How to Clean A Mattress - Part 2:

stinky, stained mattress with smelly skunk cartoon

Want to clean a mattress of urine or vomit and get that bad smell out? Don't toss your memory foam topper or bed. Click below for step by step instructions on how to freshen up a soiled mattress without ending up with a moldy bed that will make you sick. This won't work every time. But it's your best chance to save your bed.

First try the method outlined in How To Clean A Mattress - Emergency. If necessary treat the entire mattress.

(Buying from links on this website sometimes adds a bit of cash to my lumpy mattress fund. It doesn't cost you more. And helps me spread sweet dreams everywhere.)

1st - get a good mattress protector

MALOUF SLEEP TITE Hypoallergenic 100% Waterproof Mattress Protector

I know that you haven't cleaned up this bed yet. And you aren't sure that this will even work. But no matter what happens with this process, you DON'T want to have to do this again. Just order one. Now. 

Don't Junk That Stained Bed Yet!

Use this method if the soiled area is:

  • Dry or an old stain
  • Big and deep
  • Smells

If the vinegar and baking soda didn't work and the mattress or pad is still unusable, your final option is use a steam cleaner to try to remove the stains and odors. Forcing enough liquid through the mattress to clean it and then get it dry before it starts growing mold is usually not an option unless you live in a desert.

WARNING: Steam cleaning memory foam mattresses and toppers may ruin them and is not recommended by any manufacturer of steam cleaners. 

It may take a while to get all the materials together, but if the soil has waited this long, a couple of days more won't hurt.

SHOPPING LIST for CLEANING Memory foam Beds and Toppers 

1) Get a Steam Cleaner  - You can sometimes rent these, but you can buy a great one for under $150. And if it saves a mattress that you paid thousands of dollars for, isn't it worth it? Besides these machines are great for cleaning up all sorts of impossible messes like baked on food on your kitchen cook top or bathroom grout. Two highly rated steam cleaners are:

McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

32 of the 3,500+ reviews mentioned using this to clean and sanitize mattresses. Almost all were pleased with it cleaning without leaving a lot of moisture behind.

Several said that it worked well with vinegar and baking soda. Many used it to get rid of infestations of bed bugs or dust mites. There are good reason's why it is an Amazon's Choice. 

Wagner Heavy Duty multi-purpose household 915 Steam Cleaner

15 out of 1,400+ reviews mentioned using the Wagner on their beds. 

The steam pressure allows the heat penetrate deeply. And the steam's hot enough to kill mites and sanitize mattresses & pillows.

MATTRESS CLEANING TIP:  Use the course bristled carpet brush with a terrycloth cover over it. That prevents the slight 'spitting' that can happen if you pause and water collects in the hose.

2) Find a GOOD Odor Neutralizer: Anti-Icky-Poo. A stupid name. But it really works.

3) Get a Fan - Get one that oscillates and has a stand so that it's high enough to blow air over a table. This Honeywell model is reliable and quiet.

4) Find a Sturdy Table - It will have to be available for 3 to 5 days. This will help you keep the the mattress or topper from sagging. 

5) Dry Towels

6) Tarp - or plastic tablecloth to protect your table

 Method #2 - How to clean that stinky memory foam

Step 1: Put the tarp down on the table.

Step 2: Place the mattress or topper on the table with the soiled side up. Spray a fine mist of the odor neutralizer on the surface of the mattress.

Step 3: Take the steam cleaner and gently steam from side to side with long strokes. Press firmly with dry towels to blot up any excess moisture.

Step 4: Pour a generous layer of baking soda on the whole mattress. Let it sit for more than 45 minutes. Then vacuum it up.

  • If you need to clean the other side, carefully turn the mattress or topper over. It might be a bit heavier than normal, so get some help so you don't tear it. Blot and treat the other side with baking soda also.

Step 5: Get out a fan and blow it over the surface of the memory foam. If you've treated the underside turn it over every 4 hours or so to let it dry evenly. Don't put it back on your bed until it is TOTALLY dry. This can take a day or two for a memory foam topper and from 3 to 5 days for a mattress.

Do not soak, saturate, wring or twist your mattress or topper during any part of the cleaning process.

If the memory foam bed still smells bad after all this work or worse, starts to smell moldy, just get rid of it. Breathing mold all night is hazardous to your health. In the end, sometimes knowing how to clean a mattress is not enough and you need to just give up.

For tips on cleaning all sorts of other things (including your rabid monkey) Maniac goes to How To Clean Stuff.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.