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Cleaning And Caring For Your Memory Foam Mattress

Here's how to clean and care for your memory foam mattress so you can enjoy it for as long as possible.

Memory foam mattresses have excellent pressure relieving qualities, cradling your body and giving you a weightless sensation as you sleep. They can also last a long time - just as long as a regular pocket sprung mattress - so long as you look after it properly.

We’ve put together this guide to answer all of your questions regarding caring for your memory foam mattress, so you can enjoy its comfort for up to 8 years.

Rolled up mattress in plastic packaging on top of an unrolled memory foam mattress.

How to clean a memory foam mattress

Provided you regularly strip and wash your bedding, cleaning a memory foam mattress should be a simple case of wiping away any excess debris that could otherwise work its way into the mattress. Once you’ve removed your bedding, vacuum the surface of the mattress and inspect it for any spills or stains, which should be treated immediately.

'Washing' your memory foam mattress is best avoided - moisture and memory foam don’t mix well. If you have to wash a stain away, make sure you take the time to properly dry out the spot you’ve washed and only use a small amount of liquid.

Regularly changing your bedding and preventing stains from setting in are the main things to worry about when keeping a memory foam mattress clean – which is why a waterproof mattress protector is a great addition for most owners.

To keep it in the best possible condition, you should clean a memory foam mattress every six months. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide unless the manufacturer's instructions say you can, as this can bleach the fabric. If you do want to use it, test a small area first and ensure your room is well ventilated.

Deal with accidents and spillages quickly

Moisture is memory foam’s worst enemy – especially when taking the form of liquid spillages. Whether that’s a nighttime accident, an unruly pet marking its territory or a dropped cup of tea, liquids need to be dealt with quickly to avoid them causing lasting damage. 

The first step for dealing with a stain is to spray it sparingly with warm water and whatever type of soap the mattress manufacturer recommends. Once you’ve sprayed the stain, scrub it gently with a cloth, being careful not to void the warranty.

How to get urine out of a memory foam mattress

If you’ve only just realised your mattress has urine on it and it has had a chance to set in, you might need a stronger cleaning solution as it’s a bit harder to get out.

Create a solution of 240ml of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a couple of drops of washing-up liquid. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and saturate the stains before letting it sit for at least an hour. As the peroxide evaporates, any urine remaining in your memory foam mattress is drawn out with the baking soda. Vacuum off the baking soda and use a damp cloth to gently rinse the area. Repeat if the stains or odour haven’t lifted.

Use vinegar if the mattress is still wet

If you can catch the urine while it is wet, it is easier to remove as it has less of a chance to soak into your mattress. Act fast and remove all of your bedding. Put it in the washing machine as soon as possible and remove excess moisture by gently pressing dry towels or paper towels on the wet area before cleaning.

Don’t scrub as this can push the urine stain further into the mattress. Make a cleaning solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% warm water. If you have a spray bottle, saturate the area. White vinegar helps to neutralise the smell. Blot the memory foam mattress again to remove excess moisture. Apply a generous layer of baking soda, then let it sit for a good few hours – at least eight. Once the baking soda has soaked up any excess moisture, vacuum it off. Examine your mattress, checking for signs of stains and any remaining odours.

How to get urine smell out of memory foam

Baking soda is effective in neutralising urine odours. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress. Apply even more to the areas that smell stronger, and let it sit for at least 10 hours. Vacuum the mattress, and then repeat if necessary.

Close up of hands holding a spray bottle and cloth while cleaning a mattress.

How to care for a memory foam mattress

Cleaning spills isn't the only thing you need to consider when looking after your memory foam mattress. To get the most out of your new mattress and increase it's lifespan, consider these memory foam mattress care tips.

1. Don't open your new mattress with a knife

With the modern trend of vacuum-sealed mattress deliveries, it’s easy to see how you can make an early mistake with your new mattress. When taking it out of the box and removing it from any plastic wrapping, avoid using a knife, which could accidentally cut into the foam. Use scissors instead, as they give you more control and reduce the risk of piercing your new mattress.

2. Make sure it's in a clean, dry bedroom

Your memory foam mattress should be housed in a bedroom free of excess moisture and damp. Damp can lead to mould and mildew build-up, which can make its way into the mattress, ending up trapped between the foam layers. In very minor cases, running a dehumidifier in the room before you take delivery can help, or ventilate the room properly with open windows.

