How Do I Remove Mattress Stains

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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.

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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 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.

How to Get Rid of Mattress Stains

Updated- March 25, 2020 / Julianne Ragland

Mattress stains can come from several places, but they are generally from one of the following sources: sweat, blood, food, or urine. Naturally, the most common mattress stain is sweat, which comes from our bodies when we sweat and do…other…stuff. Blood is also a common mattress stain, but it is a little harder, though not impossible, to get out. Some food stains are hard to get out, like red wine. Urine can be very hard to eliminate. Of course, all of these mattress stains could have been prevented with a simple mattress protector. Maybe next time? Until then, though, here are some options.

Professional Mattress Stain Removal

There are many professional mattress stain removers available from the market. It will pay to shop around and find out who will give you the best service. Try to find a company that is self contained and mobile. Make sure to ask about the chemicals they use, and what side effects they might cause. It’s your right to ask and know this information, so if they refuse, keep looking around. As well, remember to make sure they are bonded/insured. Mattresses aren’t cheap…and if they ruin yours by cleaning it improperly, you’re up a creek without a paddle if they don’t carry insurance. Reading review sites will help you find the best professional for the job.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Mattress Stains

Salt and club soda can remove mattress stains.

This method is most effective against fresh stains that have not been allowed to dry. It’s very simple and quite effective. First, wet the stain with club soda, and gently work it into the fabric. Cover the stain with table salt. Let it sit for a couple hours, and the salt will gradually change colors as it absorbs the stain. If you don’t get to the stain right away, you will want to try another technique.

Try soap and water to get rid of the mattress stain.

The sooner you can get to the stain, the better chance you have of saving the mattress from a scarred life. The difficulty in mattress cleaning is that every bit of moisture soaked into the bed must be removed somehow. So, keep that in mind as you scrub at this stain with your mixture of dish soap and water. Dab at the wet stain with a dry towel to remove the moisture. To dry the mattress, lay it in the hot sun for a day or two, or you can try sucking out the moisture with a shop-vac.

Use borax to remove mattress stains.

Borax is a highly undervalued cleaning agent. Boric acid has been used to clean things almost as long as people have been using lye. Simply mix borax and water to create a paste, and spread it over the stain while working it into the fabric. Let that sit and dry for an hour. Then, brush off the dried borax powder and give it a look. Then, scrub the spot with a little soap water and a brush, rinse it with a wet towel, and dab with a dry towel. Amazon sells 20 Mule Team Borax at an affordable price.

If the mattress stain persists, there’s always bleach.

Grab a few towels you won’t mind becoming bleached. Use a mild bleach like hydrogen peroxide so you don’t melt your mattress. Dab the stain with the straight bleach, and scrub it a little. You will want to wear gloves for this, and make sure there isn’t anything you don’t want bleached in the area. Dab at the stained area with a wet towel, followed by a dry towel to try to remove some of the bleach. Obviously be sure to use towels that you don’t care if they’re damaged from the bleach.

Steaming away mattress stains.

The best part about a steaming vacuum cleaner is that it sucks up moisture really well. This gives you a better chance of actually removing the stain, instead of just driving it deeper into the mattress and covering it up with bleach. Which also works. The steam cleaner will cost you a few bucks, but it might save you a lot of hassle.

Natural Mattress Stain Removers

Enzymatic cleaners.

Composed of proteins, these are some of the better stain removers available. They work by targeting organic material and dissolving it, making it easier to remove from the fabric. Something like Lifekind Natural Stain and Odor Eliminator at Amazon may work.

Lemon juice and salt.

There are a wide variety of uses for this combination, and cleaning mattresses is one of them. Make a paste of the two items, apply to the stain, and let it stand for 30–60 minutes. Then, vacuum or sweep it off the mattress, and sponge the stain with cool water. Repeat as necessary or try another technique.

Cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide.

These two can be mixed into a paste and applied to the stain. Let the paste dry before you vacuum up the remnants. Repeat as necessary. This will bleach any colored mattress, but if you still have a colored mattress, there’s a good chance you are in need of a new one anyway.

