How to Deep Clean a Memory Foam Mattress the Eco-Friendly Way

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Deep cleaning a memory foam mattress is important to do every few months, or as needed.

Not only will this keep your mattress clean and free of dust mites, but it will also help extend its lifespan. Plus, deep cleaning is the best way to remove any built-up sweat, skin oils, and other debris that can cause odors.

The good news is that cleaning your memory foam mattress is relatively easy to do and can be done without the use of harsh chemicals or expensive cleaners.

In fact, all you really need is some baking soda, white vinegar, and a little elbow grease!

Importance of Cleaning Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses are made from a material that contours to your body and provides support for your joints and muscles.

It's true that old memory foam mattresses had substantial carbon footprints and contained hazardous chemicals that were prone to off-gassing, so they weren't good for your health or the environment.

A modern, organic memory foam mattress, however, is a different matter. They are made from natural materials, contain no harsh chemicals, and are also known for being very durable, making them a great investment for your bedroom.

So obviously, you want to keep them clean and look after them to make them last as long as possible.

We've previously written about how to clean latex mattresses. The cleaning process for memory foam is similar, with a few changes required due to the different materials involved.

Step-by-Step Guide to Deep Cleaning a Memory Foam Mattress

If you're not looking to remove any specific marks or stains from your mattress, then follow these steps to remove everyday dirt or light stains.

If you do have stubborn stains to remove, then skip to the next section.

vacuum your mattress

#1 Vacuum the entire mattress

The first step to deep cleaning a memory foam mattress is to vacuum it thoroughly. Pay special attention to the seams, sides, and any other areas where dead skin cells, crumbs, debris, dirt, and dust can accumulate.

If you have a handheld vacuum cleaner, that will make it easy. But if you have a larger vacuum with a hose or soft brush attachment, that will do the job just as well.

#2 Cover Surface With Baking Soda

Next, you'll need to cover the surface of the mattress with baking soda. Baking soda is a natural absorbent that will help to lift dirt and stains from the fabric.

Be sure to cover the entire mattress, including any tufts or buttons. You can use a dusting brush or your hands to apply the baking soda.

Let the baking soda sit on the mattress for at least 30 minutes (preferably up to one hour) to absorb any odors.

#3 Remove with Vacuum

Use your vacuum cleaner to remove all the baking soda. If any light stains persist, you may repeat the process.

For heavier stains, move on to the following steps.

How To Remove Tough Stains from a Memory Foam Mattress

If you have tougher, ground-in stains such as coffee, blood, or urine stains then the dry clean method using baking soda may not be sufficient.

So to deep clean memory foam, you can create your own eco-friendly cleaning solution using everyday household items.

Here's what you need to do.

#1 Vacuum the Mattress

As before, you will need to thoroughly vacuum your mattress before you start to clean it.

#3 Make a Mattress Cleaning Solution

Next, it's time to mix up your own homemade mattress fabric cleaner. There are several ways you can do this, depending on what type of stain you have and what substances you have available.

  • 1 Part eco-friendly laundry detergent, 2 parts water (best for dried stains)
  • 1 Part eco-friendly dishwashing liquid, 2 parts water (alternative to detergent)
  • 1 Part white vinegar, 3 parts water (best for tough stains)

Pour the solution into a spray bottle, then give it a shake prior to application.

Cleaning a memory foam mattress

#4 Spot Clean the Mattress

Identify all stains from your mattress and then clean them.

Spray a small amount of solution over the stain. Once the spray has been applied, use the damp cloth or a sponge and gently work the stain out of the mattress.

Afterward, wipe away any remaining solution with a dry cloth or paper towels, and dry it out as per the steps below.

If the stain persists, repeat the same cleaning procedure. Use vinegar instead of the cloth cleaning solution.

#4 Dry the mattress

Because memory foam absorbs liquids so easily, it is critical to dry it thoroughly before putting it back on the bed.

If you have had a wet stain or used a cleaning solution, your memory foam mattress may absorb the liquid which can lead to mold or mildew if not dried properly.

After cleaning a memory foam mattress it is best to let it air dry. Make sure the mattress is in a well-ventilated area. Open all windows, and turn on a fan if you have one available.

Some people like to use a hairdryer on low heat to speed up the drying process. Never use high heat as this can damage your foam.

Personally, I'm not a fan of using hairdryers as it's not a very eco-friendly drying method, so I would only do this if you have solar panels or a home wind turbine installed.

But remember that baking soda extracts moisture naturally. So you can use this to speed up the drying process.

Removing Wet Stains

If you have a new stain that is still wet, such as a spilled drink or nosebleed, you can first use a clean cloth or paper towels to blot the stain and soak up as much of the liquid as you can.

