Home Improvement Magazine

How to Clean a Foam Mattress Topper in Easy Steps

By Richard Morse @insidebedroom

Knowing how to clean a foam mattress topper correctly and effectively will help you to keep your bedding clean and hygienic to sleep on. Many people suffer many different types of allergies. You can help to prevent you and your family from coming into contact with allergens by regularly cleaning your bedding, including your foam mattress topper if you have one.

Table of Contents

Allergens Associated With Mattress Toppers

You mattress topper can be contaminated with a number of allergens - things to which you are allergic. Among these are:

  • Dust mites: small mites that feed on the skin cells you shed when in bed. They can be found everywhere in your home because they feed on the skin cells you continually shed throughout your life.
  • Pollen - particularly in the spring and summer when flowers release pollen to fertilize other plants.
  • Mould spores - that are released by molds in any damp place in your home
  • Pet dander: that is a combination of animal skin cells (and dust mites) and hair or feathers. Dander can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in some people.

These are just some of the reasons why a foam mattress topper should be cleaned regularly, not only when it gets visibly stained. A foam topper cannot be cleaned safely in a washing machine. Not only can soaking the foam with water cause it to break apart, but the action of the washing machine can ruin the foam structure.

How to Clean a Foam Mattress Topper

There are other ways to clean a foam mattress that does not affect its properties. Here are some of the best ways to clean them that keeps them hygienic as well as for cosmetic reasons.

1. Vacuum Cleaning a Foam Mattress Topper

First, remove the topper from the bed and lay it on a flat, even surface. Vacuum it all over then flip it over and clean the other surface. This will remove most of the loose skin cells, dust mites and other contaminants. It's a good idea to vacuum clean your topper on a regular basis. A weekly clean with a vacuum cleaner should keep your mattress topper fresh, and reduce the chances of microorganisms penetrating the cover and getting into the foam structure.

A vacuum cleaner that also shampoos the surface is good to use. This will not only clear away loose skin cells and so on, but also any spillages that might become permanent stains if left too long. If you use a shampooer, then make sure you do this in the morning so the topper has time to dry out before use at night.

2. Spot Cleaning

There are two major approaches to cleaning a foam mattress topper. One is to clean the entire surface, such as a weekly maintenance clean. The other is to clean specific areas of contamination: spot clean. Many people will wet the surface and rub at it until the stain is removed. However, they are also liable to soak the foam and break down its structure. Here is the correct way to spot clean a foam mattress topper, whether it is memory foam, latex or polyurethane foam.

A. Equipment

Get everything you will need together, so you don't have to go hunting while your topper is wet. You will need:

  • Mild detergent designed for hand washing clothes.
  • White vinegar.
  • A spray bottle to spray the detergent onto the topper.
  • At least 2 soft cloths - toweling or cotton cloths will do.
  • A vacuum cleaner with hose attachment - or even better, a hand-held vacuum cleaner such as those designed for cars.
  • A hairdryer - a small fan will also do.
  • Optional: baking soda, hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)

B. Initial Spot Cleaning

  1. First, place the topper on a flat surface then vacuum clean the surface of the topper to be cleaned. You can clean only one side - the other side can be cleaned if necessary once the top side has been thoroughly dried.
  2. Make a solution of 2 parts vinegar to one part water, then rub this gently into the stain until it has been removed. If you have blood stains then a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide will be more effective.
  3. If staining is substantial then dampen it with neat vinegar and pour baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) over the vinegar. The soda reacts with the vinegar to release carbon dioxide bubbles, and the bubbles will gently clean the topper. Vacuum the area after 2 hours. If you don't have the time, then clean as much of the stain as possible with the vinegar/water solution. This will suffice for most stains.
  4. Once you have removed, or at least reduced, most of the individual stains on your mattress topper, you are now ready for the main clean. Follow the steps below. These are a main overall clean of the topper. When spot cleaning, you have simply removed specific areas of high contamination, but you still have the rest of the topper to clean.

3. How to Clean a Foam Mattress Topper as a Whole

This means how to clean a foam mattress topper in its entirety, and not just spot clean it. We have already stressed the importance of vacuuming your mattress topper at least once weekly. Occasionally, you will have to clean the total area of its top and bottom surfaces. Here are the steps to take to do that:

  1. If you have any specific areas of the mattress that are particularly stained, then spot clean them as above.
  2. Spray the entire topper in sections using the clothes washing soap solution. Don't spray the entire topper at once - split it into sections such as 3-foot square areas. Spray each area then gently rub the detergent in with a soft cloth or towel. Most people find that a circular motion gives best results.
  3. Once you have cleaned the entire topper, wash it over with cold water (using water in the spray bottle) and dab up the water with a cloth/towel or absorbent paper towels.
  4. Once you have removed the surface water, roll the topper inwards. Don't squeeze it but press lightly on it to remove any excess moisture. Unroll it, and leave it to dry.

Tips on How to Clean a Foam Mattress Safely

While the information above will help to clean your foam mattress topper, here are some tips on making sure you do so without ruining it!

  • When using a hair dryer (or any other type of blow dryer) to dry your foam mattress topper, don't direct the dryer directly onto the topper. This could overheat it and damage the surface of the foam. This is particularly the case for memory foam toppers that soften significantly with heat. They have been designed to soften with your body heat during the night. So keep the dryer pointing sideways to the surface rather than directly onto it.
  • Memory foams can react badly to direct sunlight, so never dry memory foam mattress toppers in direct sunlight - particularly at noon!
  • Make sure that your foam mattress topper is completely dry before using it. Even a slight amount of moisture can promote molds or mildew if you put it on your bed before it is completely dry.
  • Never machine-wash or machine-dry your mattress topper. The structure of the foam might be ruined.

Finally: Always use cold water to clean a foam topper - particularly if the foam is memory foam. Memory foam reacts badly to hot water, although even latex foam will distort when heated.

How to Clean a Foam Mattress Topper: Summary

If you follow the above instructions on how to clean a foam mattress topper you should be able to extend the life of your topper by many years. But more than that: you will protect your family's health for many years! It is important that your bedding is clean and hygienic to use. The steps above are not difficult to follow.

If you use a cover for your mattress topper, then you will find it even easier to keep clean. You can wash your topper cover in a washing machine and also machine-dry it. However, the information above should enable you to keep your foam mattress topper clean, extend its life and also keep your family safe from the allergens toppers can hide if not cleaned regularly.

Now you understand how to clean a foam mattress topper you should first get the materials together and then make a start: the first step is the hardest, but once you get started you will find it an easy and good routine to follow. Keep you and your family safe in bed at night!

Continue Reading: Mattress Toppers: Good Or Bad? "

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