How to Clean Urine Stains from a Mattress

Key Takeaways

  • Prompt Action is Crucial: Dealing with urine stains on a mattress should be addressed promptly. Fresh stains are easier to remove than older, set-in ones. Immediate action not only helps prevent stains from setting but also prevents the growth of bacteria and odors, contributing to overall cleanliness and hygiene.
  • Essential Cleaning Supplies and Techniques: To effectively remove urine stains, gather necessary cleaning supplies such as paper towels, white vinegar, baking soda, mild dish soap, a spray bottle, a soft-bristle brush, rubber gloves, and more. Gentle blotting, rather than scrubbing, is recommended to avoid damaging the mattress fabric. Homemade solutions like vinegar and baking soda are effective, non-toxic options for cleaning. Ensure thorough drying to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Preventive Measures are Key: Using mattress protectors and waterproof covers can help prevent future urine stains on your mattress. These protective measures create a barrier between spills and your mattress, making cleanup easier. Regular maintenance of these protectors and covers is essential to ensure they remain effective.

Few things disrupt a peaceful night’s sleep, like discovering a stubborn urine stain on your mattress.

Whether it’s a potty-training toddler, a pet’s accident, or an unexpected mishap, dealing with urine stains can feel daunting.

Save $150 On Any Mattress

Plus free shipping

Get $150 OFF Mattresses

But fret not; we’re here to lend a helping hand and share essential tips and tricks to rescue your mattress.

The Necessary Cleaning Supplies:

Before you begin the cleanup process, having the right tools and cleaning agents on hand is essential.

Here’s a list of items you’ll need:

Paper towels or clean cloth are essential for blotting and absorbing urine.

White vinegar: It’s a natural and effective cleaning agent.

Baking soda: Ideal for neutralizing odors.

A mild dish soap: To help break down stains.

A spray bottle: For mixing and applying cleaning solutions.

A soft-bristle brush: To scrub without damaging the mattress.

A waterproof mattress protector: To prevent future stains.

Rubber gloves: To protect your hands from bacteria and cleaning agents.

Step-by-Step Process To Remove the Urine Stains

Here’s the complete step-by-step process to remove the urine stains:

Step 1: Remove Bedding And Protect The Surrounding Area:

Before you start cleaning, strip the bed of all bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and mattress covers.

This will give you full access to the stained area and prevent accidental spills or cross-contamination.

Additionally, consider laying down a plastic sheet or tarp around the mattress to protect your floor or carpet from potential drips or splashes during cleaning.

This precaution will make cleanup afterward much more manageable.

Step 2: Ensure Safety Precautions:

Safety should always be a priority when dealing with cleaning agents and potentially contaminated surfaces.

Wear disposable or reusable rubber gloves to protect your hands from bacteria or cleaning solutions. This is especially important when handling pet urine stains, as they may carry harmful pathogens.

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after removing the gloves to prevent contamination.

Safety measures like these will help you tackle the cleanup with confidence and peace of mind.

Step 3: Cleaning Process Blotting and Absorbing

When you discover a fresh urine stain on your mattress, immediate blotting is the first and most crucial step.

Time is of the essence because the longer urine lingers on the mattress, the more it can seep into the fabric and create a stubborn stain.

Use a stack of paper towels or a clean, absorbent cloth to blot effectively.

Gently press down on the stain without rubbing or scrubbing, as this can push the urine further into the mattress.

The goal is to absorb as much moisture as possible. Continue blotting until you’ve removed as much liquid as possible.

Using Absorbent Materials To Draw Out Moisture:

In addition to paper towels or cloth, you can employ other absorbent materials to help draw out moisture.

Baking soda is a fantastic option.

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the stained area. It will not only absorb moisture but also help neutralize odors. Allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes to work its magic before proceeding to the next cleaning steps.

By focusing on immediate blotting and using absorbent materials like paper towels and baking soda, you’re effectively preventing the urine from penetrating deeper into your mattress, making the cleanup process more manageable and successful.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

When cleaning urine stains from a mattress, homemade solutions can be incredibly effective, cost-efficient, and safe for your health and the environment.

Here are two popular DIY options:

1. Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. This solution is excellent for breaking down uric acid crystals and neutralizing odors. Spray it generously over the stained area and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before blotting it with a clean cloth or paper towel.

2. Baking Soda Paste: To combat tough stains, create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Spread the paste over the stained area and gently rub it with a soft-bristle brush. Let it dry completely, then brush or vacuum away the dried paste.

The Benefits Of Using Natural And Non-toxic Cleaners:

One of the significant advantages of using homemade solutions like vinegar and baking soda is their non-toxic nature.

