How to clean a memory foam mattress
We spend a third of our lives sleeping. That puts a significant demand on our mattresses. Trying to keep them clean and hygienic is a constant concern. If you consider that the average mattress lasts for eight years, you're actually sleeping on it for more than two and a half years.
If left uncleaned, dead skin cells, sweat and dirt can accumulate on your mattress over time. This encourages dust mites, mould and allergens to share your bed with you. You can clean your sheets and pillowslips regularly, but how easy is it to clean a memory foam mattress?
How long can a memory foam mattress last?
Looked after properly, a memory foam mattress can last just as long as any other kind. The average lifespan of a good quality mattress is eight to ten years. The easiest way to expand this to its maximum is to maintain your mattress regularly. We'll talk about cleaning in a minute. But other actions you can take to keep your memory foam mattress in tip-top condition include:
- Regularly rotating it from head to foot – every six months, you should rotate your mattress from head to foot to prevent dips and lumps from forming.
- If your mattress is double-sided, you can flip it over AND turn it. This allows the foam to recover its shape.
- Airing your mattress – when you get up in the morning, don’t make your bed straight away. Allow it to air for between 30-60 minutes. This will let any moisture evaporate and keep your mattress drier and fresher.
- Keep a window open – allowing the air to circulate in the bedroom will also help prevent mould and allergens from taking up residence in the memory foam.
How to clean your memory foam mattress
If you keep your memory foam mattress clean and in good condition, it will last you for years. Memory foam is a type of petroleum-based foam that can be cleaned - with care. Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep dust mites and allergens down to a minimum. It will also prevent odours and nasty smells from building up, as well as getting rid of mould and mildew.
Polyurethane foam will return to its original form as long as you ensure you take your time when cleaning and drying. Here's a step-by-step guide to cleaning your memory foam mattress.
1. Check the instructions
Before you start, it's essential to check the care instructions on your mattress. If you take action that damages the foam, you may find that your warranty becomes invalid. So read your care instructions.
2. Put your mattress cover in the washing machine
It's time for the 'strip-down!' You can start with washing your mattress cover. They're designed to protect your mattress against dirt and spills. But they can easily be removed and popped in the washing machine regularly, as long as they're not made using memory foam.
Use a cold cycle or the lowest temperature setting and add detergent and softener if required. It's advisable to air dry your mattress protector rather than tumble drying it.
3. Tackle stains with detergent and warm water
Now that the mattress protector is removed, it’s time to check out the surface of the mattress itself. Stains can be gently removed by using a mild detergent and water. Dab rather than scrub at the stain until it starts to come out. You can also buy specialist stain removers that can be used on most problems.
4. Catch those stains before they dry
The easiest way to get rid of a stain is to tackle it while the spill is still wet. It's much easier to remove a spill in this state. Once it's had a chance to dry, it locks deep into the fibres and is much harder to get out. Again, dab with a paper towel to soak up as much of the spill as possible before using a stain remover or mild detergent to get rid of the rest. Allow to dry and then reassess. If you need to go in for a second round, break out the detergent again and get dabbing!
If you are struggling to remove the mark, read up on how to get stains out of a mattress.
5. Break out the vacuum
Prevention is always better than cure, so breaking out the vacuum regularly will help reduce dust and dirt. It won't eliminate any dust mites, but it will take away their food source, namely dust and dead skin cells. Use a soft attachment and carefully give the surface a quick vacuum when changing your sheets.
6. Air dry your mattress
If you've got into the habit of making your bed first thing in the morning, stop! Allowing your mattress to air for 30-60 minutes lets the moisture evaporate and the bed air dry.
If you have to clean any stains or spills, don't be tempted to use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Let it air dry, and you'll avoid damaging the delicate surface and memory foam construction underneath.
7. Baking soda - freshen up your mattress instantly
When you strip your bedding off, sprinkle a little baking soda on the surface of the bed. Bicarbonate of soda absorbs moisture. So it's a great way to freshen up a musty mattress in just a few hours. Vacuum off before you make your bed.
8. Wash sheets and bedding once a week
It’s the eternal question – how often do you wash your sheets and bedding? Our advice is don’t leave it for more than a week if you want to keep allergens (and odours!) under control.
A hot wash once a week will kill off any bacteria and keep your bed smelling fresh and clean. It also gives you a chance to clean your memory foam mattress and tackle any stains or marks before they become ingrained.
9. Give your bedframe a regular clean
Giving your bedframe a regular wipe down with a damp cloth keeps dust at bay and stops it from building up in your mattress.
10. Call in the professionals
If all else fails, you can always call a professional cleaning company to tackle nasty stains or marks. They'll use specialist cleaning agents, including UV light and steam cleaners to kill off mites, mould and bacteria. Bear in mind that it could be expensive. So if your memory foam mattress is coming to the end of its life, it may be cheaper to buy a new one.
Can you wash memory foam mattress toppers and protectors?
Don’t be tempted to put a memory foam mattress topper or protector in the washing machine, as it will ruin the structure of the foam. You can spot clean it by hand using warm soapy water or a specialist stain remover.
Can you wash memory foam pillows?
Again, you cannot put a memory foam pillow through a washing machine. That's why it's vital to use not just a pillowcase but a pillow protector as well. The thick material is not only wonderfully comfortable, but it protects the surface of your pillow and keeps it cleaner for longer.