A glass of red wine, greasy pizza boxes, blood, and even urine can all leave ugly, smelly stains on your memory foam mattress. But if you act quickly when accidents happen, you can save the day and save your mattress.
Just remember that cleaning your mattress incorrectly can void the warranty. To keep this from happening, keep a copy of your warranty handy or contact your mattress brand's customer service department before putting on the rubber gloves and getting to work.
Cleaning the Mattress Cover
The majority of memory foam mattresses feature a zip-off cover to make cleaning less difficult. (Hint: if yours is removable, chances are there will be a zipper that attaches the top of your mattress cover to the bottom of the mattress cover.) If your cover is removable and machine washable, for best results, wash the cover in cold water on the gentle cycle and tumble dry on the lowest heat setting. Whatever you do, do not iron and do not dry clean the mattress cover. Heat can damage certain qualities and characteristics within the fabric.
To spot clean the foam or mattress cover, clean the affected area as soon as possible. Blot up any liquid immediately with a cool, damp, absorbent cloth. The water temperature should be cool, not hot. Hot water can help set in some protein-based stains like urine. Excess moisture can then be blotted up using a dry absorbent cloth by firmly pressing up and down repeatedly on the mattress to remove the stain. Whatever you do, don't rub the stain. Rubbing the stain with a circular motion will set the stain, not remove it.
Once the liquid has been removed from the memory foam mattress, get rid of any lingering stain and disinfect the mattress by sparingly applying an enzyme-based cleaner. When cleaning your memory foam mattress, remember to use as little liquid as possible to remove the stain. Never soak your mattress.
Enzyme-based cleaners are environmentally friendly and can be purchased or made at home. Amazon has several enzyme-based cleaners that you can buy online. Or, if you're the DIY type, check out this article from WikiHow to mix up your own using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, like sugar and lemon.
Deodorizing Your Mattress
If a smell persists after you've spot cleaned the stain or if your mattress is still slightly damp, you may need to apply baking soda to the mattress to deodorize it and dry it out. To do this, sprinkle baking soda over the stain and let it sit for at least 30 minutes (leave on longer to remove stronger odors). To apply an even layer of baking soda, use a sifter from your kitchen. Once the odor subsides and the mattress is dry, apply the upholstery attachment to your vacuum to remove the baking soda.
When your memory foam mattress is clean and stain free, ensure that it is completely dry before making your bed or sleeping on it. This process may take up to 48 hours, but is critical because a damp mattress can harbor bacteria and grow mold. To speed up the drying process, use a cool, electric fan. Applying heat from a blow dryer or other source to dry the mattress or mattress cover can have a negative effect on the fabric or foam.
Sometimes you just have to call in the big guns. If the stain or smell persists after cleaning and deodorizing or if you have a bed bug infestation, find a local mattress cleaning professional for best results. Schedule service with a Stanley Steemer in your area or a local upholstery or furniture cleaning service. These professionals have the right equipment and are trained to get tough stains out.
Shielding Your Mattress
We're a big fan of making the most of any investment. You probably are too. That's why it's wise to invest in an insurance policy. Shield your memory foam mattress against spills and stains by purchasing a mattress protector. Mattress protectors can easily be removed and cleaned and are a lot less expensive than replacing your memory foam mattress every time an accident occurs. Pro tip: If your child has bed-wetting tendencies or your aging parent experiences incontinence, consider adding a waterproof vinyl mattress pad under your protector as an extra safety layer.
Caring for Your Mattress Long-Term
Even with a mattress protector, it's important to clean your mattress at least four times a year. Why? We spend a third of our lives on our mattress and, according to some studies, we sweat out over 26 gallons a year while we sleep (disgusting, we know!).
To remember to clean your mattress regularly, just think about giving it a good, deep cleaning once every season. Even if you can't see the sweat or dead skin lurking beneath your mattress protector, remove your mattress cover and wash it anyway (wash in cold water on the gentle cycle; tumble dry on the lowest heat setting). While you're washing and drying the cover, sprinkle baking soda directly on the memory foam and let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming it away. Applying baking soda will lift moisture and odors out of the memory foam.
Turning Your Mattress for Even Wear
While traditional spring mattresses should be flipped every 6 months for even wear, memory foam mattresses should be turned 180 degrees every 6 months. A mattress made of memory foam should be turned, not flipped, because it's constructed from different layers of foam that offer varying forms of support. The most supportive layer is usually on bottom, while the softest layer is usually on top. Whether you sleep solo or with a partner, turning your memory foam mattress will ensure that your bed continues to provide comfort and support.
Replacing Your Mattress
If you've kept your mattress squeaky clean over the years, that's a major accomplishment! However, if it's over eight years old, your mattress may not be providing the support you need to get quality sleep each night. If it's time to upgrade, find out how to choose a mattress that's best for your body type.