Futon Mattress Cleaning Guide

Futon Mattress Cleaning Guide

Futons are a type of mattress without springs that can be folded out to provide additional sleeping space, and they can also be bought as sofas. They originated in Japan and have since become popular in other countries because they offer a lot of affordable comforts. The constant use may require futon mattresses to need more cleaning than traditional options.

Cleaning a futon mattress can be done through either dry or wet methods. Regular maintenance involves vacuuming and spot cleaning, while other options include freshening it up with baking soda, airing it out, and treating it with specific solutions to help remove embedded dirt.

This cleaning guide will help you take care of your futon mattress, no matter its state. Read on to find out more about how you can maintain it.

How Do You Dry a Wet Futon?

Drying a wet futon can be a complex process, especially if the season doesn’t allow you to leave it out in the sun. If you have a wet futon to deal with, there are several things you can try to get it dry as quickly as possible.

  • Remove bedding: You should get any sheets and covers off the futon mattress to get as much air to it as possible.
  • Clean the area: If there are any stains or any debris on the mattress, get that sorted before you try to dry it.
  • Soak it up: If the futon mattress is drenched in water, try to use towels or other types of absorbents to remove the excess liquid as much as possible. If you have cats, you’re in luck: clean cat litter is great for this purpose, so you can sprinkle it on the wet areas if needed.
  • Vacuum it: If you have a wet and dry vacuum, it will get rid of the moisture if you use it all over the areas where it’s wet. Try to do several passes with the vacuum, especially from left to right and from the top of the mattress to the bottom.

Other Options

If the above methods haven’t proven useful in your case, or if you don’t have the necessary tools for it, here are other options you can check out:

  • Use a hairdryer: A hairdryer’s a great drying tool in a pinch. Remember to keep it a few inches away from the mattress while you use it, and check as you go to make sure that the surface has fully dried and that it’s not just feeling hot to the touch.
  • Get a fan: You can use a fan to dry your futon mattress. It’s recommended to first prop your mattress up against a wall before you aim the fan at it. If you have more than one fan, arrange it on the other side and get the whole surface covered.
  • Leave it outside: If it’s warm and sunny, the best thing to do is to find a clean spot and leave your futon mattress out to dry. Remember to rotate it a few times if it’s drenched in water.

No matter what method you use, you should thoroughly check that your mattress is completely dry. Damp material can produce a lot of issues, from stale smells to growing bacteria. It’s especially important to check that it’s fully dry if your futon mattress was rained on, or if it was affected by a leak or a flood. 

Complete Futon Mattress Cleaning Guide

Futon mattresses are affordable and comfortable, which leads to them being used a lot, especially if you have a futon sofa. The practicality of being able to fold and unfold the mattress depending on the amount of space you need is a great asset for any living space. 

This constant use that futon mattresses usually get in a household can lead to them needing to be cleaned with more frequency than traditional ones. In this guide, you’ll find plenty of information about how to deal with that process, from the preparation to how to keep your futon mattress as well-maintained as possible.

How to Prepare a Futon Mattress for Cleaning

Before you embark on the cleaning process of a futon mattress, make sure you prepare it for it. This will make everything more straightforward and save you some time during the cleaning part.

The best thing to do before you clean your futon mattress is to remove it from its frame, if applicable. Remove any bedding, covers, and cushions to get as much access to it as you can. Try to shake it a little to release dust particles and to check if there is anything on it, like coins, pens, and other items that could have gotten trapped on its sides or under it. 

Once the check-up is complete, you should prop the futon mattress against a wall or in a comfortable area that will allow you to get to it without having to hold it at the same time. 

If you’re just doing a routine clean-up or spot removal, you can leave the mattress in its original position and just unfold it during the cleaning.

Regular Futon Maintenance

If you’d like to reduce the frequency of deep cleaning a futon mattress, you should do as much regular maintenance as you can. This will keep the mattress in top shape and it will avoid the need for having to deploy more time-consuming methods to freshen it up.

