Sometimes when we change our sheets, we notice stains on the mattress. It’s tempting to think that, well – the bed sheets will cover it up, so who’s going to see? But cleaning a mattress is as essential a chore as any other. After all, you spend about a third of your life sleeping on it!
General mattress cleaning involves vacuuming the surface using your upholstery attachment, then treating any stains. What cleaning solution you use depends on the kind of stain. For a blood stain or sweat stain, hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of dish soap work well. You can remove urine with water and vinegar. Then bicarb soda will handle any odours or moisture.
BTW – if you need help getting started, your house cleaning service can strip down your bed and handle the laundry. This leaves you free to tackle the mattress by itself!
You won’t get a good night’s sleep if you’re constantly worrying that your mattress is dirty. So roll up your sleeves and get your cleaning products – here’s how to clean mattress stains (plus some general maintenance tips).
What Causes Mattress Stains?
A mattress collects sweat stains throughout its lifetime. In the case of accidents, it can also suffer blood, vomit, and urine stains. Then there are lotions, oils, and even dust mites and bed bugs. These often cause a grey or yellow stain on a mattress surface.
Note that anything that’s stained your mattress will also stain your mattress protector. If you use a washable mattress pad, toss it into the laundry right away.
The Best Mattress Stain Remover
The short answer is – it depends on the mattress stain! For blood stains and other very stubborn mattress stains, a mixture of hydrogen peroxide will help clean your mattress. For milder stains like sweat or urine, you can use vinegar and water mixed in a spray bottle. Another cleaning solution is a paste of bicarb soda, salt, and water.
Extremely stubborn stains may require an enzyme remover, which you can buy from home improvement and grocery stores. Just be careful when using them, and always follow instructions!
Removing Mattress Stains
Different stains have different stain remover methods! It’s a little gross to think about, but accidents can happen, or dirt simply accumulates.
Before handling any mattress stains, strip your bed of all linens and toss any dirty ones in the laundry. This includes your mattress protector and mattress topper. If you’ve stained it, wash your doona too!
You can partner routine mattress cleaning with washing your sheets. (And yes, you should clean your mattress and change your bed sheets regularly.)
After stripping your bed, if it’s not wet, vacuum the mattress surface to remove any debris and dust that has gathered. However, if you’re treating a fresh stain, skip right to the treatment.
How to get urine out of a mattress
You need to treat urine stains ASAP, or they might seep into your mattress. Once a stain sets, it’ll be harder to get it out.
To treat a fresh urine stain:
- Blot the affected area with a clean cloth – don’t scrub.
- Make a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the urine stain, patting it with a dry cloth as you go.
- Sprinkle bicarb soda and let it sit for several hours.
- Vacuum the surface to remove any residue.
If the stain has set, then:
- Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.
- Cover the area in the cleaning solution.
- Sprinkle bicarb soda onto the stain and let it sit.
- Vacuum the mattress when dry.
How to get blood out of a mattress
Like urine, you should deal with blood stains immediately. The haemoglobin and iron in blood make it difficult to remove if you allow the stain to set, since they oxidise and dry out.
To get a blood stain off your mattress:
- Take a cloth dampened with cool (not hot!) water and dab at the stain. Don’t scrub, or else you’ll push the blood further into your mattress fibres.
- Mix bicarb soda, salt, and water into a paste.
- Smear the cleaning solution onto the affected area. Let it sit for up to an hour.
- Brush or vacuum the dried paste off, then wipe any residue away with a damp cloth.
It’s important not to use hot water, which could ‘cook’ the proteins in the blood. That causes the blood to set deeper into the mattress.
For more stubborn or old blood stains:
- Mix two cups of hydrogen peroxide with some dish soap.
- Lather some onto the stain and scrub gently with an old toothbrush.
- Let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Rub the residue off with a moist cloth.
How to clean sweat stains from a mattress
Sweat, lotions, and oils all seep through your bedding (even your mattress cover!) into your mattress underneath. To keep your mattress clean, remove mattress stains ASAP!
- Mix 3tbsp of bicarb soda with half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1tsp of dish soap. Combine them thoroughly. If the stains are large or numerous, double the proportions.
- Use a clean cloth to apply the solution to the affected areas.
- Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, then wipe the excess away.
For more persistent stains and odours:
- Mix 3tbsp of powdered laundry detergent with a cup of water.
- Spread a thick, foamy layer onto the affected area and let it sit for half an hour.
- Remove any residue with a moist cloth.
- Get another cloth and dampen it with hydrogen peroxide.
- Wipe the affected area.
- Let your mattress air dry. Vacuum any remaining debris if needed.
How to clean vomit off a mattress
It happens – someone gets sick or has an accident. Work quickly so the vomit doesn’t set in and cake on the mattress fibres.
- Remove any solids and strip the sheets immediately. Wash these on the hottest setting available.
- Blot the stain with a fresh cloth. Don’t rub; just soak up any excess liquid.
- Spray hydrogen peroxide or a 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar.
- Let the mattress air out while the mixture dries.
- Powder the area with bicarb soda to neutralise the smell.
- Once dry, vacuum the spot.
If there’s a lot of vomit or the scent is strong, let the bicarb soda sit overnight and vacuum in the morning.
General Mattress Cleaning
You need to deep clean your mattress once every six months – at least. Meanwhile, vacuum and wipe down the surface around once a month.
Deodorise your mattress with bicarb soda every few weeks. Sprinkle a layer and let it sit, then vacuum up the powder.
Let your mattress air out 1-3 times a year to keep it fresh. This helps deter the accumulation of dust mites, mould, bacteria, and other allergens.
You can have the plushest mattress ever, but you still won’t sleep well if it’s dirty. A mattress is an investment in your personal health, so keep it clean and fresh for the best rest. Your mind and body will thank you for the effort!