How to spring clean your mattress topper — get rid of dust mites, body oils and smells

Woman lifting a mattress topper off bed
(Image credit: Amazon)

Spring is fast approaching, which means you may be thinking of giving your sleep space a well-deserved freshen-up. If you use a mattress topper, you may be wondering how to spring clean your mattress topper to get rid of a build-up of body oils, odors, and even dust mites that can build up over time. 

Even the best mattress can benefit from a mattress topper. They not only provide an extra layer of comfort, but also double up as a barrier between you and your mattress, making the cleaning process a whole lot easier. 

There are several signs that appear when it is time for your mattress topper to be cleaned. Spills, accidents and secretions from body oils can leave unsightly stains, while a build up of bacteria can cause unpleasant odors. What's more, your mattress topper can become a breeding ground for dust mites without the occasional deep clean. 

Regular cleaning won’t just help to prolong the life of your mattress topper, but it can also have a huge impact on your health, too. Aggravated allergy symptoms, including dry itchy skin and feeling sluggish, are all signs that your mattress topper is due a deep clean. Here, we'll walk you through how to clean your mattress topper without damaging it. Let's get started.

How to wash a microfiber mattress topper

Microfiber is a great alternative to feather and down toppers, making it perfect for those with allergies. The material is also soft and comfortable, leading to a better night's sleep. But it’s important to keep it clean because it can become a breeding ground for dust mites, bacteria, and allergens. The good news is that a lot of microfibre mattress toppers can be machine washed, meaning you can keep them clean at home. 

Here’s a step-by-step instructions on how to wash a microfiber mattress topper...

1. Check the care instructions

Whether you want to clean the whole of your mattress topper or spot-clean it, it’s always important to pay attention to the manufacturer's care instructions. These should be on a label at the bottom of your mattress topper and will give you all the information you need, such as how hot you can wash the topper and whether it can be tumble-dried. 

2. Strip the sheets and grab your vacuum

Woman wearing beige shorts vacuuming her white mattress to get rid of bed bugs

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Strip your bedding and set it aside for the machine. |Remove your mattress at this point and if possible, lay it flat on your floor. Using the upholstery attachment, run your vacuum cleaner over the surface of your mattress topper. This will get rid of any excess hair, dust and particles that can get caught up in the material over time.  While your mattress topper is off the bed, now is a good time also to vacuum your mattress, making sure you get right into the hard to reach places like the corners

3. Tackle any stubborn stains before placing in the machine

If you notice any stains on your mattress topper, you may wish to tackle them before you put the topper in the washing machine. To do this, simply mix some mild laundry detergent with lukewarm water and dab on the area. Do this until the stain fades. If you’re not planning on doing a full wash, leave it to air dry, making sure that it’s fully dry before you place it back on the bed. 

4. Sprinkle some baking soda

If you want to freshen up your mattress topper without washing the whole thing then spring some baking soda over the surface and leave for at least four to five hours, although, if you can, leaving on for longer shows better results. This will break down the enzymes that cause bad smells and also help with the stain-removal process. Once you’ve done this, vacuum the baking soda and repeat the process to ensure nothing is left behind. 

5. For a full wash, add to your washing machine

Putting blanket into washing machine

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If your mattress topper care label says that it’s machine washable then pop your topper in the machine. Don’t use too much detergent as this can sit on the fabric and actually stop it from getting as clean as you’d like. Wash your topper in warm water, so around 30 degrees. Tumble dry on a low heat or line dry making sure to regularly shake the topper to stop the filling from clumping together.

How to wash a down mattress topper 

It’s important not to get the material too wet when it comes to memory foam mattress toppers. As we shared in our guide on how to clean a memory foam mattress, getting memory foam wet will damage the mattress's fibers and result in the growth of mold. 

When cleaning your memory foam mattress topper, you also want to avoid using any harsh chemicals such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide, which will damage the topper and cause it to break down. Heat is another thing that you want to avoid when cleaning your memory foam mattress topper. 

So whilst it may be tempting to run the steam cleaner over your mattress topper, the combination of heat and liquid will mean you’ll end up replacing your topper sooner rather than later. So here’s how to clean your memory foam mattress topper. 

1. Strip your bedding and tackle any wet areas first

The first thing you will need to do is remove all the bedding. If you’ve spilt something or there has been an accident, it’s important to tackle the wet areas first. You don’t want your memory foam getting wet so using a clean, or paper towel, dab the area to soak up any moisture. Once your paper towel isn’t absorbing any more moisture, you can get on with the cleaning. 

