How to Clean a Mattress Topper or Pad

by mattress pads, mattress toppers

Cleaning a mattress topper or pad is not the daunting task most people assume it is. It’s easy if you follow the care instructions. More often than not, the information is attached to the product tag.

If you can’t find a tag or washing instructions, you’ll have to adjust and clean your pad or topper based on the materials it’s made of.

Let’s start by pointing out the 3 most common mistakes.

cleaning foam topper with vacuum

3 Common Cleaning Mistakes 

1. Using a beater

All of us remember the good old times when our parents thought that using a beater gets rid of the dust from the material. It doesn’t.

What it does is get rid of a small % of surface particles and replace them with the ones that were deeper in the material.

Apart from running a risk of triggering an allergic reaction, you are messing with the the integrity of the material. The damage you can do to a topper or pad by using a beater depends on the type of material.

While latex, for example, can take the abuse, gentler materials like down or wool will never be the same again.

men cleaning a mattress
housemille uv mattress vacuum

2. Using just any vacuum cleaner

It doesn’t matter how expensive your multipurpose vacuum cleaner is, chances are it’s not strong enough to suck out the mites and dust out of a mattress topper.

Investing in a specialized vacuum cleaner for mattresseses will save you a lot of grief in the long run.

Image on the right shows a specialized fabric vacumm cleaner that’s just right – Housemille Anti-dust with Advanced HEPA Filtration.

3. Steam-cleaning a topper or a pad

Steam-cleaning is not dry.

Advising against it might be counterintuitive because steam-cleaners are advertised as killing bacteria and mites, but they are not right for fabric.

They do kill some of the bacteria but make a warm, cozy enviroment for the rest of them to procreate.

It’s especially not reccomended for cleaning down feather products It will not only cause shifting between the chambers but your pad will loose much of its loftiness.

steam cleaning a mattress topper

Washing a Mattress Topper or Pad: Dos and Don’ts

When washing a mattress topper, you need to handle it with care. It does not matter what material your topper or pad is made of, it could get damaged if it is not handled properly.

It’s best to wash your mattress toppers and pads every few months, but if you are using it for a child’s bed, you might have to wash it more often because of nightly”accidents”.

washing mattress topper
  • As mentioned above, you should check the care instruction tags before the wash, it’s how you’ll know if your brand of topper calls for cold water only
  • Always use a mild laundry detergent.
  • Only put the mattress topper or pad in the dryer if the care label recommends it, otherwise, you should hang it out to dry.
  • Use a “delicate” setting on your washing machine


  • Never use fabric softener on your mattress covers or pads. It’s unnecessary.
  • To prevent the growth of mildew, do not use a mattress cover that is not completely dry

Cleaning Poly-cotton Fiber Mattress Pad and toppers

Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is commonly used to make mattress toppers and pads. It’s combined with cotton to make what’s known as poly-cotton.

Not only is poly-cotton washable, it’s also highly durable. With the right care, your pad will last for years.

Finally, you should clean your poly-cotton mattress topper every 2-3 months.

cleaning poly-cotton fibre topper pad

Here’s how to clean your polyester fiber mattress:

Step 1:

Follow the instructions on the tag. Most pads have the instructions attached.

Step 2:

Check the pad for stains and treat them before you wash. You can use stain removers meant for similar fabrics.

Step 3:

Put the pad in the washing machine and wash in cold water. You can machine-wash most poly-cotton fiber mattress pads. Although not all brands specify the temperature of the wash, washing it in cold water will prevent your pad from shrinking after several washes. Use mild detergent but don’t use bleach.

Step 4:

Most instruction care tags recommend tumble drying, but you should do so on low heat. Get a few tennis balls and put them in the dryer if your pad is larger than a twin size, this way the pad will not fold up and form a ball. The tennis balls will ensure that the middle gets cleaned as well.

Step 5:

Hang your pad under the sun to dry. Sunlight is a great disinfectant and odor remover. Flip your mattress over from time to time so that both sides will get dry at the same time. If it’s a latex pad don’t keep it under direct sunlight.

How to clean or wash Down Feather Toppers and Pads

Cleaning a down feather mattress topper requires specific steps so that the topper or pad will not end up damaged. Even though it is often advised to take the feather toppers and pads to the dry cleaner for professional cleaning, you can still do it at home.

A down feather mattress topper will need spot cleaning from time to time, in which case you should brush a wet cotton cloth over the spot or stains.

down feather mattress pad comforter

Follow these steps to clean your down feather topper or pad:

Remember to check the feather down topper for holes. You don’t want the feathers to escape during cleaning

  • Load your mattress topper and pad in the washing machine
  • Use cold water
  • Use mild laundry detergent
  • Set your washer to a gentle cycle
  • If your washer is not large enough to contain your feather mattress topper, you should take it to the local laundromat
  • Put 5 or 6 tennis balls in the washer so that the feather mattress topper doesn’t fold in on itself during the wash
  • Dry on very low heat. Hang it out to dry completely. Make sure it’s completely dry so that the topper will not develop unpleasant odors and mold.
  • Remember to flip sides so that it can dry evenly

Cleaning Latex Toppers and Pads

Latex mattress toppers and pads will not need as much cleaning as other types of toppers because natural latex resists bacteria. It also lasts longer than other types of mattress toppers and pads.

