Just like we clean other beddings, mattress pads also need cleaning. Between the 40,000 dead skin cells that we shed yearly and the 10 million dust mites that feed on them. 

The bed is simply one of the grossest environments when left alone.

Cleaning a mattress pad is a chore that most would rather avoid, but with the right cleaning methods, you can keep your mattress pad looking and feeling fresh for longer. This guide details what mattress pads are, how to clean, and dry them.

What is a mattress pad?

A mattress pad is an extra layer of cushioning added on top of the mattress for comfort. This extra layer mostly measures 2 or more inches in height.


Mattress pads are placed on top of a mattress but under the sheets to provide slight firmness adjustments to the mattress. 


Pads can be used on new and old mattresses. If for instance, you find your new mattress is too firm for your liking, you can add a mattress pad to make it softer. This can completely change the feel of the mattress.  


These pads can also be used on worn-out mattresses to provide extra support and a much-needed comfort boost, leaving your mattress feeling like new.

How to clean mattress pads

Tossing items of clothing into the washer works well for other bedding materials but the same is not advisable with mattress pads. Pads can easily get destroyed in the washer, especially foam toppers. 


As with a mattress, spot cleaning and maintaining high standards of hygiene is all that is needed to keep a mattress pad clean. 

A mattress protector can really help keep the pad clean since it prevents liquids and any form of dirt from soaking through.


However, there are many different types of pads. These include cotton, wool, memory foam, Down, and synthetic fiber. 

As such one cleaning method won’t fit all. That is why you should always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Generally, most manufacturers recommend spot cleaning, dry cleaning, or hand washing only. 


Machine washing is only allowed for cotton, wool, and down pads. Even though these pads are machine washable, frequent machine washing will only expose them to wear and tear.


Here is a general plan of action when cleaning your pad. 


Best Mattress Pads 2020

Are you looking to buy a mattress pad?
Here is the guide on the best mattress pad.

Prepare the Pad for the wash

Remove any bedding on the pad and lay it in a flat area. If you are placing it on a carpeted or hardwood floor, place something underneath it to prevent damage to your floor. 

Even though you place it on vinyl, tiled, or cemented floor, still put something like a tarp under it to keep it from getting dirt on the other side. Make sure the room is well-ventilated. 


In the second step, grab your cleaning materials. Start by removing all debris by using a powerful vacuum with a soft brush extension. Using round motions work through the pad removing dirt, debris, and any other particles on the pad. 

You can also use a brush to scrub the debris off and then shake the mattress topper gently to lose the dislodged dirt.


Now that the pad is less dirty, you can clearly spot any stains, discoloration, or any wear and tear.

Treat Stains and Odors

Use laundry detergent or an enzyme-based cleaner. This can be bought at the store or you can use a homemade solution of equal parts water, lemon juice, and distilled white vinegar.


Dampen a stained area by sprinkling water. Then apply your cleaning solution and depending on how bad the stain is, you can leave the solution on for 15 to 20minutes.

Next scrub the stain working from the outside towards the center to keep the stain from spreading further.


Rinse using a sponge or towel soaked in clean water.  Blot the cleaning solution while rinsing the sponge constantly until all the soap is gone. Repeat until the stain is removed.


If your pad is really dirty, clean the whole surface and rinse it with a clean cloth dipped in clean water repeatedly to transfer the soap. Or just hose down the pad. Then roll it to squeeze extra water out. Never ring the pad, it may get torn.



For odors, use baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. Pour the baking soda all over the mattress pad and leave it for 8 hours or overnight. Then vacuum up the powder.


When treating smells caused by spills or wet accidents, apply the same technique as though you are cleaning a stain for better results. 


Be sure to air out your pad regularly to manage odor. You can do this every time you clean your beddings. 



A little air and sunlight are not only good for you but for your pad too. 


Air out your mattress pad in a well ventilated or a sunny area for a few days. Make sure your pad is completely dry before putting it back on your bed. 


While this is a general method for cleaning mattress pads, it might not work for every pad. In the following section, we will look at how to clean different types of mattress pads.

How to Clean Cotton pads

These pads are pretty easy to clean seeing that they’re not as thick as the other pads. A standard rule is to machine wash the pad in cool or warm water with a mild detergent. 


Tumble dry the pad. Do this in the lowest temperature recommended while using rubber, wool, or tennis balls to keep the pad fluffy. 


Remember to check if machine drying is recommended. If not, just air dry it. Make sure it’s completely dry before use. 

Wool Pads

Make sure to check out the manufacturer’s care tag for direction. For best results, use cold water and a gentle detergent. You can hand wash these pads or throw them in the washer. However, be sure to use a gentle cycle. 

To dry this pad, hang it on a clothesline or a drying rack until it is completely dry.

Foam mattress pads

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning! We can’t stress this enough. This is especially important for foam mattress pads. They are more delicate than other fabric pads and could easily tear or melt when machine washed and dried. 


Remember to use the spot cleaning method to get rid of any stains or odors on your pad. 


If the whole pad needs a wash, spray lightly with a cleaning solution and scrub gently. It is preferable to use a low-sudsing detergent for easier rinsing. You can also add an enzyme-based cleaner for extra cleaning especially if there are stains caused by pets. 


Let the solution sit for 20-30 mins then rinse lightly using a hand-held shower head or in a tub or shower. 


Do not wring out! Squeeze the extra water or remove it by using a wet/dry vacuum. Lay it in a well ventilated and sunny area for a few days, until it’s completely dry. Make sure your pad is completely dry before putting it back on your bed.  

Down Mattress Pads

Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the care label.


With Down, you need to first inspect the pad to ensure there are no tears or loose seams. This way you won’t end up with a washer full of feathers.


Next, you need to pre-treat stains by letting your cleaning solution sit on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes before washing. If possible use a down cleaner to maintain the performance of your down.


If the down is cleared for machine washing, we recommend using the front-loading washer. This is designed to handle large loads. Besides, the center agitator of a top-load machine can tear your pad and release all the feathers.


Use the delicate cycle with cool water and rinse twice. Dry on the lowest heat available. Never on high. Toss in a few tennis or dryer balls to fluff the feathers. 


From time to time manually unclump the Mattress pad by breaking up the clump of feathers with your fingers. This will help the pad to dry evenly. 


Ensure the pad is completely dry before placing it back on your bed.

Best Mattress Pads 2020

Are you looking to buy a mattress pad?
Here is the guide on the best mattress pad.


Cleaning a mattress pad is absolutely necessary and doesn’t have to be so intimidating. Spot cleaning and handwashing at least twice a year can help preserve the mattress pad's shelf life. If this sounds like too much trouble, go for machine-washable pads such as cotton, down, and wool. But remember the more you clean these pads in the washer the faster they will get worn. To save your investment ensure you protect your pad with a mattress protector and follow the manufacturer's advice to the letter.