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How to Remove Stains From a Mattress (Eradicate Stubborn Stains)

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A clean environment can lead to better sleep, so let’s eradicate stains.

Nothing disturbs a restful night’s sleep more than a disaster — like wetting the bed or night sweats — that leaves behind stains. When you’re rushing around trying to get ready for work, figuring out how to remove stains from a mattress can add major stress.

We have put together the ultimate guide for removing the most common mattress stains. This includes urine, blood, vomit, sweat, wine or coffee, oil-based stains, and feces. If you have kids, you’ll know the drama of all these stains!

But don’t let them ruin your day anymore. Keep reading to find the best advice for bringing your mattress back to life.

How to Remove General Stains From a Mattress

For a fresh mattress stain, make a 1:1 solution of powdered laundry detergent and water to create a paste. Spread it over the stain and leave for 10 minutes. Remove the paste with a spoon. Wipe the area with a damp cloth. Repeat if necessary. Vacuum the mattress before letting it air dry in a well-ventilated spot.


What is the Best Stain Remover to Use on a Mattress?

There are some things you want to stock up on in case of mattress disasters. Here are our favorite stain-removing products:

  • Microfiber cloths: For fresh stains, sometimes all you need is some cool water and microfiber cloths.
  • Enzyme cleaner: Enzyme cleaners are great for removing blood, vomit, sweat, urine, and feces stains. It’s also amazing at removing old stains that have been set for a while.
  • Hydrogen peroxide and dish soap: This DIY cocktail of cleaning solutions is fantastic at removing most mattress stains, including stubborn set-in stains.
  • Salt and lemon: Another non-toxic DIY mattress stain remover. All you need to do is combine salt and lemon juice to create a paste.
  • Ammonia: For blood stains, ammonia is the most effective.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda can absorb oil-based stains and excess liquid (including urine and sweat).
  • Distilled white vinegar: Removing vomit stains is easy with a 1:1 solution of distilled white vinegar and water.
  • Powdered laundry detergent: You can use your favorite powdered laundry detergent for more general stains. Just make sure it doesn’t contain blue crystals or oxygen bleach.

How to Remove Stains From Mattress

We’ll walk you through how to remove general light stains from your mattress. This method is for fresh stains that haven’t been set, including water stains, coffee, tea, and more.

  • Time: 20-30 minutes.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

1. Create a Laundry Detergent Paste

Mix a 1:1 ratio of laundry detergent and water to create a paste. Adjust the quantities if necessary. The paste should be foamy but easy to spread.

2. Apply and Wait

Spread the paste over the stained area. Leave it on for 10 minutes.

3. Remove the Paste

Scrape as much of the paste off with the back of a spoon. Wipe the area with a dampened cloth. Repeat the above steps if necessary.

Vacuum the mattress to remove paste residue.

4. Air Dry

Leave the mattress to air dry. You might want to run a fan or open a window to speed the process up. When dry, you can pop your mattress protector and sheets back on.

How to Get Different Stains Out of a Mattress

While we’ve shown you how to clean general mattress stains, it’s important you know how to remove specific stains. We’ll share how to remove various common stains so that no midnight disaster phases you.

Urine Stains

If your little one is potty-training, bed-wetting will be a regular occurrence. Don’t worry — it won’t last forever. But in the meantime, here’s how to clean up urine stains.

  1. Create a cleaning solution: Combine one cup of hydrogen peroxide with three tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of dish soap. Stir well with a spoon.
  2. Spray: Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spritz the affected area. Don’t oversaturate the mattress, as this can lead to mold and mildew.
  3. Wait: Leave the mattress for one hour. The stain remover will work to lift the stain and neutralize the odors.
  4. Repeat: If necessary, repeat the above steps, blotting with a white cloth in between rounds.
  5. Air dry: Once the stain and odor have been removed, leave the mattress in a well-ventilated spot to air dry.

Blood Stains

Try flushing fresh blood stains out with cold water or by rubbing ice cubes onto the affected area. If a stain remains, try this method:

  1. Mix ammonia: Mix a 1:1 ratio of ammonia and water in a bowl.
  2. Apply: Wet a cloth in the solution and wring it out, so it’s damp. Blot the blood — the ammonia should lift it from the mattress to the cloth. Continue until the stain has gone.
  3. Wait: Wait 10 minutes, leaving the ammonia residue to soak into the stain.
  4. Wipe: Dampen a separate cloth in plain water and wipe the area to remove ammonia residue.
  5. Repeat: Repeat the above steps if necessary.

