Mattress toppers are a popular and inexpensive way to improve the comfort of a mattress. Because they sit atop the bed, just under the sheets, mattress toppers can become exposed to spills, body oils, sweat, and other contaminants that can make the topper dirty. This guide covers how to clean mattress toppers, without damaging their interior components.
Many mattress toppers are made from memory foam, polyfoam, and latex, though natural materials like feathers and wool are also common. These materials can absorb moisture and cleaning products, so special care is needed when cleaning them. We’ll explain how to clean a memory foam mattress topper – and other types of toppers – thoroughly and safely.
How to Clean a Mattress Topper
The right approach for cleaning mattress toppers depends on how dirty they are. If you only need to refresh and deodorize, a simple baking soda cleaning will suffice. If there’s a liquid spill , you may need to use a gentle cleaning agent like white vinegar or an enzyme cleaner.
In any case, it is best to avoid using harsh cleaning agents, as they can discolor and even damage the delicate foams and other fill materials used in mattress toppers.
Basic Mattress Topper Cleaning
For routine cleaning, here’s how to freshen up a mattress topper:
- Strip and launder bedding.
- Carefully remove the topper from the mattress, placing it on the floor or a flat surface (you will likely need two people to move the topper – be careful, as thinner foam material can be easily damaged).
- Vacuum the topper thoroughly using your vacuum’s handheld attachment.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the entire surface of the topper.
- Allow the topper to sit, covered in the baking soda, for at least 8 hours.
- Vacuum the topper thoroughly to remove the baking soda.
- If desired, flip the topper over and repeat steps 3-6 on the opposite side.
This method is simple, quick, and uses only baking soda and a vacuum cleaner. It’s effective due to baking soda’s unique ability to neutralize odors and draw moisture out. We recommend doing this entire process two to three times per year, or on an as-needed basis, to keep the topper fresh. For an even quicker clean, simply vacuum the topper to remove dust particles every time you wash your sheets.
Mattress Topper Deep Cleaning
In some cases, your mattress topper may need a deeper cleaning. In the case of spills or accidents, you’ll first need to soak up as much liquid as possible, and then use a gentle cleaner to eliminate odors and reduce the chance of permanent stains. Here’s how to deep clean a soiled mattress topper:
- Strip and launder bedding.
- If there is substantial liquid on the topper, gently soak it up using a towel or paper towels. Blot gently to soak up moisture. Do not rub, as this risks pushing the liquid further into the topper.
- Gently remove the topper from the mattress and place it on the floor.
- Check to see if any liquid soaked through to the mattress itself (if so, blot dry and spread baking soda on the mattress, then follow the steps outlined in our mattress cleaning guide).
- Mix equal parts cool water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Spray the affected areas of the mattress topper.
- Gently blot out excess moisture using a towel.
- Sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda over the mattress topper, and allow to rest for at least 8 hours.
- Vacuum up the baking soda.
- Check for signs of stains and/or odors. You may need to repeat steps 6-9, if necessary.
- Allow the topper to dry fully. Opening windows to increase airflow, turning on a fan, or turning up the heat can all help speed up this process.
In many cases, a simple solution of water and white vinegar is an effective and all-natural cleaner for mattress toppers. While vinegar has a strong smell, it is an effective cleaning agent and helps to neutralize other odors. The baking soda you apply after using the cleaner will help to neutralize the vinegar smell, as well.
For biological spills and stains, a commercial enzyme cleaner may work better than a vinegar and water solution. If you choose to go this route, check the instructions on the product packaging, and be sure to use the cleaner sparingly. In some cases, cleaning products can cause discoloration or damage to mattress toppers.
How to Get Stains Out of a Mattress Topper
If there are stains already set on your topper, you may need a different cleaning approach. Here’s how to remove stains:
- Choose a cleaning solution (see below).
- Apply a small amount of solution to a clean cloth.
- Gently blot the stained area with the solution-soaked cloth.
- Use a separate cloth, dipped in cold water, to blot the stained area.
- Repeat as needed.
- Apply baking soda, letting it sit for at least 8 hours to draw out moisture.
- Vacuum the mattress surface and air-dry.
There are a few different cleaning solutions you can use to remove stains from mattress protectors:
Enzyme Cleaner – Commercial enzyme cleaners are effective, particularly for biological stains such as those caused by blood, sweat, and urine. Enzyme cleaners can be found in most grocery stores, near the laundry detergent.
Dish Soap – Using a small amount of dish soap mixed with water can also be effective. Get the mixture sudsy, and use only the foam that forms on top to clean the topper.
Vinegar – White vinegar, diluted 1:1 with water, is also effective at removing some stains.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Very difficult stains, such as blood, may respond better to a diluted mixture hydrogen peroxide and water (1:1). However, keep in mind that peroxide can bleach or damage memory foam, so use it sparingly, and only when other options have failed.
In some cases, you may need to try a few different cleaning solutions in order to remove tough stains.
Ideally, you want to use a relatively small amount of cleaner, and blot, rather than soak. However, if the stain is very set in, you may need to use more cleaner and let it soak in for a while. If you do go this route, use plenty of baking soda afterwards, and be sure to allow adequate time for the mattress topper to dry fully.