How Often Do You Need to Wash Your Mattress Pad?
You do lay on it eight hours a night, after all.
There’s nothing that ruins the feeling of just-cleaned sheets like realizing that your protective mattress pad is looking a little. yellow. We all know you’re supposed to wash your sheets every one or two weeks, but what about this pesky thing under your sheets? Our expert is here to share her wisdom.
But first things first, when we say mattress pad, we mean a traditional protective covering like this. Pillowy toppers are a different story since they come in so many varieties (consult the care label for the best washing instructions), and the foam versions can’t be washed at all. You’ll want to replace your topper when they’re not comfortable or supportive anymore.
But here’s the scoop on mattress pads:
You should wash your mattress pad every couple months.
"It’s only necessary to wash your mattress pad several times per year," says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. "Sheets generally take more wear and tear than a mattress pad which is why they are washed more often."
This makes sense: You lay directly on top of the sheets, so they’re the first line of defense against body oils and dust getting to your mattress. Your mattress pad bears of that brunt, too, but not quite as much.
Forte recommends following the care label for specific cleaning directions, but in general, most mattress pads can be machine-washed in warm water and tumbled on low to dry.
But there are some exceptions.
If you have allergies, or let your dog or cat sleep in your bed, you might need to clean your pad more often. Gauge how much you should increase the frequency by considering the severity of your symptoms or how much your pet sheds. By trial and error, you might find that it’s necessary to wash the pad as often as weekly.
And if you spill food or drink, notice a stain, or find that it’s stretched out, wash the pad immediately.
Earn bonus points if you clean your mattress while the protector is in the wash.
It’s not everyday you have a bare mattress, so Forte recommends using this time to vacuum up dust (sprinkle the mattress with a little baking soda first to absorb odors). You can also spot-treat any stains, or spray the mattress with Lysol to kill bacteria. Just allow it to dry fully before making the bed again.
How to Wash and Care For a Mattress Cover and Pad
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You are keeping your mattress clean by using a protective cover, but how often do you need to wash a mattress cover? This guide will help you learn how to wash a mattress cover and show you how often you need to clean it for the best results.
Can You Wash a Mattress Cover?
Yes, you absolutely can wash a mattress cover. It is recommended you regularly launder it due to the buildup of skin cells, liquids and other allergens.
Things to Consider Before Washing a Mattress Cover
Before you toss it into the wash there are a few things you should know before you wash a mattress cover.
Consider the temperature you wash your bed cover at… do not wash it on high heat. Just like washing a mattress protector, you can clean a cover in the washing machine. However, you should only do it on lukewarm or cold temperatures.
Most people are aware that hot water can kill bacteria. But, you do not want to use any hot water on your mattress cover and pad.
The materials that compile your mattress cover can be damaged or weaken the waterproofing when you use water that is too hot. Even the best made mattress covers will break down from really hot water. This is the same for when washing new sheets.
You also should only use a mild detergent or a natural cleaner you can make at home when cleaning your mattress cover.
It may be considered really dirty when you think about everything the mattress houses over the time between washes. Using a harsh chemical cleaner such as bleach will end up ruining your mattress cover instead of cleaning it.
If you would like to add a little more oomph to your machine wash, add in a half a cup of white vinegar. Vinegar is a naturally acidic choice and gentle in the wash.
The high acidity levels in vinegar are able to kill and remove various odors, bacteria, and even some stains. It’s even good for cleaning carpet and flooring.
Finally, create a schedule for washing your mattress cover. Since you use sheets on top of it, you don’t need to wash the mattress cover as regularly as you do your sheets.
Instead, opting to wash your mattress cover once every two months is a more practical approach. You will want to wash it to clean any residue which has soaked into it and also to deter your mattress cover from yellowing due to sweating or potential bacteria growth.
Now that you know the basics of washing a mattress cover you can clean your mattress pad without worry. If you ever have a question about laundering your mattress cover, let it tell you what it needs by reading the fabric care tag.
How to Clean a Mattress Cover
Not all mattress covers are made with the same material. While most of them can be easily washed, there are a few that might not make the washing machine cut. That doesn’t mean you can’t still wash them. It just means you will have to wash them another way.
Materials that Can Be Washed
Cotton, vinyl, and down mattress covers are almost always able to be cleaned in the washing machine. Always make sure to read the fabric care label to make sure your bed pad is okay to machine wash. Follow all the required settings, such as cold water only and low heat to dry.
Foam Based Covers
More complex mattress covers are those made from foam (the egg-crate variety). You don’t want to wash foam based mattress covers in a washing machine.
