Using a foam mattress topper is a great way to make thin or hard mattresses more comfortable. These are also affordable ways to protect your mattress investment. But just like everything else, they get dirty too, and require regular cleaning.
Foam mattress toppers can be cleaned through handwashing, combined with detergent solutions and a hand-held vacuum. Regular handwashing removes invisible dirt and dust mites, ensuring freshness. Odors and stains can be removed through spot treatment, though this is best done as it happens.
Depending on how long it’s been since the last time you washed your foam mattress topper, or how dirty it is, there are several ways you can go about cleaning it. I’ll walk you through with everything you need to know in this article.
How do you wash a foam mattress topper?
Foam mattress toppers should always be washed and cleaned by hand. This process will already successfully remove the most common causes of dirt and dust, bodily oils, including dead skin cells, dust mites, or loose debris both inside and outside the topper.
- 1Start by removing the foam mattress from your bed and placing it flat on the floor, ideally near a water source. If you are cleaning on a wooden or carpet floor, don’t forget to add a tarp beneath the mattress to protect the flooring.
- 2Next, vacuum the topper thoroughly on each side. For the best results, use a handheld vacuum equipped with a soft brush attachment. The next best thing is a standard vacuum with an upholstery brush tool. Work in circular motions which is effective for removing dust or dust mites that are congregating on the surface. If your foam mattress topper comes in an egg crate design, pay close attention to the corners to remove the dirt.
- 3Remove odors caused by urine, cigarette smoke, or other sources by sprinkling the topper with baking soda. Allow it to sit for at least 8 hours, though overnight is best. Afterwards, vacuum up the remaining powder.
- 4Remove stains by making a solution of water with laundry borax, following the package directions. This solution is great for removing stains. Use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly to remove blood stains. Another alternative for removing stubborn stains and blood is to mix one-part baking soda and two parts lemon juice, then blot it on the stain.
- 5Make a solution of two parts water to one-part liquid laundry detergent. Gently spray it on the mattress topper’s surface, then let it sit for one hour.
- 6Now it’s time to rinse the detergent solution. If you have an outdoor hose, spray it directly on the mattress. If you don’t have one, simply use a clean white cloth, damp with water.
- 7Give the foam mattress topper a gentle squeeze to get rid of excess water.
- 8Allow the topper to air-dry indoors or under shade for a few days on top of a waterproof surface. Don’t place it under direct sunlight because this will cause the foam to break down over time. You can also speed up the drying process by exposing it to an electric fan.
Remember to turn the topper a few times a day to encourage even drying. Don’t return the topper to the bed until you are 100% sure it’s completely dry.
It’s good to note that you should never toss a foam mattress topper inside a washing machine. The aggressive spinning even in the gentle cleaning washing machines is enough to damage delicate foam mattresses, or even cause them to break up over time. They shouldn’t be ironed either; once you’re done with the cleaning and drying process, you can already place it back on your bed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if your foam mattress topper needs cleaning?
It’s always good to know you’re sleeping on a fresh, clean bed – including your mattress topper. So how do you know if it’s due for cleaning?
Start the habit of regularly checking your foam mattress topper for any odors, stains, or dirt. Ideally, you should be checking it once a week, or each time you change your sheets. If you notice any new stains or odors, spot treat it right away.
How often should you wash your foam mattress topper?
Broadly speaking, foam mattress toppers should be washed at least every 3 or 4 months. It is your bed sheets that are actually exposed to most of the dirt, debris, and dead skin cells as you sleep. If you change your sheets every two weeks, then this is already enough in ensuring even your foam mattress topper is clean, too.
As we said earlier, spot treatments for odors and stains should be done as they happen. This will also ensure that your next general washing will be simpler and quicker.
But the frequency of washing will also depend on things such as your local weather, or who is using the bed. For example, if you have a potty-training child, you’re going to want to change their topper after each accident even if this means doing a quick wipe down. In this case, a thorough deep-cleaning will be needed each week if it’s exposed to heavy soiling.
If you allow your pets in your bed, your topper will also need to be washed more often. Pets bring in more dirt, dust, and hair which can accumulate in the toppers.
Additionally, people who live in warmer climates should also clean foam mattress toppers more often because higher temperatures mean more sweating.
Can you put a foam mattress topper in the washer or dryer?
No. Foam mattress topper should never be washed in a washing machine. The aggressive spinning even in the gentle cleaning washing machines is enough to damage delicate foam mattresses, or even cause them to break up over time.
They shouldn’t be placed in the dryer either; the high temperatures can melt the material and cause breakage over time.
How do you clean urine stains from a foam mattress topper?
Accidents happen! But the good news is that you can remove urine stains from your foam mattress topper using materials you already probably have lying around your home.
Here’s what you need:
And, here's how to do it:
- 1Mix the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a few splashes of dip soap in the spray bottle. Give it a gentle swirl.
- 2Spray the solution on the foam mattress topper to thoroughly coat the stains. Allow it to sit for 1 to 2 hours.
- 3Rinse the area using the damp cloth, followed by a blotting using the dry cloth.
You can repeat this process several times to make sure that the urine and its lingering odor are removed. If you find that it isn’t working and your foam mattress topper is around 7 years old (its maximum lifespan), then it might be time to replace that topper.
If you’re dealing with pet urine stains, particularly cat urine, you might have to repeat the process many more times to successfully remove the stains. There’s also the option of using an enzymatic cleaner, which is popular for its efficacy at targeting pet’s urine.