How to Clean A Futon Mattress?

by Max S
How To Clean A Futon Mattress

Ahh, the age-old question of “how to clean a futon mattress?” Futon mattresses are usually situated on the floor, making them more prone to dirt, dust, and spills than other mattress types. If you’re stressing about a dirty futon, leave that stress behind and keep reading.

Like any mattress, regularly cleaning your futon mattress is essential to maintain the mattress’s quality and prolong its life. Leaving a stain too long and *poof* new mattress needed.

But how do you clean a futon properly? Is it possible to just throw it in your washing machine?

If your cleaning isn’t up to scratch, you risk damaging your futon further – an absolute nightmare no one here wants to think about. So in this article, we’ll talk about futon mattress cleaning and help you with tips and methods.

What Materials You’ll Need

Before we start cleaning, grab the following items you’ll need to deal with stains and smells.

  • Laundry detergent
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • Bleach
  • Gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Enzyme cleaner
  • Spray bottle

futon mattress on floor with couple on it
Image source: Pexels

How to Clean A Futon Mattress?

We get it. You’re a busy person, and the burdening question of “time?” runs around your head. Well, regularly cleaning a futon mattress doesn’t take up much of your day.

You May Like: How To Make A Futon Mattress?

A weekly cleaning routine for your futon mattress looks like this:

  • Changing the mattress cover and bedding
  • Vacuum cleaning
  • Using baking soda and vacuum
  • Airing out the mattress in the sun

The above methods help to remove big dirt from the futon mattress surface. Big dirt includes:

  • small debris
  • food crumbs
  • sand
  • dry skin
  • body hairs and hair fall
  • pet furs shedding
  • dust
  • dust mites

Changing the Futon Mattress Cover and Beddings

Your sheets, pillowcases, and other accessories should be changed and washed at least once weekly, as with any beddings. Ensuring this is part of your routine helps keep a clean sleeping environment.

When mattress covers and beddings are unchanged for a month, bacteria and fungi build up on the surface. The main causes? Sweat, dry skin, and dirt from your outside clothes.

A study by Amerisleep, which had volunteers swab their unwashed beddings, found that pillowcases left unwashed for a week had accumulated over 17,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

What more if left unwashed for a month?

The same applies to your futon mattress. If it has a removable mattress cover, take this off and throw it in the washing machine. The laundry detergent should help target any surface stains deep inset into the fabric.

We recommend UK laundry detergents like Ariel, the leading brand in Great Britain, in 2018. Or, we recommend Tide, the leading brand in the United States, in 2018.

Clean with a Vacuum

Vacuum cleaning helps to maintain cleanliness, including removing potential allergens and bugs like

  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander (skin flakes of a pet/animal)
  • Dandruff

So, if you’re prone to allergies, include vacuum cleaning in your weekly to-do list. You might even get rid of head lice that might have fallen on your mattress. If you’re suffering from head lice, head over to our complete guide on getting rid of lice on your mattress.

Your regular vacuum at home works just fine. Use the lowest suction setting, as it helps prevent damage to your futon mattress’s inner fillings.

Did You Know?

Inner fillings of a futon mattress can vary from

  • Polyurethane foam
  • Cotton battings
  • Wool battings
  • Polyester battings
  • Bamboo battings

Although polyurethane foam can be tough enough to receive high vacuum suction, it won’t be the same for the rest of the filling types. High vacuum suction can damage the fillings and cause a lumpy mattress.

Using Baking Soda and A Vacuum

The baking soda and vacuum method is the level-up version of the pure vacuum method.

Baking soda helps lift surface dirt, remove odour and deodorise your futon mattress.

If there are sweat stains and a bad case of BO, then it’s time to level up your cleaning with this method. We recommend doing this monthly to keep your mattress fresh.

Follow the steps to clean your mattress with baking soda and a vacuum below:

  • Sprinkle the baking soda all over the surface of the futon mattress.
  • Let the baking soda sit for as long as possible to allow dirt lifting and odour absorption. You can leave baking soda on your mattress for up to 24 hours for maximum cleaning. That is if you have an extra bed to use. If that’s not the case, you can clean it early in the morning and vacuum it before bedtime. But generally, 30 minutes to an hour will work just fine, and you can repeat as necessary.
  • Using the vacuum cleaner, remove the baking soda from the mattress surface.

How to Disinfect a Futon Mattress?

