Cleaning A Foam Mattress

We spend about one third of our lives sleeping on our mattress. Over time, our dead skin cells, sweat, hair, body odors, and pet dander sneak through our sheets and accumulate on our beds. While we keep our sheets clean, it’s still important to clean your mattress every now and then, as well. We recommend once or twice a year, or whenever anyone gets sick or has an accident.

Keep in mind that different foam bed types have different cleaning processes. But no worries, we’ve detailed each one for you in our guide on how to clean a foam mattress. These are also instructions for the foam of the mattress, so you will need to remove the mattress cover. If that’s not possible, sorry, but you’ll just have to stick with spot cleaning the cover.

cleaning foam mattress bed
Grab your rubber gloves, we have some cleaning to do.

Read these steps to learn how to freshen up your bed, so you can sleep right, sleep tight, sleep clean.

How To Clean Your Memory Foam, Poly Foam, Mattresses

Memory foam is a type of petroleum-based material that reacts with pressure to slowly compress and contour around your body. Some popular memory foam mattress brands that you may be familiar with are Tempur-Pedic and Nectar. Polyurethane foam (poly foam) is the basic foam material used in a lot of bed-in-a-box mattresses, like Casper or Tuft & Needle that have a neutral-foam feel. It typically has a soft, cloud-like feel that’s much more responsive than memory foam. Here’s how to clean memory foam mattresses:

  • Vacuum the foam. You can do this with either a handheld vacuum or with a brush attachment. This will clear out all of the surface level lint and crumbs and make sure they don’t get scrubbed deep into the mattress in the following steps. Be sure to get every inch of the top of the bed, and around the sides, as well.
  • Clean with solution. We don’t recommend using harsh cleaning products like ammonia or bleach for this, as they can ruin the foam. Instead, you can use a ½ cup of fabric cleaner or white vinegar mixed with 1 cup of water. Make sure you shake it well to mix, then spray the mattress. Spray sparingly, because if the bed gets too wet, it’s very easy for mildew to form. If you have any stains, immediately scrub them with a clean cloth. You could also use a steam cleaner on your memory foam mattress.
  • Spot clean the mattress. Mix equal parts liquid laundry detergent and water. Dab the solution on the spot and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Then, rinse off by wiping with a damp rag. Towel dry with a fresh towel and let the spot sit to completely dry. 
  • Deodorize. Grab some baking soda, and sprinkle it over the mattress. You can even do this while it’s still wet. Open up the windows in your room and run the fan to help dry out the mattress, or, you could even bring it outside in the sun to dry on a tarp. Just make sure it’s not too windy, or all the baking soda will blow away.
  • Vacuum again. When the mattress is dry, vacuum it again to collect all of the baking soda. Make sure that your bed is absolutely and completely dry before putting all of your (clean!) bedding back on it.
  • Is it flippable? If your mattress has two different usable sides, make sure you complete these steps on both of them.

Latex Foam Mattresses

Did you know that latex beds are a type of foam bed? Well, they are. Latex is made from the sap of rubber trees, and feels bouncy and airy. It’s typically perforated, which means it has tiny holes all over it, which allows for good airflow. It’s also known to be a very durable material, so if taken care of properly, a latex bed could last you a lifetime. Some of our favorite brands that offer latex beds include Avocado and Nest Bedding. Here’s how to clean it up:

  • Clean with solution. Avoid strong solvents and bleach, as they can damage the latex, and while we’re on the subject, avoid using steam cleaners, as well, as they can over-bake the latex. Try mixing a few drops of either a mild detergent or isopropyl alcohol with water. Use a white sponge or rag (dye from colored materials could transfer to the latex and stain) to lightly blot the top of the mattress, not rub, which could tear the material.
  • Deodorize. Sprinkle baking soda all over the bed to soak up odors and dirt. Allow the mattress to completely dry, but be mindful that direct sunlight exposure can break down the cellular structure of the latex. You should probably just let it naturally dry within your home. You could even use a cool blow dryer to help it to dry out.
  • After it’s completely dry, vacuum all the baking soda up and feel free to put sheets on your new clean mattress.
how to clean foam mattress bed
Wavy K likes to keep things clean.

Benefits Of Cleaning Memory Foam Mattresses

Cleaning memory foam might not rate on the list of your most fun things to do. However, with the benefits below, this should motivate you to bring out the cleaning supplies.

  • Reduce dust mites and other allergens that affect your quality of sleep
  • Take care of odors that the foam may have absorbed and held on to
  • Cleaning can actually extend the life your mattress, since it can eliminate any mold or mildew 

How To Clean A Pillow Top Mattress

We’re throwing this one in for good measure. Pillow top and Euro top mattresses usually are on hybrid mattresses that have coils, but are also layered with foam for additional comfort. They usually feel just like the name states: a giant pillow. Some of our favorite pillow top mattresses are by Saatva and the Stearns & Foster Estate Addison Grace.

  • Vacuum. Run a vacuum all over the top of your mattress to clean up any extra dirt or crumbs. Pillow tops tend to have tufted tops, which particles can easily settle into.
  • Clean with solution. Like we’ve said before, avoid any crazy chemicals on your mattress. Try a mixed solution of clear liquid laundry detergent and water, and dab it all over your bed. Try not to get it too wet.
  • Deodorize. Sprinkle baking soda all over the top of your bed to soak up any stale or lingering smells. Feel free to let it dry naturally while soaking up the baking soda. You can do this with a ceiling fan or opening up a window.
  • Vacuum again. Once your mattress is dry (this could take a few hours), vacuum it up again. Time to put on some fresh, clean sheets, and enjoy your sleep that night.

We hope this helps you to keep your mattress fresh and clean! Now, if you have a Purple mattress… you’re on your own.

How To Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Topper

You must clean a memory foam topper by hand to avoid damage. But it’s actually pretty easy to clean a memory foam mattress topper, which we’ll cover below.

  • Vacuum clean. A hand-held dust vacuum works well for this step, but you can use a soft brush attachment on a regular vacuum cleaner as well. Carefully vacuum all parts of the topper.
  • Mix the spot clean solution. You can take care of stains with clear liquid laundry detergent mixed with equal parts water.  
  • Get the stain out. Gently blot the stain and let sit for about a half hour. 
  • Rinse. Then wipe the spot with a damp cloth.  
  • Dry. Blot dry with a clean towel and then let sit to dry the rest of the way.  


How Often Should I Clean My Mattress?

Estimates range for how often you should clean your mattress. However, it is recommended that you clean your mattress every six months. Clean your mattress as often as you feel comfortable. If you have allergies or notice odors, you may want to do it more frequently, like every season or couple of months. As we mentioned above, it’s also good to clean after someone has been sick or injured. 

Can I put my memory foam in the washer?

Never put your memory foam in the washer. Placing it in the washer can cause it to tear and otherwise damage it since memory foam is delicate. You can wash your memory foam with a vacuum cleaner and with careful handwashing.   

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your mattress regularly can help its longevity and improve your quality of sleep. There’s nothing like a newly cleaned mattress to keep your bedroom smelling fresh. Plus, cleaning a mattress can help take care of any allergens or even budding mold or mildew. 

And while cleaning a mattress may seem daunting, it’s fairly easy with a homemade solution and baking soda, which is why this is the best way to clean a mattress. And it’s a similar process, whether you’re cleaning memory foam, latex or pillow-top mattresses.    

Using a mattress topper pad can also keep your mattress cleaner in the long run. You can compare topper pads in our mattress toppers guide.