How to Clean A Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Just how important a mattress topper is? Primarily, it can help adjust the firmness and thickness of your sleeping space. Is your mattress too firm? You can bump up the comfort level with a plush topper. Is your bed too low for your height? Elevate with a thick version of this add-on.

In any case, you should treat a mattress topper as an extension of your bed. It is the first sleep item that your body comes in contact with. So asking how to clean a memory foam mattress topper, or any kind of topper for that matter is the right thing to do. 

The comfort or discomfort it produces can affect your slumber. And it would not be serving its purpose if it’s making you feel itchy or uneasy. In this guide, you will learn about ways on how to clean a foam mattress topper—or any mattress topper. Should you do partial or full cleaning? When is one better than the other? Find out below.

Partial Cleaning

Vacuum the Dust Away

If you’re often on the go, vacuuming your mattress topper is one of the easiest tasks you can do. It can remove dust and dirt quickly. Having the right tools and mindset is key. Don’t worry, it should take around 30 minutes to an hour. And then you’re set to chill on your bed and watch Netflix or what have you.

First, take the mattress topper off the bed. Lay it on a surface where you can spread it flat. You need to vacuum every inch to remove all of the dirt and dust it has accumulated. Turn it around to clean the other side, too. If you are using a vacuum with a water filtration system, make sure to dry the topper completely before putting it back on the bed.

Remove Odors and Stains

There are many reasons you could end up with a stain on your mattress topper. Liquid spills are the most common. This is why our parents told us to not eat on the bed! But some people may be unable to avoid urine stains, especially with little kids or pets around. What you can do is clean up as soon as the problem shows up.

Spot cleaning is one tried method for dealing with stains and the smell that sometimes goes with them. In such cases, you can rely on the power of two familiar household items: vinegar/liquid detergent and baking soda. 

Vinegar and Liquid Detergent

Disinfect with vinegar by mixing it with water. Any small measurement would do, but keep vinegar and water in equal parts. Dip a dry piece of cloth on the solution and dab it on the blemished spot. Let it sit for a few hours. Once dry, wipe the area with a dry cloth.

Next, pour liquid detergent or dish soap on another piece of cloth. Apply on the same spot and wait for it to dry. This may take 30 minutes to a few hours, too. The important thing is that the mattress topper is dry—not moist or damp—after spot cleaning.

Baking Soda

This cupboard mainstay can help you keep your mattress topper fresh and clean. Remove the stains by creating a baking soda mixture. You will need two parts water and one part baking soda. Moisten a piece of cloth using the mixture. Follow the same steps as above. But once dry, the debris from your mixture should be vacuumed up.

Rinse and Dry

Sometimes, you may need to rinse a good part of your mattress topper. If you do not want to wash it entirely, you can do spot cleaning at a bigger level. However, you have to be diligent about rinsing the areas on which you applied vinegar, liquid detergent, or the baking soda solution. Of course, you could soak up the mattress if you’re working on multiple sections.

In this kind of situation, air out the mattress for faster drying. You need to take it outside while the sun is up. Space should be wide and open to allow the mattress topper to dry completely. Mold and mildew can grow in moist places, and the buildup can destroy the structure of the sheets.

Full Cleaning

Machine Wash Your Mattress Topper

Continue to inspect your mattress topper as there may be small stains you may have missed. Dirt and dust are also constantly present. Watch out for these usual suspects. A good approach would be scheduling your full cleanup. Throwing your sheets into the washing machine should be a part of it. But keep in mind that not all types of materials used in the topper can be fully machine-washed.

We are talking about memory foam, which can be found in this sleep accessory. It should not be cleaned this way because it is prone to shrinkage. The machine can damage the structure of the material. For materials that are safe to put in the washer, think of fabric or cotton. Always consult the manufacturer’s care instructions before you try this method.

Hand Wash Your Mattress Topper

As you read above, there are materials that cannot be washed automatically. To clean a memory foam mattress topper, you may have to wash it by hand. This will benefit not only memory foam but also other kinds of the foam mattress topper. Before washing, vacuuming would help. Use a vacuum with attached bristles to remove dust and dirt, as well as hair and skin cells that have settled on the surface.

Washing by hand is not limited to memory foam. You can do the same for cotton, fabric, latex, or wool. This will help lengthen the lifespan of the mattress topper as the hand is more gentle than the washer. However, this is going to take some time and effort. So you have to schedule it as well to maintain the cleanliness of your sleeping surface. 

Sun and Air Dry Your Mattress Topper

Drying your topper is an important part of the cleaning process. It can be counterproductive to leave the topper damp or moist in some areas after washing. This will create the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. In turn, this will lead to a breakdown in the topper’s structure. Thus, full cleaning requires twice the time and effort you put on if you are only doing partial cleaning.

One thing you can do here is to hang the mattress topper on a clothes rack. This is applicable to fabric or cotton. Lay it there during the daytime. If the rack is outside and there is no sign of rain, you can continue to air out the sheets during the night. Continue the cycle until you are sure the inner layers are as dry as the outer parts. 

Remember that the topper has been washed completely. What you need to do now is dry it fully. But read more below why a memory foam mattress topper is an exception to this rule of full exposure.

Read: How to Clean A Mattress

What Not to Do When Cleaning

This section will focus now on the don’ts of cleaning your memory foam mattress topper.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

When it comes to memory foam mattress toppers, you should take precautions and treat it differently from other latex or wool mattress toppers. This kind is better off getting dry in the shade. Putting it under direct sunlight can compromise the open cell structure of memory foam. Over time, this can make the layers uneven. This can be avoided by drying it correctly.

