How Best To Clean A Wet Mattress

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How to clean urine stains from a mattress

Urine stains can cause unpleasant stains and smells! To avoid this act fast and use these tips to clean stains from a mattress.

Updated 8 April 2020



Do you use powder, capsules or liquid to wash your clothes?

With kids in the house, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll end up having to deal with a bed-wetting incident at some point – it’s a perfectly natural part of growing up, and occasionally happens in later life as well. Dealing with it is hardly fun, but removing urine from a mattress is something that can actually be pretty simple if you act fast, and treat the situation sensitively and sensibly.

All urine (animal and human) is made up of crystals of uric acid, so to permanently remove the acid, odour, and bacteria and properly clean urine from mattress fabric and bedding, it is best to use an enzyme-based cleaning solution. There is also a wide selection of products specifically developed for treating urine stains caused by pets, which are often perfectly suitable for use on human accidents too. Make sure to check the label on your chosen product and follow the instructions to ensure you use it safely and effectively. Always test any cleaning product in a small area first before continuing.

How to Clean a Mattress: Urine Stains

  1. Use a dry towel, cloth, or paper towels to lightly blot up the excess urine, then strip the bed. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this will only spread the urine deeper into the mattress.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda onto the affected area to absorb the remaining moisture.
  3. Make a solution of biological washing powder – we like Persil Bio – and water. Alternatively, if you don’t mind the smell (which can be somewhat potent at first) you can try a solution of one part white vinegar to one part warm water.
  4. Spray your chosen solution onto the stain and leave to sit for 3-5 minutes. If using a commercial stain remover, always carefully follow the instructions on the product packaging, be sure to wear protective gloves, and open the windows for ventilation. You should use enough of the stain remover to counterbalance the amount of urine that has soaked into the mattress before leaving to air-dry.
  5. Repeat step one, blotting up any moisture with a towel or dry cloth. This is to get rid of any residual urine and prevent mould, so try to get the mattress as dry as possible.
  6. Bring back the baking soda and sprinkle over the entire mattress. The mattress needs to be given time to dry out thoroughly – at least 18 hours – so you should make other sleeping arrangements and leave it to dry overnight.
  7. Vacuum up the baking soda and prop the mattress up outside or in a well-ventilated area to allow air to circulate and shift the last of the odour.

The above guide explains how to clean urine from mattress fabric and stuffing – check out our article on cleaning mattresses and bedding for tips on doing a regular clean.

Protection and Prevention

Now that you know how to clean urine from a mattress, you can be prepared for future incidents. Sealed protectors are available for pillows, duvets, and mattresses that will not only shield your family’s beds from urine, but also help protect you from dust mites, bacteria and all number of other allergens.

Don’t be put off by uncomfortable childhood memories of crackly waterproof covers and cases – the latest products are far subtler, and won’t leave you slipping and sliding with every movement. Choose from zippered or fitted styles, with breathable fibres that will keep you and your children protected and relaxed.

Now that the mattress is clean again, you and your family are ready for a good night’s sleep!

How to clean urine-soaked mattress?

My 6 year old DD crept into my bed last night and pissed herself accidentally wet the bed. The mattress is soaked through and stinks.

I’ve sprinkled bicarb on the wet patch but I can’t stop thinking about the wee inside it. Can i pour a kettle of water on it or would that make it worse? How do it dry it? Or should I just buy a new mattress and ban small people from entering my bed ?

Have you a steam cleaner of any sort? Maybe it would sterilise it?

What about a steam cleaner like you might use on carpets?

You can make a solution of biological washing powder, spray it on and blot it off with a cloth/ towel – don’t make it too wet.

I think you can buy specific urine cleaners – you can certainly get them in pet shops, meant for dog/cat wee but I reckon it would work just the same.

Thanks. No I don’t have a steam cleaner unfortunately. But I’ll give the washing powder spray a go. Cheers

This happened to us recently – we used bircarb, carpet cleaner, steam clean then repeated it all again. Tbh, it was the steam cleaner that made the biggest difference so if you could beg, steal or borrow one I’d really recommend it. We also had the mattress propped up on it’s side (have a spare bed thankfully).

Drench the area with a flannel and dettol in hot water then leave it on its side to dry, sniffing regularly to ensure it does not need more hot dettol solution.

