How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress: A Guide to Stain Removal

Complete Guide on How to Wash Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Sep 06, 2023
A night of quality sleep helps your body to revitalize and wake up more energetic than the day before. Getting a peaceful night rest depends on the state of the bed and mattress you sleep on, besides other factors. A memory foam mattress topper provides that extra comfy cushion for your body. And therefore, to reap its full benefit, you have to keep it clean. 

Hands laying a mattress topper on a bed

Hands laying a mattress topper on a bed

But did you know that mattress foam pad cannot be machine washed? It is therefore essential to know the step by step procedure on how to clean a memory foam topper. For example, how do you handle urine stains on a foam pad? How about dust deeply embedded in the topper?

You don’t have to struggle and degrade the quality of your precious mattress pad. So, let me walk you through a complete guide on how to handle the cleaning

So how do you know your mattress topper needs cleaning?

Signs it’s Time to Clean the Mattress Foam Topper

How do you gauge if your mattress requires cleaning or not? Simple, answer the following questions:

When was the last time you cleaned the foam pad?

Bed sheets should be washed frequently, for example, once in a week or two. However, since a foam topper doesn’t meet rigorous wear and tear like bed sheets, you should wash it only after a couple of months. So, if you can’t tell when you last cleaned your foam topper, then the time is ripe to do it.

Are there visible stains?

Check on the outward appearance of your topper. If you can spot stained areas, then it means it requires thorough cleaning. Regardless of when you last you last did the washing, obvious stains on the mattress should be cleaned as soon as possible.

Does it produce a strange odor?

When body fluids combine with dust, dead skin cells, and mold, odor is inevitable. Sleeping on a dirty foam topper is uncivilized and discourages healthy sleep. Cleaning eliminates such smells and makes your topper smell pleasant.

Does it trigger an allergic reaction from you?

Accumulation of dust on your bed is enough to trigger an allergic reaction. If your allergic symptoms worsen when you are in bed or when you wake up in the morning, then most likely your bed sheet and foam topper require cleaning.

Have you noticed increased itchiness or unusual bites on your skin recently?

When you fail to clean your bedding for a longer period, bedbugs can spring up. Although initially, it might be difficult to spot, strange red bites on your skin or itchiness are a sure indicator. Only a thorough cleaning and disinfection can clear away such insects.

Hence, if you notice any of the above signs, don’t hesitate to clean your foam pad promptly.

Common Mistakes When Cleaning a Memory Foam Topper

Most people take the job of washing memory foam toppers so casually. Consequently, they make costly mistakes. The result is an inadequately washed foam pad with its quality degraded too.

Therefore, before you think of the cleaning, avoid making the following mistakes:

● Returning a damp memory foam topper

Many people never allow a foam pad to dry fully before returning it to the bed. The moisture content left on it encourages the growth of mildew, thus leading to a strange odor. Ensure that you dry off the foam topper thoroughly before laying it on the bed.

● Using a dryer on a foam topper at a close range

Although a dryer can help dry off the foam pad faster, it can be disastrous to the surface foam cells if not used correctly. The surplus heat produced by the dryer is sufficient to damage its surface. Therefore, keep the dryer at a safe distance from the foam pads surface. At the same time, set it to allow heat level.

Exposing the foam pad to prolonged direct sunlight

Drying a memory foam pad in direct sunlight isn’t appropriate. But if you insist on doing so, then expose it to direct sunlight over a very short interval. Otherwise, the sunrays will surely damage the mattress.

● Machine washing a foam pad

Can you wash memory foam pad then dry it off in a tumble dryer the ordinary way? Most aren’t safe to do so. So, unless specified by the manufacturer, don’t assume it is safe to machine wash a foam pad.

● Using any other detergent on a foam pad

When cleaning your mattress topper don’t just pick on any other cheap, low-quality detergent. Such cleaning chemicals may wash away its color and thus leave it more stained than before. For instance, keep off hydrogen peroxide.

