We sleep on them every night, they absorb our sweat and they collect our dead skin… our mattress toppers do a great job, but we do need to look after them to ensure they stay clean and don’t become a health hazard! But how do you wash a mattress pad?
Mattress Topper Types
Mattress toppers can be made from a multitude of different materials, so it can be difficult to decide how best to clean them.
The main types of mattress topper are made from:
- Memory foam
- Down feather
Some of these are easier to clean than others, so you have to be careful and consider the mattress topper filling before you start trying to shove the entire thing into your washing machine.
Always read the care label on your mattress pad before washing, it will give you the correct instructions for that specific make/model.
How Often Should You Wash a Mattress Topper?
As we mentioned before, your mattress topper gets pretty gross when you think of all of the dead skin, dust mites and sweat that gets absorbed into it… not to mention those who like a cuppa or a snack in bed – it’s inevitable there will be a few spillages…
Also, you may need to wash your mattress protector more frequently if you have allergies or let your pets sleep in your bed with you.
That being said, the regularity of cleaning also depends upon the type of mattress topper you have:
- Foam – A foam mattress topper can just be spot cleaned as and when you feel it needs it.
- Feather – A feather mattress topper should be washed less regularly to ensure its longevity – frequent washing will cause your mattress pad to become flat and clumpy.
- Wool – A wool mattress protector should be washed as little as possible, instead, it should be turned on a regular basis (about once each month) and aired outdoors on a sunny day when possible.
- Latex – A latex mattress pad can be cleaned in a similar way to memory foam and just spot cleaning or using bicarb to remove odours is ideal as and when it is needed.
- Fibre – A regular fibre mattress topper should be cleaned every two to three months to ensure it is as fresh as possible.
Foam Mattress Pads
Can you wash a foam mattress pad in the washing machine?
No. If your mattress topper is made from memory foam you can’t just stick it in the washer, unfortunately. The only way to clean a foam mattress topper is to clean it by hand.
You shouldn’t need to wash the entire mattress topper in one go, spot cleaning is ideal for removing light stains.
Memory foam does not harbour germs deep down like normal fibre or natural-filled mattress toppers will, so just freshening it up each time you change the sheets is all you need to do.
How to clean a foam mattress topper
This video has a great technique for removing odours from your memory foam mattress topper – just using bicarbonate of soda over the surface and then vacuuming it away.
It also shows that a mild detergent mixed with water is all you need to spot clean memory foam. Check it out!
Mix a mild dish soap into water and use a clean soft sponge cloth to lightly rub over the surface of your memory foam – only targeting areas which need spot cleaning.
Then use kitchen roll or a towel to bring out the water and dry the foam – press onto the foam to soak up any moisture and leave overnight to ensure the foam is dry enough to replace covers.
How to wash an egg crate foam mattress pad
Another type of foam mattress cover is egg crate foam, which can be vacuumed to ensure dirt and debris is removed.
You could also apply a spot cleaning method as with memory foam, or if the mattress topper is labelled as machine safe, take it to a laundrette and use a large machine.
Feather Mattress Toppers
Some mattress toppers will use down feathers as a filling, they can make an old mattress feel like the comfiest thing ever and they add a touch of luxury to your bed!
Down and feather mattress toppers do need a bit of special care. Since they are large and bulky, your regular washing machine might struggle to fit it all in, and even if it does, there won’t be much room for movement to ensure the best wash.
It is recommended that to clean a down mattress topper, you take it to a laundrette where you can make use of a large industrial machine and their tumble dryers.
- Use warm water and a delicate setting
- Use mild detergent and use less than you normally would
- Do NOT use fabric softener
- Do NOT use bleach
- Use one or two rinse cycles to ensure your mattress topper is completely free of detergent
- Tumble dry the feather topper on a low setting
- Hang it to air dry for a further 8-12 hours to ensure all of the down is completely dry before replacing it on your bed
QUICK TIP: Use dryer balls or regular tennis balls when drying your feather mattress topper, as they will help to keep the down from clumping up and make sure your mattress topper stays fluffier for longer!
Wool Mattress Toppers
As wool is a natural material, it can be washed in a regular washing machine. As with feathers, if your mattress topper is too big for your washing machine, take it to a laundrette and make use of a larger drum.
Again, use a delicate cycle, but with a cool wash because the wool shrinks quite drastically when it is boiled. It might also be best to use a wool-friendly detergent such as this one from EthicalSuperstore.com.
Wool by nature is self-cleaning, so you should try to avoid washing it all that often. Instead, hang or lay your mattress topper outside on a sunny day to help the wool dry out naturally – this will also help to remove any odours that may have been absorbed by the wool.
Latex Mattress Toppers
Latex is a natural material which makes a great option for a mattress pad – it is great for reducing muscle pains by relieving pressure points, adds comfort, regulates temperature and is pretty easy to clean.
As with memory foam, bicarbonate of soda can be scattered over the surface and the vacuumed away to help remove any smells and a mild detergent and cool water can be used to lightly rub away any stains.
Fibre Mattress Protectors
A fibre mattress cover can be placed in your washing machine and washed on a normal cycle with cool water with a mild detergent. Any major stains should be pre-treated before placing the topper in the washing machine.
How to Clean Mattress Pad Stains
There’s no need to be ashamed of mattress topper stains, they happen to all of us, from sweat, to drool to blood, we’ve all been there!
But you don’t have to have a stained mattress protector – there are some really effective stain removal techniques that are sure to lift stains in minutes.
The video below is about cleaning stains from your mattress, but the techniques applied can be used on mattress toppers too and the video covers a number of different stain types!
How Do You Dry a Mattress Topper?
Once a mattress protector has been washed in the recommended way, you must ensure that it is completely dry before replacing it on the bed.
Mattress toppers which are made from cotton or fibre can be hung out on the washing line or put into a tumble dryer as you would with your bedding.
Wool, latex and memory foam are all best when left to dry naturally – foam and latex may need blotting to remove excess moisture first.
Can you tumble dry a mattress topper?
Again, the ability to tumble dry a mattress pad depends on the material it is made from. Here’s a handy table to show which types of topper can be tumble dried and which should not be:
|Mattress topper type||Can it be tumble dried?|
|Wool||Yes, but air drying is much better|
As we touched on earlier, the best washing instructions come from the care label on your mattress pad – this will give you the exact instructions that the manufacturer recommends for that specific product.
If you follow these washing label instructions exactly, then if something does go wrong, you are within your rights to contact the manufacturer.
In The Wash is your guide to the best laundry and cleaning products, tips and tricks. Our mission is to solve the UK’s cleaning and laundry dilemmas!