How To: Clean Mattress Stains
Be good to your bed by banishing smelly, unsightly messes with a few household staples and these smart techniques.
A good mattress is a big-ticket purchase, but stains—from bodily fluids to breakfast-in-bed accidents—are often inevitable. What’s more, in most cases a visible stain will void the warranty on your mattress. So, protect your investment by making regular cleaning and stain removal part of your housecleaning routine. It’s easy to do, involving everyday ingredients that you no doubt already have hiding in your cleaning caddy. Here, we’ve laid out the essential formulas for how to clean mattress stains so that you can quickly banish any of the most common mattress mishaps (and rest easy once more).
Prep the mattress for stain removal by stripping all bedding and sheets. Give it a thorough vacuuming with the upholstery attachment and, as a “while you’re at it” measure, employ the crevice tool around all the piping, where dust and hair collect. Dust and hair may not be related to the stain you intend to treat, but removing them keeps down the dust mite population, which is especially important to restful sleep if you’re an allergy sufferer.
How to clean mattress stains will depend on the type of stains themselves. Target each stain with the appropriate cleaning technique.
• Urine, sweat, and vomit:These bodily fluids are the most likely culprits for mattress messes. Unfortunately, you can’t soak a mattress as you would a piece of clothing; rather, you must use liquid sparingly, with a spray bottle, in order to avoid turning its slow-drying cushiness into the ideal damp conditions for mold and mildew growth (yuck!). First, gently mist the stained area with plain water until just slightly damp. Then mix one cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with three tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Mist that solution over the stain, and gently brush with a soft scrub brush or old toothbrush until the stain is gone. Finally, mist the cleaned area with fresh water and blot with an absorbent towel.
• Blood:Banish blood with the technique above, making sure that the water and cleaning solution are bothcold(hot will set the stain in for good!). Put the hydrogen peroxide-baking soda solution in the fridge for an hour or so after mixing to bring the temperature down. You’ll likely need to use extra brushing action on blood stains and may need to repeat the procedure more than once. Blot up all the excess liquid with a clean, absorbent towel.
• Food and drink stains:For coffee, red wine, or other food and beverage bloopers, mix one part laundry detergent, one part vinegar, and 10 parts water in a spray bottle. Mist the stain and agitate with a soft scrub brush or toothbrush. Give the solution 10 to 15 minutes of dwell time. Then blot with a wet hand towel or sponge to remove the stain and the cleaning solution. Rinse the towel/sponge and continue blotting as necessary. Then blot with a dry absorbent towel to remove any excess liquid.
To deodorize the mattress, sprinkle the cleaned area generously with baking soda. This will help to draw out unpleasant odors while absorbing any remaining moisture.
Allow the mattress to sit for up to 24 hours, if possible, so it can dry completely (plan to sack out on the sofa or another bedroom that night). Or if time is of the essence, you can use a fan or a hairdryer on the cool setting to speed things up.
Once the mattress is completely dry, vacuum up the baking soda and make the bed. You’ll rest well knowing that your mattress is stain-free and daisy fresh!
How To Get Stains Out of a Mattress
You can’t throw a mattress into the washer, so how do you clean mattress stains? Here’s a few simple ways to get stains out of a mattress, including blood & urine!
Your mattress is used every single day, and so naturally stains and spills will happen. You can’t just throw a mattress into the washer, so what’s the best way to clean it? Here are a few simple tips on how to get stains out of a mattress.
Need to freshen up your entire mattress? Here’s how to deep clean your mattress.
How To Clean Mattress Stains
Whether it’s a new spill or an old stain you just noticed, follow these simple steps to remove the spot.
- Soak up liquid.
If the stain is still wet, soak up the liquid with a clean cloth by gently blotting. Do not rub or scrub at this point, or you’ll just help the stain penetrate further into the fabric of the mattress.
- Spray-on cleaner.
Once all the liquid has been absorbed, spray on a cleaner of your choice. For a good general mattress cleaner, add the following to a spray bottle: 1/2-cup warm water, 1/2-cup white vinegar, and about a teaspoon of dish soap.
- Blot stain.
With the cleaner applied, blot the stain until it is removed. Spray on more cleaner, and blot again if needed. Let the area air dry before replacing your bed linens.
