Caring for your memory foam mattress

How to care for and clean a memory foam mattress

Buying a mattress is a significant investment, so of course you want to ensure it maintains its quality for the longest amount of time possible. Caring for and cleaning a memory foam mattress will not only save you money by extending its lifetime, but it will also help you get a better quality of sleep.

In this guide, we will offer instructions on how to properly how to clean a memory foam mattress on a regular basis, as well as advising how to clean it when necessary. We'll cover:

  • How to care for a memory foam mattress
  • How to clean memory foam
  • How to clean memory foam mattress stains
    • How to get urine out of a memory foam mattress
    • How to remove blood from a memory foam mattress
    • How to clean sweat stains from a memory foam mattress
    • How to clean vomit from a memory foam mattress
    • How to clean mould off a memory foam mattress
  • How to clean a memory foam mattress topper
  • How to wash a memory foam pillow

How long will a memory foam mattress last?

A quality mattress is an investment in your sleep for a significant period, so you should expect any mattress to last around 10 years if cared for correctly. Memory foam in general is more durable than a traditional mattress thanks to its resilient properties, so you may see an even longer lifespan of 10–20 years if cared for correctly. Read our guide to replacing a mattress for more advice.

Here at Dormeo, our memory foam mattresses are manufactured to a quality standard that give us the confidence to guarantee them for many years: 15 years for our Dormeo Memory collection, and 20 years for our luxury range of Octaspring mattresses.

How to care for a memory foam mattress

It's important to remember that memory foam mattresses have different care requirements to a traditional mattress. Some of the key steps you will need to do include:

  • Taking care of a new rolled mattress
  • Regularly rotating your mattress
  • Adding a mattress protector
  • Regularly airing out your mattress

Taking care of a new rolled memory foam mattress

If you have bought a new rolled memory foam mattress, avoid using sharp objects when opening as these may damage the mattress itself. Upon opening, lay the mattress flat in a warm room to recover to its normal shape — this will usually take 15 minutes. Leave the mattress for a further 12 hours until it is ready to sleep on. New mattresses may have an initial chemical smell, but this is nothing to worry about and will dissipate after a few days to a week with sufficient airing.

Can you flip a memory foam mattress?

While regular mattresses need to be flipped often, it's not always the case with memory foam models. As many of these mattresses are carefully designed with multiple layers to ensure the best support and comfort, they do not need to be flipped over.

Instead, the mattresses should simply be rotated lengthways to maintain equal wear and tear. This is because most people will sleep in the same position every night and leave an impression on the supportive memory foam layer. This is normal for memory foam as it moulds to your unique shape. By rotating the mattress, the memory foam is given time to recover until its next rotation as your body weight will mainly be dispersed at the other end.

How often should you rotate a memory foam mattress?

Your memory foam mattress should be rotated once a week for the first 4 weeks of use and then once every 4 weeks thereafter. If a mattress has handles, it shouldn't be lifted using them as they are unable to support the full weight — only use them to adjust its positioning on a divan bed or frame.

Do memory foam mattresses need a mattress protector?

A mattress protector is not essential for your memory foam mattress, but they will help to extend its lifespan in the long run. Covering your mattress underneath your fitted sheet will guard against spills and stains. It's also more hygienic as it prevents contact with body moisture.

Please note: It's worth checking your mattress warranty, as you may be invalidating it by not using a mattress protector to ensure it stays in good condition.

How to air out a memory foam mattress

To air your mattress, leave your bed covers off your mattress for 20 minutes each day when you get up in the morning. This will allow body moisture to escape and air to flow through your mattress.

How to clean memory foam

Memory foam has more specific care requirements than a regular mattress, so you may need to adjust your cleaning regime when making the move from one to the other. The key thing to know about foam is that it's very absorbent, which means using excessive amounts of liquid can easily soak it through and take a long time to fully dry. This can end up causing mould and mildew.

We recommend following these steps every two to three months to make sure your mattress is always fresh:

  1. Remove all your bed clothes.
  2. Vacuum the surface of your mattress thoroughly.
  3. If there are stains, treat them with the right stain removal method.
  4. Sprinkle the entire mattress with baking soda and leave for a 2–3 hours to deodorise and to dry up any damp spots.
  5. Vacuum the surface again to remove any residue.
  6. Allow your mattress to dry properly for a few hours before use.

Please note: We advise to always check the washing instructions for your mattress before cleaning, as they can vary between mattresses. Some models are composed of layers of different materials, as well as having additional mattress covers, which may require specialist cleaning methods.

Can you vacuum a memory foam mattress?

To remove dust and other external deposits from the outside of your memory foam mattress you can use a vacuum cleaner. A handheld model works best as it allows you to reach the more difficult areas. Make sure to use a brush attachment to avoid catching any part of your mattress, which could result in a tear. If you have allergies, it can be worth investing in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to ensure that any particles are thoroughly removed and filtered.

How to stop a memory foam mattress smelling

Like any mattress, one made with memory foam can pick up a few odours as it is used. You can use baking soda to neutralise the pH of the smell: simply sprinkle it over the surface of the mattress and allow it to rest for a few hours before vacuuming the soda up. You may prefer to use a branded spray that can neutralise odours — just take care to read your mattress care instructions before use.

When you first open up your mattress there may be a slight chemical smell to the foam as a result of its production and subsequent vacuum packaging. This is perfectly normal and will go away when you allow your mattress to air before using it for the first time.

