Don’t panic about getting pee stains out of your bed, whether it’s from a potty- or house-training accident or health issues. I’ve encountered all three: a toddler who often wet the bed while sleeping deeply, puppies and older dogs who weed the bed, and a bed-bound loved one who was too embarrassed to say anything for the longest time.
So, I’ve also got tips that can help, whether you’re looking to treat fresh human or pet pee on a mattress or get rid of old urine stains and odors that have had time to set in. Plus, I share a few ways to prevent urine stains in the future so you don’t have to worry about your bed.
Before You Begin
- Wear gloves: Whether you’re dealing with human urine or animal pee, it’s best to wear rubber gloves to protect yourself from bacteria.
- Do not use heat: Always use cold water and cool air to treat stains, or they may become permanent.
- Use white rags and towels: Use undyed, white rags when you’re getting pee out of your mattress so you don’t transfer dyes from the cleaning rags or towels onto your bed.
Steps to Get Pee Out of a Mattress
Getting pee out of your mattress doesn’t take a long time, but it’s essential to leave enough time for your mattress to fully dry afterward. Putting sheets on a damp mattress can lead to mold and mildew, especially in memory foam mattresses. Leave at least 4 hours for it to dry. You can speed up the process with fans, if needed.
Step 1: Remove everything from the mattress.
Pull off the sheets and pillows so you’re down to the bare mattress. Since urine stains set quickly, it’s recommended to launder the bedding right away. Start with the most soiled item, which is usually the fitted sheet.
If you don’t have access to a washing machine overnight, soak the soiled bedding in a bathtub of cold water with a small amount of dish soap. This will keep the stain from setting in and eliminate the urine smell. When you’re ready to launder it, squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then put the soaked bedding into a trash bag and carry it to the laundry facility.
Step 2: Blot.
If the urine is still damp, use a white, dry cloth or paper towels to blot the affected area. Change rags as needed until you can’t get any more pee out of the mattress. Remember to use a dabbing motion while avoiding pushing down or scrubbing the spot, as doing so may force the dampness further into the bed. I’ve also found that a shop vac or wet-dry vacuum can be very helpful in extracting fresh pee from a bed.
Step 3: Prepare pee stain removers.
For human pee, removing the stain removes the uric acid crystals which cause odors.
- Begin by generously sprinkling baking soda over the affected area and rubbing it in well. For fresh urine, wait until the baking soda completely dries before proceeding. For dried urine, let the baking soda sit for 15 minutes.
- Next, lightly mist the area with a 50-50 mixture of cool water and white vinegar. Expect a slight fizzing as the vinegar solution reacts with any remaining baking soda—that process also dissolves the protein bonds that can make pee stains set in.
- Wait until the fizzing subsides, then gently blot the area dry using a clean cloth or paper towels.
I’ve found with unprotected mattresses that treating a pee stain sometimes creates a lighter spot because the rest of the surface is discolored from sweat or age. If that happens, you can brighten your entire mattress by lightly misting it all over with hydrogen peroxide. Take care not to saturate it. The yellowing will fade as the peroxide dries.
Step 4: Address stubborn stains.
Sometimes, human urine can have a higher concentration of uric acid crystals, which can make pee stains more stubborn and challenging to remove. The presence of uric acid crystals can also result in lingering odors.
To treat stubborn urine stains, combine 2 tablespoons each of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to form a paste, then add a few drops of liquid dish soap. Apply this to the area with a wet cloth and let it sit in place for 15 minutes. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.
Step 5: Neutralize urine odors.
Pet urine is more concentrated than human pee, and cat pee smells a lot like household ammonia. Since pets have more sensitive noses than we do, you need to take another step to ensure they don’t continue to use the same spot. This step involves using enzymes to break down the carbohydrates and proteins unique to animal pee.
To make your own enzyme-based pet deodorizer, combine 1 tablespoon of an enzyme laundry detergent to 1 cup of cool water in a spray bottle. Mist only the area on your mattress where your pet peed. Let that spot air dry, then wipe it again with a barely damp cloth to remove the soap residue.
There are also several enzyme cleaners on the market, including Nature’s Miracle and BioKleen. Some laundry detergents like Persil and Seventh Generation contain enzymes which also break down the elements in pet urine that cause them to keep returning to the same spot.
