Home Improvement Magazine

How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Correctly

By Richard Morse @insidebedroom

Cleaning a memory foam mattress is not easy. It is important to clean it correctly without ruining its memory foam properties! There are several risks involved in cleaning memory foams, which is why we are offering you this advice on how to clean a memory foam mattress correctly.

Before cleaning anything - anything at all, including crockery, glass, fabrics and foams - you need to understand what to do and not to do. A memory foam mattress does not take well to liquids of any kind. Any liquid used in cleaning must be sprayed on thinly. You cannot take a wet sponge to memory foam and scrub at it to remove any staining.

Table of Contents

Regular Maintenance Cleaning of a Memory Foam Mattress

Your mattress is your sleeping surface. Your body sheds around 40,000 skin cells every hour - that's the major source of dust in your home. If you sleep for an average 8 hours each night, then every month you will shed about 9.6 million skin cells. Skin cells feed dust mites. These small arachnids defecate, shed their skins, reproduce and die in your mattress.

So how do you control this source of allergens? Dust mites can't bite you, but you can become allergic to them and their feces. Dust mite feces contain proteins that many people can become allergic to. Exposure can lead to watery eyes, a runny nose, and if you have asthma then they can be a serious threat to your health.

Vacuum cleaning is a good way to clean your mattress on a regular basis. Weekly or every two weeks would be sufficient to keep down the population of dust mites and the amount of dust/skin cells in your memory foam mattress. Vacuum cleaning when dry is a good way of removing skin cell and accumulations of dust mite feces.

Cleaning Memory Foam Mattress of Stains and Liquid Contamination

Vacuum cleaning is a good way to remove dead skin cells and dust mites. However, what about liquid contamination? Mattresses can become contaminated with more than just the obvious liquid contaminant. Sickness and incontinence through illness and age are specific problems that need professional help to overcome.

However, most people don't know how to clean a memory mattress correctly, even just from day-to-day (or night-to-night) usage. You cannot just throw a mattress into a washing machine and leave it!

Here are some tips on cleaning a memory foam mattress. If you know how to clean a memory foam mattress correctly, then you can easily keep it fresh and fully functional. It will take a longer period of time for it to become irreparable and replaced by another high-costing mattress. Cleaning a memory foam mattress correctly will not only keep it smelling fresh, but will also keep you rested better.

How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

Most good mattresses have a zippered cover, so remove that first. These can usually be machine washed (check the label). We are not discussing how to clean the entire surface of your mattress, but individual stains from spillages and 'accidents'.

What to Avoid:

  • Avoid scrubbing water-based cleaners into the mattress. Memory foam has a very open structure, and if you scrub cleaning foam into it then it will lose its 'memory' properties.
  • Avoid commercial stain removers that need rubbed or scrubbed into the surface. These will break down the foam structure of the memory foam and also remove its 'memory' properties.
  • Avoid hard scrubbing of the mattress because a memory foam structure is very delicate.
  • Never soak memory foam with water, with or without detergents or commercial cleaners.

You can't just rub away at a memory foam mattress with a sponge because that will ruin its foam structure. Memory foam is unique, and cannot be cleaned like other foams such as latex. You can use a cleaner specifically designed for memory foams, or you can try the formula below which is kind to the foam's chemistry and structure.

Manufacturer's Instructions: Make sure you read any manufacturer's instructions. If you fail to do this, you may invalidate your warranty, so look for labels on the mattress or instructions in the mattress paperwork.

Home Made Memory Foam Cleaning Solution

Here is one idea for a home-made memory foam cleaning solution. There are many others, including using hydrogen peroxide, but this one has been tried and tested and it works fine.

  • One pint of water
  • Add two tablespoons baking soda (bicarbonate of soda and stir to dissolve.
  • Half a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • A tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.

Stir till the soda has dissolved then add the other ingredients. You could also add some vinegar or a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide if you have some. Depending on the quantities, the acidity of the vinegar may lead to some foaming of the soda. This is good and helps the cleaning process.

Either pour that into a spray bottle if you have one or use a sponge. If you use the sponge, dip it into the solution and squeeze so it is damp but not dripping. The sponge may be better if your mixtures foams up with the vinegar and baking soda.

Cleaning the Memory Foam Mattress

Removing Loose Debris:

Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose debris on the mattress. This will also remove skin cells from the surface and upper layer of the memory foam.

Applying Cleaning Solution:

Whether you use a commercial memory foam cleaner or our home-made solution above, as previously explained it is best to spray the solution onto the area to be cleaned. After vacuuming the mattress and removing any loose debris, give the soiled surface a light spray with the cleaning solution. If you must clean a large area, or even the entire mattress, you should work on a small area at a time. If you use a sponge, then sponge the mattress surface over with the solution, but not enough to soak it. Press the solution into deep stains with your fingers.

Absorbing the Moisture:

Quickly absorb the moisture from the memory foam using a hand towel or paper towels. Do this is as soon as possible after cleaning the area - try to avoid moisture from seeping deep into the foam. Dab the foam - never rub at it with a cloth or towel.

Drying Off:

Once the surface looks clean then dry it with a hair dryer at a low heat setting and not too close with the dryer. All the way through the process, treat it as if you were washing a baby's hair. Gentle and warm - not rough and hot! If possible, take the mattress outside or open the windows in your bedroom to facilitate better airflow to dry the mattress faster.

If you want to freshen up the entire surface of the mattress rather than just soiled areas, then use the solution to give the entire surface a light misting. Leave it uncovered for a day or two then you can use it again. If you use the mattress every day, then do this in the morning and leave it during the day in a heated room with fans blowing on it if possible. Otherwise take it outside to dry.

Check out this video on how to clean memory foam. It explains using a memory foam pillow, but the same principles apply to a full mattress.

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