How To Clean A Memory Foam Mattress

lauren hall 1
written by sleep expert Lauren Hall

How To Clean A Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses are a favorite among many, and for good reason. They’re known for being incredibly comfortable and providing endless amounts of support to sleepers by contouring to their bodies and relieving pressure. But do you know how to clean memory foam?

Cleaning your memory foam mattress regularly will make a world of difference to your quality of sleep. 

With that being said, the special material that memory foam is made from needs to be properly cared for and kept clean in order to prevent deterioration, especially to reduce the chance of mites getting into them and calling your mattress their own home.

In fact, 40.5% of memory foam mattresses without covers end up being infested, and 26.3% of foam mattresses without covers get dust mites in them too. This is why keeping a memory foam mattress clean is so important!

But no need to worry, I’m here to help!

To make things easier for you I have compiled some handy tips to keep your memory foam mattress in pristine condition and tips about maintaining and upkeeping your memory foam mattress at home. 

Here’s a tip: it’s important to bear in mind that memory foam mattresses are made from petroleum-based materials and will need to be cleaned differently from regular mattress materials.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s jump in!

Cleaning your Memory Foam Mattress through Vacuuming:

The simplest way to clean your memory foam mattress is with a vacuum, and it’s one of the quickest and easiest, too. This is a great method for the general maintenance of your mattress.

Daily vacuuming can actually reduce dust mites, endotoxins, and fungi growth in a mattress by between 70-85%!

Simply remove all bedding, including the mattress cover, and gently run the vacuum cleaner over your memory foam. The upholstery attachment is the best option for this job. Make sure to turn over each side of the foam layers in your mattress and clean it thoroughly.

It may be a good idea to give your mattress cover or topper a wash at the same time – just read the washing instructions you’re good to go.

Key places to focus on when vacuuming your memory foam mattress are:

  • Buttons and crevices underneath them will need thorough vacuuming, maybe with a handheld vacuum, as well as all the nooks and crannies as this is where all the dust, hair, dirt, and dead skin cells will build up.
  • Don’t just do the top, remember to do the sides. Also, I would recommend every 6 months to do underneath your mattress by flipping it over.
  • If you have a pet that sheds hair then I would recommend using an animal hair hoover as this will help pick up all dandruff and hair that may get caught within your mattress.
  • If your memory foam mattress is ventilated with holes then make sure you spend time on these parts too as they will start to collect dust, dead skin cells, and much more.
  • To make things easier I would recommend getting the hoover out every time you go to wash your sheets. When you get into bed after hoovering your memory foam mattress AND washing your sheets you will feel as fresh as a daisy when you wake up the next morning.

Removing dried stains:

A common error that memory foam mattress owners do is using commercial cleaners – often containing bleach or other harsh chemicals – to get rid of any stains on their beds. But the ingredients contained within those products can often do more harm than good to your memory foam.

Use Detergent and Water:

The best way to safely and properly get stains off of a memory foam mattress is with a mild detergent, diluted with warm water until the mixture is mostly bubbles.

Mix one part detergent with two parts water and shake in a spray bottle until the mixture is mainly just bubbles and then lightly spray on the mattress.

You can use dishwashing liquid for this purpose. To rub the stain off, use a clean sponge and rub in a circular motion, working your way from the outer ring of the stain inwards. Be careful – do not use any actual cleaning solution, bubbles only!

Once the stain has been removed then repeat the circular motion with a damp rag to remove the cleaning solution. Then grab yourself a dry rag and dab to soak up any excess water on your memory foam mattress.

Once you first notice the stain act quickly, especially if it’s a red wine spill (we’ve all been there). But if you’ve only noticed it when cleaning your sheets then a bit of elbow grease will be sure to do the trick.

Things not to use when cleaning dried stains:

When you clean a memory foam mattress it is crucial not to use harsh chemicals such as bleach as this will damage the foam materials.  Use a homemade cleaning solution instead, such as the ones above.

However, using too much cleaning solution can damage the integrity of the materials. Memory foam mattresses soak up moisture like any other sponge would and tend to dry slowly. You don’t want it to become too soaked as this may develop mildew or mold as a result of it taking forever to dry.

No one wants that for their mattress.

Remember to rub in circular motions when cleaning a memory foam mattress, rubbing too hard may cause the mattress to absorb the cleaning solution into the bed and end up damaging the memory foam.

Don’t soak the entire mattress while cleaning. Instead,  spot clean the areas that have been stained and vacuum the mattress as a whole to pick up any excess dust mites.

In the drying process of cleaning a memory foam mattress, it is important to use a clean, dry rag and dab it in the wet spot to soak up any excess water and then leave it under a fan or in direct sunlight until completely dry then place a clean sheet on top.

How to remove tough stains:

When it comes to cleaning tough stains off your memory foam mattress it is important to use the right cleaning solution and a bit of elbow grease and it will have even the toughest of stains out in no time.

Use White Vinegar and Water: 

Don’t have a detergent you can use? You can replace the solution with a mixture of vinegar and warm water and use it in a spray bottle. Use 1 part vinegar and 3 parts warm water to help remove tougher stains. 

