Here's What You Need to Know About Cleaning a Memory Foam Mattress

Bedroom with a chair and light fixture

Calimia Home

One of the most important pieces of furniture in your house is your bed. A good night's sleep affects so many facets of your health, so spending the money for a great mattress will always be a good investment. But once you purchase a mattress, it's important to maintain it to extend its lifespan.

If you own a memory foam mattress, it can last for years to come with proper maintenance and cleaning. The key to proper care is knowing exactly how to clean and how often you should. We talked to the experts to get the lowdown on cleaning your memory foam mattress, and the good news is you don't need many materials (or much time) to do the job.

Materials to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

  • A good vacuum
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Boric acid
  • A sponge

To get started, set aside about an hour every month to clean your mattress. You won't need everything listed above each time, depending on how deep of a cleaning job your mattress needs. Now, strip that bed and get to work.

Gather Your Supplies

Bed with pillows

Alvin Wayne

The first step is to determine what supplies you need for your first clean. According to Natalie Barrett of Nifty Services, it's important to do a deep clean regularly. "Maintaining your memory foam mattress in good hygienic condition is essential if you want to avoid allergic reactions, skin irritation, and other unpleasant scenarios," she says. "Dust mites and other bacteria may lead to sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, a running nose, and so much more."

If you're doing your first deep clean, you'll want to have a wide variety of supplies on hand. If you just need to clean up a few spots, laundry detergent or vinegar will do the job.

Vacuum Your Mattress

Bed with light fixture above it

Ashley Montgomery Design

If you are doing a deep clean, you will want to vacuum your mattress before you start. Katie Brown, owner of Rytina Fine Cleaners, recommends vacuuming your mattress at least once a month. Using a soft brush attachment or a hand vac, gently go over your entire mattress (both sides!) to get any dirt and debris. Regular vacuuming can help reduce the need for deep cleaning and reduce any unpleasant odors.

Reach for the Laundry Detergent

Barrett recommends using a mixture of two parts water to one part laundry detergent to give your whole mattress a clean. "Powder detergent is not a great idea, as the texture could be ruined or the mattress discolored," she notes. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray a small amount across the mattress, being careful not to soak the whole mattress. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before gently dabbing with a clean cloth or sponge.

Spot Clean ASAP

Bed with a wooden nightstand

Ashley Montgomery Design

According to Brown, "Regular maintenance will help prolong the life of your mattress." This means if you spill something, the time to address it is ASAP. First, try to absorb as much of the liquid as possible using a towel. Then, using a mixture of laundry detergent or white vinegar, spray the stain and gently dab at it until it disappears.

Let the entire area dry before you put your sheets back on.

Attack Odors

Whether you are doing a monthly deep clean or you are spot cleaning a spill or a stain, the last step should be to reduce odors left behind in your mattress. Barrett recommends sprinkling baking soda on your entire mattress (or just over the soiled stain) and letting it sit for up to eight hours. This will allow the baking soda to penetrate into the stain and lift any residual smells. Once it's sat long enough, vacuum up the baking soda.

No baking soda? Barrett also recommends boric acid for the same odor-fighting capabilities. Follow the same steps above and ensure you sweep it all up before remaking your bed.

Never Sleep on a Wet Mattress

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Calimia Home

If your memory foam mattress needs a good, deep clean, you should aim to do it first thing in the morning so it's fully dry before you head off to bed. "If you sleep on [a mattress] while it’s damp, you will prevent it from fully drying, which will lead to unpleasant smells and the chance of mold or bacteria growth," says Barrett.

You can use a hairdryer on the lowest setting to speed up the process if you're left with dampness come bedtime.

Invest in a Mattress Protector

Now that your memory foam mattress is clean, it's time to keep it that way. According to Barrett, one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your mattress is to use a mattress protector. This way you can easily remove a protector and clean it without worrying about stains left behind on the memory foam.

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