Preventing Mattress Stains

Mattress protectors have been growing in popularity over the years as bed bugs become more common. They are a new and improved version of the old-fashioned mattress pad.

  1. Look for mattress pads that fit over the whole mattress, either with stretchy sides or a zipper.
  2. The one with the zipper is the more popular version of the mattress protector. It is also harder to remove and more expensive.
  3. Look for a mattress protector that comes with a guarantee and lifetime warranty.
  4. The one that I have is from a company called Protect-a-Bed, and I am very happy with it.

Mattress Stain Guard is essentially Scotchgard, which some claim should not be in close proximity to your skin. Reading the MSDS for the product, I only found warnings about the liquid product, no warnings for after application. My recommendation is to skip this stuff and just get a good mattress protector.

How to Remove Yellow Sweat Stains From Mattress

Sometimes those off-white and vaguely yellow stains on the mattress aren’t pee – they’re from your sweat. It isn’t just the salt and moisture from your body but the oils on your skin that create those stains. Here ishow to remove yellow sweat stains from mattress surfaces.

Blot It

If the stain is fresh, you want to get it up before it sets. Blot the area with a clean dry towel to see if you can get it up. Even if you still have to treat the stain, you’ll have reduced how much you have to clean, since this reduces the odds the mess sinks further into the mattress.

Vacuum It

Yes, really, vacuum it. If you have sweat stains on the bed, you’ve got dead skin cells and hair in every little crevice. Break out the vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush attachment orhandheld vacuum cleanerand vacuum the surface of the bed.

Create a Cleaning Solution

The same soaps and cleaning solutions that break up oil on your skin will break up skin oil on your mattress. You can mix dye-free dish soap or laundry detergent in a half gallon of cold water. You want the water to be cold, since hot water could help the stain to set worse. Mix up the solution until there is a good layer of suds.You can also make enzyme solution easily.Click here to know how o make enzyme cleaner.

Clean the Bed

Take a clean cloth, get it damp in the mixture, and scrub the stain with a circular motion. Try to get only the suds and not the water, since you don’t want to get the inner layers of the mattress damp enough to fuel mold growth. Work your way inside from the outside of the stain. This minimizes the risk of the stain spreading.

Dry the area you’ve just suds up by applying a different clean, dry towel to the surface. It should absorb some of the moisture like a sponge. Rinse both the soapy cloth and the “dry” one out and squeeze out the liquid. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.

If the stain isn’t quite gone, you can spray it with a light mist of hydrogen peroxide. This will help sterilize the area and break up the oils. Then follow the procedure above to rinse it away. We don’t recommend this first, since hydrogen peroxide can discolor a mattress. Only use clean light or white cloth when rinsing away the hydrogen peroxide, since the chemical can cause colors to leach out of colored rags.

If you’re dealing with a stubborn stain, since it may actually include remains of vomit or poop, mix baking soda and salt with the cleaning solution, then start scrubbing the area. Then rinse with water to remove it.

If your cleaning leaves behind a faint smell of ammonia, that means that at least part of the yellow stain was due to urine, not skin oils. You could spray a little vinegar on the area, let it work for twenty minutes, and then rinse it out with soapy water and dry towels. If you’re spraying vinegar on the area, do not apply hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to the bed – that will create a toxic chemical reaction that could burn your skin or create a dangerous gas.

Dry Your Bed

While you may have lifted out the stain, if there is moisture in the bed, it will fuel the growth of mold and mildew. Then you’d be dealing with an equally bad smell and potentially a black discoloration instead of the yellow one you’ve eliminated.

How to Remove Urine Stains From a Mattress (4 Ways to Get Those Tough Stains Out!)

Cleaning up dried urine stains from a mattress is not a glamorous job, but one that needs to be done.

Maybe you didn’t catch the accident early and the urine has dried on the mattress?

Or you cleaned up an accident, but the urine stain won’t go away?

Don’t worry! These steps will ensure that your mattress will be looking better in no time!

