Can You Wash a Mattress Topper?
A mattress topper can revitalise an older mattress, providing you with more support and comfort while you sleep. But can you wash a mattress topper?
The answer is that you can, depending on the type of topper you have. To figure out what’s best for you and your mattress topper, let’s look at the different kinds of toppers and what they do.
What is a mattress topper?
A mattress topper helps improve the feel of a mattress, and they’re typically pretty inexpensive compared to a full mattress. Toppers sit between the mattress and the bottom bed sheet providing an additional layer of padding.
That means that even with regular washing of bedding, the mattress topper gets exposed to our sweat, body oils, and anything we spill on the bed.
Without taking steps to clean them occasionally, mattress toppers can become inundated with contamination and even bacteria. They also might start to develop a bad odour, especially if you sweat a lot or have your pets climb on the bed.
What is a mattress topper used for?
Mattress toppers help with three primary objectives. First, they can bring renewed plushness to a tired mattress without the expense of a replacement.
Second, mattress toppers can be an inexpensive solution to providing a different feel to a mattress. Different types of toppers have a different firmness or softness that you may prefer.
Finally, mattress toppers can help preserve the mattress underneath them. By acting as a barrier to contaminants and an extra cushion for our weight when we’re sleeping, mattress toppers may help extend the life of an expensive mattress.
Some mattress toppers even come with an impermeable layer that is waterproof, adding an additional layer of protection in homes where spills or accidents are more common.
What types of mattress toppers are there?
There are a few types of mattress toppers, each made from different materials. You should always check the manufacturer’s care label before trying to clean one. Some materials are much easier to clean at home than others.
If you’re not sure what kind to get, read our guide on choosing the right mattress topper to help you make the right choice.
Mattress toppers are typically made from:
- Memory foam
- Down or feathers
How frequently should you wash a mattress topper?
As mattress toppers are used every night, you may want to clean your mattress topper quite frequently. However, some toppers can’t be washed too aggressively. In fact, washing too harshly can shorten the life of some toppers.
So, when you’re shopping for one, look for a topper that suits your lifestyle and sleeping habits.
Can you clean a mattress topper in the washing machine?
Some mattress toppers are machine washable. But always check the care label and instructions from the manufacturer. Even if the topper itself is washable in a machine, your washing machine might not be able to handle its size and weight. In that case, you might need to take it to a local launderette.
If you decide to use a washing machine at home, remember it can take a long time to wash and dry a topper. When washing a mattress topper at home, consider:
- Pretreating stains with a mild cleaner
- Using less detergent than normal to reduce foaming and lingering odours
- Letting the topper soak briefly to loosen any dirt and oils
- Running an extra rinse cycle to remove leftover dirt and detergent thoroughly
- Letting it air dry in the sun to help the fabric relax naturally
If you want to, you may be able to dry your topper in a tumble dryer. Remember to check the label before doing so. Even mild heat can ruin some mattress toppers and it might be better to air dry outside.
How to clean a mattress topper
The steps for cleaning will be different and this depends on how dirty your topper is and the type of material it is made from. Here are a few ways to clean a mattress topper without using a washing machine.
Routine cleaning of a mattress topper doesn’t have to involve a complete wash and clean. Instead, think about stripping off the bedsheets and setting the topper on the floor for a strong vacuuming. Using your vacuum will remove dust, mites, dead skin cells, and any other loose dirt or hair.
Don’t forget to flip it over and do both sides. Remember that this is an excellent opportunity to give the mattress itself a once-over with the vacuum too.
You can also place baking soda over the mattress topper to help with odour control. After about eight hours, vacuum the topper again to remove the baking soda.
Spot and stain treatments
If your mattress topper has been the unfortunate victim of a spill, strip the sheets and soak up as much of the liquid as you can with towels or rags. Don’t wipe or rub, as that may drive the stain deeper into the topper.
If any liquid has soaked through the topper, treat the mattress as well. Mattresses can be spot treated much the same way you’d get stains out of a duvet.
Make a 1:1 mixture of cold water and baking soda in a spray bottle. Don’t overfill the bottle, as the mixture may get foamy. Spray the affected area of your mattress topper, and blot up any excess liquid. Make sure to allow the topper to dry completely before reapplying it to your mattress.