WIth COVID and flu running rampant, we all know the importance of thorough disinfection. If you’re one of the following, consider disinfecting your mattress.

  • You spilt liquids and allowed it to sit there for a long duration
  • There’s been a pee accident
  • You or a family member just recovered from the flu
  • A travelling guest came over and used the mattress

For disinfection of the futon mattress, you can use bleach and follow the steps below:

  • Make sure to protect yourself from the bleach by using gloves.
  • Prepare the bleach solution by mixing 1½ cups of bleach with 5 litres of water.
  • Spray the solution over the futon mattress using a spray bottle.
  • Allow the mattress to dry completely before using.

How to Spot Clean Your Futon?

Spot cleaning every now and then is a great way to keep the extensive cleaning sessions away. It also helps to remove those annoying stains that can’t be cleaned by our previous methods.

Depending on the type of stain, we’ll go through different methods to clean the stains on your mattress.


In cleaning bloodstains, there are two methods you can try:

  • Using cold water
  • Using baking soda and vinegar

To start cleaning using cold water, dab the area first with a clean cloth and dab with cold water until the stain is lifted for bloodstains. Do not use warm water as it may make the bloodstain worse.

If cold water did not work for you, try the baking soda and vinegar method:

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stained spot.
  • Spray or dab small amounts of vinegar on the baking soda and let it bubble up.
  • Remove the mixture using a clean cloth.
  • You can repeat this step until all the stain is removed.


If the mould spot is small, try dabbing an equal part of rubbing alcohol and water onto the mould until it is removed. Don’t use too much alcohol and water, and make sure to air dry your futon in the sun, so you don’t risk further mould growth.

Note that if you have larger mould spots, then changing your futon is recommended as mould can impose health risks such as

  • itching
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • headache
  • fatigue.

How To Clean A Futon Mattress of Urine? Dogs & Children

According to a survey conducted in 2021, an estimated 12 million dogs were living in UK homes. Your futon mattress may be situated on the floor or on a low-lying frame, definitely accessible to our pet dogs.

And if your dog likes to occasionally be a naughty boy/girl, then this is for you.

If you’re dealing with a fresh pee incident from

  • Pet urine
  • Babies and children’s pee
  • Elderly incontinence

Then immediately soak up the urine using a paper towel or cloth.

The baking soda and vinegar method (as explained above) can deal with this in cleaning the yellow stain.

How to Remove Urine Smell out of Futon Mattress?

Why is it essential to remove the dog urine smell on the futon mattress and any other mattress types? Aside from the annoying smell, it has adverse effects on human health. Urine contains small amounts of ammonia that contribute to the funky smell. When inhaled, it can cause severe irritation to the:

  • eyes
  • skin
  • mucous membranes of the oral cavity
  • respiratory tract

Still, left with a stain after trying baking soda and vinegar? Then it’s time to bring out an enzyme-based cleaner.

Enzymatic cleaners are specifically made to break down urine stains and smells. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions that come with the cleaner.

Tip: Test it out in a small area of the futon mattress like the corner first to check for unwelcomed discolouration.

How to Dry a Wet Futon?

It’s crucial to dry your futon fully to prevent mould from developing. Exposure to mould can negatively affect anyone’s health, including

  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • coughing or wheezing
  • burning eyes
  • skin rash

So, how do you dry a futon mattress and not ruin it at the same time?

Bring your mattress outdoors

This is the best method if you live in a sunny area. It helps to remove moisture and kill bacteria, which is exactly what you want. To sun dry your futon mattress:

  • Set up chairs or table(s) so your futon mattress can be fully stretched out.
  • Place a protective sheet underneath to avoid dirt being transferred.
  • Leave the mattress in the sun for a few hours.

Use a hairdryer or vacuum

Using a hairdryer with a warm air function is a pretty good choice. Please keep in mind to keep the hairdryer a safe distance from the mattress.

A vacuum cleaner will do as the suction can work similarly in providing air for drying. Just dry the area thoroughly to prevent any remaining moisture from developing moulds.

Use baking soda or cat litter

Baking soda or cat litter is great for absorbing moisture in your mattress. Baking soda is hygroscopic, which means it can attract moisture from the surroundings.

And cat litter? It absorbs moisture on the mattress surface and helps keep the air zone around the mattress less humid.