This is because a washing machine can agitate them and cause the foam to tear. All is not lost though. There is still a way to keep these more comfortable and cushioned mattress covers clean.
Steps for Cleaning Your Mattress Cover
- First, remove any dust and dander by vacuuming the foam pad. It is easier to use a vacuum attachment or a handheld smaller vacuum, so you can better control and direct it.
- Next, if there are any stains, spot clean them. Use a mild detergent or an enzyme based cleaner to penetrate any stains and clear them. Another great option is to make your own cleaner with vinegar. Spot cleaning is an essential step prior to cleaning to make sure you don’t go to hard on the entire cover for a small problematic spot. This goes the same for cleaning all other materials, including carpet.
- Let the solution sit for about ten to twenty minutes and rinse it by blotting up the cleaner with a sponge filled with clean water. You don’t want to squeeze and soak the foam. Instead, lightly apply a blotting with the sponge so a little water is worked into the stained area.
- Finally, get up as much water as you can by blotting the area with a clean and lightly colored towel. Using a dark towel can sometimes cause dye bleeding into your foam mattress cover.
Make sure the spot is fully dry before you place it back on your bed and cover it up with a sheet. If left wet or damp, it can grow mold or bacteria.
How to Wash a Mattress Topper
If you are trying to find out if you can wash a memory foam mattress topper, you will be pleased to know you can. Since it is memory foam, it may not be able to be traditionally washed in a machine as easily as a cotton-based mattress topper.
Make sure you read the care label to see if there are any special instructions or guidelines before you begin the next step.
The best way to wash a memory foam mattress topper is to do it by hand. You can use a mild detergent or use baking soda.
Using Baking Soda
This cleaning method takes the least amount of time since you do not need to get the mattress topper wet. The baking soda will penetrate into the fibers and cling to any dirt or dander and help pull it up when you vacuum up the baking soda.
Baking soda will also neutralize any lingering odors. Just make sure you leave the baking soda sitting on the mattress topper for at least fifteen minutes to make sure it is able to work.
For a powerful one-two punch, spray vinegar onto the mattress cover before applying the baking soda.
Baking soda can also clean a whole multitude of things, that includes cleaning showers, drains, and also materials like wool.
Using a Detergent to Clean
Similar to the spot cleaning, if you need to wash your entire mattress topper, you will want to follow the instructions for spot cleaning. The easiest way to accomplish this task is to put your cleaning solution into a spray bottle and lightly spray the mattress.
You do not want to soak the mattress topper, because then it will take longer to rinse and dry.
Also, to make it a less daunting task, split your mattress into sections such as quarters and work on cleaning each section before moving onto the next.
Since you now have the entire foam mattress wet or damp, you will need to allow it to dry for a few days. Using forced air such as a blow dryer can ruin its shape and damage the foam. It is best to put it in a well-ventilated area to dry.
Flip it onto the other side multiple times a day if it is soaked all the way through.
Now that you know the ins and outs of washing a mattress cover, you can keep your bed clean and your mattress protected for many years of good night sleeps.
How to Wash a Mattress Protector and Topper
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When it comes to protecting our mattress, using a mattress protector is a must. However, do you know how to wash a mattress protector and how often you need to?
Can You Wash a Mattress Protector?
First of all yes, you can definitely wash a mattress protector like you would your new set of sheets. That is the main reason for having one, since you are unable to wash your mattress.
While sleeping, we lose fluid, skin cells and any dirt on our bodies will rub off in the sheets. These tiny particles will push tough the fibers as we toss and turn, eventually making their way down and into the mattress.
Once inside of the mattress, it is almost impossible to pull it all back out, even with spot cleaning and vacuuming the top of your mattress.
Instead of having to worry about what’s falling through the cracks of your mattress and degrading its lifespan, opt to own and use a mattress protector.
A mattress protector is a thin fitted sheet that goes on your bare mattress and sits underneath your fitted and flat sheets. Most of the top rated mattress protectors are 100% waterproof and can hold more than a liter of liquid before you need to change it.
They are also engineered to be breathable through a cotton/terry blend that absorbs yet allows air to flow through so that you are not sweating due to the extra layer underneath you.
How to Wash a Mattress Protector
Whether you need to spot clean or completely launder your mattress protector then follow these steps to take care of spills, stains and regular refreshing.
If you catch spills or accidents in time, you can spot clean your mattress protector instead of having to wash it between scheduled washes.
The best way to be able to spot clean is to do it as soon as the accident occurs or as soon as you notice it. Putting off spot cleaning may result in set in stains or permanent yellowing of your mattress protector and needing to wash it instead.