Next, treat the stain with the white vinegar spot cleaning process as described above.

Finally, cover with baking powder and leave for as long as possible - preferably several hours. Then vacuum it up and leave the mattress until it is completely dry before you make your bed again.

Removing Dried Stains

It's better to treat stains as soon as possible, but if you have an older dried stain it can still be removed with a little effort.

You should treat a dried stain as if it were a tough stain, and follow the steps above, using a solution made from diluted eco-friendly detergent, or diluted white vinegar.

Depending on the type of stain, you may need to rub it for longer. But don't be tempted to rub harder - you run the risk of damaging your memory foam mattress if you press too hard. Simply use light, circular motions with your cloth until the stain is lifted.

How to Deodorize a Memory Foam Mattress

A memory foam mattress can be a great investment for anyone looking for a comfortable, supportive sleeping surface. However, one downside of memory foam is that it can sometimes retain body odor.

If you find yourself with a stinky mattress, there are a few things you can do to deodorize it.

Firstly, the good news is that the cleaning methods described above will also remove most odors. Baking soda is great at this.

If you still find that some odors remain, then follow the white vinegar method. But when mixing your solution, you can add a few drops of lemon, or your favorite essential oils, into the mix. Then apply with a spray bottle as normal.

This will leave your mattress smelling clean and fresh, perfect for a great night's sleep.

Also, it's fine to dry a memory foam mattress in direct sunlight. In fact, the sun's rays can also have a deodorizing effect on memory foam, so regular exposure to sunlight will also help keep your mattress fresh.

Maintenance Tips

How to Keep a Memory Foam Mattress Clean

Regular mattress cleaning is essential for sleep hygiene as well as extending its life.

Get into the habit of cleaning memory foam mattresses regularly - every time you change your sheets, or at least once a month. This will keep it free of pet hair, dust mites, dead skin and crumbs.

How to Make Your Mattress Last Longer

Other than regular cleaning, the best way to make your mattress last longer, and prevent stains and odors, is to use a mattress protector.

Note that a mattress protector is not the same thing as a mattress topper. Mattress toppers do not offer as much protection against stains, because liquids can soak through onto the mattress surface.

You should also rotate your mattress every few months. Turn it through 180 degrees to even out the wear and indentations.

What to do when a Mattress is Beyond Cleaning

If your mattress is showing initial signs of wear or sagging, it may still be possible to extend its life by another few years. Follow our guide to fixing a sagging mattress to see the simple tricks you can use to reduce indentations.

If the problem is too severe to fix, you will need to dispose of your mattress responsibly.

Then, you will probably be in the market for a new one.

Our roundup of the best eco-friendly mattresses on the market will guide you through the choices and help you find the best product for your budget.

If you're wondering why getting an organic mattress is so important, check out this article on whether organic mattresses are worth the money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use hydrogen peroxide on a memory foam topper or mattress?

Yes, but use it with caution! Using hydrogen peroxide can clean a memory foam mattress, but it can also discolor the fabric on your mattress cover and, in some cases, void your warranty.

Therefore I recommend you use it only as a last resort, and only on mattresses which are no longer under warranty.

Can you put memory foam in the dryer?

No, do not put memory foam in your dryer. It can damage the material. Worse still, non-organic memory foam contains chemicals that can react with the heat and cause a fire. Always air dry instead.

How do you clean a memory foam mattress topper?

You can clean a memory foam mattress topper in much the same way as you would the mattress itself.

Simply remove the topper after you clean it, and move it into the sunlight to dry.

How do you clean memory foam pillows?

Again, you can clean memory foam pillows in the same way as you would clean a topper or mattress.

Conclusion

An organic foam mattress is a great investment - if you take care of it.

Fortunately, it's relatively easy to deep clean a memory foam mattress, and keep it clean thereafter. All this can be done in an environmentally friendly way, without using any toxic chemicals.

Regular cleaning and maintenance will help keep your mattress, topper, and pillows in good condition for years to come.

If and when you do eventually need to replace it, be sure to check out our roundup of the best eco-friendly mattresses to get the best organic, non-toxic replacement.

Arabella Ruiz is a senior researcher at The Roundup. She lives in San Antonio, Texas and has been interested in the environment from an early age. Arabella loves to campaign for environmental causes and fundraise for charities that aim to preserve wildlife habitat, protect endangered species or help people with climate change problems.
Arabella Ruiz
Arabella Ruiz is a senior researcher at The Roundup. She lives in San Antonio, Texas and has been interested in the environment from an early age. Arabella loves to campaign for environmental causes and fundraise for charities that aim to preserve wildlife habitat, protect endangered species or help people with climate change problems.

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