How to dry a memory foam mattress

As memory foam is very absorbent, you always need to make sure memory foam is completely dry before using again. Using damp foam can result in some unwanted odours and mould. If you plan to clean your mattress, it's always best to account for drying time. We recommend undertaking your clean in the morning, which gives you the full day to carry out the steps and for it to completely dry.

Remember to never dry your mattress under intense direct sunlight, or by using a hot hair dryer, as the heat may damage it. Instead, place the memory foam in a shady spot to dry, ensuring there is adequate air flow — a breeze or fan would be ideal for this. For faster drying, applying baking soda on wet spots will help to absorb any dampness before vacuuming, as well as deodorising.

Can I steam clean a memory foam mattress?

No, you should not steam clean a memory foam mattress as it has the potential to damage it. As a steam cleaner relies on liquid to work, using one on foam makes it very easy to saturate your mattress with water. Not only will this take a long time to dry, but any liquid that has penetrated to the inner layers of the mattress can become a source for mould and odours later.

How to clean stains from memory foam

Stains or spills should be treated immediately, avoiding the use of strong chemicals and excessive liquid. For general stain care, try an alternative cleaner, like the Clean & Fresh Mattress Freshener Spray from our accessories range or a small amount of dishwashing liquid diluted with water and mixed until it becomes only bubbles. Use a clean sponge in a circular motion to spread the cleaning solution around the stain. For more challenging stains, like urine, blood, sweat, vomit, and mould you may need to follow more specific steps, which we've laid out below.

Please note: To minimise the chance of stains setting in on memory foam, we recommend always using a mattress protector, which should be changed regularly along with your bed sheets.

How to get urine out of a memory foam mattress

If your little one or a pet has an accident on your mattress, it's important to react quickly and follow these steps to have the best chance of avoiding a permanent stain or odour:

  1. Place towels over the stain to absorb as much of the urine as possible — you can apply some pressure but be careful not to rub. Pull as much liquid out of the mattress as you can. If the urine is already dry, move onto the next step.
  2. Combine 50/50 white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and lightly spray over the area. Let the mixture sit for five minutes then lightly blot with a clean towel. Repeat if the smell is still present. If the stain already dried, carry out this step but press down onto the area with the towel to get the mixture as deep as possible.
  3. Sprinkle the stain with baking soda and allow to sit overnight if possible (a few hours may be sufficient if not). This should help to extract any moisture and absorb any smell. Make sure the mattress is completely dry before it is used again.

How to remove blood from a memory foam mattress

If you need to remove blood from a memory foam mattress, the key is to act fast. If you react quickly, it can often be removed using the general method described above. However, if the blood dries or is too absorbed, there is a fairly simple removal method worth trying.

  1. Blood dissolves in cold water, so soak a cloth and wring it out so that it's damp, then try gently dabbing at the stain.
  2. Take care not to use hot water as this will cause the blood to set in further.
  3. Follow up the cold water dabbing by applying some baking soda to the area to extract any liquid from the mattress. Allow it to sit overnight if possible (a few hours may be sufficient if not) before vacuuming
  4. Only use the mattress again if the area is completely dry.

How to clean sweat stains from a memory foam mattress

We naturally sweat a lot during the night, especially during the summer months. This means that a sweat stain forming on your mattress is not uncommon, and, thankfully, there is a method to get rid of it. Follow these steps:

  1. If you're aware you've had a hot night, check your mattress to see if a sweat stain is forming as it may be possible to soak most of it up with towels.
  2. Should the stain set in, mix together equal parts hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray the mixture over the area and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Use a fresh towel to blot the stain area, which should remove a lot of the liquid.
  4. Apply baking soda to the area and leave it to absorb moisture overnight if possible (a few hours may be sufficient if not). Then vacuum up all the particles.

How to clean vomit from a memory foam mattress

Your bed is probably the place you want to stay when you're ill, which also puts it at risk if you feel nauseous all of a sudden. Thankfully, there is a method to remove any vomit stains that set in:

  1. If possible, try to clean up as much of the vomit as possible before it soaks into the mattress by applying a towel — be careful not to rub.
  2. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl. Soak a fresh towel in the solution and lightly dab at the area of the stain, before using a fresh towel to immediately soak up the liquid.
  3. Apply a generous amount of baking soda over the area of the stain and leave it overnight if at all possible (a few hours may be sufficient if not). This should absorb most of the residue.
  4. Vacuum the baking soda up and don't use the mattress again until it's completely dry.

How to clean mould off a memory foam mattress

Mould is one of the most difficult stains to clean from a memory foam mattress. If you catch it in time, when it has just appeared on the surface, you can sometimes remove it by vacuuming and using some household cleaners, then allowing the mattress to dry in sunlight. However, if the mould has penetrated to the deeper layers of your mattress, it will probably grow back and could pose a health risk. In this case, it's time to get a new one — read our mattress buying guide to get started.

How to clean a memory foam topper

Follow the same instructions for cleaning a mattress when cleaning a memory foam topper. If the topper needs to be washed as a whole, remove the cover and following the washing instructions. Never immerse the memory foam in water: instead, spot clean stains as described above.

How to wash a memory foam pillow

Different pillows are composed of different materials, and each will have their own individual washing instructions. Memory foam is not suitable for machine washing and should not be immersed in water. Instead, all memory foam components of a pillow should be cleaned using the methods we've previously described. You can find more advice in our pillow care guide.

We hope these tips are helpful for keeping your memory foam mattress, topper, and pillow fresh and comfortable for a great night’s sleep. If you have any questions about the methods described here, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can also find more great advice in our other guides.

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