How to Clean a Mattress Topper in 4 simple steps

Mattress toppers are that extra super cozy layer of cushion that adds an extra layer of protection to your mattress. They are a great way to add a bit of comfort and extend the life of your mattress, you can read more about our top recommendations here. While you would put a bedsheet on top, it still gets dirty over time with stains from nights spent binging in your bedroom. 

However, as the topper is made of delicate memory foam, you can’t just dunk it in the washing machine. The foam could tear apart when it is soaked and the centrifugal force inside the washing machine could disorient the fabric’s structure completely. Ideally, you need to go about it in a step-by-step cleaning process that involves vacuuming, eliminating stains with soap, deodorising and then drying it.

We’ve tried to recommend cleaning products commonly available in most Australian households or are easier to find. 

cleaning mattress toppers

How Often Should You Wash It?

Most of the heavy wear and tear is experienced by your bedsheets. Mattress toppers do not get soiled as often and thus can be washed every couple of months.

Below the bedsheets, your mattress toppers are the ones soaking in those body oils, dust and sweat, preventing your mattress from being ruined. Hence, it is only responsible that you wash them. The best way to go about this is by first checking the manufacturer’s care label for cleaning directions. 

Do The Prep

First things first, you don’t want to clean the topper with soap, while it is on the mattress. You’ll just end up spreading the stain to the mattress. 

  • Get It Off The Bed: Remove the topper from the mattress to avoid soap solution or stain soaking into your bed. Vacuum the floor and place it down for cleaning.

  • Dual-layer Toppers: Some mattress toppers have a cover, so it is ideal to remove and wash them separately. If you have pillow-top covers, then wash them and re-fluff the cover in a dryer. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions in the tag before cleaning them.

Step 1: Vacuum Clean

vaccum clean mattress topper

Using handheld or water-based vacuum cleaners, you can efficiently clean your mattress toppers. With a standard nozzle, sturdily clean the topper in a circular motion to get rid of grime, microorganisms and dirt accumulated on the surface. You can switch between nozzles, if you find it hard to get to edges, especially when you own an egg-crate mattress topper. If you have a topper made of delicate fabric, use a soft brush attachment. 

You can air dry it once  if you are using a water-based vacuum cleaner. It may take anywhere between 10 to 24 hours to air dry, depending on the thickness of your mattress topper. If you use a scented detergent, then you are also deodorising the topper while cleaning it, all at one go. Vacuuming will save you a lot of time and doing it often will make your mattress topper last longer. You can do it once a week on both sides of the topper.

Step 2: Clean the Stains

spot cleaning mattress topper

You are probably wondering how to get rid of nasty persistent urine or period stains or deal with accidental spillage on your mattress topper. Well, we’ve got you. The trick is to act fast to get the stain off completely, especially if you own a thick memory foam mattress topper.

  • Blot it: Using a clean old towel or rug or even kitchen paper napkins you can absorb the liquid spilled on the topper. Only blot the topper gently, do not rub the stain in. Squeeze the excess out and repeat the process, until you get most of it out.

     

  • Use Dish Soap: Mix a tablespoon of dish soap in lukewarm water. Now dip that kitchen towel in this dish soap solution and use the same blotting technique to clean the stain.

     

  • Laundry detergent: You can also use a mild liquid laundry detergent blended in water to clean your memory foam mattress topper. Make sure to mix the liquid detergent and water in equal parts in a bowl. Dip a soft cloth in the solution and rub it on the stain in circular motion. You can let it dry for 30 minutes and then wipe off the dirt and detergent residue on the top. Make sure to always use a clean cloth to blot the stains.

    You can also use a scented laundry detergent that can be sprayed over the mattress topper. This will also help your bed smell lovely and neutralise the nasty smell of urine or mould. You can use pretty much any detergent; however, I prefer Omo or Ion Laundry detergent. Both of them are readily available Australia-wide.