Frozenhave you now got mattress protectors? I got one for my bed after I almost broke my waters whilst in bed, felt the pop then jumped out of bed and it went on the floor instead

I also had 2 reflux babies so theirs were protected too. Ds2 was 5 before he stopped refluxing at night.

Scrub with hot water and Milton. Or Milton spray if you have one. Leave bed linen off as long as possible. If you can still smell it when it dries you may have to replace.

Thanks again. I used dettol followed by washing powder to make it smell nicer, topped off with febreze and had no choice but to sleep in it last night. It still stinks

Will try and borrow/hire a steam cleaner tomorrow

Yes, I have protectors now.

It’s really important to let the mattress dry, do you have a sunny window you could put it by? Or a radiator?

I hope you manage to get a hold of a steam cleaner – it really did make the difference for ours. It did take a couple of go’s though and we alternated with bicarb and carpet cleaner too (carpet cleaner seemed to be recommended on a few different sites I looked at). I second the need to really let it dry – we had ours off for about a week I think – anyone got a blow up mattress you could borrow?

And Definatley buy a mattress protector after to put on first under sheet.

You can also buy protectors for pillows/ duvets/ mattresses where you basically seal each object. Also stops dust mites etc

How To Clean A Mattress and Get Rid of Stains

Knowinghow to clean a mattresscan help you sleep better at night. This guide explains how to clean your mattress and get rid of stains, odors, and allergens. It also covers how to protect your mattress, so it stays clean and fresh.

Why You Should Clean Your Mattress

Dead Skin Cells and Dust Mites

Of the estimated 1.6trillionskin cells on our bodies, roughly 30,000 to 40,000 of them fall off every hour. Multiply that by the eight hours we’re supposed to get, and we’re shedding around a quarter-million dead skin cells in our sleep.

Sure, your sheets catch most of the skin cells. What they don’t protect your mattress from are the dust mites that feed on those dead skin cells. And, there arehundreds of thousandsof those dust mites in your bed.

Or, Glen Needham, a retired professor of entomology at Ohio State University, says, “Every mattress is a crime scene in terms of how it gets inoculated with mites.”

Moisture, Mold, and Mildew

When we sleep, our bodies lose moisture. Some of that is simply the result of us breathing. Some of it is also sweat.

If you’re a person who “sleeps hot” or who suffers from hot flashes or night sweats, you know how damp your bedding and mattress can get. Combine the two, and our bodies produce over a pound of moisture each night!

While much of that evaporates in the air, plenty soaks into your mattress. There, the dense materials and warm, dark environment provide the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew spores.

Pets, Kids, and Other Messes

If you have young children, the chances are that at least one mattress in your home bears the results of a nighttime accident. Even house-trained pets can leave your mattress damp if they spend much time licking their paws or hop on your bed right after a bath. And, of course, full-grown adults can soil a mattress several ways, too.

So, you can put up with a stained mattress that stinks of sweat and body oils, or you can set aside an afternoon to deep clean your mattress and get it looking — and smelling — new again.

How to Clean Your Mattress

You need to strip the bed before you begin cleaning your mattress, so this is a good time to launder your bed linens, too.

  • Using the hottest setting allowed on the manufacturer’s label will kill dust mites on your sheets and blankets.
  • Go ahead and wash your pillows and fabric mattress toppers.
  • You can even wash an electric blanket if you use one.

While the washer and dryer are doing their thing, follow the steps below to clean your mattress.

1. Vacuum the Top and Sides

Your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment is the best tool for mattress cleaning. Start at the top and work your way down in overlapping, narrow paths.

Vacuum the sides the same way. Don’t worry about the other side of the mattress just yet — we’ll get there in step 5. For now, we’re clearing away dead skin cells, pet hair, and surface dirt to make the next step more effective.

2. Remove Odors with Baking Soda

S prinkle your mattress well with plain baking soda (bicarb for UK readers) andgentlyrub it in, so it bonds with surface moisture. Let it sit for 10 minutes to continue neutralizing odors.

What about adding essential oils?

Several readers have asked about mixing essential oils with the baking powder before sprinkling it on their mattresses. I don’t recommend it for a couple of reasons.

