How to Clean a Pillow Top Mattress

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. [Read our full health disclaimer]

Updated on February 16, 2023

Nothing is more comfortable than crawling onto a nice, soft pillow-top mattress at the end of a long day. That is if it’s clean! Many people forget the importance of cleaning a pillow top mattress, especially since you sleep on it every single night. 

If you have recently spilled something on your mattress, if it has absorbed some bodily fluids, or if you think it is just time for a good deep cleaning, then keep reading. To give you a quick summary of how to clean sweat stains from a pillow top mattress and other fluids, you will only need common household items like baking soda, a vacuum, soap, and a cleaning solution of your choice.

In this article, we will discuss the best way to clean a pillow top mattress and some tricks you can use!

How to Clean Pillow Top Mattress

If you have a pillow top mattress, it is vital to incorporate a routine mattress cleaning into your to-do list. This is a simple and fast way to ensure that you are sleeping on a fresh, clean mattress every night.

Person Holding White Textile on Bed

Step 1: Strip Your Bed

The first thing to do when cleaning your mattress is to strip everything off, including the mattress cover or mattress topper.

Step 2: Vacuum

Next, you will want to vacuum the entire mattress. This will remove any dead skin cells, dust mites, and particles that have made their way into your mattress. Be sure to get in all of the crevices and along each of the seams.

If you have a handheld vacuum, then use it to get the sides of the mattress as well.

Step 3: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Now you will want to sprinkle baking soda across the top of the mattress and allow it to sink in for up to an hour. This will remove any odors and will neutralize your pillow top.

How To Get Stains Out Of Pillow Top Mattress

Pillow top mattresses are susceptible to stains because of their high absorbency of the top layer. If you spill something, pee the bed, vomit, bleed, or even just from sweat and body oils, your mattress can become stained.

Below are some simple techniques to help spot clean and remove stains from your mattress. Remember, the sooner that you can clean up a stain, the better. As soon as something has been spilled, it starts to soak into the fibers making it more difficult to remove over time.

white textile on brown wooden table

Step 1: Soak Up The Spill

As soon as something is spilled, use a clean rag to soak up as much of the liquid as you can. Dab into the mattress to absorb the liquid rather than scrubbing it in deeper. Use cold water on a damp cloth first to absorb as much as you can. Avoid warm water, as this will make the stain set in faster.

Next, use a dry towel to soak up any of the remaining spills. Press down hard and lift as much as you can.

Step 2: Apply a Cleaner

Once you have absorbed what you can, spray a cleaning solution onto the stain. You can use a store-bought stain remover, or you can mix 50 percent water with 50 percent white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it directly onto the stain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes then use a dry paper towel to soak up as much of the stain as you can.

The vinegar spray will loosen the mattress stains and allow you to absorb more.

Step 3: Use a Brush

Next, create a paste by mixing baking soda and water. Apply it to the stain and gently brush it into the mattress in a circular motion. Let the solution sit until it is completely dry. Consider putting a fan on the mattress to help it air dry faster. Once it is dry, use a vacuum to remove all of the baking soda from the mattress.

If the stain has not lifted, repeat the process until you can see a noticeable difference in the stained area. You can also use upholstery shampoo if you have any on hand.

How To Clean Urine From Mattress With A Pillow Top

Unfortunately, peeing on the bed happens, especially if you have young children and pets. People commonly worry about what to do if someone wets the bed, but cleaning urine out of a pillow top is not as daunting as it seems.

Step 1: Remove and Wash Everything

Strip the bed of all sheets, blankets, and even the mattress protector. Wash these all in hot water with laundry detergent.

Step 2: Soak Up The Stain

Use a towel to soak up as much of the urine as you can. The sooner you begin soaking it, the better. Once you have soaked up all you can, discard the towel and wash it.

Step 3: Spray

First, fill a spray bottle with pure white vinegar and spray it generously into the stain. Use another clean towel to dab it dry.

Then, fill another spray bottle with 3 tablespoons of baking soda, a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap, and a cup of hydrogen peroxide. Spray this directly onto the sain and let it soak in for 20 minutes. Use another clean towel to blot it up.

Step 4: Repeat as Necessary

Sometimes a urine stain will need multiple cleanings. Keep spraying the mixture onto it until you feel satisfied.

Step 5: Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda all over the area and allow it to sit for 24 hours. You may have to sleep on the couch for a night! The following day you can vacuum it away and your mattress will be good as new.

How to Deep Clean a Pillow Top Mattress

Sweat marks and discoloration are very common on mattresses that have been used for a long time. If you have noticed sweat stains, yellow discoloration, or color transfer from sheets, follow these steps to help remove it.

Newly cleaned bedroom

If you have the resources to get your mattress professionally cleaned, this will be the best way to remove all discoloration and sanitize your mattress in the process. If you are unable to do this, however, then keep reading for the “do it yourself” version.

Step 1: Vacuum

The first step is to use a vacuum cleaner on the mattress to remove all dead skin cells, dust, and more. Sprinkle baking soda onto your pillow top mattress first and let it sit for about 20 minutes before vacuuming if there is an odor to your mattress.

Step 2: Soap

Mix laundry detergent and water or dish soap and water. Rub the soapy water into the discolored area using a scrub brush or a cloth and let it soak in for 20 minutes. Use plain water on a clean cloth to soak up the soap.

