Can You Machine Wash Foam Mattress Toppers?
Foam mattress toppers must be spot-cleaned by hand.
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The material used to make a foam-style mattress topper varies by brand or model; some are memory foam, while others are latex or polyurethane. Since the foam has no protective covering permanently affixed to it, it is not designed to withstand machine washing. Instead, fit the topper with a machine-washable cover to increase its longevity.
Foam Mattress Topper Care
A cover designed for your model of mattress topper helps keep the topper itself free from moisture and dust. The retailer carrying your model and thickness of foam topper most likely carries a cover designed to fit it. If the foam mattress topper does get dirty, the cleaning methods are essentially the same regardless of the type of foam. Spot-clean it by hand with a slightly damp cloth and a mild soap, allowing the foam to air dry completely. A vacuum cleaner comes in handy for dealing with dust or hair if the mattress topper is without a protective cover. With or without a cover, allow the mattress topper to air out for an hour or so whenever you change the bed linens; this helps keep it fresh and allows any built-up moisture to dissipate.
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 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 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.
Should a New Mattress Pad Be Washed Before Use?
Mattress pads are thick items designed to be placed on top of a mattress and below a bedsheet in order to help reduce allergens, protect the mattress from wear and tear, and add comfort to an old or poor-quality mattress. However, many mattress pad buyers are confused about whether or not they should wash it before using it, and if they do, how should they go about it. Knowing the right answers will ensure the mattress pad serves its purpose, not just the first time you use it, but for many years.
Should a new mattress pad be washed before use?Washing a newly purchased item before use comes down to preference, but it is best to wash a mattress pad before putting it on top of your mattress. This ensures you remove any factory and storage residue, dirt, or debris.
Let’s understand better why we need to wash our new mattress pads before using it, how to clean each type of mattress pad, and how often you should wash it.
Why Do I Need to Wash a Mattress Pad I Just Bought?
The fabric used in making a mattress pad has such a thing called “sizing, which is adding starch to help make the fabric rigid for easier and accurate sewing. The starch needs to be removed, and that is the primary reason why you should wash your newly purchased mattress pad before even using it, whether or not the label recommends washing it before use.
Much like a new comforter, washing new mattress pads before use is also essential because most, if not all of them have undergone chemical treatments prior to storage. Additionally, the warehouse where the mattress pads are kept before packaging might be full of dust and dander, as well as cockroaches and rodents that can walk on the product. The common “factory smell” is also one thing that you won’t have to worry about if you wash your new mattress pad.
How Do You Clean a Mattress Pad?
Now that you’re fully aware of the importance of why should a new mattress pad be washed before use, let’s learn how to clean different types of mattress pads properly. This way, you won’t only have a fresh and clean pad, but also make sure you’re not destroying it or shortening its lifespan.
Do note, though, that most manufacturers will provide washing or care instructions that need to be considered and checked prior to washing. Nonetheless, below are general guides you can follow.
1. Vinyl and Cotton Mattress Pads
These mattress pads usually have the same washing instructions, and bleach should not be used on both. For cotton pads, you may use fabric conditioner, but for vinyl, it should be avoided since it can damage the fabric.
Here are the steps you should follow rigorously:
- Fill your washing machine with cold or warm water.
- Add the right amount of mild detergent.
- Swish the water-detergent solution to ensure they’re adequately mixed.
- Place your mattress pad, ensuring it’s submerged fully.
- Set your machine settings to a gentle cycle, and then wash for about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on when the last time you washed it.
- If the label says you can machine dry the pad, add tennis or dryer balls and then tumble dry using the low heat setting.
- If the manufacturer recommends air drying, hang your mattress pads with the vinyl facing up. Once dried, flip the pad over to dry the other side completely. It is best to hang the pad on a clothesline and fasten with a clothespin. If not possible, just make sure the pad drapes so that the water drips.
2. Foam Mattress Pads
Foam is a material that absorbs water, so washing it might be tedious. Likewise, foam pads are sensitive to heat and can be torn when machine-washed. Hence, spot cleaning is the best way to clean these pads, but you can still wash them entirely if you want to.