  • Essential oils are stilloils.Rubbing any oil into a fabric is never a good idea — it attracts dirt and can make the bond between the material and soil permanent. That’s pretty much the exactoppositeof what we’re trying to achieve when we clean a mattress.
  • It’s a waste of time.By the time you’ve cleaned the mattress, removed stains, and protected it from future problems, you won’t be able to smell the essential oil. So why bother?

3. Vacuum Again

After giving the baking soda time to bond with surface moisture and odors, it’s time to vacuum it out of the mattress.

Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum the top and sides of the mattress with slow, overlapping strokes. Donotpress too hard — it interferes with your vacuum’s suction and may snag your bed’s fabric.

4. How to Remove Mattress Stains

Mattresses typically acquire three types of stains: blood, urine, and what we’ll call “other bodily fluids.”

While it’s best to treat stains immediately, sometimes sleep is more important. Fortunately, you can still clean stains on your mattress even after they’ve been there a while.

Blood Stains

You can often get fresh blood stains out of mattresses with just a rag, some cold water, and a little soap. For fresh blood stains, it’s important to usecoldwater, since heat causes the proteins in blood to bond with the mattress material.

If cold water and a bit of soap didn’t do the trick, use the dried blood remover for mattresses below.

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How to clean your child’s mattress: wetting the bed

If you have a child, you will undoubtedly have to learn how to clean urine from a mattress at one point or another. Nighttime enuresis (that is, bed wetting) happens to almost every kid, and for some can even persist all the way up to their teenage years.

Before we get into how to clean up after an occurrence, it’s good to keep in mind that bed wetting is not a conscious decision on the part of kids. It can be caused by deep sleep, when their brain doesn’t respond to stimulus that normally tells it that it’s time to go to the bathroom. Even if you think you’ve got the problems solved, relapses can occur during times of stress (like, say, switching to a new bed or mattress).

The best way to deal with it? Although it can be frustrating, don’t get angry. Do follow a few simple daytime and evening rules. Make sure your child uses the bathroom regularly throughout the day. Most kids put off using the bathroom until the last possible second. Encourage your child to go as soon as he or she feels the urge, and at regular times, like lunch or naptime. Restrict drinks after dinner. Have him or her use the bathroom just before bedtime. These habits can greatly reduce the occurrences of bed wetting.

You’ll also want to take precautions with your mattress. Make sure you cover it with a waterproof mattress protector. If you’re changing the bedding daily, you may want to purchase two, so you can have one in the wash and one on the bed.

But bed wetting does happen, and the smell and discomfort can make even the most comfortable kid’s mattress… less so. Here’s how to clean urine from a mattress when it does happen.

Cleaning Instructions

Note: The sooner you clean the stain, the easier it will be to get out.

  1. Remove the sheets and bedding, and wash normally. If you notice a particularly strong urine scent after a single wash, add vinegar to the next one — this will help get rid of the smell. If staining is an issue, wash the spots under a hot tap with some laundry detergent before washing.
  2. Gather up your cleaning supplies. You’ll want cold water, vinegar, baking soda, a little detergent, a cloth to dab with, a spray bottle, and a vacuum with a hose attachment. Keeping upholstery cleaner on hand can also be a good idea if it becomes a common occurrence, as this can be used in place of other supplies. You’ll also want to make sure you have a fan or blow dryer on hand to dry the mattress afterwards.
  3. Blot the stain with your cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible. Be sure to not scrub or rub the stained area.
  4. Spray a mixture of 2 parts cold water, 1 part vinegar, and a small amount of detergent onto the stained area, making sure to get the area wet (without making the area a bigger mess). Let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the vinegar time to break down the stain, and remove the smell
  5. After 10 to 15 minutes has passed, blot the area to absorb as much moisture as possible.
  6. Sprinkle the wet area with baking soda, and allow this to sit for another 10 to 15 minutes to absorb moisture and lift the stain
  7. Dab away the baking soda with a cold wet cloth, then use the vacuum cleaner hose attachment to remove any residue left over.
  8. Use a fan (or blow dryer set to a lower temperature if time is an issue) to dry the mattress out.
  9. If there is still a faint stain or the odor is not completely gone, repeat these steps.

