A mattress topper is an extra layer designed to adjust the firmness level of a mattress and enhance the comfort. Because toppers sit on the surface of the mattress and are more exposed to sweat, allergens, and other contaminants, they benefit from regular cleaning. Outside of standard maintenance, stains and liquid accidents can also happen, especially if you share your bed with children or pets.
Most toppers are not machine-washable. They’re often made of materials that aren’t designed to get wet, like memory foam. Even if you have a machine-washable fiber topper, it may be too bulky to fit in your home washing machine. Cleaning a topper requires care and consideration to freshen the surface without damaging the interior.
We’ll walk you through step-by-step cleaning instructions on how to refresh your topper, how to deep clean your topper, and how to deal with spills and stains.
What You'll Need for the Job
Cleaning a mattress topper involves a short list of simple materials that many people already have around the house. Gather the following items together before you get started to streamline the process and avoid frustration.
You’ll also need to clear a section of the floor where your mattress topper can rest for eight hours or more. You may need the help of another person to move the topper, particularly if it is large or made of a delicate material.
Always check the care tags before cleaning for special instructions or considerations.
For Light Cleaning
- Vacuum cleaner
- Baking soda
For Deeper Cleaning
- Vacuum cleaner
- Baking soda
- Paper towels or cleaning cloths
- Equal parts cool water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle
- Vacuum cleaner
- Baking soda
- Cleaning solution (enzyme cleaner, dish soap, vinegar solution, hydrogen peroxide)
- Cleaning cloths
Step-by-Step: How to Clean a Mattress Topper
The best method for cleaning your mattress topper depends on its cleanliness. Mattress toppers that are stale but fairly clean may just need a light cleaning, whereas toppers with stains or spills often warrant deeper cleaning.
Even with severe stains, avoid harsh cleaning agents and aggressive scrubbing because they can damage the material.
Routinely cleaning your mattress topper helps refresh the sleep surface and reduce odors. We recommend aiming for at least twice a year or as needed.
- Remove and wash sheets and other bedding.
- Carefully remove the mattress topper and place it on a cleared area on the floor. Make sure you have enough space to work comfortably and that the topper can lie fully flat for 8 hours. You may want to recruit another person for help with this step.
- Check the mattress itself, and clean the mattress if necessary.
- Use your vacuum’s soft brush attachment to remove dust, lint, crumbs, and other larger particles from the topper.
- Sprinkle baking soda in a thin, even layer over the mattress topper.
- Let the baking soda sit on the topper for at least 8 hours.
- Vacuum the topper to remove the baking soda.
- Repeat on the other side of the mattress topper if necessary.
After a spill or accident, your mattress topper may require deeper cleaning. Applying a vinegar solution can be an effective additional step. Its natural acidity helps dissolve grime and break down stains.
- Remove and wash the sheets and other bedding.
- Place the mattress topper on the floor, ensuring you have enough space to work and that the topper can remain there for at least eight hours. If the topper is wet, you may want to avoid carpeted areas or work on layers of old sheets or towels.
- Carefully blot any wet areas of the topper with paper towels or cloths to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Check the mattress itself. If the mattress is wet, also blot it dry, cover it with baking soda, and then clean it accordingly. If you’re dealing with a urine-stained mattress, it may require special care.
- Combine equal parts cool water and distilled white vinegar. Pour it into a spray bottle.
- Spray the solution over the soiled portion of the topper.
- Blot with paper towels or a cleaning cloth, removing as much liquid as possible.
- Distribute an even layer of baking soda over the mattress and allow it to sit for at least eight hours to absorb moisture and neutralize odors.
- Vacuum up the baking soda.
If stains or odors persist, you may need to repeat the process. Keep in mind that removing some tough stains, like blood, may require a stronger cleaning product in place of the vinegar solution.
What if You’re Cleaning a Spill or Urine From Your Topper?
While spills and accidents on your mattress topper are an inconvenience, they don’t need to become set-in stains. The most important thing to do is remove as much of the liquid as possible by gently blotting with absorbent cleaning cloths. Old cotton towels work well. Paper towels also work in a pinch.
