How to Clean Memory Foam Mattress Pads

Memory foam mattresses are made from dense polyurethane foam that changes shape when warmed by body heat so that it contours to your shape. While great for sleeping, memory foam mattresses can be challenging to clean, especially if stained by urine or other fluids. The foam soaks up cleaning liquids and water and must dry completely before being used again, so plan on sleeping on something else for a few days. Small mattresses can be cleaned in a bathtub, but large mattresses must be hosed down outside--so clear a large enough space near a spigot. Place a sheet of plastic or a tarp on the ground so that the mattress doesn't pick up dirt or debris from being outdoors. Liquid fabric cleaner and vinegar are for regular cleaning. Only use hydrogen peroxide for stains, and read the warnings in the instructions first.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, or hand vacuum
  • Water (in a bathtub or from an outdoor hose)
  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid fabric cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Plastic sheet or tarp
  • Electric fan
  • Baking soda
  • Plastic gloves
  • Sponge or soft cloth
  • Hydrogen peroxide

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Vacuum the memory foam mattress completely with a sweeper attachment or hand vacuum.

Depending on its size, place the mattress in a bathtub or on a sheet of plastic or tarp outside near a water spigot with a hose attached.

Fill one-third of the spray bottle with liquid fabric cleaner and the remaining two-thirds with water. Shake the bottle, then spray both sides of the mattress with the mixture. Allow it to stay on the mattress for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, rinse off the mattress with the shower or a hose. Remove the excess water by gently pressing down on the mattress with your hands, or by walking on it in bare feet. Don't twist the mattress to wring the water out. It can damage the foam.

Empty and rinse out the spray bottle, then fill one fifth of it with vinegar and the rest with water. Spray both sides of the mattress with the diluted vinegar solution to disinfect it. Rinse both sides of the mattress again and press out the excess water again.

It the mattress is clean, place it in a spot where it can dry out completely. Indoors, an electric fan can help speed the process. Outdoors, keep it out of direct sunlight and hope for warm breezes and no rain. Don't put the mattress back on the bed frame until it is completely dry.

If there are still stains in the mattress, use baking soda and peroxide. They may be able to get them out. WARNING: Hydrogen peroxide will permanently discolor your mattress while removing the stain. If this is a problem for you, call a professional cleaner.

On a dry mattress, dampen the stained area with water, then sprinkle it with baking soda. Blot or gently rub the area until the baking soda disappears. When dry, vacuum the spot.

Wearing plastic gloves, pour hydrogen peroxide on a sponge or cloth and blot or gently rub the area until the stain is gone.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once a urine stain is gone, lingering odors may be treated using an enzyme-based pet odor remover.
  • A warning that bears repeating: Hydrogen peroxide will discolor a memory foam mattress.
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