This method involves:

  • Sprinkle baking soda or cat litter on the mattress surface.
  • Leave it for about an hour to let the moisture soak up.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the baking soda or cat litter.

Use a fan or dehumidifier

An electric fan or dehumidifier is another great choice if you have one. The increased airflow on the mattress aids in faster drying.

Use paper towels

Although this method is the weakest, it’s always worth a shot. Using the paper towel method to dab the wet area helps remove some liquid.

We recommend using this alongside the other methods listed above.

How to Remove Smell Out Of Futon Mattress?

Does your futon smell terrible because of sweat, urine, or dirt? Baking soda comes to the rescue once again.

Baking soda is a classic ingredient in deodorising household items. It helps absorb moisture and odour. But that’s not all you need! If you have essential oils lying around then a few drops can honestly make your futon smell like heaven. For this method, follow the steps below:

  • Sprinkle the baking soda over the surface of the futon mattress.
  • Let it sit for at least an hour to allow maximum odour absorption.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda on the mattress surface. Shake the baking soda outside if you don’t have a vacuum cleaner.
  • Time to air dry in the sun! UV rays kill smell-causing bacteria and help to freshen up your futon.

Tips to Take Care and Maintain Futon Mattress

To maintain your mattress’ cleanliness, you should be committed to taking care of it regularly.

Minimise dirt and keep deep cleaning to a minimum by following the recommended steps below. Because let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t have the time and energy for a vigorous cleaning sesh.

  • Change and wash your covers weekly.
  • Invest in a waterproof mattress cover.
  • Vacuum your futon mattress regularly.
  • Let the futon mattress air outside.
  • Flip the mattress regularly.

How To Clean A Futon Mattress Frame?

There are two types of futon mattresses:

  • Western Futon is the one with the frame and can be used as a sofa. This is usually thicker than the Japanese Futon
  • Japanese Futon or Shikibuton is mainly used on the floor. Unlike the Western Futon used with a frame, this is only rolled after use in Japanese culture.

In any case, all the cleaning methods discussed in this article apply to both types. But if you’re an owner of a futon mattress with a frame, you may want to also include the frame in your regular cleaning.

Either made up of metal or wood, you can clean your frame by

  • Removing the attached futon mattress.
  • Vacuum clean the frame to remove dust or small debris.
  • Optional: Use a damp cloth to remove heavy dirt or dust.
  • Make sure the frame is completely dry before reattaching the futon mattress.

Can I Wash My Futon In The Washing Machine?

No, you cannot wash your futon mattress in the washing machine. If your futon mattress has foam, feather, or cotton fillings, then it’s a definite no-go.

Washing them all in the washing machine can damage the stuffing, and you may end up with a lumpy and uneven mattress.

What you can do instead is the following:

  • Take off the removable mattress covers and clean them in the washing machine.
  • Steam clean your mattress.
  • Take your mattress to professional futon mattress cleaners.

Did you know that? The high temperature from steam cleaners kills mould, dust mites, and bacteria. The high temp also helps keep the futon dry and keep away mould.

Signs That You Need To Replace Your Futon Mattress

Because of heavy use, functioning as both bed and sofa, a futon mattress averages a lifespan of only five years. Although sometimes this can be much longer, here are some signs to watch out for to know if your mattress needs some changing:

  • Visible damage.

Futon mattresses are the thinnest mattress type. Because of its light structure, it is more prone to breakage, primarily as it’s used predominantly on the floor. If you see irreparable damage to the mattress, it’s already a sign to change it.

  • Moulds are developing.

Moisture is always a big no to the mattress world because it promotes the growth of moulds. And mould can negatively damage our health. Although a small mould can be salvaged, a prominent spot is already a health risk and leads to a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, and skin rash.

  • Lumpy mattress.

A good mattress helps you get a good night’s sleep. But a lumpy mattress will not. You can wake up having back pains since the mattress will not support your body evenly.

How To Clean A Futon Mattress? – Key Takeaway

Although stains and dirt are unavoidable in a household, knowing how to deal with every problem can help prolong your mattress’ life. This includes vacuuming, deodorising, and intensive stain cleaning.

In cleaning your mattress, it is crucial not to leave any moisture that will allow moulds to develop.


National Research Council (US) Committee on Acute Exposure Guideline Levels. Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals: Volume 6. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2008. 2, Ammonia Acute Exposure Guideline Levels. Available from:

Pet Population in United Kingdom 2022

Photo of 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.