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The Best Ways to Remove Stains from Your Mattress

If you want your mattress to last, you’ll need to make sure that you get out stains as soon as possible. Here are some tips on keeping your mattress clean until it’s time to replace it.

A clean mattress with no sheets. iStock

Have you recently cleaned a stain off your mattress? Most of you will probably respond with a resounding “no,” simply because it may not have ever occurred to you that you would have to, much less the right way to go about it.

What happens with most stains is that people do the best they can to remove them from the top surface of the mattress. But deeply penetrating stains, especially those from bodily fluids, call for a process that’s a bit more intense. And if you just cover them up, these types of stains often become the source of odors in your bedroom, leading you to replace your mattress well before the recommended seven to ten years. Here’s a snapshot at how to clean your mattress thoroughly so you can get the most use out of it.

How to Remove Typical Stains from Your Mattress

The most common stains you’ll encounter will be stains from bodily fluids. You spend many hours laying in your bed. So, having these types of fluids embedded in your mattress is not surprising. Before proceeding with cleaning any mattress stains, it’s a good idea to test a small area of your bed with any of the solutions you make to see how the material responds. In general, here are some effective ways of cleaning common stains from a mattress.


You may be too familiar with this calamity if you have children or pets. Follow these steps to clean the mess.

For Wet Stains:

  • Step 1: Blot with a dry cloth to absorb as much liquid as you can.
  • Step 2: Prepare a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar and spray it generously over the wet urine stains.
  • Step 3: Sprinkle with baking soda to avoid odors.
  • Step 4: Let the mixture sit for 8 hours or more.
  • Step 5: After the mix dries, vacuum the excess away. Repeat if necessary.

For Dried Stains:

  • Step 1: Combine 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 to 3 drops of liquid dish soap or laundry detergent, and a few drops of essential oils in a spray bottle.
  • Step 2: Spray the stain generously and let it thoroughly dry.
  • Step 3: Vacuum the area once it’s dry. Repeat if necessary.

Store-bought Alternatives: To clean urine stains, consider purchasing Clorox Commercial Solutions Urine Remover. Follow the instructions on the label for the best results. To help remove odors, try using Defunkify Odor Remover Spray.

Excrement or Vomit

If there are children, seniors, or pets in your house, there may be times when accidents happen. This is how you can tackle the issue.

  • Step 1: Wear latex gloves to protect yourself from germs and bacteria. Then, using paper towels, pick up any solid waste and dispose of it.
  • Step 2: Use an enzyme cleaner such as Probiotic Enzyme Cleaner to remove the excrement or vomit and odors. Follow the instructions on the label for best results.
  • Step 3: Aerate the mattress by allowing it to sit outdoors if possible. Otherwise, open windows to allow in fresh air and use fans to help dry it and eliminate odors.


Blood stains are notoriously stubborn to remove, but they are by no means permanent as long as you take the right approach. Always use cool or cold water because warm and hot water can set a blood stain.

  • Step 1: For a recent stain, mix a solution in a spray bottle of equal parts cold water and vinegar. For a stain that is already dried, create a paste of 1 tablespoon of meat tenderizer, such as McCormick Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer, and two teaspoons of cold water.
  • Step 2: Apply the solution for whichever type of stain you have. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then blot it dry. Repeat if necessary. You may need a toothbrush to work the meat tenderizer solution into the blood stain.
  • Step 3: Let the mattress air out for a few hours before resuming use.


Even if you keep your bedroom very cool, your body will produce perspiration that will penetrate your sheets and absorb into your mattress. Take a look at how to get rid of this type of stain.

  • Step 1: Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide, liquid dish soap, and water together in a spray bottle.
  • Step 2: Spray the mix on the stains and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Step 3: Blot the area dry with a dry towel.
  • Step 4: Allow the mattress to dry using a fan blowing directly on it for a few hours.

How To Remove Not-So-Typical Stains From Your Mattress

A cup of coffee in bed. iStock

Occasionally some stains may get on your mattress that have nothing to do with sleeping or lying in bed. Perhaps you were eating or drinking in bed and these items accidentally spilled. Here are some not-so-common stains that could end up in your mattress and how to remove them.


If you’re a coffee lover, you may have had an oops moment with your morning cup in bed. Check out how to get this specific stain out.

  • Step 1: Use a cloth or paper towels to sop up the excess coffee from the mattress.
  • Step 2: Spray the stain with a solution of ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, and ¾ cup warm water.
  • Step 3: Blot the stain with a clean damp cloth. Repeat as necessary until the stain disappears.
  • Step 4: Let the mattress air dry.

Store-bought alternative: Spray on a laundry stain remover with oxygen bleach, such as Biokleen Laundry Oxygen Bleach Plus. Follow the instructions on the label for the best results.


A wine spill, especially red wine, can easily seep through bedding and discolor your mattress. Here’s how to get rid of this stain.

