Accidents happen, but they don’t need to ruin your mattress. Whether it’s a leaky diaper spilling pee onto your child’s mattress, or pet urine staining your bed, it’s best to clean it up as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, all you will need is a few common household cleaning supplies. We’ll cover how to clean urine from a mattress, prevent stains, and remove the pee smell from your bedding.
How to Clean Urine from a Mattress
If you catch the accident quickly, this section is for you. If the urine has already dried and created stains, skip down to the next section.
- Strip the bed and put all your bedding in the washing machine as soon as possible.
- Gather supplies.You will need white vinegar, baking soda, water, a spray bottle, a vacuum, and a few cleaning towels.
- Using a cleaning towel or paper towels, gently blot the moist areas to soak up as much liquid as possible. Do not rub or scrub the mattress, as this risks pushing the urine further into the bed.
- Create a solution of half water and half distilled vinegar, and put it in a spray bottle.
- Spray the affected area with your vinegar solution.
- Blot excess moisture out again using towels.
- Cover the area with a generous layer of baking soda.
- Let the baking soda sit on the mattress for as long as possible. We recommend at least 8 hours.
- Vacuum off the baking soda and inspect the mattress, checking for signs of stains and urine odors.
- If necessary, repeat steps 5 through 9 until the odor and stains are completely removed.
This process will generally remove the urine smell from a mattress and prevent permanent stains. Be sure to use plenty of baking soda and give it adequate time to soak up all of the excess moisture.
How to Remove Urine Stains from a Mattress
If stains have already set in before you get to the cleanup process, you may need to use a heavier cleaning solution. For this, you will need baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap.
- Create a solution using 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and 2 to 4 drops of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent.
- Using a spray bottle, apply the solution generously to any stained areas, allowing the mixture to soak in.
- Wait for the mixture to dry. A solid baking soda residue layer will form after a few hours.
- Vacuum off the baking soda and check to see if the stain remains.
- Repeat as needed.
This process uses a tougher cleaning solution that you allow to fully soak into the stained area. As the solution dries and the peroxide evaporates, the urine is drawn upwards with the baking soda. This helps to neutralize both stains and smells.
Keep in mind that peroxide can bleach some materials, so you may want to test it on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on larger stains. Peroxide may also slightly damage or discolor materials like memory foam. Use it sparingly, and be sure to remove any colored bedding from the area to avoid bleaching.
How to Get the Pee Smell Out of a Mattress
If you’ve already cleaned up your mattress but it still smells of urine, there are a few different things you can try.
As outlined in our mattress cleaning guide, simply spreading baking soda out over the mattress is surprisingly effective. Baking soda is unique in that it actually absorbs odors, rather than just masking them. The basic pH of baking soda helps to neutralize the generally acidic odors of urine, while its tendency to absorb liquid helps to draw out any remaining moisture.
For best results in neutralizing urine odors in your mattress, spread a thin layer of baking soda out over the entire mattress surface. If a specific area smells more strongly, you can use a slightly thicker layer of baking soda. Allow the baking soda to sit, uncovered, for 5 to 10+ hours, and then vacuum it. Repeat as needed.
Another option is to use a vinegar solution, as discussed above. Use a 50/50 mixture of cold water and distilled white vinegar. You can also consider adding a few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender or eucalyptus, to help cover up any unpleasant smells. Apply it to the surface of your mattress using a spray bottle, and allow it to air-dry fully. Then, use baking soda to remove any remaining moisture, and to neutralize the strong vinegar smell from the cleaning solution.
Keep in mind that pet stains may require a stronger cleaning solution with enzymes that remove lingering odors. This will help prevent pets from marking their territory again. Enzyme cleaners can be found in many pet stores.
How to Prevent Future Stains & Odors
The best way to prevent stains and odors from accumulating on your mattress is to ensure that it’s properly protected. We recommend using a high quality mattress protector — ideally one that’s fully waterproof.
Regularly washing your sheets and other bedding can also help protect your mattress from accumulating unpleasant odors. We recommend washing sheets and pillowcases about once per week.