1. First Try

If the stain isn’t terrible, but more of one of those lingering stains that just won’t go away after you first cleaned up the urine, then try this method.

This is a simple way to clean up a stain and is what we recommend trying when the accident first happens and again if the stain didn’t go away after the first cleaning.

Follow these steps for the first method.

Step 1– Very lightly dampen the area with water.

Do not use much water, but just enough to start to loosen the stain, but to not spread the stain further.

Step 2– Create a mixture of ten ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tablespoons of baking soda, and two drops of dish soap.

Mix these ingredients in a bowl. Make sure the baking soda is completely dissolved before you move on to the next step.

Step 3– Use a clean cloth and blot the area with the mixture. Make sure the area is getting lightly wet, but not drenched.

Step 4– Let the mixture sit on the mattress for over an hour. Turn on a ceiling fan or a box fan if you have one so that the mattress will dry faster.

Step 5– Repeat these steps or try the next method if the mattress still has a stain or odor!

TIP:You can add a couple drops of lavender essential oils to the mixture. This will help to fight the odor and make your mattress smell fresh again.

2. For That Tough Stain

If you’ve tried to get the stain out before and haven’t had success, then give this method a try.

Detergents with enzymes are great for tackling stains.

Tide and Arm & Hammer are great examples of brands that make a bio laundry product that would work well for cleaning up a pee stain.

Just find a detergent at your local store that specifically lists it as an enzyme detergent or bio detergent.

Follow these steps for the second method.

Step 1– Use a clean cloth and get the stain lightly wet. Not too wet because you will risk spreading the stain. Just a little bit of water will be enough!

Step 2– Sprinkle the area with baking soda to help soak up the moisture.

Step 3– Mix one part detergent and 3 parts water and pour into a spray bottle.

Step 4– Spray the area and let it sit for around 5-10 minutes.

Step 5– Use a clean cloth to blot the area with water until the solution is completely cleaned up.

Step 6– Cover the area with baking soda again and let it dry for a few hours.

Step 7– After the mattress is totally dry, then use your vacuum and sweep up the remaining baking soda.

Step 8– Repeat these steps if the stain or odor persists or try the next method.

3. When You are Desperate

White vinegar is actually a great ingredient to use when cleaning anything from mirrors to mattresses.

Because vinegar is so acidic, it is especially effective for cleaning urine stains.

Follow these steps for the third method.

Step 1– Using a clean cloth, get the stain lightly damp. Don’t add too much water because you can end up spreading the stain even more.

Step 2– Create a mixture that consists of 50% water and 50% vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle.

Step 3– Lightly spray the area with the mixture. Make sure you don’t get the area too wet, but you will definitely want it to thoroughly cover that area.

Once the area is lightly wet, let the mixture sit for a couple minutes. Then, blot the area with a clean cloth.

Once the area feels almost dry, spray the stain again.

Repeat step three 4-5 times.

Step 4– Sprinkle the entire area with baking soda.

Step 5– Let the baking soda sit for several hours. When it is totally dry, use your vacuum to sweep up the baking soda.

Step 6– Repeat those steps again or try the next method if you still have a stain or odor.

4. When You Feel All Hope Is Gone

When you really feel like you’ve tried everything, but nothing has worked, then it is time to pull out the harsh chemicals!

This method involves using a chemical called borax. You will want rubber gloves for this one!

Follow these steps for the fourth method.

Step 1– Get the area lightly wet by using a cloth and water. Don’t use too much water!

Step 2– Cover the area thoroughly with borax.

Borax can irritate your skin, so definitely wear gloves while working with this product.

Step 3– Rub the borax into the mattress (with your gloves on). Work it into the fabric really well.

Step 4– Let it dry for several hours. Use a ceiling fan if you have one or at least open a window.

Step 5– Once it is completely dry, use your vacuum and sweep the entire area. You may need to go over it 2 or 3 times.

Step 6– Repeat if the stain or odor persists.


Stains are tough to get out, but it’s not impossible.

Some fabrics respond better to one method or another, so experiement and see what works best for you!

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