How to Remove Urine Stains from a Mattress
Updated: March 31, 2019
This article was co-authored by Michelle Driscoll, MPH. Michelle Driscoll is the Owner of Mulberry Maids based in northern Colorado. Driscoll received her Masters in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2016.
There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
Accidents happen with children and pets, and at some point, you may need to remove urine from a mattress. Although it can seem like a difficult task, don’t worry! All it takes for the mattress to look as good as new is a few simple household ingredients. To remove wet stains, blot the excess liquid, add baking powder, and use a vinegar solution to neutralize the smell. For old, dry stains, create a hydrogen peroxide solution to help lift the stain.
About this article
To remove dried urine stains from a mattress, start by mixing 8 fluid ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and 2 drops of dish detergent in a bowl. Then, dab the stain with the solution using a cloth, and let it sit until it dries. Alternatively, you can mix 3 tablespoons of dry laundry powder with 1 tablespoon of water and apply it to the stain. Whichever method you use, vacuum the mattress once the cleaning solution is completely dry. To learn how to remove wet urine stains from a mattress, read on!
How to Clean Old Pee Stains From A Bed – Tips & Tricks
If your pet or child had an accident on the mattress, you need to clean it fast! The worst thing is when the stain sets in and you’re reminded of the unsightly mess every time you change your sheets.
Or worse, your friends help you move and are completely grossed out by those tell-tale splotches on the surface of your mattress.
And who knows? Maybe it was you who had the accident. No judgment here. But your friends? They’ll definitely judge.
If you want to knowhow to clean urine stains from a mattress, whether they’re fresh or already set in, check out these easy tips to make your bed look and smell new again.
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What You Need
Before we get started, here’s a quick disclaimer. Make sure you spot test a small, unobtrusive area of your bed before going all out and dousing your bed with the cleaning solution. While I doubt that this will harm your mattress, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Empty spray bottle
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Liquid dishwashing soap, Dawn is the best
- Lavender essential oil (optional and for fancy people)
- Vinegar (to get things started)
For the cleaning solution, you’ll combine eight ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tablespoons of baking soda and half a teaspoon of dish soap into your empty spray bottle. If you want to get fancy, add a drop or two of lavender oil. It’ll neutralize the smell, and help your child (or you, for that matter) sleep better.
Shake gently, or better yet just swish it around, to combine the ingredients, but too vigorously or you’ll have a bubbly mess to clean up in addition to a pee-stained mattress.
Soak with Vinegar
Whether the accident just happened or it’s been dry for ages, vinegar is your best friend. If the scene of the crime is still wet, the first thing to do is soak up all of the moisture with either paper towels or a dry cotton towel.
Once dry, soak the entire area and a little bit beyond with vinegar (make sure it’s white vinegar). If your accident has already dried on its own, then go straight to this vinegar step. Blot the vinegar until it’s dry.
Apply the Solution
Spray the solution over the affected area, and let it soak it for five to ten minutes. If your stain is particularly gnarly or set in, you can have it set for 20 minutes. Blot the solution with your towels until the mattress is dry.
Reapply as Needed
If the stain doesn’t lift, keep reapplying.
Note:Avoid wiping or rubbing with the towels. That only distributes the stain. Instead, blotting will lift it. Also, use light colored towels or white paper towels so you can see the stain is being lifted.
Use an Enzymatic Cleaner (optional)
If you’re dealing with a pet accident, you may need to use an enzymatic cleaner, which is better at neutralizing odors. Since pets have an acutely strong sense of smell, they’ll keep urinating on the same spot if there’s a lingering odor that signals your pet that it’s a sanctioned potty area.
While our DIY solution works wonders, there’s still a chance that there will be a lingering odor. This is where the enzymatic cleaner comes in. Urine, whether it originates from a human or animal, contains uric acid crystals. Regular formulas won’t be able to break down these crystals, which is why an enzyme-based cleaner is sometimes the only solution.
Sprinkle with Baking Soda
Baking soda is excellent for odor removal, so if the stain carries a stubborn smell, baking soda may be precisely what you need to neutralize it. Baking soda is also adept in absorbing moisture.
