Can mattress toppers be washed? Sure they can, but it depends on the type of mattress topper involved. Mattress toppers are made using a range of different materials. Some have covers and some not. Let’s first have a look at what they may be made from, and reasons why they may need to be cleaned.
Table of Contents
Materials Used For Mattress Toppers
Mattress toppers are generally made using foam (memory foam, natural latex, synthetic foams) and natural materials such as cotton, wool and down (feathers). Each of these has to be handled in a different way. The first thing to do is to check any manufacturer’s washing or cleaning instructions. If you fail to conform to these, you may invalidate any warranty that comes with the topper.
Most mattress toppers used today are foam – memory foam being one popular type. Wool and other fiber toppers can often be washed in a washing machine, but not foams. Here are some tips on how to wash mattress toppers without ruining them.
How to Wash Mattress Toppers
So, can mattress toppers be washed, and how do you wash them? We have already answered the first part of that question: they can be washed. As to how it depends on why you need to wash them.
Maintenance Cleaning: Mattress toppers need regular maintenance cleaning, even if just an occasional vacuum. Your body sheds around 30,000 – 50,000 skin cells every hour. In a year, you will shed about 8 pounds of skin cells. If you spend 8 hours in bed, then a third of this will be deposited on your mattress or mattress topper every night.
Not only that, but there are likely billions of dust mites in your mattress – small mites that don’t bite you, but eat your skin cells! They can also lead to allergies and can present a distinct risk to the health of anybody who is allergic to them.
Always read the label for washing instructions. This video shows how to wash a fiber or cotton mattress topper:
Not all mattress toppers can be washed in this way. Memory foams should not be put into a washing machine, and cannot be soaked with water. Memory foam mattress toppers will absorb water that destroys their ‘memory’ properties. Here is how to wash or clean a memory foam mattress, or any type of foam mattress if you don’t want to take a chance in the washing machine.
1. Check the Mattress
Remove your mattress from the bed and give it a good look over. It’s easiest to place the mattress on the floor. However, try to place a tarpaulin or sheet of plastic beneath the mattress and the floor. Check it over for any particularly stained areas.
If you intend cleaning the mattress where it lies on your floor, make sure that you have good ventilation. Open the windows before you start to help the mattress to dry. Make sure you have all the equipment and materials you need beforehand. Drying certain types of mattresses quickly after washing is essential.
2. The Cleaning Process: General Cleaning
First vacuum clean the mattress – both sides. This will remove most of the surface dust: skin cells, dust mites and other loose debris. Foam mattress toppers are best cleaned using a vacuum attachment with soft bristles. Vacuum the entire surface of the topper – both sides.
B. Hand Wash:
You can use two methods to hand wash a foam mattress topper:
- Using Baking Soda: This video explains how to clean a memory foam pillow. However, the same principles apply to a mattress topper made from any foam, including memory foam. It involves sprinkling baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) over the surface, leaving it to soak up any staining and then vacuuming:
- Using Detergent Solution: Use a fairly mild detergent: one designed for washing baby clothes or hand-wash liquid. Mix two parts of water with one part detergent and put it into a spray bottle. Spray the mattress topper lightly all over – or even better, work in sections. Split it into four quarters and clean each quarter, one at a time. Do not rub the solution into the mattress – simply spray it and blot it with a sponge. You can rub particularly badly soiled areas gently with a fine brush and then blot it dry.
C. Dry the Mattress Topper:
Always let the topper air dry. Forced drying, such as with a hair dryer, could ruin its viscoelastic properties. The same applies if you are cleaning a latex foam topper
3. Spot Cleaning
You may not want to clean the entire mattress topper – maybe just clean up specific areas that have localized staining. If your child has an accident, or somebody has been eating in bed, there may not be the need to clean the entire topper.
The following steps are recommended. What you should not do is to saturate the foam with water.
- Vacuum the affected area. This will remove any dried-up debris. In fact, if convenient, vacuum the entire mattress topper to remove accumulations of skin cells and dust mites. You can then either clean the entire topper as above or work only on the areas concerned.
- Spot Clean: Identify the area or areas you need to clean. Use water with a few drops of washing liquid or liquid soap in it. Using a sponge, apply the solution to the stain then soak it up with a dry sponge or paper towel. If that fails, try a weak vinegar solution. Do not rub hard as this could damage the foam.
If neither of these suggestions is effective, use hydrogen peroxide. Be careful with hydrogen peroxide because it can act as a bleach on colored toppers and discolor the area. When finished, blot the area with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Then leave it to dry naturally.
- General Cleaning: If you have been spot cleaning specifically soiled areas of mattress topper prior to general cleaning, you should spray a light coating of soap solution over the topper before drying it. Work in squares as explained earlier. Don’t saturate the entire surface with water, but clean one area at a time.
Lightly spray a solution of liquid soap or detergent over an area of mattress topper then gently rub with a cloth or sponge. Leave it for about 20- 30 minutes, and then spray it with clean water. Blot it as dry as possible with paper towels then leave it to dry naturally.
Important: When cleaning memory foam mattress toppers it is very important not to saturate the topper with water. This can ruin the properties of the foam. Clean with as little moisture as possible.
4. Odor Removal
Sometimes your mattress topper looks clean but smells bad. This can happen after prolonged use without maintenance cleaning such as occasional vacuuming. Your body not only drops millions of skin cells weighing 12 ounces into your mattress topper every month, but you also sweat and emit other bodily fluids every night. It’s little wonder that your mattress topper will begin to stink after a while.
To remove this smell, shake baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) all over your topper and leave it for at least 8 hours – the longer the better. Then give it a thorough vacuum to remove the baking soda – and with it should go the smell. But you’re not finished yet! Now you have to flip the topper and do the same again. You can normally use your mattress topper 24 hours after beginning the process – but the difference makes it well worth it!
Cleaning Wool and Cotton Mattress Toppers
Not all mattress toppers are manufactured using foam. Toppers packed with wool or cotton are still popular with many people. These should be washed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most can be machine washed and dried, which makes cleaning much easier. Check this video eat was provided at the beginning of this post.
Check your mattress topper label or the paperwork that came with it if you still have it, for washing instructions. If you follow these instructions, you should not go wrong. If you are not sure if your mattress topper can be washed or cleaned using any of the above methods then don’t let it get too dirty!
Can mattress toppers be washed? Yes, of course, they can otherwise they would be a severe health hazard! The tips above explain how to wash mattress toppers, although a bit of regular cleaning with a vacuum cleaner will certainly keep your’s fresh, odor free and, much easier to clean when it needs it.
Keep your topper clean by regular vacuuming and spot cleaning whenever needed. You wear your clothes for 16 hours a day on average than clean them every day or two. You use your mattress for 8 hours, yet most people never wash the topper for months – if at all. Think about it!
Roberta Wright says
a sheet is covering the mattress topper, so I doubt you get all those dead skin cells, doesn’t that help protect the topper?
Diana Jenkins says
How do you wash a topper in a washer? It’s the size of a king bed. You can’t fold it, please explain or is there a secret giant washer place somewhere you are hiding? Explain, please.
So I want to know how not why to clean the topper. I figured out after the puppy pee on it.