Step 6: Let the mattress dry.
Avoid making or sleeping in your bed until the mattress is completely dry. You can speed up this process by blotting excess moisture with thick white towels then aiming a fan across its surface. If it’s possible, expose your mattress to direct sunlight by either dragging it outdoors or moving it to where sunshine can hit it through the window for a few hours. Sunlight has natural disinfecting properties and can help eliminate lingering urine odors. Once your mattress is completely dry, make it with fresh bedding and you’re ready for a great night’s sleep.
Preventing Pee Stains
Use a mattress protector: Perhaps the easiest way to protect your mattress from pee or other mishaps is by covering it with a waterproof mattress protector. My favorite feels like terry cloth, so it’s soft, but it has a waterproof backing which keeps liquids off the bed without leaving me covered in sweat.
Planned potty breaks: Whether you’re potty-training young children or house-training a puppy, it’s important they empty their bladders before bedtime. This also means not giving them a big glass of water within the hour before bed.
Incontinence aids: Health conditions, disability, and aging can all lead to nighttime incontinence. If it’s an ongoing problem, consider using incontinence aids such as absorbent underwear and bed pads, and choose sizes that offer adequate protection.
Clean your mattress routinely: The longer stains remain on your mattress, the harder it is to get rid of them. Make a habit of stripping your bed completely every 6 months, then sprinkle it with baking soda and vacuum it thoroughly. Clean any other mattress stains you find and flip your bed.
Above all, don’t panic. Accidents happen and almost everyone has had to get pee out of their bed at some point. With a few household ingredients and patience, you can get yours clean and smelling like it never happened.
Frequently Asked Questions
This website exists to help you. I encourage readers to ask questions in the comment section. When many people have the same question, I update the post to include the answer and increase the article’s helpfulness. If you have a question not answered in the article or FAQs below, please leave it in the comments and you’ll be helping others, too.
Can I sleep on a mattress that’s wet with pee?
If you need to sleep on a mattress that has a damp spot from pee, you can take steps to protect yourself and sleep comfortably. Start by blotting up moisture, then cover the damp spot with a dry towel. Next, place a plastic trash bag over the towel to create a waterproof barrier. Finally, add your bedding on top of the plastic bag. This layering technique keeps moisture from seeping through to help you sleep more comfortably. But, it’s important to clean the mattress as soon as possible to prevent permanent stains and lingering odors.
Does Febreze get pee out of a mattress?
Febreze functions by capturing and neutralizing odor molecules, but it might not deeply penetrate the mattress to entirely eliminate the urine scent and does nothing to remove the stain. It can serve as a temporary fix to pee odors, but you should still follow the steps to remove the stain which will also eliminate the smell for good.
Can I use bleach to get rid of pee stains on a mattress?
Bleach can discolor and damage your mattress construction. Bleach also has a strong smell which can irritate your respiratory tract. Instead of chlorine bleach, try using other methods that are safe for mattresses, like enzyme cleaners, baking soda and vinegar solutions, hydrogen peroxide, or oxygen bleach. These options can help get rid of urine stains and smells without causing any damage.
Does Oxiclean get rid of old pee stains?
Oxiclean is an odorless oxygen-based bleach that effectively removes a variety of stains. To use Oxiclean for urine stains on a mattress, dissolve 2 tablespoons of the powder in 2 cups of cold water. Apply this to the affected area with a clean cloth and allow it to sit in place for 15 minutes. Use a dry cloth to blot the solution, then wipe the surface with a clean damp cloth to rinse away the solution. Let your mattress fully dry before making your bed.
Can I use a steam cleaner to get rid of old pee stains?
You can safely use steam to remove dry urine stains from traditional spring coil mattresses because they have good airflow that prevents mold and mildew. Steam can sanitize the surface and get rid of bacteria that cause odors in innerspring mattresses. But it’s not recommended to use steam to clean memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattresses. Steam can damage them or make them too wet, which can lead to mold and mildew. For these types of mattresses, it’s best to use the other steps to remove pee stains.
No matter the source, you don’t have to live with a stained, smelly mattress. Blot up fresh pee stains immediately, then clean the area before the stain can set. If the spot has been there for a while, you can still get dried pee out of a mattress with household ingredients, just be sure to leave enough time for your mattress to dry afterward then enjoy your fresh, clean bed.