  • Baking Soda: All you have to do is mix one teaspoon of baking powder in a glass of water and rub this solution over that pesky stain you can’t seem to get rid of. Let it dry for a while, then with a wet cloth removed residue and later blot it with clean and dry paper towels.

    You can also just sprinkle baking soda directly over the stain and vacuum it after letting it sit overnight to get rid of that stain. Most memory foam mattress toppers aren’t meant to be cleaned in the washing machine, hence the best way is to spot clean them using baking powder and dry it well to avoid mould formation. 
spot cleaning with white vinegar
  • Distilled White Vinegar: Take equal portions of distilled white vinegar and water and mix them well in a bowl. Dip a clean soft cloth in this solution and gently rub it over the stain in circular motion. Once you get rid of the stain, remove the vinegar solution with clean dry and then dry it with clean paper towels. Personally I have had great success with stardrops white vinegar spray (link). I totally recommend but you can use any brand of white vinegar. Just make sure it’s distilled.

  •  Boric Acid: Wet the stained area lightly and then sprinkle some boric acid on it. Blot the stain with a clean cloth or even a sponge to soak in the stain. Do not scrub, this will spread the stain. Finally wipe it clean with a dry towel. Vacuum the topper once to make sure you don’t leave any boric acid residue.

Step 3: Eliminate The Stink

eliminate stink

Mattress toppers are quite commonly made of porous fabric and at times memory foam, which can lock in moisture from the air or from your bodily fluids such as sweat. Over time, this starts stinking, hence while you give your mattress topper a wash, it is a good idea to also deodorise it. You can use baking soda, rubbing alcohol or aromatics and scent to get rid of the odour. 

  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is an excellent odour neutraliser. Baking soda is gentle on fabrics and can easily eliminate odour with a generous sprinkle. Just let it sit for about 2 hours and then vacuum it.
  • Rubbing Alcohol Spray: Alcohol can lock in the odor molecules and let it out in the air, as it is a volatile compound. Just spray rubbing alcohol on the topper and let it dry. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol at home, you can also use ethanol or vodka. However, vodka will take longer to dry.
  • Scents and Aromatics: If you have a pillow-top layer, then you can just put a scented sheet when you put the cover in the dryer. It will eliminate displeasing smells and add a lovely scent to it.

Step 4: Dry The Mattress Topper

air drying mattress toppers

Once you have effectively spot cleaned or vacuum cleaned your mattress topper, you must make sure to dry it out completely. This is one of the most significant steps in increasing the topper’s lifetime. Any type of moisture retained can lead to the formation of mildew and mould, which can permanently ruin the topper in the long run.

  • Air Dry: While air drying the mattress topper, ensure that you don’t put it under direct sunlight and you let it breathe longer in the outdoors. The circulating air will help vaporise the moisture efficiently.

  • Blow Drying: If you have a hair dryer that you want to try, then use it on a low or cold dry setting. Memory foam mattress toppers can disintegrate if you use a stream of hot air on them. Also, make sure to keep the dry at least 8 to 11 inches away from the topper. 

Can machine wash mattress toppers?

Now, while we did say that you can’t machine wash your mattress toppers, there is an exception when it comes to those made of wool. Of course it is advisable to always check the manufacturer’s instructions on the tad first before you dunk into your washing machine for a regular wash cycle. It is ideal to use a gentle washing cycle, preferably in cold water with a mild detergent. You can also wash it by hand. 

Never use the dryer for wool, instead just hand it on a drying rack or clothesline and just let it air dry. It would usually take about half a day to air dry it. You can also take it to a dry cleaner, who will clean it without any hassle.

In Conclusion

Washing your mattress topper is all about what material it is made of and what kind of nasty stains you are dealing with honestly. If you know that and have read the care label well, then it becomes easy to just follow the cleaning tips. 

Be it vacuuming, spot cleaning, deodorising or simply taking it to your laundromat for dry cleaning, ensure you follow through with regular maintenance. It is important that you make topper cleaning a routine every couple of months, so that you have a mattress that lasts longer and offers you that familiar cosy comfort all night long for some well deserved beauty-sleep.

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