How to Get Urine Stains Out Of a Mattress
Urine stains can be a bit more stubborn than other mattress spots, and so removal requires a little more effort. Here’s how to clean mattress stains.
- Pre-treat the spot with vinegar.
If the urine stain is new, blot away excess liquid. Then bring out the vinegar which helps clean and neutralizes the odor. Spray straight vinegar onto the stain and blot again.
- Spray on homemade urine cleaner.
This DIY cleaner is a lifesaver when it comes to urine stains. In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 to 3 drops of dish soap. For an extra scent boost, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil like lemon or lavender. Spray this cleaner on the spot and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with baking soda.
Once you’ve allowed the cleaner to do its job. Sprinkle the spot with baking soda, this will soak up any remaining moisture and odor. Allow the baking soda to sit for another 10 minutes, then vacuum it away with the upholstery attachment.
How To Remove Blood Stains From a Mattress
There’s one thing to remember when it comes to blood stains, stay away from hot water. Hot water can actually set the stain into the mattress fabric and make it impossible to remove. With that in mind, here’s how to get rid of a blood stain.
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.
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.
How to Clean Mattress Stains (10 Minute Magic Green Cleaning!)
I never EVER thought I would be writing about “how to clean mattress stains”! After all, this blog is about beautiful DIYs and delicious recipes.Mattress stains? They never happen here!
Or do they?Our waterproof mattress covers have kept all our mattresses perfect like new. UNTIL a moving day when our guest queen mattress fell on the ground and acquired a few muddy spots.No big deal, I’ll just put some soap on the spots and clean the mattress stains with a rag!
I. Was. WRONG.After my two attempts, the mattress stains grew from a few tiny spots, to huge patches of cloud like patterns that reminds you of something much worse than mud or soap!HORROR!
Luckily I was able to find the magic DIY green cleaner that completely cleaned the mattress stains in 10 minutes! It saved us from even thinking about using bleach, and made the mattress look fresh and new again!
I realized that the question of “how to clean mattress stains” is actually worth writing about, among all the beautiful arts and crafts here. I will share with you this amazing green cleaning process, and 3 things you should NOT do when trying to clean mattress stains!
How to clean mattress stains in 10 minutes, naturally!
When my two attempts failed, our mattress looked like this. ( I don’t have any photos of the original muddy spots , because I was so confident that cleaning a mattress is easy! ) I was feeling hopeless because it seems to get worse each time I try! Thankfully after reading a bunch of articles on cleaning a mattress naturally, I gave it one more try, and it worked like magic!Below are closeups photos of before and after.
Reference point: you can see the black scratch mark on the upper right corner in the before photo, and it’s almost gone on the lower left corner in the after photo.I modified some of the mattress cleaning recipes and processes based on online research , and what I have learned from my two failures.
IMPORTANT:work in a ventilated space because there is definitely some reactions taking place!
Materials to clean mattress stains:
( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )
I useda 16 oz spray bottle, clear natural liquid dish soap ( without added coloring ) , baking soda,and3% hydrogen peroxide.
Step 1: Spray mattress with diluted dish soap
Fill the 16 oz bottle with water and add 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Mix well and spray the entire mattress. The key here is to cover the surface of the mattress, use your hand and check to make sure there areNO DRY SPOTS!More on this at the end in“3 Things Not to Do”section.
You will likely use 1 to 2 bottles of the 16 oz water and soap mixture to spray an entire queen mattress. Work fast and move on to the next step while the mattress is damp.
Step 2: Spray mattress with diluted hydrogen peroxide
Fill the 16 oz bottle with half water and half 3% hydrogen peroxide . Again, mix well and spray the entire mattress. Spray a little extra on the stained areas.
Step 3: Dust mattress with baking soda.
While the mattress is damp, evenly dust the entire surface with baking soda. You will need 2-3 cups of baking soda for a queen mattress. Use a clean rag to spread the baking soda so it forms a thin layer of paste over the mattress surface.
The entire process will take less than 10 minutes. As you spread the baking soda, you can already see the mattress stains become lighter! Because there is a reaction taking place,work fast and keep windows open. Leave the room and let the baking soda dry overnight.
The next day, you will return to a sparkly clean mattress! Sweep the dried baking soda off the mattress surface and enjoy your like-new mattress! It is OK if a little baking soda remains on the mattress.
