Removing Stains from Mattresses

by Amy Gordon
(last updated August 23, 2021)

Mattresses often take a lot of strain unnoticed, and I don't just mean the weight of your body pressing down on it. Because we are so concerned with clean sheets and bedspreads, it often escapes our attention that the mattresses, too, need care and maintenance. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean that they are not getting stained. In fact, a lot of spills contain substances that will actually erode your mattress, thus reducing its lifespan, so removing stains from mattresses is imperative.

Fresh stains are more easily cleaned than old ones, as common sense dictates. A wise idea is to first attempt to remove the stain using plain water. If water alone is ineffective, dilute some mild detergent in water and whisk it to form suds. Apply ONLY the suds to the mattress, and not the soapy solution. If you think the stain has disappeared, wipe the area with a soft rag dampened with tepid water.

As a general rule, do not use more water on the mattress than is absolutely essential. For instance, upholstery shampoo is a product that a lot of people use for stubborn mattress stains. If you think a stain is tough to remove, do not waste time and effort with water and detergent—try the upholstery shampoo. Also, a mattress can be freshened very effectively by sprinkling baking soda on it and letting it stand overnight.

Remember, too many stains can invalidate a manufacturer's warranty, so when buying a mattress, you may inquire whether it comes with stain protection.

  • Blood. Some older bloodstains are impossible to remove. However, for relatively recent stains, a sprinkling of hydrogen peroxide is the generally accepted remedy. Dust the affected area with hydrogen peroxide and as it begins to fizz, constantly mop the stain with a soft dry cloth until no more residue comes off the mattress.
  • Urine. Remember, old urine stains can be a bear to remove, so act fast. As with bloodstains, hydrogen peroxide sometimes does the trick. However, some people report success with white vinegar, though it involves mopping up residual vinegar with a damp cloth, which may add too much moisture to the mattress. You can always use plastic mattress covers to protect your mattress from urine stains.
  • Vomit. The major problem with vomit stains is that they usually penetrate well beneath the surface of the mattress. It will be impossible to remove every last trace of vomit from your mattress, but you can clean the surface. Naturally, solid particles in the vomit need to be mopped up (or scraped off) first. Sprinkle the mattress with hydrogen peroxide to remove residual stains. The procedure is identical to bloodstain removal. Alternatively, you can once again try white vinegar.
  • Food and drink. Usually, the previously described technique using the mild detergent and water solution is adequate for most food and drink stains. However, it is best to air dry the mattress after this procedure.

Don't allow liquids to seep into the padding beneath a mattress. As we all know, moisture trapped in the layers can cause mold and mildew. Also, don't replace sheets and spreads on any mattress before it is completely dry. If your children or pets chronically wet the bed, do not ignore a mattress protector in the form of a mattress pad.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...


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