- Use a paper towel to blot up the excess moisture. (A paper towel will pull most of the liquid out)
- Do not rub the area, this can damage the mattress protector fibers and spread the stain further.
- Mix a little mild detergent with water to make it thinner and pour it in a spray bottle. (always use a spray bottle for spot cleaning since it controls the flow and keeps you from over soaking a spot)
- Agitate the detergent a little with your fingers to help awaken it. (Again, don’t scrub or rub)
- Use a clean cloth dipped in water to blot up the detergent
- Dip the soapy cloth in clean water and squeeze out the excess and repeat until there is no more soap on the mattress protector.
- Follow up with using paper towels to blot out any excess moisture to help your mattress protector dry faster.
- Allow it to air dry by hanging it up.
- Once fully dried replace and continue to use
It is important to control how much water you are using to spot clean. You don’t want to over soak the area with detergent or water, this won’t clean it any better and will take a longer amount of time to dry.
Less is better, because you can always work up to using more if needed. You cannot work backwards from over soaking the area or adding too much soap.
Also spraying too much detergent or not watering it down a little can cause too much soap residue to get into the fibers and be difficult to remove it all. More soap does not mean cleaner, it just equals out to more work needed to rinse it.
You should strive to wash your mattress protector once a month. You can stretch it to once every two months if your sheets are changed regularly and you don’t have many spills or accidents.
Your mattress protector needs to be laundered regularly due to the buildup of dirt, dead skin cells, dust mites and odors. Washing your mattress protector will also restore the freshness of it to keep allergens under control.
- Set your washer to the cold water and gentle/delicate cycle.
- Add in a bleach free laundry detergent or a natural one you can create at home. (Bleach can damage the waterproof backing)
- Place your mattress protector in the washer with your sheets or alone.
- Let the washer run through the entire cycle and skip the fabric softener, this will reduce the absorbency of the mattress protector.
- For the best drying results hang up your mattress protector to dry. If you need it quicker then you can place it in the dry on a no heat or low heat setting. (place damp towels in with it to help dry and fluff it up.)
The best thing you need to remember about washing your mattress protector is that you need to avoid high heat settings. Similar to washing wool, and other sensitive materials, washing or drying with heat can damage the waterproof backing, shrink it and reduce it’s ability to protect your mattress.
Can You Wash a Mattress Topper?
If you have a mattress topper, it is a little different from a mattress protector. A mattress topper, sometimes referred to as a pad, is a padded cushion that fits on your mattress like a fitted sheet would.
The main difference between the two is that a topper is used to add a layer of cushion to your mattress where as a mattress protector adds little to no cushion and offers waterproof protection.
A good mattress pad will make your night’s sleep a lot better. It doesn’t provide any protection for your mattress though.
You can wash most mattress toppers. Cotton and polyester blends are able to washed and dried following the same instructions as above. Since it is a thicker version of a mattress protector it may need to be dried a little longer.
If you have a memory foam or egg crate mattress topper then you may not be able to wash it as easily. You can vacuum the top to pull out any debris or dust and spot clean as needed
Now that you know more about how to wash a mattress protector and the best schedule for taking care of it, you can begin to work it into your cleaning routine. Keeping your mattress protector clean and functioning will help extend the life of your mattress underneath since it is catch all of the daily wear and tear.
How to clean a mattress pad
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Just because you don’t sleep directly on mattress pads doesn’t mean they don’t get dirty.
Between dust mites and dead skin, spilled food and drinks, bladder leaks (or worse), mattress pads collect some gross stuff. So how do we clean them? The fact is, since mattress pads come in an assortment of materials — cotton, plastic-backed, foam, egg crate, down — there is no universal way to do it. That’s why TODAY Home asked green-cleaning expert Leslie Reichert for advice on tackling this chore. Not only does she know the best way to clean, she keeps it eco-friendly.
How to clean a cotton mattress pad
"Most manufacturers recommend cleaning cotton mattress pads at least every two or three months, depending on use," said Reichert. "Always follow the instructions on the care label, but, as a general rule, machine wash on warm or cool using a mild detergent."
Tumble dry on the lowest temperature recommended, using wool or rubber dryer balls or a few tennis balls to keep the pad fluffy. If machine drying is not recommended, then air dry.
How to clean a vinyl-backed mattress pad
Always follow the instructions on the care label of the pad, but, in general, vinyl-backed mattress pads can be machine washed in cold or warm water on a gentle cycle using mild detergent. Never use bleach on these pads, cautions Reichert, as it may damage the backing. Also, to assure an equal distribution of laundry detergent, allow the machine to fill with water, add the detergent, swish to mix andthenadd the pad into it.
