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How to Clean Foam Mattresses

by April Sanders

Foam mattress

Things You Need:

  • Vacuum
  • Tarp or plastic sheeting
  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid fabric cleaner
  • Hose
  • White vinegar

Foam mattresses can range in design from luxurious and thick memory foam beds to roughly-cut slabs of camping foam. Even some pet beds are made with foam. What all foam mattresses have in common, however, is an ability to absorb liquid at an astonishing rate. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and they often happen on foam mattresses. Take a look below to learn how to clean foam mattresses.


  1. Remove surface dirt. Place the mattress on a flat surface and vacuum every side of it, including the edges. Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum hose.

  2. Take it outdoors. Move the mattress outdoors or to a location where you can get the floor wet. Protect the mattress from dirt by placing it on a tarp or plastic sheeting.

  3. Spray the mattress. Combine one part fabric cleaner with two parts water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Ask a helper to hold the foam mattress upright for you; then spray the entire mattress thoroughly with the mixture. Lay the mattress back down and let the solution soak into the mattress for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Rinse. Use a hose to rinse the foam mattress with clean, cool water. Rinse until you do not see any soap residue or bubbles draining from the mattress.

  5. Remove excess water. Press on the mattress to remove excess water. You may fold it over carefully to help squeeze out the water but never wring out or twist a foam mattress.

  6. Deal with odor. Rinse the spray bottle and refill it, this time using one part white vinegar to four parts water.

  7. Spray the mattress. Spray the still-damp mattress thoroughly with the vinegar solution. This will remove any lingering odors. The vinegar smell will dissipate when the mattress dries. You do not have to let the vinegar solution soak into the foam mattress.

  8. Rinse. Use the hose again to rinse the vinegar solution out of the mattress. Press on the mattress to remove any excess water, again taking care not to wring the foam.

  9. Dry it. Dry the mattress by setting it out in the sun. Lean it up against a pole or wall to expose as much of it as possible to the air. Make sure it is completely dry before you place it back on your bed.


  1. Hydrogen peroxide will remove stubborn stains, but it will discolor the foam.

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