How to Wash a Foam Mattress

Written by abaigeal quinn
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Foam mattresses and pads can provide additional comfort on a bed but are often difficult to clean, especially in the event of an accidental bed wetting or a vomiting episode. Foam is less sturdy than normal mattresses and can easily rip or tear if not handled carefully during the cleaning process. You can always opt for professional cleaning for foam toppers if you are willing to part with some cash, or try your hand at cleaning it yourself.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Borax powder
  • Water
  • Soft absorbent cloth
  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • Woolite
  • Spray bottle
  • Shower or bathtub with detachable spray nozzle
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Tarp or clothesline
  • Electric fan
  • Baking soda

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  1. 1

    Examine the foam pad or mattress for stains. Lightly dampen foam in areas of heavy soiling, and apply borax powder to the stains, rubbing lightly in a circular motion with a soft cloth. Blot up excess and allow to air dry.

  2. 2

    Use a vacuum with an upholstery brush attachment to suck out dirt and dead skin cells trapped inside the mattress. Clean mattress thoroughly.

  3. 3

    Remove mattress to a clean shower stall or a bathtub equipped with a hand-held shower attachment. Stand mattress on end, and spray both sides with a solution of 1 part Woolite cleaner to 2 parts water. Be sure to shake the solution well, and spray both sides of the mattress thoroughly.

  4. 4

    Allow Woolite mixture to remain on mattress for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with plain water under the spray nozzle, gently squeezing the mattress to remove excess cleanser. Avoid twisting or wringing the mattress.

  5. 5

    Apply a 1 to 4 solution of vinegar to water in a spray bottle. Spray both sides of the mattress, allowing it to sit for five minutes before rinsing. Rinse out under the spray nozzle, gently squeezing out water to remove the solution. Try to get it as dry as possible without wringing.

  6. 6

    Remove mattress to a sunny location, if possible, to air dry. Lay flat on a clean tarp or across several strings of taut clothesline, but do not allow the mattress to hang down. Let it dry thoroughly. If the weather is bad, air dry indoors with the aid of a fan. Return mattress to the inside, giving it a light vacuum if dried outdoors before returning to bed.

Tips and warnings

  • For odour removal, sprinkle the entire mattress with baking soda, letting it sit for 24 hours. Vacuum well with an upholstery brush.
  • Borax is available in most laundry sections at the grocery store.
  • Memory foam is not recommended for water saturation according to the manufacturer's hotline. When cleaning, dampen soiled areas, and use the borax method of stain removal, vacuuming thoroughly. (See Resources.)

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