How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam has become very popular due to its ability to form to the body laying on it. It's touted to relieve pressure and thus prevent or eliminate neck and back pain. Just like any mattress, it needs occasional cleaning. Unlike any mattress, memory foam is a petroleum-based material, so cleaning involves a slightly different process.
The first thing is to vacuum the entire surface carefully. This removes hair, dirt and other debris such as dust mites and the minute dead skin cells that slough off during sleep. If your mattress has stitching over the covers, be sure to go over all the stitching, as debris can hide in the valleys the stitching creates. A handheld vacuum is great for cleaning the mattress, but an upright one works just as well. Use a brush attachment for the surface and a crevice tool for the stitching.
You can make your own cleaning solution using substances usually found in the home. Fabric cleaner, mild detergent or dishwashing liquid can all work. Dilute your choice with two parts of warm water to one part of cleaner and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. If you have stains on the mattress you can address these with a mixture of one part vinegar to three parts of water. Baking soda will help with certain severe stains, such as urine. While hydrogen peroxide is often used on regular mattresses, you'll want to stay away from it with memory foam.
For light stains, the fabric cleaning solution will work best. Spray each stain, taking care not to get it too wet. If the cover gets too wet the mattress will absorb the solution, which can cause mildew problems later. While the spray is still wet, wipe a rag or sponge over the stain with a circular motion. Wipe it with a clean, damp cloth and let it air dry.
If the stain is still there, use the vinegar mixture on it this time, finishing up with the damp cloth. For more serious stains such as vomit or urine, spray the vinegar solution over it. Spray more heavily than you did before, then pat the area with paper towels. Cover the area with baking soda. This will absorb any liquid remaining, help pull the stain to the surface of the material and deodorize the area. Leave the baking soda there for around eight hours, then vacuum it off.
Once you are done with spot cleaning, dry the mattress. If you need to use the vinegar/baking soda method, it's best to clean any other spots first, dry the mattress, then attack the worst stain. A blow dryer works fine for drying. Don't use the highest heat setting, as it may damage the foam, but do use a higher fan setting if your dryer has it. Move the airflow over the wet spot in a circular motion until it is dry to the touch. You may have to wait until the material is cool before you can tell if it is actually dry. If you don't have a blow dryer, use a fan situated to blow over the surface of the mattress, turn it on high and let it run for a few hours.
Caring For Your Mattress
First, we'll cover the do's, then the don'ts.
Rotate the mattress every three months to prevent depressions that may become permanent. The mattress should not be flipped.
Using a correct bed frame is important. The usual box spring is unsuitable for a memory foam mattress. Ask your supplier about suitable frames. If your base has slats they should be no gaps larger than about two inches. The slats themselves should be four to six inches wide. The removable cover should be washed regularly in cold water on a gentle cycle. Tumble dry on the lowest heat setting. It should not be dry cleaned or ironed.
Take care to avoid spilling liquids on the mattress. Fluids can speed up deterioration. If you're prone to spills, try using a mattress protector. Keep strong heat sources away from the mattress, such as room heaters. Electric blankets should not be used. Delay making your bed after rising to let the bedding to air and dry any moisture.
Memory foam has really changed the mattress industry. For people with aches and pains, it is a practical choice. With proper care, these mattresses can last up to 15 years.