Vomit Stains

When someone is sick in bed, it can feel like a disaster. While this method makes it easier to clean up, we’re not disputing that this is a gross event!

  1. Make a spray: Combine a 1:1 solution of water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake to combine.
  2. Spray the area: Spray the stain generously.
  3. Blot: Blot the stain with a clean white cloth, repeating until the stain has lifted.
  4. Tackle odors: If the stain is gone, but you can still smell the vomit, sprinkle the area with baking soda. Let it sit for up to eight hours, depending on how much time you have.
  5. Vacuum: Vacuum the baking soda with a shop vac.

Sweat Stains

Sweating at night is normal — we all do it. To prevent sweat stains, we definitely recommend a mattress protector. But if it’s too late, here’s how to remove the stains from the mattress:

  1. Create a paste: Mix one cup of baking soda with some water and salt to create a paste.
  2. Apply: Spread the paste over the sweat stains.
  3. Wait: Leave it to sit for 30 minutes. You can leave it for up to eight hours if you have time.
  4. Wipe: Wipe the baking soda residue away with a damp cloth.
  5. Vacuum: Vacuum the area with a shop vac to remove baking soda residue.

Try This

You can also use the urine stain method for sweat stains since the stains share similar compounds. It might be more effective than the baking soda paste.

Wine or Coffee Stains

Let’s face it: we all eat and drink in bed. But spilling our favorite drink can have us in tears! But when you know how to get these stains off a mattress, it’s much less upsetting.

  1. Create a cleaner: Mix a 1:1 solution of laundry detergent and distilled white vinegar. Then create a 1:10 ratio of that with water. Pour it into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray: Spray the stain and scrub it well with a soft-bristled brush or unused toothbrush.
  3. Wait: Let the solution sit on the stain for 15 minutes.
  4. Blot: Blot the area with a sponge or towel to remove the stain and solution.
  5. Rinse: Dampen a separate sponge or towel with plain water. Blot the area again.
  6. Dry: Blot the area dry with a towel.

Pro Tip

If the above method didn’t remove the red wine stain, make a 1:1 solution with hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. Pour it over the stain and wait for 15 minutes before carrying on the steps listed above.

Oil-Based Stains

If you spilled oil-based makeup or an oily burger on the bed, removing the dirty residue is not impossible.

  1. Sprinkle baking soda: Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda to cover the stain and leave it for at least 20 minutes. We recommend a couple of hours if you have the time.
  2. Vacuum: Vacuum the baking soda with a shop vac.
  3. Make a cleaning solution: If the stain persists, combine dish soap and warm water.
  4. Apply: Blot the cleaning solution onto the stain and let it sit for five minutes.
  5. Rinse: Rinse the solution away with a fresh, damp cloth. Repeat the above steps if necessary.
  6. Blot dry: Use a towel to blot the stained area dry.

Brown Stains

If you have a little one, you know the drama of poo explosions (often called poonamis). Soiled sheets can be a pain, but if necessary, you can throw them away. A mattress, however, isn’t so disposable.

Here’s how to clean mattress stains and leave the bed feeling as fresh as before:

  1. Spray the stain: Spray an enzymatic cleaner onto a damp cloth.
  2. Dab the stain: Dab the stain to remove the poop stain. This might take a while. Reapply enzyme cleaner as necessary.
  3. Rinse: Rinse the area with a damp cloth to remove enzyme residue.
  4. Air dry: Air dry the mattress in a well-ventilated area. Pop a mattress protector on once dry!

Tips For Stubborn Stain Removal

While the above methods share the ins and outs of how to get stains out of mattresses, we haven’t covered super stubborn stains. If the above methods don’t work, is there anything left to try? Give these hacks a go:

  • Hydrogen peroxide and dish soap: For old, stubborn stains, mix together a 2:1 ratio of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. This is great for slightly bleaching the stain while also trying to remove it at its root.
  • Try heavy-duty stain removers: While natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar are super effective, you might need something more industrial. Tide and Persil are great brands that design heavy-duty stain removers.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat: Don’t expect our methods to work the first time, especially if the stain is old and stubborn. You might need to repeat it three or four times to eradicate the stain.
  • Call a professional: If the above hacks don’t deliver the results you want, call a professional mattress cleaner to remove the stains. They will use special equipment and detergents to provide immaculate results.

How to Deodorize a Mattress

Once you have removed the stain from the mattress, you might be ready to jump back into bed. But hold on a minute — what’s that smell?

Just because you removed the stain doesn’t mean the odor is gone. We’re about to share our best method for deodorizing a mattress.

