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How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Malena Piper

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Have you cleaned your memory foam mattress topper recently? If you’re like most people, you haven’t even considered it. However, what you might not know is that without regular cleaning, bacteria, allergens, and dust mites will build up within your bed. An accumulation of dirt and dust impacts air quality and leaves your bedroom smelling stale. The good news is, there’s an easy remedy.

To extend the life of your memory foam mattress topper and keep your bed clean, we recommend giving your topper a quick wash every couple of months. Keep in mind, you will need to set aside a full day to completely clean and dry your mattress topper. In this article, we talk about how to clean a memory foam mattress topper so your bed feels fresh and new again.

Gather Your Cleaning Materials

To start, collect your cleaning materials. First, gather the basics like a vacuum and spray bottle, and then choose a spot remover if your mattress topper has any set-in stains. Once you have everything you need, you’re ready to take off your bedding and remove the mattress topper.

Basics

  • Vacuum: A vacuum helps clear away any dirt and debris that build up on your mattress topper. A vacuum is also necessary when using baking soda, which will suck up any remaining baking soda debris left after using it to spot clean or deodorize your bed.
  • Spray bottle: To gently clean your mattress topper and remove any remaining product after spot removal, use a spray bottle filled with water. Put your spray bottle on the mister setting to avoid soaking the mattress since this can cause damage.
  • Water: Use lukewarm, clean water to clean your mattress topper. Never use hot water, as this will cause structural damage to the heat-sensitive fibers.
  • Tarp or Towels: If you have hardwood or carpeting, we suggest putting something down to protect your floor while you clean your mattress topper. While this barrier mostly serves to prevent damage to your floor, it also shields your topper from any dirt it might pick up when laying directly on the ground.

Spot Removers

To thoroughly clean memory foam, choose the spot removal option that best fits your needs. Spot removers are necessary to remove any blemishes or stains that have accumulated on your mattress topper. We recommend checking both sides of your mattress topper for any additional stains. To reduce any lingering unpleasant scents, baking soda is a useful option because it absorbs odors. Below, we discuss our go-to spot removers.

  • Baking soda: Baking soda is an effective multi-purpose stain remover and odor reducer. It is excellent for cleaning memory foam because baking soda draws stains and odors to the surface and out of your mattress topper. Baking soda is especially useful for larger, overall stains.
  • White vinegar: White vinegar mixed with water is another common-household product that works wonderfully as a stain remover. Because of its acidity, vinegar is able to break down stains without damaging your topper. Vinegar will work best for spot cleaning smaller stains.
  • Enzyme-based cleaner: For difficult stains, you may need to use an enzyme-based cleaner. Enzyme-based cleaners contain “good bacteria” which multiply and consume any waste molecules. They are extremely efficient at removing difficult stains.
  • Gentle detergent: If you don’t have an enzyme cleaner on hand, use gentle detergent mixed with water to create your own. Enzyme-based and gentle-detergent cleaners are best for set-in stains because instead of simply drawing out the stain, they eradicate it. The quality of your detergent is important; a higher-quality cleaning product will give you a better final result.

Take the Mattress Topper off Your Mattress

Remove the memory foam mattress topper from the bed and lay it on a flat, dry area. You may set it outside, but do not leave the mattress topper in direct sunlight, as this will damage the material. The mattress topper will need to dry for a full day, so ensure it is in an area where the topper can be left for a longer period.

If setting your mattress topper on hardwood or carpet floors, first lay down a tarp or towel on the floor. This will protect both the floor and the topper while you are removing stains.

Vacuum the Surface of the Mattress Topper

To clear away debris, vacuum both the top and sides of the mattress topper. We also suggest flipping the mattress topper over and vacuuming the underneath side to get any extra debris. This is also a good time to check for stains that may be hiding on the other side of your mattress topper.

Vacuuming is an important step to remove dust and allergens. It will both improve air quality in your bedroom and help prevent indoor allergies. Vacuuming will also assist with any lingering odors, which may further be resolved with the help of baking soda. More information on how to use baking soda to reduce odors is below.

Remove Any Stains

Using one of the spot removers listed above, remove any stains from the mattress topper. Explanations of how to use each stain remover are listed below in the Spot Removal Options section.

