We spend almost one-third of our life lying down in bed. But worrying about its cleanliness (aside from changing the sheets) is often an afterthought. Mattresses absorb sweat, bacteria, stains, and dead skin cells; every time it comes in contact with our bodies.
While memory foam doesn’t harbor bacteria and germs like other mattresses, cleaning a memory foam mattress is sometimes essential.
Many households have a steam cleaner to clean without harsh chemicals effectively. If you have a steam cleaner, you’re no doubt wondering can you steam clean a memory foam mattress?
You can but shouldn’t.
I’ll explain why:
Understanding Memory Foam
Memory foam is a viscoelastic polyurethane foam with naturally occurring petroleum-based materials that hold moisture and body heat.
NASA first developed it in the 1970s to create more comfortable seat cushioning in spacecraft.
The foam conforms to the body heat it comes in contact with and preserves it to keep its shape. Tempur-Pedic and Nectar are some of the most popular memory foam mattress brands.
Memory foam claims to provide better support and comfort for aching bodies. Companies now use gel and air pocket infusions to combat the bad reputation of memory foam, causing you to overheat in the middle of the night.
Memory foam is an oil-based product, so cleaning it varies slightly from other types of mattresses.
Can You Steam Clean a Memory Foam Mattress?
Using a steam cleaner on a memory foam mattress is not recommended.
As mentioned earlier, memory foam is a viscoelastic material. It is known for holding body heat and moisture. It contains various petroleum-based materials such as polybutene, polyurethane, and petrochemical fire retardants.
According to the Polyurethane Foam Association, extreme heat and humidity can affect the foam’s ability to provide support. A steam cleaner exposes the foam to both of these.
This is why we don’t recommend cleaning your memory foam mattress with a steam cleaner.
We’ve also confirmed this with a memory foam manufacturer Avenco Home who advises:
Steam from any conventional home steam cleaner poses a threat to these chemicals, which the owner wants to avoid. Another concern with this cleaning method is the high temperatures that damage or destroy your mattress, especially foam materials.
How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress?
Follow the below-given methods to clean a memory foam mattress.
What You Will Need:
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
- Dishwashing or Cleaning Soap (for example, Dawn or Castille’s – any mild detergent will work)
- Spray Bottle
- Old Clean Towel or a Dry Absorbent Cloth
- Optional – Fan or Hairdryer to speed up the drying process
Check the Care Instructions
Memory foam mattresses can be made from various products depending on the manufacturer, and cleaning methods can vary for each. So, it is always best to go through your product care booklet as a first step.
Remove any Soiled Linen and Mattress Covers
Before removing the cover of your memory foam mattress, check your warranty. Sometimes, the removal of the cover will void the warranty.
If your mattress has a removable cover and it won’t void your warranty, take it off and launder it per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Blot Any Wet Liquids
Using a dry white cloth, place it over any damp areas on the mattress and press down. The towel will help to soak up any liquid in the bed. Keep moving along in sections until the cloth has soaked up the liquid.
Spray the Stain
Make up the stain remover as follows:
- Pour 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide into a clean spray bottle.
- Add a few drops of dishwashing detergent.
- Secure the lid and give it a light shake to mix.
Lightly spray the stain with the mix. For dried on or stubborn stains, try gently rubbing the stain in a circular motion. Hydrogen peroxide is known to work on deep stains such as urine stains, blood stains, and sweat stains.
Warning: Hydrogen peroxide will slightly bleach the color of your memory foam – if it already has a yellow tinge, it may bleach this white.
If you are concerned about this, please do not use the hydrogen peroxide solution.
You could try using this vinegar solution instead:
- Mix white vinegar with warm water in a 1:3 ratio. For example, half a cup of vinegar and 1.5 cups of water. Spray on the stain and blot as described above.
Sprinkle With Baking Soda
Lightly sprinkle baking soda over the wet area. The baking soda helps to remove odors and will absorb liquid.
Be careful not to use too much. Excess moisture + too much baking soda = a paste.
If you have had a large liquid spill, you may need to keep blotting with another towel to remove as much liquid as possible.
Leave to Dry
Leave your memory foam mattress with the baking soda on top to dry. If you have a fan, you can point this at the bed to help speed up the drying process.
Start with the fan on low speed – you don’t want baking soda flying across the room!
For small spots, a hairdryer on a medium heat setting also works well.
If it is a warm day, open the blinds and windows and let the natural light and warmth come in to assist in drying the memory foam.