If machine drying is recommended, tumble dry on low heat only. High heat will damage the vinyl. Toss in a few dryer balls or tennis balls to help the pad dry more evenly.
If air drying is recommended, hang the pad outside on a clothesline. If you don’t have clothespins to fasten the pad to the clothesline, drape across the line with the vinyl side facing up. Once that side is dry, drape the pad across the line with the cotton side up.
To avoid odors, mold or mildew, make sure the pad is completely dry before putting it on the bed.
Yes, you CAN fold a fitted sheet neatly
How to clean a foam mattress pad
Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning foam mattress pads because foam pads are more delicate than fabric versions. They can shred and tear in washing machines and melt when dried at high temperatures. "Your best bet is to spot clean them," Reichert said.
To spot clean, begin by vacuuming both sides of the pad. Next, clean stains with an enzyme-based cleaner, such as Oxi-Clean or a solution made from equal parts water, distilled white vinegar and lemon juice. To keep the stain from spreading, start applying cleaner on the outside of the stain and work in circles toward the center. Allow the cleaning solution to sit on the stain for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse by soaking a clean sponge in cool water and blotting water into the stained area. Remove water by blotting with a clean towel. Continue until most moisture is removed. Or, remove excess water using a wet/dry vacuum. Allow pad to air dry by laying it on a flat surface, turning occasionally so it can dry evenly.
If the entire pad needs to be cleaned, lightly spray with a solution of one part mild, low-sudsing detergent to two parts water, or use equal parts water, lemon juice and white vinegar. If extra cleaning power is needed, you can add an enzyme cleaner. Allow the solution to sit on the pad for 20-30 minutes. Rinse lightly in the tub or shower using a hand-held shower head. Squeeze — never wring out! — the extra water, or remove it by using a wet/dry vacuum. Lay the pad flat for several days, turning a couple of times a day, so it can dry evenly.
If you don’t have the space or time needed to dry a foam pad, consider spot cleaning or replacing the pad altogether.
How to clean an egg crate mattress topper
The first step to cleaning an egg crate is to vacuum it on both sides to remove dirt and debris. If the manufacturer’s care label indicates that the egg crate is machine washable, wash it only in a commercial or oversize washer because agitator-type machines may tear the foam, Reichert suggests. Use a gentle cycle and a small amount of mild detergent.
If machine washing is not an option, consider spot-cleaning the egg crate. Spray the stained areas with a solution made from equal parts water, distilled white vinegar and lemon juice. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse the stained areas completely in the shower. Fold and press the egg crate or use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess water.
Lay the egg crate on a dry, flat surface to dry. To prevent mold, mildew and odors, do not place egg crate on the bed until it is completely dry.
How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Topper in a few Simple Steps
In case you haven’t noticed, sleeping is a dirty job. While dozing off, our bodies release various nasty fluids through the skin (e.g. sweat), or sometimes we just go to bed dirty.
All of this goes into the mattress, and after a while, it will need cleaning if you want it to remain pleasant to sleep on.
Memory foam mattresses and toppers are very popular these days, but you cannot wash them in the same way you would any old mattress. Since this material is so specific, you need to know a bit about its characteristics to be able to take care of it properly.
In today’s article, I’m going to show you how to clean a memory foam mattress topper in just a few simple steps. Also, I threw in some useful tips that’ll make your life and bed maintenance easier.
Preparation for cleaning
Now, before I jump into the cleaning process, I’d like to lay out all the things you need to have and consider before starting. You’ll require:
- Enough space to lay the topper down for washing and drying
- A couple of towels or cotton sloths
- Non-abrasive detergent for clothes washing (liquid is the way to go)
- Vinegar/detergent/baking soda
- Plain spray bottle
- Hair dryer
- Vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment for mattress cleaning
Partial or total cleaning?
Depending on how dirty the mattress topper is, there are two different cleaning processes – partial or spot cleaning and washing the entire thing. I’m going to describe both ways, starting with the former.
This is one is for the those who wish to remove the stain from a specific spot on the topper. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Vacuuming the surface
Take the topper off from the mattress and spread it across a clean and dry surface. An example of this would be a room lined with a plastic sheet.
Once you’ve placed the topper, vacuum clean it using the mattress-vacuuming extension. In this way, you will remove the dust or small debris that might have found its way to the topper.
For this step, you will need a mattress vacuum cleaner! Be sure to check out our mattress vacuum guide before you make a purchase.
2. Cleaning the stains
After vacuuming, it’s time to locate and remove those nasty stains and dirty spots. There are multiple cleaning agents that you can use, but I recommend either vinegar and detergent combo, or baking soda.