Use baking soda to remove any odor. To do this, sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress topper, let sit for at least a few hours up to a day, then vacuum away the remaining debris. Tip: stains are easier to remove the faster you act. For new stains, use one of the spot cleaners listed above as soon as possible so that the stain doesn’t set into the topper.

Spot Clean the Mattress Topper’s Surface

To remove any cleaners used to get rid of spots and odors, use water and a spray bottle to spot clean. Simply spray water over any areas from which you removed stains, then dab with a clean, dry cloth.

Do not wring or squeeze the mattress topper to remove any remaining liquid, as this will damage it. Be careful to not over-spray with water, as soaking the material may mean your mattress topper loses its shape.

Thoroughly Dry the Topper

To ensure your topper is ready to be put back onto your mattress, let it air dry for at least a full day after cleaning. We recommend cleaning during the morning, then letting the mattress topper sit overnight to dry. Make sure it is completely dry before returning it to the bed, as mold and mildew may form if the mattress topper is still damp.

To dry your air mattress faster, you may also use a hairdryer. To do this, place the heat setting on “low”, and hold the hairdryer 4 to 6 inches away from the mattress topper. If you don’t have a hairdryer, another option is to use a fan on the “high” setting facing the mattress topper, however, this method will take longer.

Spot Removal Options

The list below contains information on what spot removal options are available. Baking soda is the best option overall as it tackles tough stains and helps eliminate unpleasant odors. White vinegar is another good option for stain removal, however, it is not very effective at getting rid of odors. Other options include making your own spot cleaner by mixing a gentle detergent with water or using an enzyme-based cleaner for more difficult stains.

Baking Soda

Baking soda draws stains out of fabric by trapping dirt (as well as the odors) in the solution, allowing it to be washed away afterward. Baking soda is a common household item, easily found in grocery stores. Its convenience and effectiveness make baking soda our leading choice for dealing with all but the most challenging stains. Follow the steps below for instructions on how to use baking soda as a stain and odor remover.

Mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts water. Apply the mixture to any stains and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. Use a clean damp cloth to remove any remaining remnants of the mixture.

Alternatively, for large overall stains and odor, sprinkle baking soda over the entire memory foam mattress topper and leave for at least a couple of hours, up to a day.

Vacuum to clear away any remaining debris.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a widely-used cleaning agent that relies on its acidic properties to dissolve dirt and stains, making them easier to wash away. Because it isn’t extremely acidic, white vinegar can be used on mattress toppers without serious risk of damaging the fabric or memory foam. In very high concentrations, vinegar can damage delicate fabrics. Be careful to stick to the ratio listed below to ensure proper balance in the solution.

Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water, then use a spray bottle to apply the mixture to the stain. Be careful not to soak the stain, which will cause water damage.

Allow the topper to sit for at least 30 minutes, then dab it with a clean, damp cloth to remove any of the remaining mixture.

Enzyme-based Cleaner

Enzyme-based cleaners make light work of difficult stains by using “good bacteria” which remove stains without damaging your topper. They consume the molecules stains are made up of to completely eliminate them. If you do not have an enzyme-based cleaner readily available, another option is to make your own at-home mixture using gentle laundry detergent and water. Below are instructions on using these cleaners and how to make your own.

To make your own cleaning mixture, mix 1 part gentle detergent with 2 parts water and put the mixture inside an empty spray bottle. Use a good-quality detergent for a thorough clean.

Fill a spray bottle with an enzyme-based cleaner or your own homemade mixture and gently apply it to the stain. Do not over apply the mixture, which will soak the stain and can cause structural damage to the mattress topper. Allow the solution to sit for at least 30 minutes, then dab it with a clean damp cloth to remove any excess solution.

How to Maintain a Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Maintaining your mattress topper is important to prevent wear and tear. It will also mean you don’t have to deep clean your mattress topper as often. By vacuuming thoroughly and acquiring a mattress cover, you will save yourself both time and energy.

Vacuum the Topper

The simplest way to maintain the life of your mattress topper is to vacuum its surface regularly. We suggest vacuuming every time you clean your sheets—so once every week or two. Both cleaning your sheets and vacuuming regularly will keep dirt and debris from settling into the topper’s surface.