In connection, the shade should not be devoid of heat or air. It should be well-ventilated. Foam layers can get stinky if they retain some dampness for days. This can happen because of the lack of direct sunlight. So a good airflow can counter the action that leads to this situation.

Do Not Squeeze or Wriggle It

Hand-washing your memory foam mattress topper? When rinsing and drying it, do not squeeze or wriggle the foam. You may be tempted to do so as this will help remove excess water before you place it in the shade to fully dry. However, this can damage the material and its structure. When used in toppers,  memory foam becomes the substance of a very delicate design.

Also, do not tumble dry the memory foam mattress topper. This is the final cycle of most washing machine settings. But you can have your memory foam washed by hand instead to avoid this altogether. Even if you are tempted to do it, consider the consequences. The sleep accessory can shrink and fail to deliver the next time you use it.

Do Not Use High Heat

Aside from letting it dry in the shade, you can choose to blow-dry this kind of topper. A hairdryer can be enough for the job, especially if it is a high-powered one. However, try the lowest settings. High heat can damage the memory foam. This material does not fare well in high temperatures, as some of you may already know from owning a memory foam mattress.

Likewise, do not use hot water to wash the topper. This goes to both partial and full cleaning. Meaning, do not mix vinegar or baking soda with hot water when you are spot-cleaning.

Keep Away From Certain Chemicals

Hydrogen peroxide is one example to keep away from. It can change the color and texture of this foam topper. This chemical might be a tough cleaning agent applicable to certain occasions. But it won’t work with your mattress or sleeping accessories.

Protecting Your Mattress Topper 

Use A Mattress Protector

A mattress protector is there to protect the mattress. But you can include the mattress topper among the layers it can protect. In fact, the former can be fitted to cover the entire bed. You should have the right depth of the matter to ensure the cover stays in place: it is not too loose or too tight.

Why cover the mattress protector? Isn’t it supposed to go on top of the bed to provide a buffer between your mattress and body? Well, we already mentioned how the topper is an extension of the bed. It adds comfort, support, and elevation. And it is the first layer your body touches when it hits the sack.

So, it can also be vulnerable to dust mites. These ones feed on the skin you shed and can leave within the layers of your topper. That sounds like bad news. And a mattress protector can be your first line of defense against these pesky creatures.

At the same time, a mattress protector can protect your topper from liquids, dirt, and dust. It can help you create a more reasonable cleaning schedule in the long run.

Avoid Excessive Sweating

This may be a tough ask for people who sleep hot or have an excessive sweating disorder. But sweat is made of toxins your body is ejecting. Too much of it can cause moisture to seep through the layers and contaminate the mattress topper. Make sure to keep your room well ventilated, so you won’t perspire as if you are working in the sun.

You can see a doctor if the sweating is also becoming a barrier to your gaining a good night’s sleep.

Consequently, you can buy a waterproof mattress topper to replace your old one. Or consider a mattress topper that wicks away heat and keeps you cool at night.

When to Replace A Mattress Topper

It Looks Battered

No matter how durable a sleep product is, it can show signs of wear and tear. There is, after all, an expiration date for anything, even for a mattress topper that seems so invincible and well-made. So, be honest about your situation. Is your mattress topper becoming old?

Old is when there are holes and dents that can no longer be remedied. There are also spots and stains that linger. Old is when the bed is sinking in some areas, the surface is a difficult sea to float into. It isn’t just the same, plush add-on you bought. And that’s not even something a warranty claim can fix (warranty may have even expired).

Odors Have Set In

Does it have an odor that doesn’t seem to go away? Your mattress topper is bound for disposal if it has a foul smell that cannot be removed by the procedures we shared earlier. Not even the tandem of vinegar, detergent, and sun can make it disappear. This means the odor has set in. You may have missed its cause or been unable to remove it fully at first try.

Clinging onto the mattress topper may have negative effects on your health. It can exacerbate breathing problems among those who are suffering from asthma or allergies. The air quality inside the room is also affected. And the odor can set in all the way to the mattress if you don’t act on it right away.

The Mattress Topper Has Thinned Out

A worn mattress may no longer serve its purpose. If it has thinned out after years of use, it can no longer give you the softness or firmness you want. Or the lift you need. Of course, the best ones do not thin out immediately. There is an entire lifespan to complete. But these also grow thinner eventually.

No amount of cleaning the mattress topper can save it from this result. You can, of course, care for it as much as you can while it is new. You can make it age well by following the instructions provided in this article. Yet, when the structure breaks down, it’s down. 

If there is no longer a way for you to salvage it, buy a new one.


A clean mattress topper can benefit you and your sleep quality. With fresh and nice-smelling sleep accessories, you can feel relaxed and blissful while drifting off. But proper cleaning must be observed. Foam toppers like memory foam mattress toppers may need specialized care. So, it is important to consider the steps provided in this guide to achieve the best results.

At the same time, protecting your mattress topper can help you deal with some of the cleanliness issues that arise from your daily use. It could be a spill, odor, dust, dirt, or dust mites! A mattress cover is a quick and easy solution. But you can also think of other ways. Feel free to share them with us.

Lastly, you don’t have to suffer from an old-timey mattress topper if it has been showing signs of wear or poor performance. Cleaning it will no longer be effective. Knowing when to replace your sleep accessories is also crucial to your overall bedtime experience. So think about it well.

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