The first option is better if you’re looking to remove the odors as well as the stains, while the other one will only clean it.
Dilute the vinegar with a small amount of water. Apply the solution on the stain bit by bit and wipe with a cloth until you remove it.
When the spots are gone, it’s time to apply the detergent. Same as the vinegar, dilute it, although this time you might need more water. Take a dry cloth, soak it into the diluted detergent and spread over the area where the stain used to be.
You can also spray it with a spray bottle if you like. Now, let it sit for around half an hour as it takes time to do its job.
b) Baking soda
Mix water and baking soda in a 2:1 ratio and stir it around until they form a white solution. Apply the solution with a cloth and wipe until the spots are gone. Leave it to sit for about an hour. Here is a good video showing how it’s done.
After the recommended time, fill the spray bottle with water and spray it on the surface covered with detergent/baking soda. After each spray, wipe off the water using a soft cloth as this will remove the cleaning agent foam from the area.
When there’s no more soapy layer forming, take an absorbent towel and tap the spot with it, to remove the excess moisture. When the cloth gets wet, take a dry one and repeat the same process.
After the cleaning is done, drying is up next. The slow way is to leave the mattress to lay in an airy room or direct a fan onto it.
A quicker method is to blow dry the wet spots using a hairdryer. If you opt for the latter, make sure not to bring the dryer too close to the surface of the topper because it might damage it.
In case that both faces of the mattress topper were stained, merely flip the topper and repeat these six steps on the other side.
Washing the entire mattress topper
When it comes to large and deep stains, such as those caused by urine, coffee, juice, or other liquid spillages, spot-cleaning won’t cut it, but you’ll have to wash the entire thing.
The reason for this is that the liquids have gotten soaked up by the memory foam so you have to clean it thoroughly.
Speaking of pee, those of you who have little kids that don’t sleep on a memory foam mattress need to know thatremoving urine stains from a normal mattressis a different process than the one presented in this article.
So, how do you do you clean an entire topper?
First, perform the first five steps from the previous section, from vacuuming to blotting, and then do the following:
As your topper is spread on an even and clean surface, wash it with cold water. As you do this, pay attention to whether all of the detergent has been rinsed away. If you see any soapy surfaces forming, wipe them off and rinse again.
Now that the topper is soaked roll it inwards while gently pressing to get rid of the extra water. Do not squeeze it too hard and definitely don’t tumble dry it as this will damage its structure and softness.
The best place to dry the topper is somewhere with a lot of airflow and hidden from direct sunlight. Also, fans and blow dryers can be utilized to speed up the process.
What not to do when cleaning a memory foam topper
In this section, I’m going to discuss some do’s and don’ts of memory foam topper washing. As I’ve mentioned before, memory foam is a specific material, and you cannot clean it the same way as other fabrics.
Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid:
Do not place the topper back on the mattress until you’re sure that it iscompletely dry. If there is even the slightest bit of moisture left, it will create perfect conditions for mold forming, which is very bad for your health.
Never leave the topper to dry underdirect sunlightduring the hottest part of the day. Place it in the shade and make sure that there’s a lot of dry air flowing through there. In the late afternoon, when the heat dies down a bit, it’s ok to leave it open in the sun.
Do not usecheap and low-quality detergentto clean the stains as this might cause discoloration of the topper’s surface.
When blow-drying, keep thedryer on low and on a safe distancefrom the surface of the topper as high heat might damage it.
Machine washing, tumble drying, or squeezingare to be avoided at all cost. These actions will hurt the consistency of the memory foam and hurt its functionality.
Don’t wash it withhot water.
Prolonging the memory foam mattress topper’s life
Use a cover
A cover is one of the best things you can have to help preserve your favorite topper. Not only will it protect the memory foam from superficial staining and keep it clean, but it is also veryeasy to maintainand costs very little.
Nowadays, there are many different covers available, and I suggest you get a cotton one. Cotton feels great under the skin, and it’s much healthier than synthetic materials.
If your planning on getting one a cover, I wrote an in-depth guide on choosing the best encasement for you mattress
Flip the topper
Over time, memory foam tends to lose its firmness and thus its functionality, and it is a good idea to flip it every now and then. By doing this, the side that’s been taking all the pressure from the top will be able to “rest”, while the intact side will take its place.
Check the label
Make sure to always check the care label on the topper as it will provide you with some information on what to do and what not to do when washing this product.
Washing the mattress topper might not be a super easy task, but it is a necessary one. Just follow the steps I provided you with, and you’ll be able to keep your memory foam topper nice and clean, and proper maintenance will make it last for a long time.