What can I use to soften a mattress?

Updated February 21, 2017

A firm mattress may be the best choice for someone with back pain, but it can be uncomfortable and create pressure-point aches in others. Whether you share a bed with someone who needs firm support or your current mattress is just too firm for your taste, a mattress topper can soften the surface so you can get more comfortable, restful sleep every night.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattress toppers offer many of the same benefits of a mattress without the high cost. They are soft, contour to your body and absorb the weight of heavier body parts while providing full body support. Memory foam toppers are durable and will regain their shape after being compressed. Toppers with a thickness of 4 inches or more offer the best support and comfort. Thinner toppers typically don't adequately soften a very firm mattress.

Latex Foam

Latex foam toppers are similar to memory foam by conforming to the weight of your body. They are typically lower in price yet durable and virtually odour-free. Natural latex is made from the sap of the rubber tree, while synthetic latex is similar and better for those with latex allergies. Both natural and synthetic latex are hypoallergenic and resist mould, bacteria and dust mites.


Looking for added softness, try a feather or down mattress topper. The feathers and down breathe easily, keeping you cool and dry in summer while trapping heat to warm you in winter. Feather toppers are durable and will last many years, though they tend to mat easily and need to be shaken periodically to redistribute the feathers. Down-filled toppers mat less easily and lack the sharp quills that feathers have so you'll feel fewer pokes during the night.


Wool is another good option for those looking for added softness who aren't concerned about support. It breathes easily and is ideal for regulating body temperature. Wool absorbs moisture and naturally resists moisture-related problems such as mould and bacteria growth. Wool toppers are filled with lamb, alpaca or are wool blended with cotton or polyester fibres. Wool alone tends to mat more easily than when blended and needs to be fluffed more frequently.

Synthetic Foam

Synthetic urethane foam toppers are a less expensive option for the budget-conscious. While not as durable as other toppers, they can be the right choice if your mattress only needs a small amount of soft cushioning. Synthetic toppers are often made of egg-crate-shaped foam to increase breathability and minimise soreness from pressure points.

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About the Author

Kate Moore began freelance writing in 2011, specializing in home and garden topics. She has been working within the interior design industry since 2003 and holds a Bachelor of Science in interior design from Oklahoma Christian University.