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The fact that latex mattress toppers are resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew, is why it is a popular choice for buyers.

However, you should handle latex with extra care because, unlike other mattress toppers, it’s a delicate material. For example, it should not be placed directly under sunlight.

Place a cover on it if you want to leave it to air outside. When exposed to sunlight for just a few days, latex breaks down.

Few additional tips on caring for latex toppers:

latex topper rolled
  • Keep natural latex toppers away from heat sources like radiators, wall heaters, etc.
  • Never use a heating blanket over a latex mattress topper because the heat could cause it to dry out and fall apart.
  • Latex mattresses pads and toppers cannot be washed or even dry cleaned. To keep your latex “healthy” , you need to change bed sheets regularly.
  • Regular vacuuming is enough cleaning for latex mattress pads.

How to clean Wool Mattress Pads

Wool mattress pads are made from pure wool, which is, along with down, the most sensitive material used for toppers. It’s not a good idea to clean it by dunking it in water to get it soaking wet.

As with any other type of topper that you can’t wash, the best way to maintain it is by caring for it. Following a strict maintenance routine will make your product last.

To keep it clean and stain-free, use a quilt over the mattress before spreading a regular bedsheet. That way you’re adding extra layers of protection between your wool mattress pad and yourself.

Few additional tips on caring for a wool pad:

  • Change your bed sheet at least once a week so that your wool mattress pads stays clean and fresh.
  • Vacuuming with a brush attachment is a good way of cleaning a wool mattress pad. This should be done occasionally.
  • Airing out wool mattress pads will also help to keep it fresh.
  • In the case of surface stains, cleaning with a wet rag dipped in mild detergent solution will effectively blot out the stains.

How to clean Egg Crate Pads

An egg crate mattress pad is made with highly porous materials, so even if it doesn’t smell bad, you may still need to clean it out to ensure that you and your mattress stay clean.

Material used for eggcrate calls for a bit of extra caution, so take your time.

Below are a few pointers on how to go about cleaning an eggcrate topper.

Mattress Topper Eggcrate
  • To start, take the mattress pad outside and shake it out. Even when there is no visible dirt, you will still need to do this because most times the dirt works its way into the crevices of the mattress pad and shaking it out is the best way to get unwanted materials out of the pad.
  • Load it in your washer and set to a gentle cycle. You can take your egg crate mattress pad to the laundromat if it does not fit in your machine.
  • Use a mild laundry detergent
  • It is not advisable to dry egg crate mattress pads in the dryer. The heat could cause the foam to melt. Hang it on a clothesline to dry. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.

You can also wash your egg crate mattress topper by hand. It is a fairly easy process. The steps are outlined below.

  • Use a small attachment of your vacuum cleaner and vacuum both sides of the topper to get rid of dirt
  • Mix three parts water and one part laundry detergent in a spray bottle
  • Spray both sides of your mattress pad and let it sit for one hour
  • Take the mattress cover to the bathroom and hose it down with your shower head
  • Squeeze the mattress pad by folding it over and pressing down on it till you get rid of all the water
  • Take the mattress pad out to dry under the sun

How to Clean a Heated Mattress Pad

Heated mattress pads are popular because they provide warmth at night. They have to be plugged into an outlet and turned on before they start heating.

It is still possible to wash a heated mattress pad even though they have wires.

You have to take great care when cleaning it because a damaged electrical wire can cause electrical problems or render the heated mattress pad useless.

cleaning spill stain heated mattress topper

To clean a Heated mattress pad follow these steps:

  • Unplug the pad from the wall outlet and switch it off
  • Check for broken wires or other faults. Broken wires pose a fire hazard
  • Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle
  • Use mild laundry detergent
  • Allow the electric mattress pad to soak in the washer for about 15 minutes
  • Turn on the washing machine and wash for 2 minutes
  • Drain the machine and rinse the pad with cold water
  • Set your washing machine to spin dry
  • Preheat the dryer for 2 minutes before putting the mattress pad inside
  • Machine dry the heated mattress pad for 10 minutes
  • Spread it outside on a clothesline to dry completely


Check and re-check the washing instructions on your electric heating pad before you starts cleaning it. Commercial dryers, such as those in laundromats, may be too hot for your electric beating pad. When the temperature of the dryer is too hot, it may damage the mattress pad’s internal wiring.

Do not dry clean electric heating pads.

In conclusion

This guide on cleaning mattress toppers and pads of different materials covers the basics of how to go about it.

Nevertheless, we can’t stress the importance of following the label insctructions before anything else.

Finally, if you have any question about cleaning your poad or a topper, just comment below and we’ll do our best to help.


  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.