We spend a significant amount of time sleeping or relaxing in bed, so our sleep surfaces endure a lot of wear and tear. They often absorb spills and bodily fluids, leaving behind stains and odors. Pillows, sheets, and mattress toppers are susceptible to such damage, but their relatively compact size simplifies the cleaning process. Removing stains from mattresses is a bit more complicated, so it’s important to understand best practices. 

Properly cleaning your mattress extends its life, enhances your comfort, and creates a more hygienic sleep environment. Stain removal is often part of this process. We break down the steps for how to treat minor stains, including blood, urine, vomit, coffee, and wine. Using simple household ingredients, you can handle messes and return your mattress to a pristine state. 

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How to Clean Minor Mattress Stains

We’ll describe the general, basic procedure for removing minor mattress stains. While stains and cleaners vary, the overall process stays the same. After explaining these steps, we’ll go on to address specific stains in more detail. 

  1. Absorb any liquid by dabbing it with a clean cloth. Don’t rub the stain, as it can push liquids further into the mattress. 
  2. Apply a small amount of your cleaner of choice. Enzyme cleaners work well on biological stains, such as blood, urine, and vomit. Other effective household cleaning ingredients include distilled white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, laundry detergent, and dish soap. 
  3. Blot excess moisture with a dry cloth. Use light-colored cleaning cloths to avoid any color bleeding onto your mattress.
  4. Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and leave it for several hours to absorb liquids and odors. 
  5. Vacuum up the baking soda.
  6. If necessary, reapply baking soda and vacuum again. 
  7. Let the mattress dry for at least eight hours to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. You might also point a fan at it to speed up the drying process. 

How to Clean Blood From a Mattress

Blood stains are notoriously difficult to remove. Its clotting ability binds blood to fibers as it dries, so it’s best to treat these stains while they’re fresh, if possible. Whether cleaning fresh or dried blood, always use cold water to avoid setting the stain. 

Fresh Blood

Because fresh blood hasn’t had time to set into the fabric, you can often remove it with a cloth and cold water. For more difficult stains, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar followed by baking soda breaks down the blood and lifts it from the fabric.

  1. Dab the blood stain with a cold, wet cloth, working in from the outer edge to avoid spreading the stain. 
  2. Blot the area with a dry cloth.
  3. If there is still blood on the mattress, apply a small amount of your cleaning solution of choice. Popular options include diluted hydrogen peroxide, diluted white vinegar, and baking soda. 
  4. Let the solution sit for a few minutes. 
  5. Use a cold, wet cloth to blot up the cleaning solution.
  6. Blot with a dry cloth to remove excess liquid.
  7. Repeat as needed.
  8. Let the mattress dry for at least eight hours.

Dried Blood

To clean dried blood stains, you need a potent solution that removes both the stain and the odor. An enzyme cleaner does both, but you can also use basic household ingredients. 

  1. Select an enzyme cleaner or hydrogen peroxide solution. At-home hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution recipes often call for making a paste with either cornstarch or baking soda. 
  2. Dampen the area with cold water.
  3. Apply your enzyme cleaner or hydrogen peroxide solution to the stain. 
  4. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Use a cold, wet cloth to blot away the solution. 
  6. If the stain is particularly stubborn, you can use an old toothbrush with the cleaning solution. Rub lightly from the outer edge of the stain inward to prevent spreading.
  7. Blot with a dry cloth to remove excess liquid.
  8. Repeat as needed. 
  9. Let the mattress dry for at least eight hours.

How to Clean Urine From a Mattress

If you have young children or pets, urine stains are not uncommon. The resulting yellow marks and telltale odor are unpleasant, but urine stains also provide a breeding ground for bacteria.

Fresh urine comes out of mattresses more easily than dried, so always clean up accidents as quickly as possible. Old urine stains absorb into the mattress fibers and require a stronger cleaning solution. 

Fresh Urine

Accidents happen, but it’s easiest to clean them up right away. Some distilled vinegar and baking soda can help remove fresh urine stains and odor.

