Congratulations. You’ve invested in a new memory foam mattress. Now, learning how to clean a foam mattress is essential to ensure you get the maximum life out of your purchase. Not only that, knowing how to clean a foam mattress will keep it fresh and inviting. After all, who doesn’t want to sleep on a clean bed?

Daily use, kids, pets, or any number of accidents can leave you wondering how to clean a foam mattress. The good news is that you have lots of options from daily cleaning to deep cleaning and stain removal.

Foam Mattress vs. Springs

Unlike regular spring mattresses, which are hollow inside, a foam mattress is solid, giving you added support. They contour to your body, instead of having you lie on a surface that’s either too hard or sinks in leaving you with a backache.

What this means for you is that sleeping on a foam mattress significantly reduces contact with your pressure points, which leads to better sleep and less back pain.

What’s more, the tightly woven core prevents dust mites and bed bugs from breeding. To top that off, many foam mattresses such as the Ergoflex are hypoallergenic.

But that doesn’t protect them from accidents.

An ounce of prevention

Some foam mattress manufacturers offer natural waterproof covers made of breathable material. Your best bet to ensure that you don’t ruin your foam mattress is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and if they recommend a waterproof cover, go ahead and pick up this necessary accessory.

For example, Ergoflex says that due to the complexity of the way they manufacture their foam mattress, it’s better not to wash it. On the other hand, you can and should regularly wash the waterproof cover that comes with your purchase.

One note, if you’re planning to buy a mattress cover separately, pay close attention to the material, as foam mattresses tend to sleep warm. That means the wrong cover could ruin your rest. Consequently, it’s best to stick to cotton, bamboo, and other natural materials.

Also, avoid anything made with polyester.

How to Clean a Foam Mattress: The Basics

Still, the best way to keep your memory foam mattress clean and free from dust, dead skin, and animal fur is it to vacuum it. If you’re sensitive to allergens, do your vacuuming when the seasons change. Otherwise, every six months will suffice, assuming the mattress stays covered.

How to clean a foam mattress with a vacuum

First off, remove and wash the sheets, pillowcases, and mattress cover. Next, use a handheld vacuum or the upholstery attachment on your regular vacuum so you can easily reach the sides as well.

Additionally, you don’t need to flip the foam mattress; however, manufacturers suggest rotating it 180 degrees from top to bottom every three to six months. So any time you’re moving it, get into the habit of also giving it a vacuum.

Finally, it’s a good idea to let the foam mattress breathe by placing it outside on a clean, dry surface. The reason is that UV rays from the sunlight will help destroy bacteria and kill off dust mites.

Accidents Happen
No matter how careful you are, there’s bound to be a spill or stain that needs cleaning. The key here is to use as little water as possible to avoid causing mold and mildew because a foam mattress sucks up moisture just like a sponge.

It’s all in the mix
Nevertheless, you can make a DIY mix using a half cup of mild fabric detergent and one cup of water. You see, the consistency of this blend will keep the mixture from soaking into the foam.

Before you work on the stain, make sure you’ve vacuumed the mattress to avoid grinding in any dirt, hair, or dead skin. Now, dip a washcloth into your cleanser. Then, starting at the outer edge, work your way in, with a light, circular motion.

Don’t scrub, as this will result in too much water seeping into the foam. Once the stain is gone, use a clean damp cloth to get rid of any excess detergent. Then let it dry completely, preferably outside in the sun.

Additionally, if a spill happens, make sure to use paper towels first and blot it dry as opposed to applying pressure. That way you’ll avoid pushing the liquid into the mattress.

Do’s:

  • Use a waterproof mattress protector
  • Vacuum your foam mattress
  • Remove the stain as quickly as possible after it happens
  • Use mild fabric detergent
  • Use a light circular motion to clean stains

Don’t’s:

  • Use harsh detergents
  • Remove the stain as quickly as possible after it happens

Blood, Sweat, and Urine

Any time bodily fluids seep into a foam mattress, you run the risk of not only odors and unsightly stains, but worse yet, bacteria, and bed bugs.

According to SA Health, bed bug infestation is on the rise. These nasty pests feed on human blood and are comfortable making their home in a mattress. Though foam mattresses are less inhabitable for them than a spring mattress, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Regular vacuuming will help prevent bed bugs and making sure you know how to clean a foam mattress properly will also reduce the risk.

An assault on the nose

Some of us get sweaty when we sleep, and after a while, those odors may seep into our foam mattress. Fortunately, there are steps to help neutralize the smell.

If you think that the first thing to do is probably vacuum, then you’re on the right track. Once you’ve done the preliminary cleaning: vacuuming and washing the cover and other bedding, you can use white vinegar and baking soda to remove the stain and neutralize the odors.

Here’s the solution
Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar and one cup lukewarm water in a spray bottle and shake it well. Using a spray bottle will coat the mattress with the solution without soaking it to the point that more liquid will absorb into the foam.

Make sense?

You may hear that hydrogen peroxide works as well, and it does; however, we would recommend against using it because it will cause discoloration and may damage the foam.

Kids and pets
A child or pet who isn’t potty trained may be the single biggest threat to your foam mattress. Because when someone wets the bed, it isn’t usually just a little urine that results with these kinds of accidents. The key is to move fast.

First, grab a roll of paper towels and carefully blot up all of the liquid. Toss the paper towel and use a new one as it gets saturated, even if it takes the whole roll.

Once you’ve removed as much of the urine as you can, then spray the bed with your white vinegar concoction, and blot that up.

Baking soda does the trick
Finally, cover the affected area with baking soda and let it sit overnight or up to 10 hours; then vacuum the spot.

It’s essential that the foam mattress is dry before you make the bed and the best way to make that happen is to set it in the sunlight and let it soak up those UV rays.

Instead of Sunlight
Since the sun isn’t always shining when you need to dry your foam mattress, we have another way to achieve almost the same result. You’ll lose out on the additional benefits from the sun; however, achieving a completely dry mattress is the most crucial requirement.

To this end, find a well-ventilated area to place the foam mattress and let it sit for up to two days. You can speed up the drying process as long as you’re careful. The way to do so is to use a small fan or hairdryer in intervals.

Most important, you should only use the lowest heat setting on the hairdryer to avoid damaging the foam.

Do’s:

  • Blot up the liquid
  • Use a vinegar and water solutionUse baking soda to neutralize the smell
  • Place in a well-ventilated area
  • Sit the foam mattress in the sun
  • Use a fan or hairdryer on low heat to dry quicker

Don’t’s:

  • Let a stain or liquid sit for long
  • Use hot water
  • Apply too much pressure
  • Use harsh chemicals or hydrogen peroxide
  • Scrub the stain
  • Use a high heat setting

The Bottom Line

When it’s all said and done, as long as you do your due diligence and take care of your foam mattress properly, it should last you for years. However, there are times when a stain or liquid cause too much damage to a foam mattress and the only option is to replace it.

Since a foam mattress is a giant sponge, if it soaks up too much liquid, there may be no coming back. In the long run, your best bet is to keep your foam mattress in its waterproof cover, learn how to clean a foam mattress, and don’t let the kids and animals sleep on it until they’re potty trained.

Do you have any questions about how to clean a foam mattress that we didn’t address? Please feel free to leave us a comment, or get in touch via email. Here’s to a clean bed and a good night’s sleep.

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