How to clean a mattress topper – the expert way to keep on top of your sleep hygiene

Stay on top of your sleep hygiene with this 5 step expert guide on how to clean a mattress topper

Amazon mattress topper on bed with blue throw
(Image credit: Amazon)

Mattress toppers are the best way to improve the comfort of your bed. They sit atop your mattress, under the fitted sheet, creating a fresh sleep surface without you having to buy a brand-new mattress. Since you'll rarely remove the mattress topper, it will get dirty, quickly. 

If you eat, drink, or sweat in bed – or not – mattress toppers will become exposed to spills, body oils, dirt, and dust mites, especially if you're yet to get a mattress protector. But cleaning your mattress topper isn't as easy as bunging your bed sheets in the machine. You won't have to wash one as often mind but special care is required when it comes to cleaning your topper. 

Be it a memory foam or feather-bed pad, this expert guide has all the guidance you need to make sure your mattress topper feels fresh without damage. Here's how to clean a mattress topper with the right methods and products so you can keep comfy and stay on top of your sleep hygiene. 

How to clean a mattress topper 

Just like cleaning a mattress, how you keep your mattress topper fresh will depend on the type of topper you have. Feather bed toppers can be easily put in the washing machine and dried with the rest of your pillows and duvets, though it's always good to check the laundry symbols first. If you're unable to wash your mattress topper by machine, then follow this expert-approved way to keep your sleep surface fresh, without damage. 

1. Remove the topper from your mattress

Strip off your sheets and remove any other bedding, including your mattress protector. Now's a good time to put your protector in the washing machine, switch out your shams and wash your pillows. It may seem easy enough to clean your mattress topper while it's on your bed, but you should remove it and place it on a flat surface like your floor or a large dining table to avoid any cleaning suds soaking into your mattress. Make sure this area is clean first to avoid any additional staining.

2. Vacuum the surface and sides

Rubber glove hand and vacuuming mattress topper surface

(Image credit: Credit: FotoDuets Creative #: 1249117051)

Grab your handheld vacuum or the upholstery attachment for your vacuum, and your mattress topper surface – and sides – a vacuum. Matt Connolly CEO and founder of cleaning service, ihateironing, recommends: 'vacuuming the entire surface to get rid of dust, hair, debris or other particles that can get caught under linen and build up over time.' 

While you don't have to give your topper a full refurb that regularly, Connolly states 'giving your mattress (and topper) a vacuum every few weeks is essential.' This is good sleep hygiene practice and will avoid any potential skin or respiratory allergies developing too. 

ihateironing CEO matt connolly headshot in front of brick wall
Matt Connelly

Matt Connelly started ihateironing in 2014 and has since grown the company into becoming the leading dry cleaning service, with over 70 dry cleaning partners and a growing head office team. In 2022, Matt won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the British Business Awards for his role in successfully leading ihateironing through the pandemic. 

His expert insight has been featured in publications like Forbes, Laundry and Dry Cleaning Today, EU Startups, Homes and Gardens, Clarins, The Mirror, and more.

3. Spot clean any stains

Spray spot clean mattress topper surface

(Image credit: Credit: Oleksii Bilyk Creative #:1209470097)

Whether you've got a memory foam, latex, feather filled, or down alternative mattress topper, you should spot-treat any stains. The type of mark will determine how you remove the stain from your mattress topper. You may need particular treatments to target certain stubborn stains, but for general marks of wear and tear, you can use an at-home remedy of dish soap or gentle laundry detergent. 

We like Method's, free and clear laundry detergent and their sea minerals dish soap is highly rated. 

Connolly instructs you should 'mix your cleanser of choice with lukewarm water in a cleaning tub or bowl. Then, submerge a microfibre washcloth or a sponge in the solution and make sure to squeeze out most of the liquid before applying it to your topper.' Using too much water can damage the material properties (especially a memory foam type). 'Then, gently dab the mixture onto the affected area until it fades. Repeat the process until you’re happy with the overall result'. 

4. Sprinkle baking soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Sprinkling it over the surface of your mattress topper will eliminate odors and have it smelling as fresh as it looks. Cleaning with baking soda also seals the stain-removal process. 

You should cover your topper with a light sprinkling of baking soda – we (and many Amazon customers) recommend Arm & Hammer's Pure Baking Soda. As a measurement, you should use up to a full one-pound box for king-size mattress toppers. 

Optional step: you can add a few drops of essential oil to the topper, or use a scented linen spray to get your bed smelling nice. Scents like camomile and lavender are proven to help you sleep better; this best-selling linen spray from Amazon would work wonders. 

Leave the powder to sink in for at least four hours, though many experts suggest letting it absorb for a full day, if possible, before vacuuming up any excess. 

5. Leave it to air dry completely

Providing you've left your mattress topper long enough to fully absorb the baking soda, and after you've vacuumed up any access, it should be nearly dry. But it's important to ensure your mattress is completely dry before putting it back on your bed.

Sarah Fishburne, director at The Home Depot says 'airing out your mattress is beneficial for more than one reason.' If you have outdoor space, leaving it outside on a warm dry day is ideal. Not only does it allow any remaining moisture to dry but it exposes your mattress to the sun and fresh air.' UV rays will help to eliminate any remaining bacteria and prevent any mold build-up. 


How do you clean a mattress topper without baking soda?

If you have particularly sensitive skin, using baking soda to clean your mattress may cause some irritation if there is any residue left over. If you want to avoid using baking soda (or haven't got any) you can also use white vinegar. Add the white vinegar to a spray bottle, give your topper a light covering and let it dry. It should lift any stains and remove lingering odors. You can add drops of essential oil or use a linen spray to lift any harsh vinegary smells. 

How long do mattress toppers last?

A good mattress topper should last three-five years on average. Though your sleep style, whether you have pets, or kids, in the bed, amongst other factors, will alter its lifespan. Signs your mattress topper may need replacing includes sagging and deep staining where you sleep. There are only so many times you can clean your mattress before it's past its sleep-by date. 

Remember: a topper should be temporary, having the best mattress that suits your sleep needs is key. After this step-by-step, your mattress topper should be completely clean. If you're still noticing some stains or it's not feeling as fresh as it used to, it may be worth investing in a new mattress instead. 

Louise Oliphant
Ecommerce Editor

Louise is your eCommerce Editor and sleep specialist to help you wind down well. A connoisseur of the mattress world, Louise previously covered sleep and wellness (as well as the occasional organizational buy) at Real Homes, and has tried, tested, and reviewed some of the buys for your bedroom. With an MA in International Journalism and PR experience, Louise brings bags of bedding expertise and enjoys nothing more than helping readers find solutions and products that best suit their sleep needs.