Unlike harsh chemical cleaners, these natural alternatives are safer for you and the environment.

They won’t release harmful fumes or leave behind chemical residues that could harm your health or pets.

Natural cleaners like vinegar have antibacterial properties, effectively sanitizing the stained area.

They’re also readily available in most households, making it convenient to tackle urine stains as soon as they happen.

Using homemade solutions provides effective cleaning and peace of mind, knowing you’re using ingredients that are safe for your family and home.

Gentle Scrubbing Techniques To Avoid Mattress Damage:

When it comes to scrubbing urine stains from your mattress, a gentle approach is key to preventing any damage to the mattress fabric.

Follow these techniques to ensure effective stain removal without harming your mattress:

a. Use a soft-bristle brush: Opt for a soft-bristle brush to agitate the stained area gently. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh scrubbing, as these can weaken the fabric or cause pilling.

b. Apply minimal pressure: Let the cleaning solution do most of the work. Use light, circular motions to work the solution into the stain gently. Avoid pressing down too hard, pushing the urine deeper into the mattress.

c. Work from the outside: Start cleaning from the edges of the stain and gradually move toward the center. This helps prevent the stain from spreading further.

d. Blot, don’t rub: Remember to blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towel after scrubbing. Blotting lifts away the stain and excess moisture without causing friction.

Step 4: Lingering Odors With Deodorizing Methods:

You may still have lingering odors even after successfully removing the urine stain.

To ensure your mattress smells fresh, consider these deodorizing methods:

a. Baking soda: Sprinkle a generous amount over the cleaned and dried area. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Baking soda is excellent at absorbing odors. Vacuum up the baking soda residue afterward.

b. Activated charcoal: Place activated charcoal pouches or sachets near the cleaned area. Activated charcoal is known for its odor-absorbing properties and can help eliminate any remaining smells.

c. Essential oils: Mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or tea tree oil, with water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the mattress surface to leave a pleasant scent behind.

d. Sunlight and fresh air: Place the mattress outside in direct sunlight for a few hours if possible. Sunlight and fresh air can naturally help eliminate odors.

Step 5: Drying and Preventive Measures

a. Air-drying the mattress thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew:

After successfully cleaning a urine stain from your mattress, it’s crucial to ensure it dries completely to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Here’s how to air-dry your mattress effectively:

b. Elevate the mattress: Prop up your mattress in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation. You can use a few sturdy objects like chairs or boxes to lift it off the ground slightly. This allows air to circulate both above and below the mattress.

c. Open windows or use fans: Create airflow by opening windows or using fans in the room. Proper ventilation speeds up the drying process.

d. Use a dehumidifier: If the weather is humid, a dehumidifier can help remove excess moisture from the room, aiding in faster drying.

e. Avoid direct sunlight: While sunlight can help with odor removal, it’s best not to expose the mattress to direct sunlight for extended periods, as it can damage the fabric. Instead, place it in a shaded area with good airflow.

f. Using mattress protectors and waterproof covers to prevent future stains:

Prevention is often the best solution for urine stains on a mattress. To safeguard your mattress from future accidents and stains, consider these protective measures:

g. Mattress protectors: Invest in a waterproof mattress protector designed to fit your mattress size. These protectors create a barrier between spills and your mattress, making cleanup much easier.

h. Waterproof covers: If young children or pets are prone to accidents, consider using a waterproof cover over your mattress. These covers are particularly handy for protecting against liquids and are simple to clean.

i. Regular maintenance: Check your mattress protector or cover for any signs of wear or damage. Replace them as needed to ensure they continue to provide effective protection.

Understanding Urine Stains

Urine primarily comprises water (about 95%), with the remaining 5% containing various waste products.

This mixture includes urea, creatinine, ammonia, salts, and pigments.

While water and urea are relatively easy to clean up, the presence of ammonia and uric acid poses the real challenge.

Uric acid, in particular, can be a persistent problem.

When urine dries, it crystallizes into hard-to-remove deposits.

When reactivated by moisture, these crystals bond tightly to surfaces and can release strong odors.

That’s why a simple wipe-down might not do the trick, and specific cleaning methods are required to break down and remove these crystals effectively.

The Importance Of Addressing Urine Stains Promptly:

Addressing urine stains promptly is essential for several reasons. Firstly, fresh stains are much easier to deal with than older, set-in ones.

The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to remove the stain and odor completely.

Secondly, acting swiftly helps prevent the growth of bacteria that can thrive in a damp environment, leading to potential health issues and unpleasant odors.

