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How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

Tyler Joseph (TJ) Thomas

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Most people sleep better in a clean environment. Clean sheets feel nice to lay on and can keep your skin clear, although keeping your mattress clean is just as important as maintaining your bedding. Removing stains and lifting debris from the mattress surface will prevent nose and throat irritations, improving sleep quality. Memory foam beds, in particular, need gentle handling in comparison to other types of mattresses (primarily because they’re virtually large sponges).

In this article, we’ll discuss the best ways to clean a memory foam mattress and explore other maintenance tips to keep your mattress in good condition.

How to Clean Your Memory Foam Mattress

When you clean your memory foam mattress, first check the care instructions for any tips on how to best care for your bed. If your mattress is missing its care tag, you can follow the simple steps below to safely clean your memory foam mattress. Remember, it’s important to handle the memory foam with care— harsh soaps and too much water can result in damage.

1. Take off the sheets

First, strip the bedding from your mattress, this includes sheets, pillows, blankets, pads, toppers, and protectors. You can take this opportunity to switch out dirty bedding for clean linens.

It helps to change your sheets once a week. Changing the sheets on a regular basis keeps your mattress cleaner longer and stops foreign debris from permeating the mattress.

Some memory foam mattresses come with removable covers. These covers are usually machine-washable, although we suggest checking the care instructions before throwing it in the washing machine.

If your mattress cover is machine washable, choosing to toss it in the washer saves you the trouble of spot cleaning.

2. Vacuum the Mattress

Your mattress can collect allergens, dust mites, dust, hair follicles, dead skin cells, and other debris on its surface; this is not only unhygienic but can be problematic for allergy sufferers as this debris can irritate the airways.

Vacuum your mattress regularly to clean off any loose dirt and debris. For the cleanest sleep, we recommend vacuuming the entire mattress surface every other time you change your sheets (or every two weeks). You can use a handheld vacuum cleaner or an upholstery attachment for this task, just make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies as dust and other debris will settle there.

If you don’t vacuum your memory foam mattress, the feel of your mattress may change. The allergens, dust, lint, and other debris will grind into the mattress, which can make the memory foam firmer over time.

We suggest vacuuming under your mattress every one in a while to keep the mattress from becoming slick on the bottom, preventing the bed from slipping off the foundation.

3. Spot Clean

There are different types of stains. Depending on the stain you’re trying to tackle, different cleaning solutions may be needed.

For tough stains, you can use a cleaning solution of one part white vinegar and three parts warm water. You’ll want to put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the solution directly on the stain. You should spray enough to get the mattress surface wet, but not so much that the solution soaks the mattress. Then, gently scrub the spot in a circular motion with a damp rag.

Once the stain is lifted, remove the soap mixture from the material by rubbing the stain with a clean wet towel.

For fresh stains, you can mix one part laundry detergent with two parts cold water. Make sure the detergent is mild and does not contain harsh chemicals, such as bleach. Put the solution in a spray bottle or bowl and lightly cover the top of the stain. After, use circular motions to scrub the spot with a clean sponge or rag.

After the stain is removed, take a clean, wet rag and wipe the spot to remove traces of the soapy solution.

For urine and bloodstains. Sometimes accidents happen. While preventing these types of stains from happening is best, things don’t always go according to plan. For urine or bloodstains, start by absorbing as much of the fluid as possible with paper towels.

Throw the paper towels away as they are saturated, and continue blotting until no other liquid is readily absorbing into the towels. Then, use a solution of white vinegar and baking soda to cover the area and let sit for 8 to 10 hours. After this mixture sets for hours, vacuum the baking soda until the spot is completely dry.

4. Dry Quickly

As we’ve said before, a memory foam mattress is like a giant sponge— it soaks up water fast and retains it, too. In order to avoid growing mold and mildew, dry the mattress immediately after spot cleaning.

Press a dry, clean cloth to the wet surface to soak as much of the moisture as possible. This will help the memory foam dry quicker.

Afterward, open a window or place a fan over the wet spots to accelerate the drying process. Do not use a hairdryer, as the heat will melt the memory foam and damage your mattress.

5. Deodorize and Vacuum again

Even if you keep the memory foam mattress surface clean, it can still soak up odors. Bedroom air can turn stale if the room doesn’t have any airflow, which can cause the bed to smell stale as well.

A mattress can also start to smell from constant use. Human beings sweat and shed dead skin cells during sleep; if your bed isn’t covered by a mattress protector, it can soak up that debris and start to stink.

To prevent odor or remove smells, you can move the mattress into direct sunlight, as sunlight is naturally deodorizing.

You can also sprinkle baking soda over the mattress’s surface and let it sit for two to three hours. The baking soda will soak up any odors and leave the mattress smelling fresh.

To remove the baking soda, use a brush attachment and vacuum up the baking soda. Make sure to vacuum thoroughly, as you’ll also want to lift any remaining debris.

Is Your Mattress Flippable?

Check to see if your mattress is flippable (this means your mattress has two sleeping surfaces instead of just one). If your mattress is flippable, you’ll want to occasionally flip it and sleep on its other side to increase longevity and prolong comfort.

However, if your mattress is not clearly labeled as flippable, it likely should not be flipped. Foam mattresses, for example, are often built with a solid core; if you were to flip one of these mattresses, you’d be left sleeping on the firm, uncomfortable base of the bed.

While most mattresses don’t need flipping, rotating your mattress can increase the bed’s lifespan, too. If you’re unsure how often your mattress needs flipping or rotating, look at your mattress’s care instructions. If the care instructions don’t mention rotating, we suggest sticking to the general guideline of once every 3 to 6 months.

Keeping Your Mattress Clean

You don’t want your mattress to become stained as it voids the warranty. The best way to make sure your mattress remains stain-free is by covering the mattress with a protector.

Mattress Pad

A mattress pad will protect against allergens and debris, but they’re better at protecting the mattress against liquid spills. This product also adds a thin layer of comfort for those looking to change the feel of their mattress.

Mattress Protector

Mattress protectors are very good at shielding a mattress from debris, allergens, bed bugs, and dust mites but are only moderate at guarding against moisture; however, there are waterproof mattress protectors available designed to shield your bed from liquids.

Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Take note, a memory foam topper is not a good way to protect your mattress— these mattress accessories are meant to add comfort to a bed. They only protect the top of your mattress from foreign debris, not the sides, and cannot shield the mattress against moisture.

Conclusion

Memory foam mattress cleaning needs to be done gently, and the material must be dried quickly to avoid damage. As long as you keep your new mattress maintained and covered with a mattress protector, the number of stains you’re scrubbing should be limited, and you will continue to get a good night’s sleep.

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