  • Step 1: Mix 3 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.
  • Step 2: Allow the solution to sit for 20 minutes to an hour.
  • Step 3: Blot the stain with a cold, damp towel to remove the stain.
  • Step 4: Let the mattress air dry, or to speed up the process, point a fan at the wet area.

Store-bought alternative: For a commercial-strength red wine stain remover, consider using Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover. Follow the instructions on the label for best results.


If you’ve ever snacked in bed, there’s a chance crumbs or other residue from what you ate can soil the mattress. Here’s the best way to remove any stains.

  • Step 1: Mix together a cup of bleach-free laundry detergent such as Biokleen Free & Clear Natural Laundry Detergent, a cup of vinegar, and 10 cups of water in a large spray bottle and spray it all over the stain.
  • Step 2: Allow the solution to sit on the surface for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: Use a damp towel, sponge, or toothbrush to work the stain out of the mattress. Repeat as necessary.
  • Step 4: Let your mattress air dry to clear stains, bacteria, and odors completely.


If you have rust stains on your bed, they were likely caused by coils inside your mattress. Here’s how you can take out these unsightly marks.

  • Step 1: As a precaution against burns, wear latex gloves. Then mix vinegar, lemon juice, and salt together to create a thin paste.
  • Step 2: Apply it to the rust stain until it disappears.
  • Step 3: Blot the area with a damp cloth.
  • Step 4: Use a fan to help dry the treated area.

Cleaning Guidelines for Mattresses

Vacuuming a mattress. iStock

Proactively cleaning your mattress can help it to last throughout its lifetime and even beyond. But how often should you clean your mattress and what’s the best way to go about it? Ideally, you should clean your mattresses every six months. When cleaning your mattress, you will need to make sure that you clean it according to the type of mattress you have. Read on for more tips.

Regular Mattresses

It is a good idea to clean it every six months to minimize the possibility of staining. Start with washing your bed linens weekly using a detergent like Tru Earth Eco-friendly, Biodegradable, Zero Waste, Cruelty-Free Laundry Detergent Sheets. Next, vacuum any dirt or dust that has accumulated, making sure to focus on the seams where debris may collect. Proceed with using any of the solutions above to treat stains.

Otherwise, perform a general mattress cleaning using a towel and bleach-free laundry detergent mixed with cool water in a spray bottle to wipe down the surface. Blot dry with a damp towel and allow the mattress to air dry, or use a fan to dry it more quickly.

Consider allowing the mattress to sit in direct sunlight for four to six hours to allow the UV rays to help kill any remaining bacteria. Otherwise, sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and leave it on for as long as possible, preferably 24 hours. Vacuum away the excess. After cleaning, it is also a good idea to flip the mattress over and rotated it.

Memory Foam

Cleaning memory foam is much like cleaning a regular mattress, except it’s not a good idea to spray down the entire mattress.

You will need to start by vacuuming to eliminate any crumbs, dirt, or other grime that has accumulated. Follow up with a simple solution of mild laundry detergent or liquid dish soap and water in a 1:2 ratio and add it to a spray bottle. Spray only the stains and wipe with a towel in a circular motion. Blot the wet area with a dry cloth.

For best results, consider drying it with a fan directly blowing on the area or a blow dryer set to a medium temperature. Since memory foam absorbs water easily, drying it as quickly as possible will minimize liquids from absorbing into the mattress.

Stain Prevention and General Maintenance

The best way to keep your mattress in top condition is to act fast when stains do happen and take a few smart precautions.

  • Avoid eating or drinking in bed.
  • Cover the mattress with a vinyl cover like the Plastic Mattress Protector by Blissford, a mattress protector such as the 100% Waterproof Terry Cotton - Dust Proof Breathable Ultrasoft Noiseless Mattress Pad, or a mattress topper.
  • Air your mattress out every four months. Remove any bedding, allowing fresh air to circulate around the surface of the mattress. If possible, move the mattress into the sunlight. It is ideal to move it outside for 6 hours on a dry, sunny day.
  • Launder sheets weekly to prevent any stains on the fabric from penetrating the mattress.
  • Sprinkle baking soda occasionally to absorb excess moisture. Then vacuum it away.
  • Take showers before bedtime to minimize perspiration and odors penetrating the mattress.
  • Contact a professional mattress cleaning service.

When to Call it Quits with Your Mattress

There comes a time when regular cleaning and stain removal will no longer make much difference simply because your mattress has run its course. If you’ve had your mattress for seven to ten years, it is time to replace it. Other reasons that you may want to buy a new mattress is that you are unable to eliminate the odors coming from it or if moisture has seeped into your mattress over a period of time, as this may encourage mold growth.

If the mattress has become infested with bed bugs, it’s critical to get rid of it. Before buying a new mattress, it’s important to treat the entire area where your previous bed was to avoid reinfecting your new mattress. You can call on a professional bed bug removal company to detect and treat bedbugs before getting a new bed, or you can try a bed bug spray such as HARRIS 5 Minute Bed Bug Killer, which is EPA-approved and works on various surfaces, including bedding, carpet, baseboards, and doorframes.