What Causes Foam Mattress Discoloration?

Foam mattresses have a foam top designed to offer a soft, luxurious feel when slept on. Foam mattresses often contour to the sleeper's body, presenting a sleeping surface that is completely customized. However, different factors can cause discoloration of the mattress. Identifying these potential staining factors can help individuals keep their foam mattresses looking like new.

A foam mattress can become discolored over time.


If a foam mattress is exposed to direct sunlight, it may start to discolor. This is due to the fading of the foam coloring that occurs under the sun's rays. Sunlight is one of the largest contributing factors to foam mattress discoloration. Sunlight can discolor a foam mattress even if sheets are present on the bed.

Water Stains

Water stains are also a cause of foam mattress discoloration. Drool, stains from glasses of water, a leaky roof or any other water source can cause the surface of the foam mattress to become stained. Water stains do not damage the mattress, but they can cause the surface of the mattress to become unsightly. Water stains can also cause mildew to grow in the mattress if the stain is not cleaned up immediately. Mildew will cause a brown or black discoloration on the mattress surface.

Other Stains

Other stains can also cause discoloration. Blood, vomit and other bodily fluids are all likely to damage the surface of the mattress and cause discoloration. These solutions should be cleaned immediately after they occur to prevent major discoloration from occurring. If the mattress is white, some stains can be bleached out.


The best way to protect the surface of the mattress from discoloration is to use a foam mattress cover. These covers protect the mattress from liquid stains and keep the surface of the mattress looking like new. Sun damage can be prevented by keeping direct sunlight away from the mattress's surface. Keep curtains or blinds drawn during the day, and do not allow the mattress to sit for extended periods without sheets and blankets.


Some mattress warranties may be voided if the mattress shows signs of excessive discoloration. Charities and mattress donation centers will not take discolored mattresses, and it may be harder to dispose of a discolored mattress when it comes time to get a new one.