Lastly, promptly addressing the issue is crucial for maintaining your mattress’s overall cleanliness and hygiene.

Neglecting urine stains not only affects the appearance of your bed but can also lead to long-term damage and discomfort.

So, the sooner you tackle urine stains, the better your chances of restoring your mattress to its original state.

Tips For Removing Old Or Set-in Stains:

Dealing with old or set-in urine stains can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help tackle stubborn stains:

a. Pre-soak: Apply a mixture of white vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) to the stain and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Blot it up, then sprinkle baking soda on the area. After it dries, vacuum it up.

b. Enzymatic cleaners: Consider using an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for pet stains. These cleaners are excellent at breaking down uric acid crystals.

c. Repeat the process: Old stains may require multiple treatments. Be patient and persistent, reapplying the cleaning solutions as needed.

How To Remove Stains Caused By Pets:

Pet accidents can be a common cause of urine stains on mattresses. Here’s how to address them effectively:

Act quickly: Just like with human stains, it’s essential to address pet urine stains promptly to prevent them from setting in.

Blot and absorb: Begin by blotting up as much moisture as possible with paper towels or a cloth.

Use an enzymatic cleaner: Choose a pet-specific enzymatic cleaner to break down the urine odor and stains. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Machine wash pet bedding: If your pet sleeps on your bed or has bedding in the same room, regularly wash and clean their bedding to prevent recurring accidents.


How do I know if a Urine Stain on my Mattress is Fresh or Old?

Fresh urine stains are wet and typically have a strong odor. Old stains may be dry, discolored, and have a faint odor.

Can I Clean a Urine Stain from my Mattress with Just Water?

Water alone may not effectively remove urine stains. Using a cleaning solution is usually necessary.

Is it Safe to use Bleach to Clean Urine Stains on a Mattress?

No, bleach can damage the fabric and potentially harm your health. It's best to avoid using bleach.

What's the Best Homemade Cleaning Solution for Urine Stains?

A mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water is an effective homemade solution for cleaning urine stains.

Can I Machine Wash my Mattress cover to Remove Urine Stains?

Most mattress covers are not machine washable. Spot-clean them instead to prevent damage.

Should I use Hot or Cold Water when Cleaning Urine Stains?

Cold water is typically safer for cleaning urine stains, as hot water can set the stain.

Can I use a Carpet Cleaner on my Mattress for Urine Stains?

Some carpet cleaners can be used on mattresses, but check the product instructions and test in an inconspicuous area first.

How do I get Rid of the Lingering Urine Odor on my Mattress?

Sprinkle baking soda over the cleaned area and let it sit for several hours before vacuuming it to help eliminate odors.

What should I do if my Child Wet the Bed Frequently?

Consider using a waterproof mattress protector to prevent future stains, and consult a pediatrician if the issue persists.

Can I use a hair dryer to Speed up the Drying Process after Cleaning a Urine Stain?

It's best to air-dry the mattress naturally to prevent damage. Using a hairdryer may set the stain or damage the mattress.

Are there any Professional Services for Cleaning Urine Stains from Mattresses?

Yes, some professional cleaning services specialize in mattress cleaning, which can be a good option for stubborn stains.

Can I Prevent Urine Stains in the First Place?

Yes, using waterproof mattress protectors and addressing potty training or medical issues promptly can help prevent urine stains on your mattress.


In conclusion, we hope this guide has been a valuable resource in your quest to eliminate urine stains from your mattress.

Dealing with such stains can be a trying experience, but armed with the right knowledge and techniques, you can restore your bed to its pristine condition and regain your peace of mind.

Remember to act promptly when accidents happen, as quick action is often the key to successful stain removal.

Whether you opt for DIY solutions or trusted commercial stain removers, the importance of gentle scrubbing and thorough drying cannot be overstated.

Furthermore, consider preventive measures like mattress protectors and waterproof covers to safeguard against future mishaps.

And for those facing the challenge of old or set-in stains, know that it’s never too late to try our cleaning methods and salvage your mattress.

We understand the frustration and embarrassment that can accompany urine stains, but with determination and the right tools, you can bid farewell to stains and enjoy a cleaner, fresher bed. Your comfort and peace of mind are worth the effort.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Sarah Anderson, Certified Sleep Science Coach Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson is a sleep, health, and wellness writer and product reviewer. She has written articles on changing and improving your sleep schedule, choosing the right mattress for chronic pain conditions, and finding the best pillow for you. Sarah Anderson has her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to working for Zoma, she wrote for a variety of news publications. Sarah's work has been featured on Bustle, PureWow, and other publications.

View all posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We think you’ll also enjoy…

Go to top