Further Deodorizing Instructions

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and will reduce the smell dramatically but, if you want your child’s mattress to smell even better you can add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (such as lavender) to step 6.

In step 6 you’ll need

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • 1 medium or small glass jar with lid

Put 1 cup of baking soda in the jar and 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil, Seal the jar and shake it. Next poke holes in the lid of the jar and shake the solution on the stained area. Allow the mixture to set for another 10-15 minutes to absorb the moisture, lift the stain and deodorize the spot.

Your child’s mattress will be clean and smell great. You can also use this baking soda and essential oil solution on your own mattress to keep it smelling clean and fresh throughout the year

Remember that bed wetting is a common occurrence in kids, and that no matter how frustrating it might be: it’s not their fault. The best way to deal with it is with patience and understanding… and a good set of instructions on-hand to clean up afterwards! When you make it past the bed-wetting stage, and it’s time for a new mattress, take a look at some of the Simmons Beautyrest Black models or the Simmons Beautyrest Platinum models. With a 10-year warranty, a Beautyrest mattress may be the last one you’ll have to buy for your child before he moves into his or her own apartment.

How to Clean a Wet Mattress

Here’s an overview ofhow to clean a wet mattress.We’ll take the time to address several different situations when you can find yourself needing to clean a wet mattress.

Urine Stains

Whether it is a pet accident or a child accident, you need to clean up a urine stain as quickly as possible. When faced with a urine stain, the ideal cleaning solution is one that is enzyme based. You can use cleaning products designed for pet accidents, too, including on the wet spot your child made.

Using a dry cloth, towel or paper towel, blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Just don’t rub or scrub, since this can push the urine into the fabric or batting. You can sprinkle the area with baking soda to absorb moisture and start neutralizing the smells. Make a solution from urine stain remover or enzyme based cleaner and water. If you don’t have this, make a solution of equal parts vinegar and warm water.

Spritz the stained area with the stain cleaner. Let it sit for five minutes. Then blot the area with a clean cloth or towel to try to lift up the stain. Repeat as necessary. You can put baking soda on the area to dry it out as fast as possible, then vacuum it up.

Other Stains

Maybe someone brought you breakfast in bed and you spilled the orange juice. Or you got stick and vomited in bed. The first thing you want to do is strip the bed to get the liquid mess out of the bed as quickly as possible so it can’t soak further into the layers. If you’re lucky, it stopped at the sheets or mattress protector. Throw any stained items into the wash as soon as possible.

Return to the mattress. Soak up the liquid with paper towels or cloth towels. Wring out the towels or rags in a sink, if necessary, and then try to soak up the rest of the liquid. Blot, not rub.

Apply enzyme cleaner if it is a biological mess, whether it is vomit or chicken soup. If you’re dealing with blood, hydrogen peroxide is the best choice. If you’re dealing with soda, coffee or wine, dishwasher or hand soap mixed with water can be used to clean the stained area.
Let the cleaner soak in and neutralize the mess. Then try to soak up the cleaner.

If necessary, get a wet sponge and blot the affected area before using dry towels to soak up the dirty water. Get new paper towels and blot the area to pull out the liquid. If the stains are deep, you could lay down a clean towel and press it down with books or other weights to try to pull out the moisture.

Water Stains

Sometimes the mattress is wet due to a natural or personal disaster. A flood or hurricane caused water to enter the home and get a mattress wet. If a mattress has been submerged for a long time in dirty water, assume it is not safe and should be disposed of. A wet mattress is a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria, something only made worse if the flood waters carried sewage or debris.

If the mattress isn’t wet due to exposure to contaminated water, it may or may not be salvageable. If your toilet overflowed with clean water and got the mattress on the guest bedroom floor wet, you can sop up the liquid and try to dry it out. If the water heater overflowed and got mattresses propped up on the wall wet, you need to consider how long it was wet.

If mold is growing in the mattress, get rid of it. In the early stages, it looks like white fuzz inside the mattress. It turns green at the second stage and black at the third stage. If you see any of this, dispose of the mattress.

If the mattress has been wet for a short time, you can try to blot up the water with a towel and set fans on it to help it dry out. Sprinkle it with baking soda to help draw out the moisture. For a very wet mattress, cat litter can help speed up the process.

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