Mattress stains can come from several places, but they are generally from one of the following sources: sweat, blood, food, urine, or semen.
Naturally, the most common mattress stain is sweat, which comes from our bodies when we sleep and do…other…stuff.
Blood is also a common mattress stain, but it is a little harder, though not impossible, to get out. Normally, blood stains occur when you have a small abrasion or scab that begins to bleed while you sleep.
Some food stains are hard to get out, like red wine. Other food stains are not so difficult to fix. In general, don’t eat in bed!
Urine can be very hard to eliminate, but it is incredibly common. Children, as well as though who may be struggling with incontinence problems, frequently leave some urine on a mattress.
As for semen, we will leave that to the other articles and keep this one G-rated.
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.
Getting a pro to clean your mattress will probably cost anywhere from $50 to $150, so be sure it is a mattress worth keeping if you go this route.
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.
The key here is to merely wet the stain. You don’t want to soak the mattress with fluids, just wet the surface enough to clean it.
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
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
Using Mattress Pads
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.
- Look for mattress pads that fit over the whole mattress, either with stretchy sides or a zipper.
- The one with the zipper is the more popular version of the mattress protector. It is also harder to remove and more expensive.
- Look for a mattress protector that comes with a guarantee and lifetime warranty.
- The one that I have is from a company called Protect-a-Bed, and I am very happy with it.
Mattress Stain Guard
For completeness, we will include Stain Guard on this list, although we are not endorsing 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.
Set Some Rules
Make some rules about what is fair game on a mattress and what is not. Want to avoid food or wine stains? Say that there will be no food or wine in bed. It’s as simple as that, and is not too much to ask.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Pee Stains on a Mattress
If this was a museum about getting rid of mattress stains, pee and urine stains would have their own special wing. They are so common, and so stubborn. Unlike many other stains, pee stains also effect the odor of the mattress, not just the complexion of it. Here are a couple ideas.
Peroxide and Baking Soda
You probably have all of these supplies at home, so no run to the local store is needed. If you need to get a pee stain out of a mattress, try mixing peroxide, baking soda, and some simple dish soap. The general mix is about 10 parts peroxide, 2 parts baking soda, and 1 part dish soap. Mix together, apply to the stain, let sit and then gently wipe off the residue.
When you are applying this, it is good to work it in to the mattress. Remember, that urine probably got below the surface, and you want to do what you can to prevent future odors.
Vinegar Works, If you Act Quickly
Vinegar can help neutralize the odor that urine could eventually cause, but you need to act quickly. If you identify a pee-wetted bed while it is still wet, apply some simple white vinegar to the stain. Let this work for several minutes and then wash it off. Then, inspect the stain and size-up if you need to take additional action or if the vinegar did the trick.