not contain any harsh components that can ruin the memory foam.

How to Treat Fresh Stains and Spills on Your Memory Foam Mattress

If your memory foam mattress surprised you with some fresh stains, you need to act fast. Don’t worry though, the cleaning process isn’t that complicated. Here are the steps: 

  • Deal with the excess moisture. Try to absorb as much liquid as you can using paper towels or a cotton cloth. 
  • Prepare a cleaning solution. Water and dishwasher detergent should be enough, but if you are dealing with blood or pet urine, you might want to add a bit of vinegar to the mixture. Vinegar will aid the cleaning effect (needed to deal with blood stains) and may also act as an odor remover for urine.
  • Dab a piece of cloth in the solution and rub the stain gently. Make sure that the color of the stain is gone before you rinse the area with clean water (using a damp cloth or a sponge).
  • Blot the area using paper towels. Again, no one wants that excess moisture to accumulate inside your mattress.
  • Leave it to dry. If the odor remains even after the mattress dries, you can sprinkle it with baking soda, wait for around an hour, and vacuum the powder.

Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning a Memory Foam Mattress

Now, it may seem like you can never be too thorough when cleaning your memory foam mattress.

However, there are some cleaning methods that can be “too much”. 

Here are the main mistakes you may want to avoid when taking care of your mattress:

  • Using too much water. Sometimes we think that to get rid of a stubborn stain, we need to make it really damp. But if you soak your memory foam mattress with water, it may absorb too much liquid. This often leads to damage and excessive dampness (that creates a favorable environment for bacteria growth).
  • Steaming the foam. Again, steaming can lead to moisture accumulation inside the mattress. And we already know how that might end.
  • Using bleach (or other harsh detergents). By doing that, you can simply ruin the texture of the memory foam. As a result, your mattress might start feeling differently. Plus, it can affect its durability.

F.A.Q.

How often should I clean my memory foam mattress?

I would recommend vacuuming the mattress every time you change the sheets to get rid of the dust and dead skin cells. As for a more thorough clean, you should do it at least twice a year.

Should I rotate and flip the mattress after cleaning it?

Yes, if your mattress’s layers allow for it (flipping, that is). It will help you extend its lifespan.

Can I use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of stains on a memory foam mattress?

Yes, but make sure you dilute it with water.

Can I use shampoo to clean a memory foam mattress?

Yes, if you mix a few drops with water. However, a more common solution for mattress cleaning is dishwashing liquid or a fabric cleaner.

Conclusion

Sometimes, all your mattress needs to get a “new life” is a proper cleaning session.

And it doesn’t require that much effort on your part. You just need to prepare the cleaning solution and dedicate some time to the process. And to preserve your “work”, use a mattress protector. It will help keep dust and liquids away from the memory foam, thus increasing the lifespan of your mattress.

Have you already tried any of the previously mentioned solutions? And what kind of stains were you dealing with? Share your thoughts in the comments!

References:

  1. Krissy Howard (July 30, 2019). How to Kill Mildew on a Mattress. Retrieved from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/kill-mildew-mattress-28922.html

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