How To Clean A Camping Mattress

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Jay Elliott

Chief Camping Officer

Before or after a camping trip, it is essential that you clean your camping mattress to rid it of dirt and maintain its quality. However, you need to avoid using harmful materials or methods to clean your camping mattress. Why? Simply because camping mattresses are not as durable as conventional mattresses. With that being said, here are the tools and steps to take to clean a camping mattress.


  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Spray bottle
  • Water hose
  • Bucket
  • Cleaning towel
  • Detergent

Things to avoid doing

  • Do not wash with a machine
  • Do not dry with a machine
  • Do not iron the mattress

Step 1: Remove the topper from the mattress

The first thing to do is to remove the topper from the mattress close to your water source. It is best to do the cleaning outdoors.

Step 2: Wash the foam

Fill your bucket with water and add enough detergent until it is foamy. You may choose to wash by hand with a sponge or use your vacuum cleaner brush attachment. Do not use a hard brush attachment as this may ruin the foam. Rather, go for a soft brush.

Step 3: Deal with odors and stains

If you notice strong stains and odors, mere washing may not eliminate them. To deal with odors, use baking soda.

Sprinkle some on the foam and let it remain for at least 8 hours before you vacuum (you can apply the baking soda  before you vacuum the mattress, but if you notice the door while cleaning, you will have to repeat the cleaning process twice)

For stubborn stains, you may add oxygen bleach or any other cleaning solution you can find. After applying the solution to lighten the stains, focus on the drowned spots and wash until the stain is removed.

Step 4: Use a light cleaner

After washing the foam, it is ideal to spray a lighter liquid detergent on the entire body and let it sit for about an hour. Don’t be in a hurry to rinse it.

Step 5: Rinse Well

After the one-hour wait period, rinse with your outdoor hose or pipe connected to a running tap. Then wipe the surface with your cleaning towel. Squeeze the foam gently to remove excess water but don’t wring tightly.

Step 6: Air dry

After rinsing, please don’t replace the topper but leave it to air dry on a dry surface. Also, don’t place under the sun if it is too hot as this may damage the foam; neither should you dry with your vacuum. Rather let it dry naturally. Finally, before you replace the topper, make sure you wash it and ensure it is dry before you replace it.