Written by Grove Collaborative

How to clean memory foam, from king sized mattresses to tiny throw pillows.

Last Updated: March 25, 2021

A clean sleep is a restful sleep, so our memory foam should be as clean as everything else we throw in the wash.

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Beneath all of your bedding — the blankets and quilts, the throws and duvets, the cases and covers and pillows and sheets — lies an all star player on your bed’s comfort team. That’s right, we’re talking about memory foam. Whether you have a memory foam mattress, topper, or pillow, memory foam plays a key role in a comfortable night's rest.


But because it's buried underneath tons of other linens, it's easy to forget — and easy to forget to clean. Just like everything else we sleep on, memory foam needs to be cleaned regularly, or it can get mightily gross. We’ve got a couple of tips and techniques to help you clean yours.




Can memory foam be washed?

No — at least, not in the traditional sense. Putting your memory foam in the washer is a surefire recipe for disaster. Not only will the agitation and spin cycle damage the foam, but it will be near impossible to get all that water out once the cycle is over.

How do you deep clean a memory foam mattress, toppers, cushions and pillows?

Because memory foam traps and locks in moisture, deep cleaning any memory foam requires a little bit of finesse. Regardless of the type or size, the process is pretty similar.

How to deep clean memory foam: A step-by-step guide

Step 1: Vacuum!

Place your memory foam item flat on the floor. Grab a handheld vacuum cleaner with an upholstery, soft brush, or crevice attachment, and vacuum the entire item — the sides, corners, everything.

Step 2: Deodorize

Mix one part mild, natural laundry detergent with two parts cool water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution evenly across the surface of the item. A little goes a long way here!

Step 3: Air dry

Lay or stand your memory foam in a sunny spot with good airflow — outside is ideal. Let it air dry for a few hours. Make sure it’s completely dry before putting it back on your bed, since set-in moisture can lead to mildew and odor.

Tips for cleaning your memory foam

Mattresses

Of all memory foam items, memory foam mattresses are the toughest to clean, since they’re so heavy and unwieldy! Try to recruit a friend or partner to help with the cleaning process — your back will thank you.

Toppers

Toppers often come with a washable zip-off cover that provides protection for the memory foam but can go in the washer and dryer, making the memory foam topper cleaning process a lot simpler. Check your topper cover’s care tag for details.

Cushions

Many memory foam cushions come with a removable cover. Check your cushion’s care tag for laundry details. Because of the contoured shape of these cushions, you may want to use the upholstery or crevice attachment on your handheld vacuum for more control.

Pillows

If your memory foam pillows come with a pillowcase of any kind, take it off and consult the care tag for laundering details. Otherwise, clean your pillows the same way you clean cushions and toppers.

Removing stains on memory foam

Spilling your drink is one thing, but spilling your drink on the bed is a terror like no other. Fear not! Here’s how to tackle stains on memory foam.

Step 1: Create cleaning solution

If you are using baking soda, mix one part baking soda with two parts cold water. For distilled white vinegar, try a 1-to-1 ratio. Mix your solution in an empty spray bottle.

Step 2: Treat the stain

Spray your solution onto the area of the stain. Using a cloth, clean the area of the stain in a circular motion, moving from the outside inwards. Let the solution sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 3: Dry

Using a fresh dry cloth, dry the treated area by blotting and wiping in a circular motion. Once you are positive you have removed excess moisture, leave the foam out to air dry completely.

Can you put memory foam in the dryer?

While a select few memory foam items may be placed in a no-heat air dryer, we recommend avoiding the dryer entirely. For one, memory foam mattresses and toppers are way too big for most dryers. But more importantly, memory foam and contained heat do not mix well, sometimes damaging the foam or even causing a fire — so beware!

Benefits of cleaning your memory foam items

Like most bedding and furniture, memory foam truly shines when given regularly scheduled cleanings. Here’s why:

It extends the lifespan

At some point, your memory foam is going to wear out. But with proper, scheduled care, you can push that date years down the road. WIth regular cleaning and care, memory foam can last up to 10 years!


It reduces dust mites

The last thing you want on your mind as you’re drifting off to sleep is dust mites. Regularly vacuuming your memory foam items sends worries about dust mites straight into the trash can.


It provides you with a clean place to sleep

Let’s face it: our beds can get real dirty if we let them. Considering how sweaty, sheddy, and flakey humans are, it makes sense that we should clean our beds regularly. By cleaning memory foam items alongside all of your other bedding, you’re keeping everything clean together, instead of leaving one item — probably the dirtiest one! — untouched.


It removes and helps to prevent mold and mildew

Humans naturally sweat while they sleep. And because our mattresses don’t get tons of air, they can trap in that moisture and start to grow mildew. By regularly vacuuming and airing out your memory foam, you can prevent and remove odor and mildew before it stinks up the room.


It improves the air quality of your room

Do you ever cough or sneeze right after fluffing up your pillows or comforter? Are your allergies worse at night? That probably means there are tons of tiny bacteria, dust mites, dust, mold spores, and other microscopic allergens nesting in your bed with you. Taking care of your mattress and other memory foam items helps remove these allergens and freshen up your room.

Frequently asked questions about cleaning memory foam

How often should I clean my mattress?

As often as you clean your sheets! Whenever your bedding is going through the wash, take that time to thoroughly vacuum your mattress. Unless there are stains that need treatment, you only need to deodorize your mattress two or three times a year.


What is the difference between a mattress topper and a pad?

Mostly size and thickness. Memory foam mattress toppers can totally change the feel and firmness of your bed. A memory foam pad is much thinner and usually gives the top of your bed a nice, puffy, soft feeling. While mattress toppers themselves cannot be machine washed, mattress pads often can. Check their care tags for details.


Can I put memory foam in the washer?

No. Memory foam and tons of water don’t mix well — moisture is easily absorbed into the foam, but it’s really hard to get out of the foam. Not to mention, all that spinning and cycling can cause rips and tears in your memory foam items.

Can I use hydrogen peroxide to remove stains on my memory foam topper?

You can, but it might cause discoloration to your memory foam item. While it’s an effective stain remover, hydrogen peroxide and memory foam don’t play nice. If you’re staring down a stubborn stain that just won’t go away, try a dedicated stain remover or laundry detergent mix.


How do you get urine out of memory foam?

With diligence and patience! Use the stain-removing method we outlined earlier. Afterwards, once the area is mostly dry, grab some baking soda and sprinkle it all over the stain zone. Let the baking soda sit for about eight hours — it will pull liquid and odor out of your memory foam. After the sit period, vacuum the stain area, and presto: urine-be-gone!

Find natural memory foam cleaners at Grove


Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.