Now that you have a gorgeous mattress, how about a beginner friendly DIY bed frame with headboard?
3 things NOT to do when trying to clean mattress stains:
1 . Do not spot clean mattress stains.
This was what I did. Day one, I used soap to clean the few muddy spots, and ended up with bigger areas of water and soap and dirt marks. Day two, I used soap and baking soda, according to some recipes on line, the stains got even bigger.
The key here is to spray the entire surface of the mattress with no dry spots, which means no watermarks later!
2 . Do not use bleach to clean mattress stains.
Bleach is really harsh on fabrics. Since we can’t run the entire mattress underwater to rinse off the bleach, it can also be harmful to air quality in the bedroom.
3 . Do not use soap that contain harsh chemicals or colors.
Choose a clearnatural liquid dish soap.Some soaps have colors, which means they could tint your mattress.
In addition to cleaning mattress stains, this recipe and process is also great for cleaning carpet stains, yoga mat, certain upholstery, etc.
Having a clean home is an essential part of having a beautiful home!Here are a couple of green cleaning tutorials you may love:Homemade effective green cleaning products and free printable recipe labels!
How to Clean Mattress Stains (Yes… we all have them!)
Our mattresses are so important to the quality of our sleep (and therefore, the quality of our LIVES!), but we really don’t give them as much care and attention as we should.
The average mattress lasts 8 years, but some types can last even longer. In those years your mattress will see a lot of use!
If you’re a lazy-bug like me, then you’re mattress probably gets above-average use!
But, of course, there will be accidents. Maybe you’ll spill your morning tea or coffee (guilty!) or maybe the baby will pee or puke on your bed (it happens!). Whatever the cause, it’s important to clean your mattress the best you possibly can. After all… do you really want to be sleeping on regurgitated baby food?!
I’ve written a whole guide abouthow to deep clean your mattress(easy step-by-step instructions to REALLY get it clean!), but this post is going to be a bit more specific. We’re going to talk about how to clean mattress STAINS!
Grab my Mattress Cleaning Cheatsheet for recipes and steps for how to get your mattresses really clean!
Table of Contents
Types of Mattress Stains
There are many different types of mattress stains, but we’re going to focus on the most common ones (and the grossest ones!).
The majority of mattress stains are “biological”… meaning your bodies cause them! Nice, right?!
The trouble with biological stains is that if you don’t clean them REALLY well, then they will start to smell. Eventually, your mattress will smell worse than a teenager’s gym bag! (trust me… that’s bad!).
In this post we’ll look at how to clean three types of biological mattress stains:
These types of messes can happen to anyone, at any time. So it’s a good idea to remember these tips for the future… just in case you need them!
How to Clean Mattress Stains
It is best to treat mattress accidents when they happen. But they normally happen in the middle of the night, and no-one has the energy to start cleaning then!
If your adorable little toddler wets the bed in the middle of the night, the last thing you’re going to do is start cleaning the mattress! That’s OK! Use an old towel to dry up as much of the pee as possible, then take the little one into bed with you (after you’ve changed their PJs, of course!) and deal with the mattress the next day!
However, you do want to clean the mattress stain as soon as possible. The sooner you treat it, the easier it will be to remove! So don’t wait days to clean it (that’s just gross anyway!).
Cleaning Urine Stains
Urine stains on mattresses are probably one of the most common (especially in a home with kids or pets!), and they can also be the hardest to get REALLY clean once they have dried.
The trouble with pee is that it smells! As it dries, the moisture evaporates and leaves behind the stinky pee crystals!
If you have pets, then you know that even a small amount of pet urine can stink out a whole room (yes… this is my current battle with my new puppy!).
DIY Urine Cleaner
There is a very quick and easy way you can treat urine stains and smells, without having to buy any fancy cleaners. Although for really tough jobs… those “fancy cleaners” REALLY do a great job! I have four dogs and four cats… I know about cleaning up tough messes. I LOVE Anti Icky Poo Urine Cleaner – stupid name, great product!
For this DIY urine cleaner all you need is hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and baking soda.
- 1 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide
- 3 tablespoons of Baking Soda (the stuff in the orange box… not baking powder!)
