How to clean a pillow top mattress

Do you want to know how to keep your pillow top mattress clean, comfortable and fluffy? Here we provide top tips to help you do so!


clean pillow top mattress with an orange cushion
Don’t use too much water when you are trying to clean a pillow top mattress – if you saturate an area, it will be difficult for it to dry. Apply a small amount of water with a clean sponge or cloth.

Key steps:

Pillow top mattresses are the ultimate in comfort, helping you to enjoy a good night’s rest each and every night. However, while these mattresses are great for happiness, well-being, and relaxation, they do provide a few little challenges when it comes to cleaning. Fortunately, maintaining a fresh and hygienic bed doesn’t have to be as tricky as you may think. Here’s everything you need to know about how to clean a pillow top mattress:

Do you use powder, capsules or liquid to wash your clothes?

Why is it challenging to clean a pillow top mattress?

When comparing the cleaning requirements of a regular mattress and a pillow top mattress, there really isn’t that much difference in the techniques used or the effort needed to remove stains – the main issue with pillow top mattresses is that they tend to need cleaning on a much more regular basis. The reason for this is that the soft pillow layer that sits on the surface of the mattress is very porous and absorbent, which means that any stains can quickly and easily sink deep within the fibres. If you enjoy breakfast in bed, a glass of water during the night, or if your potty-training toddlers sneak into bed with you in the early hours of the morning, you’re providing numerous opportunities for spilled liquids to soak into the mattress.

A secondary challenge faced when cleaning pillow top mattresses is that they take a little longer to dry out, so you’ll need to plan when you’re going to clean the mattress very carefully – no one wants a damp mattress when they’re crawling into bed at the end of a long and tiring day.

How to wash a pillow top mattress cover

For a clean pillow top mattress, follow the handy advice and tips below. By following these easy steps, you should be able to successfully remove stains, bacteria, and odours from your mattress without stress or hassle:

  • The first step is to dab up as much of the liquid from the surface of the mattress as possible. You can do this by using a clean cloth or towel and gently dabbing the cloth over the surface. It’s best not to wipe or scrub as you could encourage the stain to spread, and try not to use paper towels as they could disintegrate and leave white papery fibres all over your mattress.
  • Once the surface of the mattress feels relatively dry, take your vacuum cleaner (with the hose attachment in place) and vacuum all across the surface. While this doesn’t directly help to remove the stain, what it does is remove the layer of dust and dirt that will affect your access to the stain. Every mattress has this dirt layer, it’s nothing to worry about – it can build up overnight, and contains skin cells, dust, and any small dirt particles from your feet, for example.
  • For treating the stain, take a stain remover or a small amount of liquid laundry detergent (or a powdered detergent made into a thick paste with a little bit of water), apply to a sponge, and gently dab the sponge all along the area in question. The idea is to keep the mattress as dry as possible, while still cleaning effectively. Make sure to read the directions on the label before beginning, and always test any cleaning product on a small area first before continuing. Begin to move the sponge around to massage the detergent into the pillow layer of the mattress, helping it to tackle stains that have soaked into the fibres.
  • As it’s best to keep the mattress as dry as possible, do not apply too much water to the mattress. Use a clean sponge or cloth to gently remove the cleaning product from the surface. You could also try using a small amount of white vinegar, which performs two jobs. First, it helps to remove any soap suds from your mattress as water would, and second it will help to remove any bad odours – this is especially important if the stain is of the smelly variety – coffee, for example, or pet urine.
  • Allow the mattress to dry naturally. This can take a while, but you can help to speed up the process by opening the bedroom windows.
  • Once dry, inspect the mattress and check for any signs of discolouration or lingering odours. For discolouration, repeat the steps once more, starting with the use of detergent. For lingering smells, sprinkle a thick covering of baking soda onto the area and leave for roughly eight hours (it’s best to do this in the morning so your bed is ready for you to crawl into in the evening). The baking soda is very absorbent, and should absorb any leftover odours. Simply vacuum away the baking soda at the end of the day.

The best way to clean a pillow top mattress

The best advice when it comes to cleaning pillow top mattresses is to tackle the stain as soon as possible after it’s happened. As we’ve discussed, the main issue with these sorts of mattresses is that they are very absorbent, and the longer a liquid is left on the mattress, the further down it can sink. Stains are always easier to tackle when they’re on the surface, rather than embedded into the fibres, so always try to treat the stain while it is still in the pillow top area, and try to avoid letting the stain soak down into the mattress itself. Cleaning a pillow top doesn’t need to be as difficult as it seems, so there’s no excuse to put it off – the quicker the better.

Originally published