A bottle of hydrogen peroxide

A bottle of hydrogen peroxide

● Using hot water

To maintain the texture and even the efficiency of the foam cells, stick to using cold water during cleaning. Hot water ruins the efficiency of the cells and even their texture.

● Squeezing the foam pad

To remove excess water from the foam pad, some people resort to squeezing the mattress topper. However, squeezing the mattress pad interferes with its consistency.

Cleaning the memory foam topper

Depending on the level of stains on the mattress topper, the best way on how to clean memory foam toppers might take any of these two directions:

● Regular cleaning maintenance involving spot cleaning

● Washing the foam pad as a whole after deep staining

So, let’s have a look at both cases:

A. Regular maintenance, (spot) cleaning

This aims at removing built-up dust and simple stains of the mattress pad.

Before you begin the actual cleaning, the following prepping is necessary:

● Take the foam pad outside in the open away from direct sunlight. That gives you easy access from all corners.

● Alternatively, you can take it to a large spacious bathroom or any other room. However, such a space should be well ventilated. Switch on the bathroom fan and open the windows for effective air circulation.

● If the room where you will be cleaning the mattress pad has a carpeted or hardwood flooring, then cover the floor first with a tarp before resting the pad on it.

What you need

Having cleared the way with the above preparations, also keep the following close by:

● Vacuum cleaner

Picture of handheld vacuum cleaner

Picture of handheld vacuum cleaner

● Soft towel of tissue paper
● Spray bottle

A spray bottle

A spray bottle

● White vinegar

Picture of white vinegar in a bottle

Picture of white vinegar in a bottle

● Baking soda

A packet of baking soda

A packet of baking soda

● Washing detergent

Now it’s time to begin cleaning your best mattress topper

Step one: vacuuming

Spread out a mattress topper on an even hard surface then pick a handheld vacuum cleaner. Next attach the mattress vacuuming extension. A soft brush attachment on the handheld vacuum cleaner is ideal since it won’t alter the texture of the foam pad

Vacuum out the dirt, dust, lint, and crumbs on the mattress topper. Pay attention to the crevices and other hidden parts. 

After doing one side of the foam topper, turn the other side and run the good vacuum cleaner over it too.

That should clean dust and loosely-held stains on the foam pad. If that’s all you had on your mattress, it should be enough. Otherwise, the stains which weren’t visible before should be easy to see now.

Step two: spot and mark the stains

The next phase is spot checking and marking where there are stains on the mattress topper. Doing so will help you when applying the cleaning detergent. You’ll then know where to concentrate more with the cleaning agent.

Step three: spot cleaning

Do you see those annoying dark stains on your memory foam topper? One of the best ways on how to clean memory foam mattress topper is using baking soda or white vinegar.

➜ RELATED: How To Clean With Vinegar - Amazing Remedies And Cleaning Hacks For Homeowners

So, let's have a look at how to use the above-mentioned cleaning chemicals.

Using baking soda


● One part baking soda
● Two parts cold water
● Mixing bowl
● Stirring rod
● Cotton swab/pieces of clean cloth

Mix one part of baking soda to two parts of cold water. Stir until the solution turns milky.

Then using a piece of clean cloth, apply the milky solution on the previously marked spots one by one. For effective results, apply the baking soda solution generously.

For every stained spot, apply and then wipe off the solution/stain until it turns out clean.

After wiping off every stained spot from the foam pad, let it rest for about an hour.

➜ RELATED: Baking Soda For Cleaning - The Accessible And Effective Household Cleaner

Using vinegar and detergent

Vinegar also makes a good cleaning compound for foam pad. But instead of using it in its concentrated state add a little bit of water to dilute it.

● Using a clean cotton swab, apply the white vinegar solution to the stained areas and wiping off spot by spot.

● Repeat for every stained area until the blemishes are all gone.