Here is what you can do regularly to keep your futon mattress in the best condition:

Get Used to It

Any kind of mattress needs a kind of breaking-in period during which it will adapt to your body. The same is true of futon mattresses. Give it a few weeks to shape around the contours of your body and judge its best condition based on that. Research the mattress when you get it, and make sure you are aware of how it should feel and perform.

Rotate It

You should rotate your futon mattress with regularity, and at least once a month. This will prevent the accumulation of dirt on the side that’s on the bottom, and it will also help you be able to use it for longer because it won’t become misshapen as quickly as it would if you’d always keep it on the same side.

Cover It

A futon mattress cover is the best assistant when it comes to preventing damage to the surface, as well as dirt build-up. These mattress covers use a thicker material than sheets and can be placed under them to keep the futon mattress as protected as possible. There are specific ones for futons that can perfectly adapt to your mattress.

The best part of futon mattress covers is that in most cases you’ll have to just put the cover in the washing machine to get rid of accumulated dirt. This will reduce the times you need to wash the mattress while keeping it safe from stains, crumbs, and dust. 

A futon mattress cover will extend the lifespan of your mattress and ensure its best condition. It’s practical and very easy to use because it usually comes with a zipper on a side that keeps everything snug.

Take Care of the Frame

Your futon mattress will usually come with a frame, regardless of whether it’s on a bed or n a sofa. The maintenance of the frame can get overlooked, but it’s an important part of the process.

Whenever you clean the mattress, you should take a few extra minutes to lift it and dust the frame. If it’s made of wood, you can wipe it with a special product that will protect the material. If you want to go the extra step, you can polish it to leave it with a sweet-smelling sheen.

You should also check the state of the frame at regular intervals, usually once a month. Make sure that the screws haven’t loosened, and that everything is in its correct place. This will keep the frame from squeaking or breaking ahead of time.

How to Dry Clean a Futon Mattress

Dry cleaning is the typical kind of cleaning you’ll be doing to maintain your futon mattress. This will usually involve two steps (and a third optional one) and can be done quickly and efficiently on a regular basis.

The Essential Step

The first step involves a cleaning routine essential: vacuuming. You don’t need a special vacuum for this, just your normal hose. If you have any helpful brush attachments to add to it, that’s even better, but it’s not required. 

If your futon mattress is in daily use, you should include vacuuming it on your routine cleaning to-do list. This will help remove dirt, dust mites, hair, and crumbs from it, especially if it’s used in the living room. 

If the futon hasn’t been unfolded, you don’t even have to fold it out to vacuum it. You can just carefully vacuum around it while paying attention to get into all the crooks and crannies. Try to keep the vacuum moving frequently to prevent damage to the material, or lower the suction speed if you can.

If the futon mattress has been unfolded lately, you should vacuum it on all its sides. If you notice any stubborn debris around it, you can brush it off manually and then pass the vacuum over the surface to make sure it’s all been removed.

Vacuuming your futon mattress is great for another reason: it removes allergens. If you have any kind of sensitivity to them, especially to dust mites, this is the best way to get rid of them and to prevent any issues. It’s a quick and easy way to deal with all the build-up that will keep your mattress looking great too.

The Extra Step

If you want to take the dry cleaning of your futon mattress a step further, you should grab a classic ingredient: baking soda. This compound that is a frequent presence in baking and cleaning hacks will get your mattress back in the shape it was in when you got it. 

Baking soda is an excellent deodorizer: it removes smells and leaves the futon mattress fresh, so it’s a great addition to the cleaning routine either every month or whenever you notice it’s starting to have a bit of a smell.

To use baking soda to the best of its ability, sprinkle it all over the surface of the mattress. Leave it on there for at least an hour to make sure it removes any untoward smells from the area. Once the time is up, remove the baking soda with a vacuum cleaner.