Consider using stronger cleansers if it’s time for a major deep clean due to a severe spill or stain. Always try to blot instead of wipe, regardless of which one you choose. Enzymatic cleaners are best for removing stains and odours from bodily fluids, and dish soap can work well too. A little bit of dish soap thoroughly mixed with water can help loosen stains. Try to use the suds on the top of the mixture instead of a lot of liquid.
How to wash a hollowfibre mattress topper
A lot of hollowfibre mattress toppers are machine washable, meaning you can wash them at home. However, you should always check the washing label as it might not suit domestic washing machines. They may become too heavy for your machine or be unsuitable for washing in this way.
If you can’t wash your mattress topper at home, you can use spot cleaning and vacuuming to keep it clean. Another option is to take it to a launderette near you.
How to wash a memory foam mattress topper
Don’t use a washing machine to clean a mattress topper made from memory foam. Instead, use spot cleaning or vacuuming methods if possible.
If you need a deeper clean for your mattress topper, it’s best to bring the whole topper outside and clean it with a garden hose and perhaps a tiny amount of detergent. Be careful if you use a sponge, as rubbing too aggressively will easily damage the foam.
How to wash a feather or down mattress topper
Most feather and down mattress toppers should be machine washable. Just make sure to check the label. If they don’t fit in your machine at home, consider taking them to a professional cleaner.
Use less detergent than you would for normal clothes, and run the rinse cycle twice to avoid over-saturating the mattress with cleaner and leaving a harsh odour.
How to wash a wool and cotton mattress topper
You can treat a wool and cotton mattress topper pretty much the same way as you would for feathers or down. Wool is very sensitive to heat, so consider using a cold setting on your washing machine, and don’t put it in a dryer.
How do you dry a mattress topper?
Depending on the type of mattress topper, you can either hang it up to dry or put it in a tumble dryer.
If there is any doubt about what kind of mattress topper you have or if it is machine dryable, it’s much better to hang it out on the washing line or over a railing outside to dry. Otherwise, you could potentially ruin it.
What is the fastest way to dry a mattress topper?
The absolute fastest way to dry a mattress topper is to avoid soaking it in the first place. Instead, use routine and spot cleaning techniques to minimise exposing your topper to lots of liquid whenever possible.
If you have a topper that needs heavier cleaning and you get it very wet, attempt to squeeze as much water out of it as possible before drying. Mattress toppers are thick, so even a complete spin cycle in the washer may leave it holding excessive water.
To make air-drying faster, try a couple of tricks to accelerate the process:
- Hang it up outside in the sun on a dry and breezy day
- Flip it over a few times to dry each side equally, wicking moisture from the centre
Can you tumble dry a mattress topper?
Whether you can tumble dry it or not depends on the instructions on your mattress topper. If you’re unsure, it’s best to leave it to air dry. It may take longer, but better safe than sorry.
If you use a tumble dry setting on your machine to dry your mattress topper, always use the lowest setting you can. It’s probably better to run it twice on a low-temperature setting than to accidentally overheat it.
When to replace a mattress topper instead of cleaning
At some point, it will be time to replace your mattress topper. Since toppers are much thinner than a full mattress, mattress toppers tend to wear out faster.
Factors like your weight, the thickness of the topper, its quality, and the state of the mattress underneath it will largely determine how long it lasts. However, good maintenance and regular cleaning will help to extend its life.
Look for a few signs that may indicate it’s time for a new topper, like:
- You feel the flaws in your mattress through it
- The sleeping surface feels too firm or too soft
- You can see depressions or divots in the mattress topper
- You have pain or ache in the morning
- Your mattress topper sags or feels limp
Is washing a mattress topper worth it?
Regularly cleaning your mattress topper is good for it and good for you. We spend hours in bed sleeping every night, so you don’t want to sleep on a mattress topper that hasn’t been cleaned.
You should always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning, laundering, and drying your mattress topper. If you want to remove the label, consider taking a picture of it first and keeping it as a reminder for the best cleaning practices.