Depending on your ambient temperature, this can take anywhere from 3 to 8 hours.
When your mattress is dry, use your vacuum cleaner to vacuum up the baking soda. An upholstery attachment can assist with this. If you don’t have a vacuum, try using a small soft-bristled dust brush to sweep away the baking soda.
Check Your Mattress is Dry
Ensure the mattress is completely dry before putting any protectors or bed linen back on. The longer you leave it to dry thoroughly, the better it will be for your mattress.
How Do You Deep Clean a Memory Foam Mattress?
To deep clean a memory foam mattress, follow our steps above using the hydrogen peroxide mix and baking soda.
Do Bed Bugs Live in Memory Foam?
Bed bugs can live on memory foam mattresses. Remember that the memory foam mattress is not a bed bug attractant. So, they can’t get inside the mattress unless there is an opening, such as a cut or tear.
I’ve written an entire post on bed bugs and memory foam here.
Why is My Memory Foam Turning Yellow?
Memory foam may turn yellow due to the natural aging process. Memory foam usually oxidizes after using it for a long time and turns yellow.
However, oil, sweat, and dirt can also cause your memory foam mattress to be yellow. You can easily prevent it by regularly cleaning the mattress using the steps above or using a mattress protector.
What Do You Clean Memory Foam With?
There are many ways to clean a Memory foam mattress, such as:
- Making your own cleaning solution at home by diluting dishwashing liquid in warm water, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar.
- Using baking soda sprinkled across your mattress then vacuumed up – a great natural odor neutralizer.
- Using a store bought mattress or upholstery cleaning product.
How Do You Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Topper?
It is best to spot clean memory foam, rather than cleaning the entire mattress topper, unless it is needed. To make a spot clean spray, follow the recipe earlier in this post, or try this vinegar recipe:
- In a spray bottle, mix together 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water.
- Spray it all over the mattress thoroughly.
- Blot out the extra moisture gently using a clean cloth, such as a microfiber cloth or old towel.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the memory foam mattress topper.
- Then allow it to rest like that for up to 8 hours, then vacuum off the dry baking soda.
- Check your mattress topper is dry. You may need to allow additional time if it was very damp, or the ambient temperature wasn’t very warm.
- Repeat it on the other side if you want.
Try using the hydrogen peroxide mix described earlier in this post for tough stains on your memory foam mattress topper.
Can I Wash my Memory Foam Pillow?
You should not wash your memory foam pillow in an ordinary washing machine. Washing the memory foam can damage the product and reduce its durability and support.
If you want to clean any stains, you can always do it by following the care guide of the product or our tips in this article.
Using a pillow protector on your memory foam pillow is a great way to protect it from stains. Most pillow protectors can easily be laundered.
Top Tips to Keep Your Memory Foam in Great Shape
Here are simple tips for you to maintain your memory foam mattress. Following these will help you increase the longevity of your bed.
Wash Your Sheets Regularly
As a general principle, launder your bed sheets once a week. Bed linen collects many dead skin cells, which can attract dust mites, bed bugs, and other nasty critters. A study by Ohio State University estimated that a regular mattress has 100,000 to 10 million dust mites!
Avoiding cleaning can make it harder to clean your memory foam mattress in the long run or cost you money by replacing it.
Rotate Your Mattress
Another tip is to rotate your memory foam mattress 180° every 3-6 months. Don’t flip the mattress over; most memory foam mattresses aren’t suitable to flip. Please check your product manual to see if you can.
Also, grab this chance to clean your mattress as you rotate it. Depending on how dirty your mattress is, you can either sprinkle on some baking soda and vacuum it or deep clean it.
Invest in Protective Covers
The last tip is to buy memory foam mattress protection. It will protect and prevent the mattress from damage beforehand. It will also help you expand the lifespan of your bed.
A waterproof mattress cover is well worth the investment.
Enjoy Your Memory Foam Mattress
For people suffering from breathing problems such as allergies, asthma, or sleep apnea taking care of their mattress should be a must. It helps maintain indoor air quality, sleep quality, and overall health.
There are many mixed opinions online about using a steam cleaner on a memory foam mattress.
Following the Polyurethane Foam Association and other sources (such as memory foam mattress suppliers) advice, a steam cleaner should not be used on memory foam.
The best advice is to follow your memory foam mattress manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. The cleaning agents suggested in this post are generally safe for memory foam.
The biggest key takeaway is your memory foam should be allowed to dry thoroughly. As the foam is so absorbent, you don’t want to risk mold, mildew, or breakdown of your mattress.