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Why Do Foam Mattresses Turn Yellow?

Foam mattresses have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their superior comfort and support. However, one common issue that many users have noticed is that over time, these mattresses tend to develop a yellowish tint. This discoloration can be concerning and raise questions about the mattress’s quality and cleanliness.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind why foam mattresses turn yellow, potential factors that contribute to this phenomenon, and how you can prevent or address it effectively.

Table of Contents

Does Yellowing Affect the Usage of (Memory) Foam?

Yellowing does not affect the usage of your foam mattress. It is typically a natural process and hence does not hinder performance. The discoloration mainly happens because of low oxidation, meaning you can safely sleep on your mattress.

We understand you might be tempted to replace your foam, but it’s good to know that the best foam mattress can serve you for up to 10 years. Even the period can be longer if you practice proper maintenance and good cleaning. If you notice any discoloration along the way, that should not worry you if the cause is low oxidation.

Why Do Foam Mattresses Turn Yellow?

Foam mattresses turn yellow for many reasons, including age, exposure to sunlight, sweat and body oils, urine stains, and uncleaned vomit. Let’s look at each reason.


The main reason your foam mattress is turning yellow is that it’s aging. It is a natural process that should not worry you. Typically, over time, as you keep your foam mattress direct to the sunlight, the materials will oxidize, leading to a reaction with oxygen, making your foam turn yellow.

So, if your foam is yellowing because of age, it shouldn’t produce any odor.

foam mattress turn yellow

Direct Sunlight

The UV rays are usually unsuitable for your (memory) foam mattress. Each time you leave your foam under the sun for seven hours, rest assured that your foam will start yellowing with time. On top of that, its material will also begin to damage, reducing the shelf life of your mattress.

Sweat and Body Oils

Seasons change, and sometimes you can sleep hot occasionally, or your body overheats frequently. When this happens, you sweat more, which may make your mattress accumulate sweat, causing your bed to discolor.

Although the discoloration won’t show up immediately, it will be evident with time. That’s why washing your bed sheets and mattress cover is advisable to reduce stains.

Body oils also play a role in making your mattress turn yellow. They seep through the foam, and your mattress starts yellowing in a matter of time.

Urine Stains

Urine stains can quickly make your mattress start yellowing. Especially in scenarios where bed-wetting is expected, the colors will soon build up and cause foul odor, mold, and bed mites without forgetting the yellowing on the mattress.

So, anytime you stain the mattress with urine, you must strip it off the bed and wash the sheets and mattress.

Uncleaned Vomit

Whether it is vomit from people or pets, if left uncleaned, it may form a yellow stain on your mattress. If you leave the uncleaned vomit for a more extended period without cleaning, it can cause the spread of bacteria, which is harmful to your health.

Spilled coffee and tea are other things that cause foam mattresses to turn yellow. Also, pollution emissions, higher temperatures, and the presence and usage of flame-retardant chemicals when manufacturing products designed from memory foam may cause yellowing.

Smoking and Air Pollution

Smoking indoors can introduce harmful particles into the air, which can settle onto the mattress’s surface and cause yellow stains over time. Additionally, air pollution can also contribute to discoloration.

Humidity and Moisture

High humidity levels can contribute to foam mattress yellowing. Foam has a natural tendency to absorb moisture from the surrounding environment. The trapped moisture encourages the growth of mold and mildew, leading to discoloration and a musty odor.

Chemical Reaction

Certain chemicals present in cleaning agents, body sweat, or other substances can react with the foam material over time. These chemical reactions can alter the foam’s color, causing it to turn yellow.

Quality of Foam Matters

The quality of the foam used in the mattress can also play a role in how it ages. Lower-quality foams may be more prone to yellowing due to their composition.

Investing in a high-quality foam mattress from a reputable manufacturer can reduce the likelihood of premature yellowing.

How to Prevent Foam Mattresses from Turning Yellow?

While some yellowing may be inevitable due to natural aging processes, there are steps you can take to prolong the pristine appearance of your foam mattress:

Flip the mattress

Rotate and Flip the Mattress

Regularly rotate and flip your mattress to distribute the wear and tear evenly. This can help prevent specific areas from yellowing prematurely.

Use a Mattress Protector

Invest in a high-quality, waterproof mattress protector to shield your mattress from sweat, spills, and body oils. You need to ensure the protector is breathable to prevent heat buildup.