You can also use hydrogen peroxide if you dislike the smell but this may discolor and potentially damage the mattress fabric and you won’t be able to replace your mattress through the warranty. So I would recommend sticking with the vinegar solution. 

This vinegar solution works wonders for removing stains, and it can also get rid of any nasty smells that came with the mishap. Work quickly by giving the stained area a light spray and then scrubbing at it with a cloth or a clean rag.

Exercise restraint in your cleaning process. Memory foam does not do well with copious amounts of water, so the less you use the better.

Be gentle in your efforts, as being too rough could end up getting the stains more embedded in the foam, or you could just end up getting too much liquid on the mattress and winding up with a bad case of mildew.

If needed, you can also purchase an enzymatic cleaner, but be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. In a pinch, you can also use baking soda by directly sprinkling soda on the stain, leaving it overnight, and cleaning it with a vacuum in the morning.

How to Clean Spills off your Memory Foam Mattress

If you’ve just spilled a lot of liquid onto your mattress, you’ll have to get it dry as soon as possible.

If the mattress is not too difficult to move and it is sunny out, bring it out to dry under the sun, then address stains with the methods we’ve covered in the Stain Removal section.

If you can’t move the mattress outside, use clean and absorbent towels or rags, spot cleaning the spill. Gently press down on the spot and rotate the cloth around so you always have a dry area to use. Do not try to roughly scrub the spill off; this can just cause the stain to set.

If possible, place an electric fan in front of the mattress and set it on as high as you can in the direction of the spill. Leave the mattress to dry for a few hours and be sure not to cover it with bedding or toppers until it is completely dry.

If the mattress still feels damp after all this effort, use a hairdryer on a cool setting to dry up any remaining wetness. Do not use a high or hot setting as this can damage the foam badly.

Use baking soda to clean liquid stains:

Accidents happen no matter what age you are, from spilling wine of an evening to spilling a good cup of joe over your freshly cleaned mattress, we all know the frustration: 

But firstly, don’t panic and breathe, it is easily fixable. Use paper towels to absorb as much of the liquid as possible and until the paper towel is no longer absorbing any moisture. 

Lightly spray the area with white vinegar in a spray bottle and blot again with paper towels until the liquid has been completely absorbed. Then sprinkle the affected area with baking soda and leave it to sit for 8-10 hours. 

Baking soda works wonders for absorbing the moisture and odor on the memory foam. Make sure the room is well ventilated, is in direct sunlight, and/or has a fan next to the bed. 

After 8-10 hours is up vacuum up all the baking soda, and allow for the spot to dry completely before putting on clean sheets.

If you find that the mattress has a bit of an odor too, drag your bed into direct sunlight and sprinkle some more baking soda and leave for a little longer, this will deodorize the bed. 

How to remove odor from your mattress: 

The simplest way to kill extra odors is to bring your mattress out on a sunny day and allow the heat and wind to kill bacteria and give the mattress a good deodorizing treatment.

If you cannot bring the mattress out or if there are more stubborn smells, get yourself a lot of baking soda and sprinkle a very thin layer over the entirety of the mattress’s surface, then leave it on overnight or throughout the whole day. Vacuum up the powder when it’s done.

You can also use a citrus cleaner, but this takes a little extra effort to make. With that being said, a homemade citrus cleaner can be useful to have around the house.

Place orange or lemon peels in an airtight container, pour white vinegar into the container, close it, and leave it be for about two weeks. Remove the peels and transfer the remaining liquid into a spray bottle.

You can use this solution to very lightly spray your memory foam mattress to give it a fresh smell and remove odors, but remember not to use too much of it! Allow the mattress to dry completely before putting on bedding.

How to maintain your memory foam mattress

After you clean your memory foam mattress, maintenance is the next crucial step. Here are my top tips:

Make sure you support your memory foam mattress with a solid foundation: Memory foam requires more support than an innerspring mattress and can disintegrate if too much pressure is placed in one area. With your bed frame, I would recommend getting slats no more than 3 inches apart to support your mattress.

– Rotate your mattress every 4-6 months: If you find yourself sleeping in one position every night, I would recommend rotating your mattress; this will evenly distribute the weight and will prevent wear and tear in certain spots. 

– Keep your mattress in direct sunlight: this will help deodorize your memory foam and keep your mattress fresh.

Wash your bedding every week, especially if you sweat a lot when you sleep. This will keep your mattress surface clean. 

– Invest in a mattress topper: this will help to protect and prolong the life of your mattress. A mattress topper will also protect any stains and spills from seeping through the sheet to your mattress. It also allows for a protective barrier between you and your mattress. 

Summary:

Believe it or not, we actually spend a third of our lives sleeping, and it is crucial to keep our mattresses clean so we feel refreshed and energized whenever we wake up in the morning.

Mattresses are prone to collecting dust and grime, and not cleaning them can lead to bacteria and dust build-up, which not only causes the mattress to deteriorate quicker but it also causes allergies, colds, and much more.

By regularly vacuuming and spot cleaning your bed will make a massive difference to your mattress as well as your health. It will provide you with the restful night’s sleep we all deserve, so you wake up feeling refreshed rather than grotty and dirty.

Cleaning your mattress once every week or two, plus a deep clean every 4-6 months will make a world of difference. 

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