This is a great help if you’ve had any food or drink spills on the mattress, and also if it has a bit of a musty or stale smell after getting wet. After frequent use, a futon mattress will need some baking soda to get back to its best condition, without any lingering unwanted smells.

The Outside Step

Futon mattresses benefit from being left outside to get some fresh air. If you can, place them in a safe space outside in the sunlight for a few hours. This will keep them smelling fresh while helping to remove dust and other allergens from them. 

How to Wet Clean a Futon Mattress

Wet cleaning is a great companion to dry cleaning when it comes to futon mattresses, and it’s especially useful when you’re doing a deep clean. You’ll usually do it with less frequency than the dry unless you notice any stains or encrusted dirt that refuses to be removed through vacuuming.

How to Remove Spots from a Futon Mattress

It’s impossible to prevent stains on a futon mattress, but luckily there are many ways to tackle them that will leave it looking brand new despite its use. Usually, you should go after stains armed with a damp washcloth and a detergent, preferably a delicate one. 

Warm water helps more with the usual stains, but try to avoid using too much of it.  Mattresses can take a long time to dry, which increases the risk of mildew. Make sure to remove the cover from the mattress, if there is any before you proceed to clean the stain.

It’s recommended to not rub at the stain. Blotting is a better technique to use on stains because it will prevent the spot from extending, and it will also prevent rubbing too much at the material and making it fade. 

You can also use a steam cleaner to freshen up your futon mattress and eliminate stains, but the same care should be taken to prevent soaking the material. Make sure to check the tag on the futon mattress to see if it’s suited for steam cleaning.

Other substances you can use to get rid of spots on the mattress are lemon juice, rubbing alcohol, and vinegar. These should all be diluted with water to make sure that they won’t damage the futon mattress. If you’re not sure about the strength of the mix, you should apply a small amount of the solution to the futon material to see how it reacts to it.

The most important part about dealing with stains on a mattress is to get to them as soon as they happen. The longer they remain on the surface, the harder they will be to remove. The best time to get them is while they’re still fresh and wet.

What About Stubborn Stains?

Stubborn stains are very likely to happen, especially if a stain occurs and you don’t notice it in time. These can range from grease stains to bloodstains. In a household with pets, you may also have to face urine stains. Let’s take a look at what you can do to remove these.

  • Grease: Use a powder like baking soda, cornstarch, or talcum to soak up the grease and let it stay there for an hour. Then apply either a stain remover or a laundry detergent to the stain and scrub it with a cloth or an old toothbrush. 
  • Blood: Cold water is the best help for bloodstains, especially when combined with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar sprayed over baking soda.
  • Urine: Use paper towels to blot the stain, then apply baking soda to remove the smell. Then use a few drops of undiluted vinegar to make sure the area is clear. If the stain is dry, use a mix of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dishwasher liquid.
  • Mold/mildew: To remove mold or mildew stains, you can use vinegar, bleach, or rubbing alcohol. You can also use specialty products, but those substances will help with the problem area. Remove every trace of it and then leave the mattress to fully dry before using it again. If it persists, it’s best to get a new mattress.

Can I Put a Futon Mattress in the Washing Machine?

Some futon mattresses can be washed in the washing machine, but you will have to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if the one you have at home is suitable. If your washing machine isn’t big enough to fit your futon mattress, you’ll have to take it to a laundromat. 

If you wash it at home, make sure to use a gentle temperature and a light detergent. Roll up the futon mattress and place a tie around it to keep it in place. Once the washing cycle is done, wring out the excess water.

You’ll also have to check what the futon is made from because some include feathers in the casing and these cannot withstand a washing cycle. Before you wash the futon, make sure you have the possibility to fully dry it when it’s done, either on a sunny day or if you have access to a dryer. 

Some mattresses are suitable for washing machines but not dryers, so keep that in mind before using one. You’ll have to be able to completely dry the futon mattress before you’ll be able to use it again to prevent any issues with bacteria or smells. 

