While it’s important to improve the quality of your sleep, buying a new mattress isn’t always in the budget. A useful alternative to buying a full mattress is buying a topper that can provide some of the benefits of memory foam’s elasticity, support and contouring. It may not be a permanent replacement for the real thing, but it will certainly be an improvement on a worn-out or substandard mattress.
If you’re investing in a memory foam mattress topper, you’ll want to have a thorough understanding of how to maintain it. Here’s what you need to know.
BUY A MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS TOPPER THAT LASTS
First, a simple piece of advice: some of the less scrupulous vendors on the market have been known to sell factory rejects, fake foam fillers or defective/poor-quality memory foam toppers. With a mattress topper, you’re already economizing. To be certain your topper is worth the investment and lasts long enough to worry about cleaning it, be sure to buy a recognized brand name.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN?
There’s no hard and fast rule, but a good guideline is to set aside a day once a year to clean your mattress topper. Some users recommend doing it more frequently, such as once a season. Whether you do it anually or seasonally, you’ll need to get rid of the dust mites, bacteria and allergens that can build up over time. You’ll also need to go about it in a way that preserves the material and gives your topper its longest possible lifespan.
WHAT TO USE
Cleaning your memory foam mattress topper should be done by hand. The good news is that it doesn’t require special tools or detergents. You’ll need:
- A powerful handheld vacuum (or an upholstery attachment for your upright vacuum)
- A spray bottle and a gentle laundry detergent or handwashing soap (it’s best to use organic products that have natural cleaning enzymes)
- An organic stain remover, if you need to treat stains
- Fabric cleaner to help treat odors
- A few towels (or clean cloths, paper towels or sponges)
CLEANING YOUR MATTRESS TOPPER
Once you have your cleaning supplies squared away, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps.
STEP ONE: GETTING READY
Start by removing your mattress topper from the bed, putting it on the floor and checking it over for stains and odors. If you’re going to need stain or odor removal, take the topper to a well-ventilated room with an available water source. Put a tarp down underneath the topper if you’re working on carpeted or hardwood floors.
STEP TWO: VACUUMING
Using your handheld vacuum or the upholstery attachment on your upright, vacuum the topper for dust and debris. It’s best to use a vacuum or attachment that’s equipped with soft brushes to ensure gentle cleaning action that won’t damage the foam. Use circular motions across the topper’s surface. Work your way into any crevices to make sure you get the best results.
STEP THREE: TREAT STAINS
Make sure that any stain remover you’re using does not contain bleach, ammonia or hydrogen peroxide; these chemicals can be damaging to the topper. A simple solution of white vinegar and water can be a very effective homemade stain treatment.
Carefully blot any stains on the mattress with water before spot-treating them with stain remover, then blot them again until the stain is removed.
STEP FOUR: DISINFECT & WIPE DOWN
After you’ve thoroughly vacuumed the topper and treated stains, mix a solution of one part detergent to two parts water in your spray bottle. Lightly spray down the entire mattress topper. Remember that your goal isn’t to soak the topper but simply to cover the surface evenly with a fine spray. Dip a clean towel or rag in warm water, wring it out and then wipe down all the topper’s surfaces.
STEP FIVE: TREAT ODORS
You can treat any lingering odors with a simple solution of one half-cup of fabric cleaner and a cup of warm water. Mix the solution, shake it in the spray bottle and apply it lightly and evenly to the topper’s surface to help freshen it. For particularly pungent odors, replace the fabric cleaner with a quarter-cup of white vinegar.
STEP SIX: LEAVE THE TOPPER TO AIR-DRY
The topper should be completely clean and dry before you restore it to the bed. If it’s replaced while still damp, it can develop mildew. For the health of the foam, don’t try to accelerate the drying process with a hair dryer or anything involving heat. Ideally, it’s best to let the topper air-dry for a full 24 hours in order to be sure that it’s ready.
Generally speaking, cleaning your memory foam mattress topper should be an easy job. Cleaning it with the right approach and materials on a regular schedule should prolong your topper’s life, keeping it fresh until you’re ready to purchase a full memory foam mattress.