3. Allow time for it to fully expand

As we’ve mentioned, it takes anywhere between 24-72 hours for your memory foam mattress to fully expand. Of course, you can tell by the look and feel of it if it’s comfortable enough to sleep on for the first night, but be aware that it might take a day or two to be properly set up.

Don’t be tempted to use your memory foam mattress as soon as you’ve unrolled it - this can cause lasting damage. Your memory foam mattress needs time to inflate and expand, so don’t put any weight on it for the first few hours at least.

For more help and information on expanding, read our guide on How Long Does A Memory Foam Mattress Take To Expand?

4. Rotate your memory foam mattress regularly

Unlike a traditional mattress, memory foam mattresses should not be flipped. They are purposefully built in a specific layered format, which flipping it would ruin and lead to discomfort when you sleep. Instead, to preserve the foam, rotate the mattress 180 degrees every two to three months.

5. Use a mattress protector

If longevity is important to you, fitting a mattress protector is almost always a good idea. For memory foam in particular, a mattress protector can be key to defending against the main threats that affect memory foam: punctures/cuts and moisture ingress.

A memory foam mattress protector will ensure the mattress underneath doesn’t get cut or damaged by pets, misplaced household items like keys, zips on laundry piles etc. A waterproof protector will further protect the mattress against spillage.

6. Make sure your memory foam mattress is fully dry 

If you’ve cleaned your mattress, either as part of a regular routine or to clean up a spillage, you’ll need to let it dry out fully. Moisture that remains trapped in foam compromises its performance and can lead to all manner of unhygienic issues, such as mould or mildew. 

For those reasons alone, it’s vital that you dry out your memory foam mattress before you redress the bed. If it’s cold, turn on the heating in the bedroom, or run a dehumidifier if you have one.

Some people use a hair dryer, which can work to quickly dry out a spot, but may also damage the foam layers. If you’re going to use one, make sure you don’t have it on the highest setting and hold it well back from the mattress, so that the foam doesn’t melt. 

Remember to air out your mattress regularly too – some people do this every day, which may seem excessive, but will help keep the mattress in tip-top shape. To air it out, all you’ll need to do is remove the bedsheet, open a window and run a fan or dehumidifier in your room.

If your mattress is particularly stained or dirty, we’d recommend investing in a new one. Bacteria can build up quickly, and while it may not be visible to the human eye, it can cause serious problems to your health. A clean, hygienic sleeping environment is vital for your overall wellbeing.

How to make your memory foam mattress firmer or softer

We offer memory foam mattresses in a range of firmness levels, from soft, medium to firm. However, we understand that your mattress firmness needs might change over time.

Memory foam is renowned for being quite soft, as it contours to the very unique shape of your body. However, a firm mattress may be more suitable for someone who sleeps on their back or front, as it aids spinal alignment and supports your mid-waist area and lower back. A firm mattress can also be great for those with back or joint pain for the same reasons.

A soft mattress, however, is more suited to someone who sleeps on their front. Soft memory foam mattresses are especially great if you’re pregnant, as they offer instant pressure relief and will mould to the shape of your body, relieving pressure from every point.

The easiest way to change the firmness of your mattress is with a mattress topper. We stock mattress toppers in a range of firmnesses, and they can easily be removed or switched as your needs change. Our memory foam mattress toppers are also available in different thicknesses, depending on how much you wish to change the feel of your mattress.

FAQs

Not found the answer you're looking for? Check out our FAQs.