Step 3: Hydrogen peroxide

Next, take a cloth and wet it with hydrogen peroxide. Scrub the area in circular motions to remove any discoloration. This may bleach the fabric, so try it in an inconspicuous area if your mattress is not white so you can test its effects before using it.

Step 4: Dry

Set up a fan or use a blow dryer to completely dry the area after you have soaked up all of the liquid that you can. Open windows to create air circulation and allow it to dry completely.

Step 5: Steam

If you still see discoloration, use a steamer to help remove the stain further. Run it over the stain quickly and make sure it doesn’t get the mattress too damp. Dry it completely after steaming.

Step 6: Try Other Methods

If none of these techniques worked, try spraying vinegar and then sprinkling baking soda over the top until the baking soda stops fizzing. Let it dry then vacuum.

You can also try sprinkling the mattress with borax or making a Borax and water paste that you can scrub into the mattress with a scrub brush. Let this dry and vacuum completely.

If you see a color reduction but it still is not completely clean, continue each method until you get the results you desire.

Protect Your Mattress For The Long Term

Mattresses are expensive investments. They cost thousands of dollars and take up a lot of space. So it makes sense to protect your investment. But how do you know what type of mattress protector to buy? And how often should you clean your mattress?

There are several types of mattress protectors out there, each with different benefits and drawbacks. Some protect against dust mites, while others prevent mold growth. Others offer antimicrobial protection, while still others provide UV rays protection.

The best way to determine whether a particular mattress protector is worth buying is to consider your needs. Do you want to sleep better? Are you worried about allergies? Is your mattress dirty? If so, you might want to invest in a mattress protector that protects against allergens like dust mites, mold spores, and pollen.

But even if you don’t suffer from allergies, you might want to purchase a mattress protector anyway. A well-made mattress protector can help keep your mattress cleaner longer. This means less cleaning later on down the road.

And if you’re concerned about protecting your mattress from dirt, stains, and spills, a mattress protector could be just what you need.

Maintaining Your Pillowtop Mattress 

There are different types of pillowtop mattresses, and they differ in terms of construction. Some are constructed entirely out of foam while others combine memory foam and traditional spring coils. Regardless of what type you choose, there are some things you should know about maintaining your mattress.

First, remember that pillow top mattresses tend to have more layers than traditional mattresses, meaning you’ll have more areas where dirt and debris could accumulate. This means you’ll need to keep up with regular cleaning.

Freshly cleaned bedroom

Ideally, you want to clean the mattress once every six months to prevent buildups of dust mites, bacteria, and allergens. If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can try wiping down the surface with a damp cloth. But if you notice any odors or stains, you might want to take it to a professional cleaner.

You also want to consider how often you use the mattress and whether it needs less or more regular cleaning. For example, if you sleep in the same bed each night, you don’t need to worry too much about cleaning it. On the other hand, if you sleep in a separate room, you might want to look into getting a second mattress.

If you do decide to go ahead and clean your mattress, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s care label. Most manufacturers recommend vacuuming the entire thing, including the bottom layer. Be careful not to vacuum too hard though, since you don’t want to damage the material. Once you’ve removed the dust, you can wipe down the surface with a dry towel.

FAQs

Conclusion

There you have it, the step-by-step guide to cleaning your pillow-top mattress. Above we covered multiple ways to clean your bed and different at-home cleaning products that you can use. Trying multiple methods and cleaning your mattress regularly will ensure that your mattress stays clean for years to come.

Before you go to bed tonight, give your mattress a good clean and sleep easy knowing that all of the dust, dirt, mildew, sweat, dead skin cells, and more are no longer nestled in your bed!

Article Sources

  1. Kells, S. A. (2006). Nonchemical control of bed bugs. American entomologist, 52(2):109-110. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stephen-Kells-2/publication/263133748_Nonchemical_Control_of_Bed_Bugs/links/58b44874aca2725b541c1027/Nonchemical-Control-of-Bed-Bugs.pdf
  2. Bockmühl, D. P. (2017). Laundry hygiene—how to get more than clean. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 122(5):1124-1133. https://academic.oup.com/jambio/article/122/5/1124/6714322
  3. Vyszenski-Moher, D. L., Arlian, L. G., & Neal, J. S. (2002). Effects of laundry detergents on Dermatophagoides farinae, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, and Euroglyphus maynei. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 88(6):578-583. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1081120610618893
  4. Tovey, E. R., Taylor, D. J., Mitakakis, T. Z., & De Lucca, S. D. (2001). Effectiveness of laundry washing agents and conditions in the removal of cat and dust mite allergen from bedding dust. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 108(3):369-374. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674901621730
  5. Vanlaar, C. H., Peat, J. K., Marks, G. B., et al., (2000). Domestic control of house dust mite allergen in children’s beds. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 105(6):1130-1133. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674900700480
Bree Taylor - Lead Editor

Lead Editor

Bree is an interior designer with a passion for helping people improve their sleep quality.

She specializes in creating comfortable and functional bedroom spaces that promote a good night’s rest.

When she’s not testing mattresses or helping people get the best rest possible, Bree loves to travel and explore new cultures.

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