Keep the Mattress Clean

Keep the Mattress Clean

You need to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and use a mild, foam-safe cleaner to spot clean stains. Avoid using excessive water, and always allow the mattress to dry thoroughly before using it again.

Limit Sunlight Exposure

If possible, position your mattress away from direct sunlight or use curtains and blinds to block harmful UV rays.

Control Room Temperature and Humidity

Maintain a stable and comfortable room temperature with proper ventilation to minimize the impact of environmental factors.

How to Clean (Memory) Foam Mattress?

Here are several ways to clean your (memory foam). Have a look:

Use of Baking Soda

Baking soda is a good detergent you can use to neutralize odor and clean mattress stains. For it to be effective, you can apply it in two ways:

  • For stain removal, mix the baking soda twice with cold water. Then spread and rub the mixture on the stains.
  • Sprinkle the baking soda on the stained area, rub it gently, let it stay there for 8 hours, and then vacuum that area afterward. Be keen not to leave any particles on your foam mattress.

Use of Laundry Detergents

Laundry detergents also serve as a great way of removing yellowish stains on the mattress. Ensure you invest in suitable detergents that will not damage the texture and structure of your memory foam. You can use a gentle liquid detergent mixed with water and appropriate materials to form a paste.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Spray the liquid detergent mixed with water on the stained area.
  • Spread more liquid if you think it’s not enough.
  • Rub the solution on the affected area gently.
  • Let it dry for 30 minutes.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe the stained area evenly. Do not leave any residue on the memory foam.
  • Finally, vacuum it.
Vacuum Cleaning mattress

Vacuum Cleaning

Wondering which is the more accessible and convenient way of cleaning memory foam? Vacuum cleaning is the answer. You can also use this process to get your pillows and toppers clean and tidy. This process removes every dirt, debris, dust, and dead skin cell on the surface of your memory foam.

By using the vacuum cleaning process, you aid in preventing dust mites and molds from building up and creating yellowing marks on your foam mattress.

How it works is simple:

  • You begin by spreading the foam on a flat, hard floor or ground.
  • Take a dry handheld vacuum cleaner and use it to clean all the crannies and hooks without forgetting the sides of your foam. Vacuum all the dead skin and dust on the mattress. If you like using steam and water cleaner, ensure you sanitize the mattress. Ensure you also dry the memory foam before you fix it back on the frame.
  • Additionally, remember to vacuum the underside by frequently flipping the foam after every 3-4 months.

Other ways to clean your memory foam include:

  • Using stain remover.
  • Using hydrogen peroxide solution Ensure you put on gloves and use a sponge to rub the affected area in a circular motion gently. Then wipe using a dampened washcloth to remove any residues.


Can I reverse yellowing once it has occurred?

Yes, in some cases, you may be able to reduce yellowing with proper cleaning and maintenance. However, prevention is always better than cure.

Are foam mattresses less durable than other types?

Foam mattresses are highly durable, but their longevity can be affected by factors like quality, maintenance, and usage.

Will a mattress topper help prevent yellowing?

A mattress topper can provide an extra layer of protection, helping to minimize yellowing and extending the mattress’s lifespan.

Can yellowing foam mattresses affect my health?

In most cases, yellowing is a cosmetic issue. However, if mold or mildew growth is involved, it can impact indoor air quality.

Are all foam mattresses equally prone to yellowing?

No, the susceptibility to yellowing may vary based on the quality of foam and its protective properties. High-quality foams with proper additives are less prone to discoloration.

Is it safe to use bleach on a yellowed foam mattress?

No, using bleach or harsh chemicals can further damage the foam and may not effectively remove the yellowing. Stick to mild cleaning agents.


The yellowing of foam mattresses is a natural occurrence influenced by several factors such as exposure to light, heat, body oils, and cleaning practices. By understanding these reasons and adopting preventive measures, you can prolong the lifespan of your foam mattress and maintain its pristine appearance for years to come.

If you’re looking to invest in a foam mattress or already own one, make sure to follow the guidelines provided in this article to keep it in top condition. A well-maintained foam mattress not only enhances your sleep quality but also adds value to your overall sleeping experience.

Author: Jessica

Jessica is a lover of both life and gardening. She loves to share his passion for both on social media. He often posts about his latest gardening projects, as well as tips and tricks for others who might be interested in starting their own gardens. She also frequently posts about the different aspects of his life that he enjoys, from spending time with friends and family to exploring new places.

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