Then, follow the steps outlined above, spraying the area with a vinegar solution, blotting again, and covering the topper with baking soda. Baking soda is particularly useful with urine as it can help rid unpleasant odors.
After you vacuum away the baking soda, ensure that the topper is dry. If the liquid soaked through to the mattress, confirm that the mattress itself is dry. Waiting until both surfaces are completely free from moisture can help prevent mold and mildew growth. Placing fans in the room or opening windows can speed up the drying process.
If the liquid involved is likely to cause stains, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, or enzyme cleaners may be better options than the vinegar solution.
Do Foam Mattress Toppers Need Special Care to Clean?
If your mattress topper is made of foam, it’s especially important to avoid harsh cleansers and be gentle while cleaning. Remember that foam is not designed to get wet, nor can it withstand aggressive scrubbing.
The step-by-step instructions listed above generally work well for foam mattress toppers as long as you avoid scrubbing and let the topper dry before placing it on the mattress. Certain cleaning products, like hydrogen peroxide, can damage foam and should be used sparingly, if at all. Investing in a mattress protector that can accommodate your foam mattress topper may help reduce the need for cleaning.
What if Your Mattress Topper Is Made From Down?
Down mattress toppers can give beds a plush, luxurious feel, but their feather fill requires special care. If the area that needs cleaning is relatively small, you may be able to spot clean it with soap specifically designed for down or equal parts vinegar and water.
If you want to clean the full topper, it’s usually best to take it to a laundromat with a large capacity washer and dryer or have it professionally cleaned. If you wash the topper yourself, use down-safe detergent and follow the care instructions on the label. When it’s time to dry, consider interrupting the cycle at regular intervals to declump the feathers. Some people also use dryer balls or tennis balls wrapped in clean white socks in the load to break up the clumps. You may need to run the topper through several cycles before it’s completely dry.
Adding a mattress protector to your sleep surface can reduce the need for washing your down topper and extend its lifespan.
How to Remove Stains From Your Mattress Topper
Each stain is unique. Selecting the cleaning product based on the stain can yield better results. Whatever cleaner you choose, you may want to test a small area of your topper first to make sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the surface.
Enzyme Cleaner: Great for organic stains, these cleaners use enzymes to break down biological material. They can be used for spot cleaning or instead of your usual detergent if you use a washing machine.
Dish Soap: Dish soap is an effective cleaning agent, especially on grease or oil-based stains. Limit how much liquid you get on the cleaning cloth. Instead, aim to use primarily suds.
Vinegar Solution: A 1-to-1 mixture of vinegar and water can be an easy, all-natural solution to freshen up a mattress topper. It may also help remove some stains.
Hydrogen Peroxide: When all else fails, a 1-to-1 mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide may help with tough stains, like blood. Only apply where needed, and blot away as much of the solution as possible. Hydrogen peroxide can damage certain materials, including memory foam, so you should only use it as a last resort.
After you’ve determined the best cleaning solution for the job, here’s what to do:
- Put some of the solution on a clean cloth.
- Gently blot the stain with the cloth.
- Apply cold water to a separate clean cloth, and blot again.
- Repeat if necessary.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the surface, and let sit for at least 8 hours.
- Vacuum the surface of the topper.
- Let the topper sit until it has fully dried.
Can You Wash a Mattress Topper in a Washing Machine?
Most mattress toppers should not be washed in a washing machine. The movement and moisture involved in machine washing are likely to significantly degrade foam or latex, potentially destroying your topper. Instead, refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions and consider the step-by-step process detailed above.
Wool, down, and fiber toppers may be washable, but they are often too bulky for household machines. Instead, consider taking them to a laundromat with a large-capacity washer and dryer. Read the care instructions to select an appropriate detergent and the best settings You may also opt to have them professionally cleaned.
Long-Term Care for Your Mattress Topper
With the proper care, you can extend the life of your mattress topper and maintain a clean, comfortable sleep surface.
Long-term care starts with keeping your sheets clean. Regular washing minimizes the amount of dirt, dust, sweat, and other contaminants that make it onto your topper. A mattress protector can add another layer of defense and reduce the need for deep cleaning. Plan on performing a standard cleaning every four to six months. Check the topper’s care label and use the steps above as a guide.