How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Topper?
Few things are more enjoyable than the feeling of snuggling down on crisp, freshly washed sheets when you slide into bed at night. And if you're like most of us, you make of point of washing all the household sheets regularly. But do you do the same for your memory foam mattress topper? If not, here are the reasons why you should:
- Allergenic dust mites
- Allergenic pet dander
- Buildup of sweat, oil and dead skin cells
- Bedwetting stains
- Pet stains or odors
If you’ve never cleaned your memory foam mattress topper, take a good look at it the next time you change your sheets. You may be surprised to see that sweat and oil stains have soaked through them onto the topper. What you won't see, however, are the dead skin cells that also worked their way through the sheets to become dust mite food.
The mites, by the way, get all the moisture they need from the fluid your body releases during sleep. Once they invade your mattress topper, they have everything they need for a nice, long stay. Only a thorough cleaning will remove them.
The catch is that the foam in your mattress topper has a spongy, bubble-filled structure. If water seeps deep inside, it can eventually mildew the entire topper. That puts hosing down and scrubbing it off limits.
Safe Cleaning Methods
As long as your choice agrees with the care instructions included with your mattress topper, you can clean it safely with following methods. Not all memory foam is alike and a cleaning method that's fine for one brand could ruin another.
Vacuuming Your Memory Foam Mattress Topper
If possible, vacuum each time you change the sheets. Removing lint, hair and dirt that could penetrate and damage the foam significantly extends you mattress topper's life.
Tip: Always vacuum the topper before using any other cleaning method.
- Remove the topper from the bed and lay it on an even, flat surface.
- Vacuum it on both sides with a high-suction, hand-held vacuum. Using a soft brush attachment, run the vacuum in circular motions.
- If you have an egg crate topper, take extra care cleaning whatever has collected in its crevices.
Spot Cleaning Memory Foam Mattress Topper Stains
The key to successfully removing small, fresh stains from your mattress topper is to hit them before they have a chance to dry:
- Fill a spray bottle with a solution of 1 cup of water and ½ cup of detergent formulated for delicate fabrics.
- Shake the bottle well to mix the solution.
- Spray the stain just enough to dampen it. Remember, your mattress topper is a giant sponge!
- Scrub the stain with a clean rag or towel. Work in circles from the edges inward to keep the damp area from spreading. Don’t apply too much pressure; it can force the cleaner deeper into the topper.
- Dab the stain gently with a dry sponge to remove excess solution.
- Allow the stain to dry completely before using the topper.
Cleaning Stubborn or Dried Stains
To clean stubborn or dried stains, follow the same process but go with a solution of 3 parts distilled water and 1 part distilled white vinegar. No matter how bad they are, never use bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Bleach will just make them bigger, and both will damage or discolour the foam.
Disinfecting and Deodorizing
When a stain results from a bedwetting, housebreaking or other smelly accident, your topper will also need deodorizing. For that, clean the stain and then spray it while still damp with an odor killer. You'll need:
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- Container with a perforated cap (an old spice jar is ideal).
Simply pour the baking soda into your container, add the essential oil and shake well to blend. Then sprinkle it on the cleaned, damp area. After everything dries, vacuum it off.
- As an added bonus, this study shows that eucalyptus oil is an effective dust mite controller.
- While the baking soda works, keep the family cat and dog away. Breathing the oil fumes could irritate their lungs.
- If possible, let your topper dry outdoors in the sun. Fresh air deodorizes it even more and the sun's rays won’t harm the foam.
Steaming Your Memory Foam Mattress Topper
When spot cleaning isn't enough or you're dealing with a serious dust mite problem, steam cleaning the entire topper may be your answer. But check with the manufacturer before trying it. High-temperature steam could break down the foam. To steam clean:
- Place a plastic tarp on the flat surface you’ll use when steaming.
- Spread the topper on the tarp and vacuum both sides.
- Set a garment or hand-held steamer to its lowest setting.
- Run the steamer slowly over the topper. Use short bursts of steam across the entire surface. A continuous burst will drench the foam.
- Run dry sponges over the topper to remove as much moisture as you can.
- To finish drying the topper, set a small oscillating fan next to it. Or use a hair dryer on the lowest, coolest setting.
Tip: A thick topper may need two or three days to dry. Put it outdoors in the sun if you can, but prepared to sleep without it for a while.
Finally, while a stain-, odor-, germ- and mite-free mattress topper brings years of restful sleep, it won't last forever. None of these cleaning solutions can completely fix a large, deep or bad-smelling stain. If your topper gets one, just thank it for its service and replace it as fast as you can!