How to clean a memory foam mattress: 5 easy steps for the best results

Memory foam mattresses can easily be damaged if you don't clean them correctly. Our guide explains how to do it right...

how to clean a memory foam mattress: cleaning implements
(Image credit: Heather Ford on Unsplash)

Whatever type of mattress you have, it’s important to clean it regularly, especially if you want to protect it from dirt, sweat, dust mites, mould and other health hazards. Let's face it, if you've invested in one of the best memory foam mattresses, you'll want to keep it in tip-top condition for as long as possible.

Memory foam is a petroleum-based material and this kind of mattress needs to be cleaned in a special way, or you risk damaging it. Below, we'll outline the steps you need to follow to give your memory foam mattress a deep clean and new lease of life.

1. Keep away from water

How to clean a memory foam mattress: Running tap

(Image credit: Imani on Unsplash)

The most important thing to remember is that any contact with liquids can seriously damage a memory foam mattress. This is because memory foam is ridiculously absorbent, making it extremely difficult to properly dry before it gets infested with mould or mildew. For this reason, the mattress should never be soaked in water or any other liquid, and it should also never be steam-cleaned. 

2. Check the manufacturer's instructions

There are countless types of memory foam mattresses on the market, each using different materials and types of construction. The specific mattress you have should come with detailed instructions about how to clean it. For example, some memory foam mattresses come with a removable cover that can be washed separately. Make sure you read and understand the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly before going any further, and ignore any general advice in this article that contradicts them. 

3. Vacuum your mattress

How to clean a memory foam mattress: Henry hoover

(Image credit: Numatic)

Liquids are so damaging to memory foam, so the most important cleaning tool you have in your arsenal will be a vacuum cleaner. A handheld device will be easiest, but a standard vacuum cleaner will also work, as long as it comes with a brush attachment to get into all the nooks and crannies. If you need to buy a new one, make sure to check out our guide to the best vacuum cleaners.

Strip your bed completely and clean the entire surface of the mattress – top, bottom and sides – as thoroughly as you can. Pay attention to the seams of the mattress cover, as these are typically magnets for dirt and infestation.

4. Spot clean to remove stains

Stains on your memory foam mattress should be treated as quickly as possible after they occur. The best method is to spot-clean it with a mixture of water and a mild detergent. Never use products that contain harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia, as they will degrade your memory foam.

Use a spray bottle to spritz the soapy water – very sparingly – onto the affected area. Then gently remove the stain by making small, circular motions with a clean cloth or sponge. Leave the mattress to dry in a well-aired room, making absolutely sure it's fully dry before you replace the sheets and bedding.

5. Protect your memory foam mattress

How to clean a memory foam mattress: person fitting a mattress protector

(Image credit: Tempur)

Removing stains from your memory foam mattress is a lot of bother, and can even damage your mattress further if not approached properly. It's therefore a great idea to use a mattress protector.  A mattress protector also adds an extra layer of protection against dirt and infestation in general. It's a great investment to make, lengthening the life of your mattress and keeping you safe at the same time.

Check out our selection of the best mattress protectors to find the right one for you.

Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and author of the book, Great Ted Talks: Creativity. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.

With contributions from