How to Clean A Foam Mattress? – (6 EASY Steps)

Published
by Max S
How To Clean A Foam Mattress

We spend a third of our day in our bed and sometimes even more, especially now that most are working at home. This is why you must know how to clean a foam mattress.

Did you know that our skin sheds about 30,000 to 40,000 dead cells every minute? That’s a lot considering we sleep an average of 8 hours on the mattress and spend some time of the day on it. The foam mattress is expected to accumulate dust, dirt, and stains as time passes.

You’ll want to regularly clean your mattress to maintain its quality and prolong its life.

But how can you do it properly without damaging the mattress? Yes, cleaning improperly can damage your mattress. For example, your mattress is not supposed to get soaking wet during cleaning. We’ll talk more about that later.

Read more, and we’ll share about foam mattress cleaning, some dos and don’ts to make sure your mattress lasts the longest it can.

Steps in Cleaning your Foam Mattress

Depending on the amount of cleaning you have time for, there’s a method below. We’ve got you covered, from light dusting and deodorising to stain removal.

Step 1: Wash your beddings

women removing bed sheets from foam mattress
Image source: Pexels

The first step to do is to remove and clean your beddings. This includes:

  • duvets
  • bed sheets
  • pillows and pillowcases
  • blankets
  • mattress toppers
  • mattress covers

This is the first stop for sweat, food stains, saliva and more. By removing the beddings, you’ll uncover the surface of the mattress, seeing any disgusting stains.

Step 2: Vacuum cleaning

Vacuuming your foam mattress helps lift small debris and dirt that may cause allergies. Suppose you’re experiencing sneezing at night and in the morning, especially when in bed. In that case, it could mean that your foam mattress needs vacuum cleaning. The following can be potential allergens:

  • food crumbs
  • dust
  • dry skin and hair shedding
  • pet fur
  • small insects
  • dust mites
  • bed bugs

If you have a vacuum, that’s great – grab that and then follow the next steps.

  • It would be good to use the brush nozzle for this. This would help lift up some dirt already deeply seated on the mattress surface.
  • Vacuum all of the mattress surface area.
  • Make sure to get in between the creases of the corners and edges where dust and dirt can build up and settle.

If you don’t have a vacuum, you can shake off the dust and dirt on the mattress surface by doing the following.

  • Have an assistant help you get the mattress in a slanted or upright position.
  • Shake off the dust and dirt on the mattress surface and let them fall on the floor, which you can just sweep later on.

Step 3: Deodorise

Notice that your foam mattress smells funky. It may be due to accidental spills or body sweat accumulated from the years of use. Depending on the intensity of the funky smell, we’ll share some methods to remove the smell on your mattress.

For a mild smell, use baking soda.

Mild funky smells would come from accumulated body odour or sweat. Baking soda is a classic ingredient when it comes to deodorising. It helps absorbs the odour on your mattress and freshen it up.

To start,

  • Sprinkle baking soda on the surface that you want to remove the smell.
  • Let the baking soda sit for at least an hour; the longer, the better. This is to allow maximum absorption of odour on the area.
  • Remove the baking soda on the mattress surface using a vacuum cleaner, or you can just brush off the baking soda.

For more pungent smells, use an enzymatic cleaner.

A strong funky smell may come from human or pet urine, sometimes even vomit. Whatever it is, an enzyme-based cleaner help breaks down this smell.

How do they work?

Enzyme-based cleaners contain enzymes that break down molecules found in organic stains or dirt like

  • urine
  • faeces
  • blood
  • food
  • vomit

Every cleaner has different strengths, so make sure to check the instructions on your cleaner before using them. You can check out enzyme cleaners like Trade Chemicals and Simple Solution.

Step 4: Spot cleaning

One of the most vital pieces of advice in cleaning your foam mattress is that you can’t leave it wet. Why?

Mould grows in a moist and humid environment. Perfect for mould.

A study in 2019  found that women are at higher risk of asthma when exposed to mouldy odours. So mould is definitely something you don’t want to mess with on your foam mattress. Some long-term effects include

  • insomnia
  • memory loss
  • trouble concentrating and confusion
  • depression and anxiety
  • muscle cramps
  • numbness in extremities
  • weight gain
  • light sensitivity
  • hair loss

So, if you’re wondering if you can wash a foam mattress in a washing machine?

The answer is no, you can’t wash a foam mattress.

If you need to clean a specific mattress area, spot clean using these methods:

  • Using vinegar solution
  • Using baking soda and vinegar mixture
  • Using hydrogen peroxide
  • Using enzyme cleaner

Tip: In removing any stain, make sure you dab and not rub to avoid getting the stain deeper into the mattress.

Method 1: Using vinegar solution

Distilled vinegar acts like acid to break down stubborn stains on your mattress. To use this method,

  • Mix equal parts of distilled vinegar and water. You can use an empty water spray or put it in a mixing bowl.
  • Using a clean cloth, carefully dab the mixture into the stain.
  • Repeat this until you lift all the stains.

Method 2: Using baking soda and vinegar mixture

When baking soda and vinegar are combined, the acid in the vinegar breaks down the baking soda, producing carbon dioxide gas that can aid in the removal of dirt on the surfaces.

To do this method,

  • Sprinkle baking soda on the stained area and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Dab small amounts of vinegar on the baking soda. You’ll see the magic when it starts to fizz.
  • Using a clean cloth, remove the mixture to lift the stain.
  • Repeat the steps until the stain is completely removed.