To apply the baking soda, sprinkle liberally on the surface of the mattress, making sure that it covers both the stains and outside the edges of it. If your bed is the victim of frequent accidents, you may want to also regularly apply a thin layer underneath the sheets to keep things fresh.
Let it Dry
After applying the solution, let the mattress dry completely. This usually takes about four to six hours. The bed should be naked without sheets, blankets or covers. For evaporation and ventilation to occur, nothing should obstruct the airflow.
The last step of the cleaning process is vacuuming the baking soda. Work the vacuum into all the cracks, crevices, and folds. Since baking soda can be gritty, especially once it’s absorbed moisture, this is an important step.
Use a Waterproof Mattress Pad
A surprising number of people who’ve experienced accidents already had a mattress pad, but it didn’t perform to expectations. If you’ve had a leak, then it’s time to invest in a new one that’s waterproof. And, it goes without saying that if you don’t have a mattress pad, this should be your very next purchase. Even if you’re not worried about accidents, the right protector will keep your bed feeling (and smelling) new and fresh longer.
This concept is especially true if you ever need to file a warranty claim with your mattress manufacturer. Not many people know this, but having a stained mattress often voids any warranties.
How to Clean a Mattress: Urine Stains
Murphy’s Law states whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and that most certainly applies to “accidents" on the brand new mattress. From an accident caused by your little one to the family pet draining themselves on that brand new duvet, figuring out how to clean urine from a mattress as well as how to get the urine smell out of a mattress can be quite the hassle.
While cleaning mattress stains is no easy task, learning how to get out mattress stains can keep your mattress fresh for years to come. However, when you’re dealing with stains beyond the norm (e.g. urine, blood, other bodily fluids), removing mattress stains is taken to a whole new level.
To take the mystery out of how to clean mattress stains, here are a few tips for cleaning urine from your mattress without completely losing your mind. (Before you clean your mattress yourself with these handy tips, be sure to check the factory warranty to ensure your cleaning efforts don’t void the warranty.)
How to Clean Mattress Stains
1. The Fresher the Stain, the Better the Clean Up
If you are (un)fortunate enough to catch the urine stain on your mattress as soon as it happens, your first move should be to blot up as much of it as you can using a paper towel or a sponge. If you own a wet/dry vacuum, use this to help soak up the urine from your mattress. Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area to clean up any remaining moisture.
2. Laundry Detergent: The Magic Cleaning Elixir for Urine Stains
Laundry detergent is your best friend when it comes to removing the smell of urine from your mattress. Once you’ve soaked all the fresh urine from the mattress, or if the stain was too old to be able to soak up urine, mix a couple of teaspoons of laundry detergent in a cup of warm water and pour (or spray of you have access to an empty spray bottle) onto the affected areas. Alternatively, you can also use a solution of one-part warm water and one-part vinegar if you can stand the smell.
3. Blotting Your Magic Elixir Over the Urine Stain
Once you’ve mixed up your magic cleaning solution and applied it to the part of your mattress where the urine is located, repeat the blotting process discussed earlier. Carefully blotting is important as it will remove any residual urine and prevent mold. Be sure and get the urine-affected area of the mattress as dry as possible after applying your cleaning solution.
4. Remove the Moisture and Urine Smell with Baking Soda
After you’ve dried up all the remaining moisture from the spot of the urine, sprinkle baking soda over the entire mattress. This will help to prevent the smell of the urine from seeping into any other parts of the mattress. The mattress needs time to completely dry out (18-24 hours), so you will have to make other sleeping arrangements for the night. After this time period has passed use a vacuum to remove all the baking soda and then prop up the mattress either outside or in a well-ventilated area to allow air to circulate and sift the last of the odor from the mattress.
5. Consult an Expert
If you’ve followed all the above steps and are still smelling urine on the mattress, you may need to reach out to a professional cleaning service to get their opinion of the damage. Professional cleaners can provide you with a proper assessment and give you the best recommendation to ensure you or your family member is sleeping on a clean bed.
