Updated December 13, 2020

How to Get Stains Out of a Mattress

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Grossed out by those yellow sweat stains? You can deep clean your mattress with a DIY stain remover (even for vomit and pee). We'll show you how to in our guide.

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The average person spends about 7 hours a day sleeping. During that time sweat, lotions, oils, and dust mites can collect on your mattress, which allows bacteria to fester. Blood stains, vomit and other mattress stains only make matters worse.

Cleaning your mattress is essential if you:

  • Experience excessive sweating while sleeping

  • Wear lotion to bed

  • Have children or pets

So what are the best ways to clean your mattress? Keep reading to find out.

How often should you clean your mattress?
On average, you should clean your mattress once every six months. If you have kids, pets, or accumulate mattress stains, clean it as often as necessary.

What Is the Best Mattress Stain Remover?

You can use common household products to remove stains from your mattress, including:

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Ammonia
  • Vinegar
  • Cornstarch
  • Lemon juice and salt
  • A spray bottle

You'll also need a wet/dry vacuum and some clean towels, plus a bristled brush to scrub out tough mattress stains.

Using Commercial Cleaning Products
If you prefer store-bought cleaning products, look for enzyme cleaners without toxins. These can be especially helpful for both human and pet urine stains.

How to Clean Your Mattress

Giving your mattress a good cleaning every six months is a good way to minimize growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. Follow these steps:

  1. Wash the Sheets
    Remove all bed linens and clean them according to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Use the hottest water possible to kill any germs or dust mites on the sheets.

  2. Vacuum the Mattress
    Using the hose attachment, vacuum all surfaces on your mattress to remove any loose debris.

  3. Deodorize the Mattress
    Sprinkle a light layer of baking soda on the mattress and let it sit for 30 minutes. Vacuum the surface again to remove the baking soda.

Read on to learn the best ways to remove specific mattress stains.

Steam Cleaning Your Mattress
The heat from a steam cleaner kills any germs and thoroughly cleans the mattress. After cleaning, allow the mattress to air dry. Make sure it's completely dry before putting sheets back on.

How to Deep Clean a Mattress

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The best way to deep clean your mattress depends on the kind of mess you're dealing with. Read on to learn how to handle every kind of mattress stain.

Can you use bleach on a mattress?
Bleach should be a last resort for very stubborn mattress stains - and only on white mattresses. Dilute the bleach with water and use a spray bottle to apply to the stain. Then scrub with a damp, clean cloth.

You should then spray the entire area again with just water and pat dry to remove any bleach residue. Be sure to wear gloves and open any windows to ventilate the room.

How to Remove Blood From a Mattress

Before using any cleaning agents to remove a blood stain, blot as much of the excess liquid as you can. This is the key to successfully removing the blood.

Choose one of the following two methods to remove a blood stain:

  1. Create a cleaning solution using:
    • ½ cup cornstarch
    • ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide
    • 1 tbsp salt

    Spread the paste onto the mattress stain. Let it dry for at least 30 minutes. Scrape it off the mattress and vacuum any remaining debris off the surface.

  2. Pour a layer of baking soda, then cover in a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water.

    The mixture will bubble, but let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Then blot it away with a clean cloth soaked in cold water. Finish by vacuuming any excess debris.

Never Use Hot Water on a Blood Stain
The hot water reacts with the proteins in the blood, causing it to bond with the mattress fibers and making it impossible to remove. Always stick with cold water or ice water to remove blood from a mattress.

How to Get Pee Out of a Mattress

Your approach will vary depending on the age of the stain.

Removing New Stains

  1. Blot the area immediately - don't scrub. If you rub the stain too aggressively, it will set deeper into the mattress.

  2. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water or non-scented ammonia and spray the entire affected area. Blot as you go.

  3. Pour a layer of baking soda over the area and let it sit for several hours. Vacuum the surface before using the mattress.

For more detailed directions, check out this article.

Removing Set Stains

  1. Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of dish or laundry detergent.

  2. Spray the area generously with the cleaning solution.

  3. Cover with baking soda and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum the mattress when dry.

Removing Vomit From a Mattress

Before you can thoroughly clean the mattress, you need to remove the vomit. Wash bed linens on the hottest setting then follow these steps to target the mattress stain.

  1. Blot the stain as much as possible.

  2. Spray the area generously with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Let the mattress air out while the mixture dries.

  3. After approximately 30 minutes, pour a layer of baking soda over the area. This helps neutralize the smell.

  4. Once dry, vacuum the area thoroughly.

Read the Manufacturer's Directions Before Cleaning a Mattress
Before you use commercial cleaners or even household products, double check the mattress tag. It should offer precautions (if any), especially for a memory foam mattress. No matter what you use, don't drench the mattress - just lightly dampen it to remove the stain.

How to Remove Oil, Lotion, or Sweat Stains

If you wear lotions to bed or you sweat when you sleep, you may notice stains on your mattress. A layer of baking soda can help remove them.

Sprinkle a generous amount on the stain then scrape it off. Vacuum any remaining debris.

If that doesn't work, mix dish soap (Dawn works best) with warm water and dab the area, blotting as you go. Make sure not to soak the area. Allow the mattress to air dry.

How to Remove a Yellow Stain From Your Mattress
You'll need cool water and dish soap to remove the stain. Add a few drops of dish soap to every ½ gallon of water. Using the suds, rub the area in a circular motion.

Blot every few minutes. If the stain doesn't go away after a few rounds, spray the area with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then blot the peroxide from the area.

How to Prevent Stains on Your Mattress

Taking preventative measures can minimize the risk of stains. Read on for some tips to safeguard your mattress.

  • Wash your sheets weekly
    Dust mites and dead skin can build up and wear off onto the mattress so switch out your sheets regularly.

  • Use a Pad or Cover
    A pad between your sheets and mattress can keep your mattress clean and stain-free. Wash it twice a month to keep debris off the mattress.

How to get stains out of a mattress pad
Unlike with a mattress, you can usually just wash the pad directly in a washing machine. But first you'll need to treat the stain.

If it's fresh, use a cloth or paper towel to soak up the liquid. Then spray the area using a mixture of vinegar and water (or a store-bought stain remover). Let it soak for several minutes then sprinkle some baking soda before washing.

  • Rotate the mattress
    This reduces the amount of debris, dust mites, and oils that soak into the same area.

Bottom Line

Cleaning your mattress regularly is the best way to keep it in good condition. If you happen to get a stain, act quickly. The less time the stain has to set, the easier it will be for you to remove it.

Sometimes, it might just make sense to get a new mattress. If you want the best bang for your buck, check out online brands like Saatva. You'll save 50-60% off compared to shopping in store.

Write to Kim P at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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