You can also have your futon mattress professionally cleaned if you want a thorough clean with no effort. This will be pricier than doing it at home, but it can simplify the process.

Disinfecting a Futon Mattress

At times, you will need to disinfect your futon mattress, either as a way to prevent bacteria or as a way to remove it. This becomes even more important if you have any severe allergies to dust or mildew. 

To disinfect a futon mattress, you’ll have to make sure that you’re in a well-ventilated area. If you can’t do this outside, you should open every window and door in your surroundings so you can get enough air and protection from possible fumes. 

Bleach is one of the best disinfectants, but it can be powerful and it can stain the mattress. If you are sensitive to bleach, make sure to wear a mask to protect yourself, and cleaning gloves are essential. If you have other protective gear like glasses, use those too.

You should dilute bleach with water (at least a gallon per half a cup of bleach), then use a spray bottle for the solution. Lightly spray it all over the mattress, on each side. Try not to make it too wet, and once you’re done applying the mix, wipe the area with paper towels to get rid of the excess. 

Once that is done, leave the mattress in a well-ventilated area to completely dry. If you have access to a safe, dry area outside, leave it there. If not, try to use a balcony or an area near an open window. The mattress needs to be fully dry and aired out before use.

Bleach is best suited to white futon mattresses. It is very likely to cause discoloration in any other colors, so keep that in mind when you’re applying it. There are also special mattress disinfectants that can suit more types of futons, and those might be a better choice if you don’t have a white mattress.

Cleaning Essentials for Futon Mattresses

While futon mattress cleaning may vary according to different criteria, you will be guaranteed to make use of some of these essentials during the process. Vacuums will be one of the best tools you’ll have to get rid of accumulated dirt easily and quickly, while steam cleaners will come in handy if you have allergies and are looking to deep clean often.

Baking soda will also be of great assistance with your futon mattress if you keep it around, especially because you can mix it with other elements to create powerful cleaning solutions. You can treat most stains with a solution of baking soda, salt, and water.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be very useful. You can mix it with baking soda and dishwashing liquid to create a powerful stain removal treatment that can get rid of stubborn spots and smells. If you’re dealing with more intense stains, you can use just hydrogen peroxide to remove them.

White vinegar is another substance you should have around to help you with cleaning your futon mattress. It is very helpful with soiled areas and eliminates odors and discoloration. You can mix equal parts of vinegar and water to get rid of most spots, and you’ll be happy to know that the vinegar smell doesn’t linger after it dries, it just takes all odors with it.

If you’re looking for an extra bit of help to freshen up the scent of your futon mattress, try mixing a few drops of your favorite essential oils in a spray bottle with water and vinegar. This will be the best kind of homemade mattress freshener, and it will keep your wallet happy too.

Tips to Keep Your Futon Mattress in Good Shape

Here are some extra tips to help you maintain your futon mattress:

  • If you have a mattress protector, remove it from time to time and let the mattress breathe for a few hours or a day if not in use.
  • Futon frames are the best way to keep your futon mattress away from dirt as much as possible. Futons are very exposed when placed on the floor, and they’ll require frequent cleaning to deal with the excess contaminants.
  • If you live in a country where it’s traditional to beat mattresses with a broom to get the dust out, remember that this isn’t the best idea for a futon. Usually, this process only spreads the contaminants further without removing them. It can also damage the material.
  • Futon mattresses made from suede will require specific solutions to clean them. Always check the tag or the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Change sheets or covers often. This is an essential step if your futon tends to remain unfolded, as it can gather more dust like this. Changing the linens will help eliminate them.


Getting a futon mattress is a practical and convenient way to create a sleeping space that is also cheap. Maintaining a futon mattress is a straightforward process, as there’s usually an affordable solution for most stains that you might face while using one. Routine cleaning is a great help and it will extend the lifespan of your mattress.

There are plenty of ways to clean your futon mattress, and the best ones are homemade and using items you should already have in your kitchen and pantry.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

Related Posts