  • Time: 25 minutes (plus waiting time).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

  • Baking soda.
  • Sieve.
  • Scrubbing brush.
  • Shop vac.
  • Essential oils (optional).

1. Air the Mattress Out

If you have the time, space, and good weather, take your mattress outside on a sunny day. Let the sun and fresh air deodorize your mattress. However, if you don’t have the option, move on to the next steps.

2. Sprinkle Baking Soda

Using a sieve, sprinkle baking soda all over your mattress. For reference, you might need around two pounds of baking soda for a king-size mattress. So stock up!

Add Essential Oils

If you want to experience the pleasant aromatherapy essential oils have to offer, add a few drops to your baking soda before sifting.

3. Scrub

Scrub the baking soda into the fibers using a scrubbing brush. Spread it around evenly so that you experience the best results.

4. Wait

We recommend leaving the baking soda on for 24 hours, but this is only possible if you have somewhere else you can sleep. Otherwise, we recommend at least one hour of waiting time. The longer you wait, the better the baking soda can absorb odors and oils from your mattress.

5. Vacuum

Use a shop vac to remove all baking soda residue. We don’t recommend you use your regular vacuum as the baking soda is very fine — this can destroy the motor. If you don’t own a shop vac, you should be able to rent one from your local hardware store.

How to Prevent a Mattress From Staining

You know how to clean mattress stains, but that doesn’t mean you should let them happen. Here are the best methods for preventing them in the first place:

  • Buy a mattress protector: A mattress protector will change the game when it comes to mattress stains. They’re affordable, easy to use, and machine-washable. They will prevent spills and accidents from running through the mattress, saving you lots of hassle.
  • Annual mattress cleaning: You should aim to deep clean your mattress once or twice a year. This will prevent any new stains from setting.
  • Vacuum your mattress: Every time you wash your sheets, vacuum your mattress. This will remove excess dirt and debris, preventing future stains.
  • Don’t let the dogs out: While cuddling your pets in bed is cozy, it can easily lead to unbearable messes. If you want to get the most out of your mattress, we recommend that you don’t invite your animals onto your bed.
  • Wash your sheets weekly: When you wash your sheets every week, you remove excess dirt, oils, and sweat. This stops the dirt from transferring to your mattress and leaving stains. On the same note, you should wash your mattress protector every one to two months.

FAQs

When Should You Replace a Mattress?

The general rule of thumb is every six to eight years ( source). However, some mattresses may last longer while others don’t last the test of time.

It really depends on the type. You can expect certain materials to last longer:

  • Innerspring: Innerspring mattresses can last up to 10 years or longer if they’re double-sided and can be flipped.
  • Memory foam: Quality memory foam mattresses can last up to 15 years.
  • Latex: Latex mattresses can last up to 25 years.
  • Hybrid: Innerspring and foam hybrid mattresses aren’t as durable. They might need replacing after six years.
  • Waterbed: These mattresses can last between five and 10 years.
  • Mattress pad or pillow top: These can last about three to five years.

You should purchase a new mattress when your current one causes bad nights of sleep, is saggy or damaged, becomes noisier, triggers asthma, or leaves you with muscle or joint stiffness.

Another way to tell it’s time for a new mattress is if you wake up when your partner leaves the bed due to excess movement. In an ideal situation, you should barely move when somebody else is getting in and out the bed.

What Mattress Stains are Permanent?

You can remove any mark entirely if tackled properly and promptly. However, some substances may leave a permanent stain, even after a thorough cleaning. This includes:

  • Blood.
  • Coffee or tea.
  • Chocolate.
  • Sweat.
  • Urine.

Why Are There Yellow Stains on My Bedsheet?

Yellow stains are super common. If you have a light-colored bedsheet, it’s more noticeable. This is caused by the following:

  • Sweat.
  • Urine.
  • Vomit.
  • General aging.

Can I Leave Baking Soda on My Mattress Overnight?

Yes — you can leave baking soda on your mattress for up to 24 hours. Just don’t sleep in your bed with the baking soda! Find somewhere else for the night.


Sleeping Soundly

Our bed is our safe haven. When it’s stained or smelly, it becomes the last place we want to be at the end of the day. Sleep is vital to our health, so we wanted to share with you how to get stains out of a mattress.

Make sure to tackle stains quickly and efficiently. Don’t leave them for hours or days — this gives them a chance to permanently set. Use the proper technique depending on the type of stain, and before you know it, your mattress will look as good as new.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism, and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!