Method 3: Using hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a colourless all-purpose cleaner. For this method, we’ll be using only 3% hydrogen peroxide solution like Care+ and SafeSol. This can usually be bought in supermarkets in the cleaning section. To start,

  • Spray onto the stained area if the area is large. Otherwise, you can apply using q-tips first. Hydrogen peroxide can cause bleaching, so carefully applying with q-tips will control the application if you’re not fond of discolouration.
  • You will see bubbles forming. After the bubble reaction, wipe the stains with a clean cloth.
  • Repeat as necessary to lift all the stains.

Method 4: Using enzyme cleaner

Similar to what we did in removing the funky smell earlier, refer to the enzyme cleaner’s instructions for cleaning. Some enzyme cleaners come in powder form like Amazon’s, while some are in a spray bottle for convenience.

Step 5: Flip to the other side of the mattress

Now that you’ve cleaned one side check any spots that need cleaning on the other side. Repeat Step 2 to Step 5 for the other side of the mattress.

Note: This step is only applicable for two-sided mattresses in which you can use both sides in sleeping. If you happen to have a one-sided foam mattress, e.g. you own a hybrid mattress, you can skip this step.

Hybrid mattresses have different layers, varying from polyurethane foam, memory foam, and latex foam. If the other side of your mattress is memory foam or latex foam, you can check out our other guides on:

Step 6: Dry the foam mattress

As mentioned earlier, dry your foam mattress completely after your cleaning sessions. Even a little moisture can lead to unwanted mould growth.

There are two ways to do this:

Method 1: Sundry the foam mattress

This is the best way to fully dry your mattress, especially if you’re blessed with sunny weather.

Exposing the mattress to the sun’s UV rays and heat removes any moisture remaining in the mattress. UV rays also kill the smell-causing germs in the mattress, helping to deodorise your mattress from any smells.

  • Set up chairs or tables outdoors where your foam mattress can be laid on.
  • Place a protective sheet underneath so your foam mattress won’t get dirty if it falls down.
  • Leave the foam mattress in the sun for a few hours (as long as it is sunny).
  • Flip it halfway so that both sides of the mattress can be dried out.

Method 2: Using a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, or fan

If you’re not blessed with sunny weather, you can use:

  • a hairdryer
  • vacuum cleaner
  • or fan to dry out your mattress.

Although this will take much longer than the first method, it is essential not to skip this step.

Can I Steam Clean my Foam Mattress?

Although a steam cleaner can remove allergens on your mattress, it also poses a risk to the foam material in your mattress. Foams are made of polyurethane, which can potentially break down once exposed to extreme heat.

Aside from this, it is always best to check your manufacturer’s care guide to see if the use of steam cleaner is within the warranty conditions. Suppose steam cleaning can be done on the mattress. In that case, it is recommended that you leave the steam cleaning to professional cleaners to possible damage to the mattress.

Tips for Regular Foam Mattress Upkeep

Regular mattress cleaning ensures that dirt doesn’t engrain itself into your mattress and helps extend your mattress’s life.

Change and wash your covers weekly.

Changing and washing your covers weekly can go a long way in ensuring you won’t be sleeping in your own grime, including body oils, sweat, and dead skin cells.

While you’re at it, it’s also good to check for stains or funky smells underneath the sheets when you change. It will be like a regular inspection of your foam mattress.

blue liquid on foam mattress
Image source: Amazon

Invest in a waterproof mattress cover.

Preventing spills from penetrating your mattress can save you from the fuss of cleaning stubborn stains. Waterproof mattress covers are priced as low as £5, like this quilted mattress protector. 

That leaves no excuse if your household is prone to spills and accidents!

Flip the mattress regularly.

Foam mattress manufacturers like Dreams recommend flipping your mattress once a week for three months. From there on in, once a month. This is to make sure the foam is evenly distributed and will prevent lumps in the future.

If you don’t flip your foam mattress, areas will sink over time because those specific areas are compressed constantly.

Note: that flipping of mattresses is only applicable to double-sided mattresses. If the one you have is a one-sided mattress, meaning the other side is too hard to sleep on, rotating from head to toe is recommended instead.

Takeaway

Foam mattresses are an investment in quality sleep. Knowing how to upkeep and clean your foam mattress will help its longevity and get you your money’s worth. Although stains and dirt are unavoidable in the bedroom, there are different ways to deal with them and we’ve shared them all.

What worked best for you of all the methods that we’ve shared? Let us know! Better yet, share this blog with a friend stressing about a stain on a foam mattress.

Sources:

Bianconi E, Piovesan A, Facchin F, Beraudi A, Casadei R, Frabetti F, Vitale L, Pelleri MC, Tassani S, Piva F, Perez-Amodio S, Strippoli P, Canaider S. An estimation of the number of cells in the human body. Ann Hum Biol. 2013 Nov-Dec;40(6):463-71. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2013.807878. Epub 2013 Jul 5. Erratum in: Ann Hum Biol. 2013 Nov-Dec;40(6):471. PMID: 23829164. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23829164/

Moses, L., Morrissey, K., Sharpe, R. A., & Taylor, T. (2019). Exposure to Indoor Mouldy Odour Increases the Risk of Asthma in Older Adults Living in Social Housing. International journal of environmental research and public health16(14), 2600. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6679100/

McKenna, Sean & Hull, Richard. (2016). The fire toxicity of polyurethane foams. Fire Science Reviews. 5. 10.1186/s40038-016-0012-3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301572988_The_fire_toxicity_of_polyurethane_foams

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AUTHOR

Max S

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.