After cleaning the spots it’s time to introduce a gentle cleaning detergent.  For example, you can even use a gentle hand washing detergent.

● Mix one part of the detergent to 2 parts of water.

● Soak clean cotton cloth in the solution and then spread it over the previously stained spots. Leave the cloth to rest on the spot for about an hour.

For persistent stains which don’t come out of the surface easily, use enzyme-based cleaners.

Alternatively, you can fill the detergent solution in a spray bottle then spray the solution on the spots. However, make sure you don’t drench the foam excessively.

Step four: rinsing with clean water

Regardless of the method you use in the step three above, after the elapse of time you have to rinse off the detergent from the foam pad.

To do that, fill a spray container with clean water.

Spray the water over the area previously cleaned with baking soda or vinegar.

After every spray, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe off the soapy water from the mattress.  Repeat the process until there is no more soapy water coming off from the mattress.

Step five: flip over

When you are through cleaning one side of the memory foam topper flip it over. Repeat the cleaning procedure on this side too.

Step six: Blotting

Having rinsed the detergent and baking soda or vinegar from the foam pad, you have to remove the excess water.

Pick a dry, soft towel and use it to dab the moisturized areas. When the towel becomes wet, pick another dry one and continue with the process.

Drying the topper

Having blotted away the excess moisture from the mattress you have to let to dry completely before you call off the cleaning exercise.

The drying process can either follow the slow natural way or be quickened by dryer.

If you aren’t in a hurry, then the best way to dry off the foam pad is to leave it outside in the shade and let the trapped moisture escape. Also, you can turn the mattress to face a running fan to increase the rate of evaporation.

But if you are in a hurry to dry off the mattress, then use a dryer. However, exercise a lot of caution. Set the dryer to a low heat setting and never bring it too close to the foam pad’s surface.

The steps described above provide the straight step by step guidelines on how to clean a memory foam topper.

B. Complete Washing of Foam Pads

Sometimes accidents can’t be avoided. If someone urinates or vomits on a memory foam pad, it will smell for a longer period unless cleaned properly. When liquids seep through a simple spot cleaning isn’t sufficient to remove the stain and the smell.

You need an elaborate cleaning process. That’s why you need to learn the skills on how to wash foam mattress pads.

Step one: follow through with ordinary spot cleaning steps

To start off you cleaning, follow the procedure described earlier on. That is:

● Vacuuming
● Spot cleaning using baking soda or vinegar
● Rinsing off the surface
● Blotting excess moisture

Step two: wash entire surface

After blotting move on to washing the entire mattress pad. Ensure the foam pad is laid flat on an even surface. Now using cold water wash off the entire surface of the memory foam pad. During this time check for any remaining soapy residue. If there is any, rinse it out completely.

Step three: roll it inwards

During the washing stage, water seeps through the mattress pad cells. The water trapped inside should help to dissolve and dilute the urine or coffee stains. Are you wondering how to compress memory foam mattress toppers to release the trapped water without damaging its quality?

Then do this: gently roll the foam pad inwards. Take care not to over-press as it may ruin the cells. Rolling the mattress inwards removes excess water.

Remember, too much pressure or squeezing will interfere with its softness.

Step four: dry it off in an airy environment

To finish off your cleaning, allow the foam to dry completely.  Ideally let it rest in the shade for approximately 24 hours. Alternatively, you can speed up the process with either a dryer or a fan.


Having learnt how to clean a memory foam mattress topper the correct way, you don’t have to wait till the pad is heavily dusty and smelly. Make it your routine to check on your mattress and clean it in time. Otherwise if you don’t do so, it will not only develop a strange odor, but insects like dust mites or even bedbugs might start breeding in the topper. And as you have realized, most of the chemicals needed to clean a foam pad are readily available at home. For instance, baking soda and white vinegar is easy to acquire.

So, what’s stopping you from keeping your memory foam topper fresh and clean?

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