Why does my memory foam mattress smell?
Sometimes a new memory foam mattress may have a slight chemical odour, which is simply a product of the manufacturing process. It’s nothing to worry about, and will clear completely in a few hours once it’s been aired and expanded.
How long does it take to air out a memory foam mattress?
If the chemical-like odour isn’t something you can cope with and would like to get rid of it sooner, you should air your memory foam mattress out in a well-ventilated area for 24 to 48 hours before you sleep on it. You should also consider unboxing it and removing the plastic packaging outside, allowing it to off-gas before you bring it into your bedroom and reducing the amount of the odour indoors. If you do choose to unwrap your mattress outside, make sure you do so in a clean, dry area to prevent your mattress from getting dirty.
How do I dry a memory foam mattress?
A wet memory foam mattress is annoying, but accidents happen. Begin by blotting the mattress with a dry towel, soaking up as much excess liquid as possible. Then, if you have a wet vacuum, use this to suck up any more liquid. Sprinkle baking soda over the spill, as bicarbonate of soda will quickly absorb moisture. Apply pressure with a towel to allow the baking soda to get to any trapped liquid. If it’s a sunny day, take your mattress outside to air dry, but if you have to dry it inside, we recommend opening your windows to ensure proper air circulation.
How long does it take to dry a memory foam mattress?
Generally, it should take about 48 hours for a memory foam mattress to dry – however it could be more or it could be less. The thickness of your mattress will influence its drying time. It’s worth noting that a memory foam mattress is made up of several layers; it’s what makes it incredibly comfortable. Because of this, it may feel dry to the touch but inside it is still wet. Give it enough time to fully air out otherwise any remaining moisture may allow mildew and mould to grow, which would damage it as well as potentially harm your health.
How can I prevent a memory foam mattress from sagging?
If you have a new mattress or have had it for a couple of years and want to make sure you're caring for it properly, you should rotate it every six months so that your head will lay where your feet did. Make sure that you don’t flip it, as memory foam mattresses are one-sided and you’ll end up damaging it and sleeping on the side without the foam layer.
Why has my memory foam mattress started to sag?
This type of mattress will sag faster than other materials if it isn’t cared for properly. This is because memory foam is designed to mould and adapt to your body shape which offers huge amounts of comfort and pressure relief. Memory foam compresses at a quicker rate than hybrid or latex, which is what gives it this soft yet supportive feeling. However, when you sleep in the same sagging area for long periods of time, compressing the material over and over, it can become squashed which leads to the sagging. Compression isn’t always bad because the material conforms to your body shape the more you sleep on it each night. However, if the mattress indentation is deeper than 2cm, then this will cause you issues, and you should consider replacing your mattress.
Is it dangerous to sleep on a mouldy memory foam mattress?
Sleeping anywhere near mould or dampness can cause serious respiratory problems. If you see mould starting to form on your memory foam mattress, you should consider replacing it and making sure to place it in a well ventilated room with appropriate air circulation.
What causes mould on a memory foam mattress?
Mould can build up on a memory foam mattress if it’s been exposed to moisture. Poorly ventilated rooms or bedrooms with damp are not recommended for memory foam mattresses. You also shouldn’t place your mattress on the floor - memory foam needs air circulation to prevent bacteria building up. Take a look at our guide to The Best Bed Frame For Memory Foam Mattresses to ensure you’re using yours properly.
Can you steam clean a memory foam mattress?
No, avoid using a steam cleaner on a memory foam mattress as the heat and moisture can damage it beyond repair. Since the memory foam would be saturated and it is so absorbent, it wouldn’t be able to dry and mould and mildew can grow. Plus, the foam layer beneath will never be the same again.
Can I clean a memory foam mattress topper?
Yes, just use a mixture of warm soapy water and lightly spot-clean any stains. This will prevent the foam from being saturated and subsequently damaged. In fact, some memory foam toppers have a removable cover which you can pop in your washing machine. Just check the care guide and instructions first.
Can I wash memory foam pillows?
Memory foam should be hand washed to avoid it becoming saturated with water and permanently damaged – don’t put memory foam pillows in the washing machine. Spot-clean your memory foam pillows with a mixture of warm soapy water.
Why is my memory foam mattress so soft?
Memory foam is designed to mould to your body, giving you a ‘sink in’ feeling as you lay on it. This mattress does have a softer feel than other types of mattress, such as one with pocket springs.
Why is my memory foam mattress so hard?
Memory foam, first created by NASA, is designed to cleverly ‘remember’ the unique contours of your body. If you’ve just purchased your memory foam mattress, it may feel slightly firm to begin with as it hasn’t had a chance to learn your curves and adjust to your shape. The more you sleep on your memory foam mattress, the more comfortable it will get, as it will become personalised to you.
How to compress a memory foam mattress
You can easily compress a memory foam mattress using a plastic mattress bag, a vacuum and some tape. Using a mattress bag of the right size, wrap your mattress up, sealing it with tape but leaving a hole for the vacuum nozzle. Turn the vacuum on and suck the air out of the bag - this will compress the mattress after a few minutes, and be sure to tape all the edges to prevent air getting back inside.
How to roll up a memory foam mattress
Begin by compressing the mattress using a plastic mattress bag and vacuum. While the vacuum nozzle is still sucking the air out, begin to firmly roll the mattress from the opposite end. If it’s a larger mattress, you may need someone to help you. Use plenty of tape or ratchet straps to secure it.
How long can a memory foam mattress stay compressed?
To keep yours in good condition, we advise that you don’t have the mattress folded or rolled for over two months but you should always check the manufacturer’s care instructions before you attempt to fold or compress it.