Get A Mattress Cover

The best method for extending your mattress topper’s life is to simply purchase a cover that will fit both it and your mattress at the same time. You can also purchase a separate cover for your mattress topper. A cover will protect your mattress topper from dust and debris, which will mean you don’t have to vacuum as frequently. Mattress covers are relatively inexpensive, and unlike your mattress topper, you can throw them in the washing machine.

What Not To Do

While easy to make, the mistakes listed below can cause irreversible damage to your mattress topper. Memory foam mattresses are made from a different material than many other mattresses, such as innerspring mattresses. Because of memory foam’s sponge-like material, it requires special care. Knowing these tricks will make it easier to take care of your mattress topper.

Machine Wash and Dry Your Mattress Topper

Putting your memory foam mattress topper through a washing machine cycle will cause permanent structural and heat damage. While some mattress toppers may be machine washed, memory foam cannot due to its spongy material. To avoid this, follow the steps above to hand-dry and clean your mattress topper in the safest, most effective way possible.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide

While hydrogen peroxide may be useful for removing set-in stains in other materials, we do not recommend it for memory foam. Hydrogen peroxide can cause permanent discoloration to the surface and may even destroy the texture of the foam underneath. For difficult stains, we recommend using an enzyme-based cleaner, which will work more effectively than baking soda or white vinegar and will be safer for your mattress topper than hydrogen peroxide.

Leave In Direct Sunlight or Heat

Because memory foam is a heat-sensitive material, leaving your mattress topper in direct sunlight or heat will also cause damage. While it may be okay to leave your mattress topper in the sun during the early morning or late afternoon, you should never leave your mattress topper in the sun during the hottest part of the day. The best method, if placing your mattress topper outside, is to leave it in a dry shaded area—ideally somewhere with a breeze. This will help your mattress topper retain its shape by keeping the topper cool.

Use Hot Water To Clean

Similar to leaving your mattress topper in direct sunlight, do not use hot water to clean it. Using hot water can weaken memory foam’s structural integrity. Instead, use cool or lukewarm water in a spray bottle. Be careful not to overspray and soak the mattress topper, as this can take longer to dry and runs the risk of creating an environment that can foster bacteria and mildew growth.

Skimp On the Drying Time

Returning the mattress topper to the bed too soon could result in mold or mildew caused by trapping damp material. If air drying, leave your mattress topper out for a full day. If using a hairdryer on the “low” setting or a fan, your drying time will be reduced.

FAQs

What is a memory foam mattress topper?

Mattress toppers are a way to change the feel of your mattress, as well as provide it with extra firmness. Mattress toppers can also help reduce wear over time. Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, is made to mold to a shape while providing essential support. This means that memory foam mattress toppers are excellent at supporting weight while retaining form.

Why is my memory foam mattress topper yellow?

Everything must grow old, and this is true of your mattress topper as well. While it may seem worrying, memory foam turning yellow is normal. Yellowing is a process caused by a mix of oxidation from exposure to air and fabric contamination from regular use. A mattress cover will help slow the oxidation process to prevent yellowing, and you may use one of the stain removers listed above to further reduce discoloration.

How often should I clean my memory foam mattress topper?

You should vacuum your mattress topper every time you wash your sheets—at least once every 1 to 2 weeks. Because of the debris that builds up from normal use, regular vacuuming is necessary. Apart from this regular upkeep, make time to deep clean your mattress and mattress topper at least once or twice a year to remove odors and stains.

How long will it take to clean a memory foam mattress topper?

It takes approximately 24 hours to clean a memory foam mattress topper; however, most of this is drying time. That said, if you plan on letting your mattress topper sit with baking soda overnight (to freshen the topper and remove set-in stains), you may need two days to completely clean and dry it.

How often should I replace my memory foam mattress topper?

Your memory foam mattress topper should be replaced approximately every 2-4 years with normal use. Otherwise, it will begin to lose shape and feel odd on your bed.

Regular maintenance through vacuuming and semi-annual deep cleaning will increase the lifespan of your mattress topper by keeping debris and stains from setting in. Take care of your memory foam mattress topper, and it will take care of you.

Conclusion

It is essential, through regular cleaning, to prolong the life of your memory foam mattress topper and ensure proper health. Your mattress topper will retain its structure for longer, and mold and mildew will have fewer opportunities to grow. Cleaning a mattress topper is easier than it first appears; with some time and basic household products, your mattress topper will be fresh and clean again soon.

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