How to clean a mattress topper

Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper
(Image credit: Tuft & Needle)

Wondering how to clean a mattress topper? If you answered yes to that question, you're in the right place. This guide will walk you through the steps you need to follow to keep your topper looking and feeling like-new. 

As we explain in our guide to this year's best mattress toppers, these must-have accessories can breathe new life into an older bed, providing a budget-friendly alternative to investing in one of the best mattresses around. They can also be used to change the sleep feel of your mattress, or up the comfort levels of your mattress. For example, the Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper pictured above is excellent at making a firm mattress softer. Bear in mind, however, that they're not the same things as mattress pads; our mattress pad vs mattress topper explainer will spell out the differences for you.

But like any bedding, they need care to keep them hygienic and performing at their best. While most of today's best mattress protectors can just be bunged into the washing machine, cleaning a mattress topper is a little more involved. "The average person will spend almost 19,000 hours sleeping on the same mattress," Jonathan Warren, Director and bed specialist at Time4Sleep says. "But most rarely clean their mattress toppers – if ever. Ensuring that your mattress topper is kept clean is an easy way to ensure you get a great night's sleep."

So, to find out how to clean a mattress topper from start to finish, what happens if you don't, and how often you should give your topper a refresh depending on the material and rate of usage, keep reading. And while you're in the process of spring cleaning your sleep setup, check out our guides to how to clean a mattress and how to wash a duvet.

Do I need to clean my mattress topper?

In short, yes. When you think about it, your mattress topper is the first line of defense between you and your mattress. Meaning? Your mattress topper is exposed to dust, dead skin, body oils, sweat, stains and spills.

And unfortunately, if left unclean, a bed topper can become a mecca for mites, bugs, bacteria and other nasties you most certainly don't want in your sleep space. But don't just take our word for it. Warren tells us: "The average person can sweat up to 22 gallons a year while they sleep so it's essential we make it a clean environment."

While Martin Seeley, CEO of MattressNextDay adds: "Many mattress toppers are made from absorbent materials such as memory foam, feathers and latex. If not cleaned of bacteria every now and again, unclean mattress toppers can cause skin irritation or give off an unpleasant odor."

It's the same with all bedding, such as pillows, duvets and sheets, as well as your mattress itself. The frequency of washing depends on the item though (head to our guides to how to clean a mattress and how to clean a pillow for more info and advice). 

How often should I clean my mattress topper?

You should clean your mattress topper every two months. "A thorough mattress topper clean every one to two months can help tackle any allergy flare-ups you have been experiencing at bedtime and generally improve your health and sleep quality overall," Warren adds.

How to clean a mattress topper: step by step

Ready to say goodbye to stains that have outstayed their welcome and hello to a fresh looking (and smelling) mattress topper? Here's our step-by-step guide. 

1. Remove dirt and debris

The first step in the process of cleaning your mattress topper? Checking for any debris which could be sitting on the surface of your topper. Whether it's dirt, dust or pet hair, grab a vacuum and hoover up any crumbs you spot. 

2. Get your weapons at the ready

Next up, it's time to gather the products you need so you can spot clean any large, old or stubborn stains. Warren's top choice of cleaning products to rid stubborn stains? "Bicarbonate of soda and mattress cleaning spray," he says. "[They] won't stain and they neutralize stubborn odors."

Bicarbonate of soda – also known in the US as baking soda, but not to be confused with baking powder in the UK – is one of the best products to have in your home for cleaning. It's a natural cleaning product, which means you won't be putting any harsh chemicals close to your skin, and it helps to rid any odors too. 

But along with bicarbonate of soda and mattress cleaning spray, you could also spot clean with a small amount of laundry detergent.

3. Spot-clean stubborn stains

Once you've gathered your cleaning products, now it's time to get to work. If you are using laundry detergent, use a small amount of it and water in equal parts in a bowl. Or, if you are set on using the mattress cleaning spray, be sure to read the instructions on the back of the product before spraying on your mattress topper. 

Warren tells us: "Dab the stain from the outside in (so you don't accidentally make the stain bigger) and leave the spray to work its magic before wiping away with a wet cloth."

4. Bet on bicarbonate of soda

"When it comes to mattress cleaning tips, bicarbonate of soda is your knight in shining armor," Warren tells us. To give stains and smells an extra dose of clean, grab your bicarbonate soda and spread it all over your mattress topper and leave it to rest for up to 24 hours. Or, as Warren advisers: "For as long as you can. We do need to sleep, after all."

5. Hoover it up 

After leaving your mattress topper with the mattress cleaner and bicarbonate of soda on it, grab your hoover and prepare to give it the once over. As Jonathan explains: "Run the hoover along the mattress topper and give it a good shake out, this will pick up any lingering dust or dirt that is clinging on."

6. Let it air dry

Once you've completed the above steps, leave your mattress topper to air dry for as long as you need until it's completely dry.

7. Rotate your topper

But before you rush to return your mattress topper to your bed make sure you rotate your topper 180 degrees. This will help to prolong its lifespan, and ensure you wear it evenly, without it sagging in the same spots. 

You're done! So don't leave cleaning your mattress topper as an afterthought. Especially now that you know how to clean a mattress topper and just how easy it is to do. 

Read more: Why do pillows turn yellow?

Becks Shepherd

Becks is a lifestyle journalist who specialises in writing about wellness and home products, from mattresses to weighted blankets and cooling comforters. She loves a good pillow for drifting off easily at night, as well as a snug duvet for cozier sleeping.