It is possible to clean a memory foam mattress safely, and doing so can help prolong its lifespan. Keeping a mattress clean is important for hygiene and health.
Memory foam mattresses are an investment that can last for years with proper care. People should clean stains when they occur to prevent them from becoming permanent.
Cleaning a mattress is possible using everyday household ingredients, such as white vinegar, baking soda, and dishwashing soap. These products are good options for people who wish to avoid harsh or harmful chemicals.
A person should make cleaning their mattress a regular habit to help prevent stains and the buildup of debris in their bed.
When cleaning any mattress, including memory foam mattresses, it is important to use as little water as possible. Using too much water can prevent the fabric from drying properly and cause mold or mildew to grow on it.
A person can clean a mattress properly by:
- cleaning the entire surface using a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to remove all loose material and debris
- making a cleaning solution — using two parts warm water and one part fabric cleaner, dishwashing soap, or another gentle cleanser — and pouring the solution into a spray bottle
- spraying a small amount of the cleaning solution onto the stain or soiled area, being careful not to saturate the mattress, and then patting it with a clean rag or paper towel
- using a hairdryer at a low setting to blow dry the mattress (this may take several minutes) or using a fan to apply constant air movement for several hours
For stains that are stubborn or may have an odor, a person can try using a mixture comprising three-quarters of a cup of water and one-quarter of a cup of white vinegar. Sprinkling baking soda onto an odor-causing stain, such as urine or a milk-based product, may help remove the smell.
A person should aim to clean their mattress whenever they change their sheets or as necessary.
A person should avoid certain cleaning methods so that they do not damage their mattress. These methods include:
Steam is useful as a cleaner and disinfectant. It works well on floors or other hard surfaces with stubborn stains, but it is not as good for cleaning mattresses.
If a person steams their mattress, the water in the steam will cling to the mattress, potentially soaking it and causing damage or lasting dampness that could take several days to dry out. This moisture could lead to mold or mildew forming.
Submerging in water
A person should avoid placing their mattress or any part of their mattress in water. The mattress can easily absorb the water and become waterlogged, which can cause damage and dampness.
Harsh detergents and cleaners
A person should not use bleach or any other harsh cleaners on their mattress. These can cause further staining or potentially damage the foam in the mattress.
Instead of cleaning a mattress, a person can look into purchasing a waterproof or resistant mattress cover.
Learn about waterproof mattress covers here.
A mattress cover may help prevent dust mite infestations and stains. It is not a guaranteed preventive method, but it may offer peace of mind about the cleanliness of the mattress that it covers. It is also an affordable alternative to replacing a mattress.
What to do if cleaning does not work can depend on the stain and the person’s preferences.
For a foul-smelling mattress that is unpleasant to sleep on, a person could try using one of these methods to help deodorize their mattress:
- spraying on a solution of equal parts water and vinegar until the surface is damp but not soaking and then allowing it to air dry
- adding cornstarch and a few drops of water, letting it sit for 5 minutes, and then vacuuming it, or adding baking soda (a natural odor neutralizer) to the cornstarch to help deodorize while cleaning the stain
- sprinkling a layer of baking soda on top, leaving it for 30 minutes to 24 hours, and then vacuuming the powder
- using the vinegar solution and then applying baking soda
- infusing baking soda with 10–15 drops of essential oil, allowing it to rest for 30 minutes to 24 hours, and then vacuuming it
If an odor or stain persists, a person may need to consider replacing their mattress. A person can dispose of, or in some cases recycle, and old mattress.
Learn about recycling a mattress here.
They should also consider using a mattress protector if they purchase a new mattress to help prevent stains, spills, and odors.
Keeping a mattress clean is an important part of maintaining it for years to come. People should clean their memory foam mattress whenever they change their bedding, using at least a vacuum cleaner to remove debris, such as dead skin.
For stains, a person can avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive water. Instead, they should make solutions containing mild detergents or natural products, such as vinegar, to help remove stains and odors. Baking soda and essential oils may also help with odor removal.
If all else fails, a person may wish to consider replacing their mattress and placing a mattress protector on their new purchase.