To spot clean the foam mattress pad, follow these steps:
- Lay a clean cloth with a size equal to or bigger than your mattress pad’s size.
- Remove the mattress pad and place it on top of the cloth you prepared.
- Get your vacuum cleaner, attach the soft brush head, and vacuum the entire pad on both sides, in a circular motion.
- Soak a toothbrush in an enzyme-based or homemade cleaner (equal parts lemon juice, distilled white vinegar, and water). Use it to brush, from the outside to the inside, any stains on the pad.
- Leave the solution for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Using an absorbent cloth or sponge soaked in clean water, blot the treated spots more than once until the stain looks lighter or completely removed.
- Blot dry using a clean, dry towel, and then let the pad air dry.
- Once dry, vacuum it again using a soft brush attachment.
To clean the entire pad, here’s what you need to do:
- Prepare a cleaning solution by diluting one part of low-sud, mild detergent to two parts of clean water in a bottle sprayer. You may also use the water-lemon-vinegar solution as above.
- Lightly spray the entire pad.
- Leave the solution for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
- Spray the pad with clean water to rinse and then dry it using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner. If you think that isn’t enough, you may rinse it using a hand-held shower head, and then press gently to remove some of the water absorbed.
- Leave to air dry for days, making sure you turn it a few times in a day.
- Once dry, vacuum it again using a soft brush attachment.
3. Down Mattress Pads
Similar to a down pillow (Check price on Amazon), a down mattress pad has feathers inside, so you need to make sure the pad has no open seams. If there are, sew them first before washing the pad using a front-loading washing machine.
After sewing any open seams, follow this washing guide:
- Spot clean the pad using the same technique for foam mattress pads, but with a mild, low-sud detergent or down cleaner.
- Add cold water to the washing machine and the right amount of down cleaner or mild, low-sud detergent.
- Soak your down mattress pad and wash using the gentle cycle setting.
- Once done, rinse twice.
- After that, add tennis or dryer balls, set the dryer to low heat, and then dry the pad for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pad from the dryer and break up the feathers using your hands.
- Place the mattress pad back in the dryer and then dry for 15 minutes—repeat steps 6 and 7 twice until the pad is dry.
- Let the down mattress pad air dry before using it again.
4. Egg Crate Mattress Pads
Egg crate mattress pads have nearly the same texture as a foam mattress pad, but are lighter and have crevices. For brands not designed to be machine-washed, you can use the same spot cleaning technique for foam mattress pads. Just make sure you vacuum the crevices efficiently.
If the egg crate mattress pad is machine-washable, you would need an oversized or commercial-type washing machine and then follow these steps:
- Put cool water in the machine and add a minimal amount of mild detergent.
- Swish to mix
- Soak your mattress pad, set the washer to a gentle cycle, and then start.
- Rinse and then dry using low heat.
- Leave the mattress to air dry.
How Often to Wash Mattress Pads
Since the bedsheet somewhat protects your mattress pad from dirt and dust, you can wash or clean the pad every three or four months. If, however, you sleep with your dog or cat, you must wash it once a week or every two weeks, depending on how much your furry friend sheds and bathes. You might need to wash the pad more frequently if you have a down, egg crate, or foam or memory foam mattress pad (Check price on Amazon) since fur sticks more to them than the other types.
You can ignore the recommended schedule of washing if you spill anything on your bed. In this situation, you must wash your pad immediately to prevent stains, molds, mildews, and foul odor.
Last Few Tips
As you may have noted from the cleaning or washing methods discussed, any type of mattress pad should be dried completely before placing it on top of your mattress. This way, you can prevent mold and mildew growth, as well as foul odor development.
In case your mattress pad has a smell already, the baking soda technique can help. To do this, sprinkle baking soda on the pad and leave for five to 10 minutes. Using your hands, try to remove the baking soda and then vacuum the pad with a soft brush attachment.
Additionally, when it’s time to wash your mattress pad, take this opportunity to clean your mattress. You can use the same spot cleaning technique for stains, baking soda method for odors, or just vacuum dry it. You can also spray the mattress with Lysol to remove any microorganisms lingering. Lastly, if you have allergies, a hypoallergenic mattress pad (Check price on Amazon) would be a great purchase.