- A few drops of Dish Soap (Dawn dish soap works best)
- Optional: You can also use a few drops of essential oil
Mix these ingredients together in a spray bottle (make sure the baking soda is completely dissolved).
You can use this solution neat for really tough urine stains, or you can dilute it slightly with water.
Spray the mixture over the affected areas of the bed (don’t get it too wet though), then let the solution sit and do its work!
Once the mattress is fully dry, you can vacuum it to get rid of any baking soda residue.
If the smell or stain is still there, then repeat the process again. Sometimes it can take more than one application.
Cleaning Sweat Stains
The yellow sweat stains that can develop on your mattress will eventually make it start to smell… well… gross!
If you are regularly cleaning your mattress (once every 6 months, as I suggest in my How to Deep Clean your Mattress guide), then it’s a good idea to treat any sweat stains then as well. The longer they sit and build-up, the harder they are to clean.
The solution above for urine stains will often work well on sweat stains (on clothes and pillows as well as mattresses). But if there is still a lingering yellow tint, then you might want to try a paste of lemon juice and salt.
DIY Sweat Cleaner
The quantity of the ingredients you need will depend on the size of the stain you are cleaning.
You want to mix enough salt and lemon juice together to create a paste.
Using an old toothbrush (keyword here is OLD… please don’t use your husband’s toothbrush. Trust me, they don’t like it!) to rub the paste onto the stain.
Let the paste sit on the stain for a short while (15-30 minutes should do it), and then wipe off. Your gross yellow sweat stains should now be a thing of the past!
Grab my Mattress Cleaning Cheatsheet for recipes and steps for how to get your mattresses really clean!
Cleaning Blood Stains
No post about how to clean mattress stains would be complete without talking about BLOOD!
OK, this might be a bit of a gross one to talk about. But it happens! We’re all grown-ups (or at least pretending to be grown-ups), so we can talk about this without getting embarrassed!
Ladies, sometimes we have accidents too. When we have our period, there are times, that menstrual blood ends up on the mattress. It’s not pleasant, but it happens to ALL of us!
And menstrual blood isn’t the only kind of blood we can get on our mattresses. Maybe someone gets nose bleed, or they scratch a scab.. blood happens!
There are a few different solutions you can use to clean up blood, and if one doesn’t work, then go ahead and try a different one.
DIY Blood Cleaner
Generally, the best one for fresh and dried blood stains is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, salt and dish soap.
To treat a small bloodstain you will need:
- 1/4 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide
- 1 tablespoon of Salt
- 1 tablespoon of Dish Soap (Dawn works well)
Mix them together into a paste and spread it on the stain. Let the mixture sit for a while (you can even leave it until it fully dries), and then scrape it off.
To remove any residue (and the last of the stain), you can bloat it with a clean cloth that’s been dipped in hydrogen peroxide.
This also works REALLY well on clothes, bedding or underwear!
Other Blood Cleaners
There are a few other ways you can clean blood out of your mattress (or clothes). In fact, I learned these three methods from my grandmother, who learned them from her mother in the late 1800’s! They have stood the test of time!
- Salt– Sprinkling salt on blood stains (especially when they are fresh) is a fast and easy way to treat them. Then wash with cold water and the stain should easily come out.
- Meat Tenderizer– Make a paste out of unseasoned meat tenderizer and water. Rub the paste onto the stain and let it sit for a short while. Wash the paste off and the stain should go too!
- Spit– Yes, this is gross. But it really works. My grandmother was a seamstress, and if she pricked her finger and got a drop of blood on the fabric, then she would use spit to rub the bloodstain off the fabric! Probably not practical for large stains, but good for tiny ones!
Ounce of Prevention
While on the subject of my grandmother, one thing she used to say (a LOT!) is that an “ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”. Basically, taking a small preventative step will save you a lot of work later!
So I’d recommend that everyone invests in a good quality mattress protector! We spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on our mattresses, protecting them just makes good sense!
You shouldn’t need to know how to clean mattress stains if you have a good mattress protector!
Mattress protectors aren’t those horrible vinyl plastic bags anymore, either. There are plenty of soft mattress protectors, that you won’t even realize are on your bed!
Hopefully, you’ve found these tips useful!
And remember to save this post for future reference!