  1. With a clean cloth, blot the area to remove excess liquid. Avoid rubbing, which can spread stains. 
  2. In a spray bottle, make a mixture with equal parts water and white vinegar.
  3. Spray the stain with the vinegar and water mixture.
  4. Blot the area again with a clean, dry cloth to remove excess moisture.
  5. Sprinkle baking soda over the wet area, and let sit for at least eight hours to absorb moisture and odor.
  6. Vacuum up the baking soda, and inspect for any remaining stains.
  7. Repeat the process if necessary.

Dried Urine

Dry urine stains tend to be more difficult to remove. A stronger cleaning solution with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and detergent often works best. 

  1. Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap. 
  2. Generously spray the stained area and let it soak in.
  3. Let it sit for eight hours to dry. A baking soda residue layer should form as it dries. 
  4. Vacuum up the baking soda, and inspect the mattress for any remaining stains.
  5. Repeat the cleaning process as needed.

How to Clean Vomit From a Mattress

Vomit contains various enzymes and acids that make it challenging to clean. In addition to removing the unsightly stain, you must also deodorize your mattress to prevent lingering odors.

A commercial enzyme cleaner works especially well on breaking down biological substances, such as vomit. To use, follow the instructions on the package. If you prefer to use household ingredients, a mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and warm water should do the trick. 

  1. Lightly blot excess moisture with a disposable cloth. Avoid pressing or rubbing the vomit into the mattress.
  2. Mix 1 cup warm water, 1 cup white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon dish soap in a spray bottle and spray the stain.
  3. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Using a clean, damp cloth, blot the area again to lift away the stain residue.
  5. Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area and let sit for at least eight hours.
  6. Vacuum the baking soda off the mattress, and check for any remaining stains.
  7. Repeat if necessary.

How to Clean Coffee From a Mattress

Coffee leaves telltale brown stains that can be difficult to remove, especially once set in. While a coffee stain is fresh, try flushing it away with water before the pigments bind to the fabric. Otherwise, a mixture of vinegar and dish soap works well. If your coffee includes cream and sugar, use an additional solution of detergent and warm water.

  1. Absorb any liquid if the spill is fresh. Otherwise, dampen the area with warm water. Start at the outer edge and move inwards to avoid spreading the stain.
  2. Mix ¾ cup warm water with ¼ cup white vinegar and 1 tablespoon dish soap in a bowl. (We recommend a concentrated, grease-cutting dish soap.)
  3. Wet a clean cloth in the solution and blot the stain, being careful not to scrub it.
  4. If your coffee had cream and sugar in it, also dab it with a mixture of warm water and laundry detergent.
  5. Let the detergent mixture sit for five minutes.
  6. Blot with a damp cloth to remove the detergent.
  7. Blot with a dry cloth to remove excess liquid.
  8. Repeat as necessary. 
  9. Air dry the mattress for at least eight hours.

How to Clean Wine From a Mattress

Red wine stains are notoriously difficult to remove. For best results, treat spills immediately, and don’t rub into the fabric. 

Commercially available red wine stain removers may be helpful. If you choose such a solution, follow the instructions on the container. Other effective cleaning agents include salt, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Avoid using hot water when removing wine stains, as heat further sets the stain in the mattress fibers.

  1. Blot gently to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
  2. Using a clean cloth, dab cold water on the stain.
  3. Cover the stain with table salt to draw out the liquid. 
  4. Let the salt sit for a few minutes.
  5. Gently blot up the salt with a cool, damp cloth.
  6. Repeat as needed. 
  7. If the stain is stubborn, make a solution of two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part dish soap.
  8. Pour the peroxide and soap mixture onto a damp cloth. 
  9. Thoroughly blot the stain with the cloth.
  10. Wait 20 to 60 minutes.
  11. Blot the area clean with a fresh, damp cloth.
  12. Let the mattress dry for at least eight hours.

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