Cleaning a Memory Foam mattress can be an awkward and time-consuming task. Even worse, the foam is so thick that it can take a very long time to dry. The more firm the memory foam, the more dense it is and the longer it will take to dry. If your memory foam is not very dirty, spot cleaning it only is the best course of action. To freshen it up a bit, lay it out in the sun for a few hours to air it out and kill any surface bacteria. However, if it is very soiled and must be washed, follow the steps below.
Cleaning Memory Foam
This process is designed to clean a Memory Foam Mattress, and can be easily adapted to use on mattress toppers and pillows.
What you will need:
- Hand vacuum or regular vacuum with soft brush attachment
- Woolite fabric cleaner
- Rubber gloves
- Spray bottle
- Spray attachment for hose (if doing the task outdoors)
- Detachable shower head (if doing the task in the tub)
- Distilled white vinegar
- Hair dryer or electric fan
The Cleaning Process:
- Vacuum the foam thoroughly with a hand vac or regular size vacuum using the soft brush attachment.
- Place mattress/topper/pillow in the bathtub or outside, near an outdoor water supply (if outdoors, make sure to place the mattress on a clean tarp or other clean platform to avoid getting it muddy or dirty).
- In the spray bottle, mix 1 part Woolite with 2 parts water and shake well.
- Standing the foam on end, spray entire piece(s), front and back, with Woolite solution. If cleaning the mattress, the job will be much easier with two people, one to hold the mattress, and one to spray.
- Allow Woolite solution to stay on for 30 minutes.
- Rinse with clean water, using detachable shower head if in the tub, or spray nozzle on hose, if outdoors.
- Gently squeeze out excess water by folding the foam and pressing down. DO NOT twist or wring the foam as this will cause damage. Be sure to wear rubber gloves for this part as memory foam is treated with a variety of chemicals to make it less flammable.
- Empty Woolite solution and refill bottle with 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water.
- Spray down entire piece again with vinegar solution.
- Rinse again with shower head or spray nozzle and gently press out excess water as in step # 7.
- A hair dryer set on its lowest setting can be used to aid in drying; being careful not to hold the hair dryer too close or it will damage the foam.
- In the alternative, the mattress can air dry, using an electric fan to aid in drying.
- Make sure the foam is completely dry before replacing on bed.
Removing Stains from Memory Foam
The cleaning process above should remove most stains. For more stubborn stains, these methods may help:
- Dampen the stain with plain water and sprinkle with dry boric acid (20 Mule Team Borax, usually found in the laundry aisle of the grocery store), and blot the stain with a sponge or cloth in circular motion until it disappears. Blot dry and vacuum with hand vac or soft brush attachment to remove residue.
- Dampen a sponge or cloth with hydrogen peroxide and blot the stain in a circular motion (NOTE: hydrogen peroxide WILL DISCOLOR THE FOAM while eliminating the stain!
- Spray the stain with an enzymatic pet stain remover (such as Petzyme, available at most pet stores), and let sit for 15 minutes. Blot the area with a damp cloth and vacuum when dry.
- If these methods fail, you may consider contacting a mattress cleaning professional. Also, check with your mattress retailer as they may carry products specifically designed to assist with stain removal for your particular mattress.
NOTE: For stains that have soaked into the mattress padding, for health and sanitary reasons (i.e. bacteria can continue to grow inside the padding even after the surface stain is gone), it may be necessary to replace to mattress.
Removing Odors from Memory Foam
Odors from stains (especially urine or vomit) and from the air (such as cigarette smoke) can linger in foam. To remove odors, try any one (or more) of the following methods:
- Sprinkle the entire mattress/topper/pillow with baking soda and allow to sit overnight. Vacuum thoroughly with hand vac or soft brush attachment.
- Using a citrus-based cleaning product, spray the foam piece(s) lightly, and allow to dry. Vacuum thoroughly.
- Try a commercially available product such as Febreze (Proctor & Gamble) or FreshCare (Clorox), which are often effective at eliminating or reducing odors.
Additional Hints and Tips
- To extend the life of your mattress, it should be flipped and rotated (bottom to top) every six months.
- To prevent stains and keep your foam mattress/topper/pillows clean and fresh longer, change your sheets often and vacuum your Memory Foam regularly (using a hand vac or soft brush attachment).
- Before cleaning, always check the manufacturer’s tags on your Memory Foam pieces for additional cleaning tips, and make sure to follow all warnings and cautions on the tag to avoid damage.
- Always clean a stain as soon as possible for easier removal and to avoid having it soak into the mattress padding.
- Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook by Martha Stewart
- Easy Green Living by Renee Loux