2. Vacuum the surface, including the sides

You should vacuum your memory foam mattress topper at least once a month. This will help get rid of any hair, dead skin cells, or dust mites that may be on the mattress. Just this one simple thing will help you sleep better too, because you’ll lower your risk of skin irritations and respiratory allergies. 

3. Spot clean stains

Again, you cannot get your memory foam mattress too wet. If you do then you’ll find that the fibres will break down leading to an uncomfortable sleeping experience. So if you notice any stains on your memory foam mattress topper, get a spray bottle and mix together one part water with one part white vinegar and add a small amount of laundry detergent. 

An unlabelled spray bottle being held by a gloved hand on a blue background

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Gently shake the bottle to mix the liquids together before spraying the area and blotting any excess liquid with a dry paper towel. Repeat this as many times as you need to until the stain has disappeared. It’s very important to use a mild detergent, anything with bleach will damage the topper. 

4. Remove staining and odors using white vinegar and baking soda

The best way to remove any foul odors from your memory foam topper is to use baking soda. Sprinkle a generous amount across the surface of the mattress, including the areas that you’ve just spot cleaned and leave for up to 12 hours. The longer you leave it, the better the results. You may notice the baking soda starts to bubble in the areas that have been treated with the white vinegar, but this isn’t anything to be concerned about.

5. Vacuum the mattress topper again

Using the hose attachment on your vacuum, go over the area again ensuring that you remove all traces of the baking soda. It’s important to remove all the baking soda because otherwise it will get clumpy. 

6. Repeat if needed and leave to dry

It’s important not to apply any heat to your memory foam mattress topper. So before you start your clean, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time for it to fully dry. If you’ve made sure to remove all the excess liquid whilst patting down, drying your mattress topper won’t take too long. Just open the windows and leave it to air dry.  

If you’re still seeing stains, you may want to repeat this process, you can do it as many times as you need to remove the staining but just be sure to remember not to get the memory foam too wet. 

Products you should and shouldn’t use to clean your mattress topper 

White vinegar and spray bottle

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Do use: 

• Mild detergent

• White Vinegar

• Baking Soda

• Dish soap

Don’t use:

• Bleach

• Hydrogen Peroxide

• Washing machine - if memory foam or latex

How to dry your mattress topper

Before you put your mattress topper back on your bed, you need to make sure that it is fully dry. If you don’t let it dry properly, you won’t just have to sleep on a damp bed all night, but you also run the risk of mould growing within the fibres. This then leads to damage to the mattress topper, foul odors, and is seriously bad for your health. How you dry your mattress topper depends on the type of topper you’re using, such as microfibre, down, and memory foam, which all have different care instructions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help. 

1. Read the care instructions

As mentioned above, what your mattress topper is made from makes all the difference. So be sure to read the manufacturers care instructions to know exactly how to deal with it. 

2. Air dry in the sunshine 

One of the best ways to dry your mattress topper is to air dry. Hang your topper over a clothes horse and flip it regularly to ensure that both sides get enough air flow. You can also line dry your topper and again, flip it over a few times to make sure both sides are dried equally. 

If you can, time you deep clean with sunny weather. Allowing your mattress topper to dry in direct sunshine will provide additional cleansing benefits, as the sun's UV rays naturally disinfects and remove bacteria from fabric. 

3. Tumble dry

If you’re short on time then tumble drying your mattress topper is ideal. Dry it on a low heat and if you can add some tumble drier or tennis balls to the mix, this will make sure the fibres don’t clump together and also give a fast, even dry time. 

3 signs it's time to replace your mattress topper 

Even the best mattress toppers don’t last forever, and you can often get good mattress topper deals regularly throughout the year. So here are three signs to look out for when it comes to replacing your mattress topper. 

1. If it’s not comfortable any more

If you’re not sleeping as well as you were or you’re getting aches and pains, that’s a sign that it could be time to change your mattress topper. If your mattress is over 8 years old, then, that could also be an issue, and it’s worth keeping an eye on our best mattress deals page for the lowest prices. 

2. When you notice physical deformities 

Lumps, bumps, tears, and rips are all signs that you need to change your topper. Also if your mattress topper doesn’t bounce back to its original shape once you’ve moved, that is another tell tale sign. 

3. It’s more than three years old

Mattress toppers don’t last forever, with some experts recommending you replace them as frequently as every two years. So, if your mattress topper is more than three years' old, it's probably time to buy a new one. 

Rachael Penn

Rachael is a freelance journalist based in South Wales who writes about lifestyle, travel, home and technology. She also reviews a variety of products for various publications including Tom’s Guide, CreativeBloq, IdealHome and Woman&Home. When she’s not writing and reviewing products she can be found walking her Sealyham and West Highland terrier dogs or catching up on some cringe-worthy reality tv.