However, if you find yourself in a predicament of having a soiled mattress or your bed is over eight years old, then it may be time to take a trip to your nearest Mattress Firm to upgrade to a new bed and a waterproof mattress protector. To find the brand new bed of your dreams, visit a Mattress Firm store near you or shop online today at mattressfirm.com.
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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!
All-Natural Mattress Cleaner – How to Clean Odors and Stains from Your Mattress
If stains and odors are taking over the mattress in your child’s room, this simple method to remove those nasty urine odors and stains will quickly become your best friend. This is kind of a gross topic to discuss on the blog, but it’s a real life issue that we deal with on a weekly basis. When I talked about my son’s bedwetting issues last year, I had a lot of feedback from moms dealing with the same thing so I figured maybe you could use some cleaning tips like this as well. Follow these easy tips for how to clean your mattress with my easy, all-natural mattress cleaner.
HOW TO CLEAN URINE ODOR AND STAINS FROM YOUR MATTRESS
I have broken this post up into a few pages to make is easier to read since there is a lot of text. Be sure to read my favorite comments and tips from readers at the end of this post. You won’t believe #5!
*DISCLAIMER – My son loves to help and asked to help with this cleaning project. Since the products I used are completely safe, I said yes. He loves to be my model! 🙂
HOW TO MAKE AN ALL-NATURAL MATTRESS CLEANER
My son has always had a nighttime issue with wetting the bed. Even as an infant/young toddler I would have to buy the Huggies extra absorbent nighttime diapers (the Pampers brand never worked as well for us), and at times he would even leak through those. I have spent more time cleaning his bedding then I care to count and even now at six years old, it’s still a very prominent issue.
His poor mattress is riddled with stains because he doesn’t always tell me that the sheets were wet, and by the evening, they are dry. Despite using mattress protectors, the urine would soak through even that. I would clean it as best I could but nothing worked. Febreze and other cleaners simply masked the urine odors, and some cleaning solutions that I’d found online would remove the odor but didn’t work well on the stains.
So I decided to create my own method with a mattress cleaner based on items in my pantry, and it’s been working great! This method of removing odors from your mattress is really simple and doesn’t require any fancy scented oils or kitchen utensils. I also like that the products I use aren’t harmful and my son can help with the clean-up.
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO CLEAN YOUR MATTRESS:
- A roll of paper towels (or lots of rags that you don’t mind washing)
- Baking Soda
- Distilled White Vinegar
- An empty spray bottle
HOW TO CLEAN A MATTRESS
- Saturate that mattress (or the stains at least) with vinegar. You can use a spray bottle or just gently drizzle it right on. (*note – I have only tried with a spray bottle. I don’t recommend the pouring method because it can over-saturate the mattress). Let the vinegar sit for 5-10 minutes. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on, or run a stand alone fan if you can. At the very least open the windows. The increased air flow helps to speed up the process. (If the stain is brand new, and still wet, be sure to blot it as much as possible before using the vinegar – just don’t press into the mattress as it could send the liquid even deeper). I’ve seen a lot of methods that call for diluting the vinegar but that just didn’t seem to work as well. The straight vinegar is very strong and really helps to pull out that nasty urine odor.
- Using paper towels or rags, soak up the vinegar. Press several layers of paper towels into the mattress for this step.
- Sprinkle baking soda all over the mattress. You can get real fancy and use a sieve or a sifter for this step, but I don’t think it’s necessary. If there are a lot of clumps just break them up with your fingers. We’re going for simple and quick with this mattress cleaner. Let the baking soda sit for several hours. The longer the better, but I’ve gone from two to five hours and both times it worked perfectly. After a couple of hours, you’ll begin to see the baking soda caking as it soaks up the vinegar (and takes that nasty odor with it!).
- Vacuum up the baking soda from the mattress. Make sure to go over the crevices several times. It makes me kinda happy making those lines in the powder with the vacuum cleaner.
That’s it! If you have some really difficult stains, rub the vinegar into them with your fingers or even use an old toothbrush to really rub it in.
As you can see the stains are pretty much gone. Simple and quick and no elbow grease required!
Now if I could just get him to make the bed…
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND TIPS ON MY MATTRESS CLEANER AND FOR REMOVING URINE ODOR AND STAINS
Click below to read our most frequently asked questions and some fabulous tips from readers!
Can I use other types of vinegar?
I recommend Distilled White Vinegar. I keep it on hand in the gallon bottles because it is amazing with so many different household cleaning tasks like this mattress cleaner, and it’s super cheap. Other vinegars are for cooking and are more expensive, and really just won’t work as well. However I did have a reader mention that she used apple cider vinegar and it worked great. The vinegar is just a strong acid that breaks down the odor causing proteins.
Why don’t you just use a waterproof mattress cover?
We do – I actually have 3 of THIS ONE. It works really well, except for that time you are so tired that you forget to put it on, or it rips and you didn’t know, or your son makes his own bed and forgets to put it on, or it slips off the corner because he thrashes around too much at night, or he just doesn’t like the sound/feel of it so he takes it off without telling you, or he wets more than once in a night and you don’t have a back-up, or sometimes, they just fail. It’s not for lack of trying, believe me. Sometimes these accidents just happen and are totally random and it’s always good to have a great mattress cleaner method ready to go.
READER TIPS FOR REMOVING STAINS AND ODORS
Here are some tips from readers who have tried this method.
Set your mattress in the sun.
Jim says, “Vinegar and baking soda do an excellent job for cleaning a mattress. It has always worked for me. If there is too much odor, you may have to put the mattress out in the sun.” (editor’s note – this is great for freshening pillows, too!).
Works on pet stains and odors, too.
Hadley says, “This method works wonderfully on urine odor and stains from pets, too! Last weekend, my sister’s dog had an accident on the end of my bed, and there was a large, yellow urine stain. I was going to purchase some fancy expensive pet stain remover, but I found your web site, and read about your method, instead. Ingenious! I saturated the stain with distilled white vinegar, let it set for about ten minutes, blotted the vinegar with some paper towels, sprinkled a generous amount of baking soda on the stain. I let the baking soda sit for about three hours, and I literally just finished vacuuming the baking soda up, and the stain and smell is completely gone! Thank you so much for telling folks about this method! Your mattress cleaner saved me time and money!”
Bridget says, “I just had to tell you I wish I could give you the biggest hug! I have a tempurpedic mattress and my cat decided to pee on it! I almost had it out my door to throw away and I was so angry that I knew I would NEVER get that smell out! Yes it had ALL the appropriate waterproof covers too! Still soaked through! Well something told me google it before you throw it. I did and I saw this. Well I did it and oh my god! It worked. No smell at all. Thank you!”
Add vinegar to really smelly laundry.
Cassie says, “Thank you! I am going to try this! Why didn’t I think of vinegar before? It’s the best to use on any odors, and I’ve even used to get odors out of clothes and bedding. I tried the baking soda [but] didn’t try vinegar! Genius – I will be doing this today. FYI, they do make vinegar for laundry [too].”
Worried about the strong smell of vinegar? Add scented oils.
Katie says, “I have found that adding a few drops of essential oil (lemon works well) to the vinegar in the spray bottle works wonders to mask the strong smell of the vinegar.”
Don’t have vinegar? Try…vodka?
Sheridan says, “I also have another remedy that is great for getting rid of smells… Vodka! I tried it once to get mildew smell out of a hat and have used it for smelly fabric issues ever since. Same principle, put it in a spray bottle, spray the fabric object down with it until it’s pretty moist to the touch, but for best results put it in a warm sunny spot to evaporate. You can’t really do that with a mattress but alcohol evaporates fairly quickly anyway, and using a fan helps. It doesn’t do much for stains, but works wonders on smells, including mildew!”
*Editor’s note: Basic rubbing alcohol would work the same way, similar to how hand sanitizer works.
Works on vomit, too.
Laura says, “I tried it today on vomit as my son got sick on my bed this morning. It worked great, and luckily there weren’t any stains. I also used a hot iron and damp cloth to get the stains up (to soak up the vinegar & stain), before the baking soda. It’s not great on the iron, but the stains come up so much easier. It’s the same trick used to get (pet) urine stains out of carpet.”
For more tips and tricks, try these:
Before you go, check out these great recipes:
For a complete list of recipes on the site, go here.