A person holding a spray bottle of stain remover and a microfiber cloth to clean a mattress stainPin

DIY Mattress Stain Removers to Get Your Mattress Clean Again

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Does spending a night on a stained sponge full of dead skin cells, mold spores, stale sweat and other bodily fluids—and not just yours—sound good? Of course not. But that’s exactly what you do every night if you aren’t cleaning those mattress stains and freshening your bed.

Now, before you haul out the heavy duty disinfectants, I’ve got a few homemade natural mattress stain remover recipes to help you tackle any spots you find. Ready? Let’s get cleaning!

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WhiteningMystery Stains •  Grease •  Ink •  Sweat •  Blood •  Urine •  Feces •  Vomit & Other •  Mold •  Preventing Stains •  Mattress Cleaning  

Mattress Stain Removers

Before you begin, here are a few things to know so you can get stains out of your mattress without damaging it or spreading the mess.

  • Choose undyed rags. White rags don’t transfer dye.
  • Blot, don’t rub. Press and lift, so you don’t spread the stain.
  • Don’t use heat. Heat can make stains set in permanently.
  • Don’t saturate your mattress. It’s a big sponge. Don’t make mold in it.

Whitening a dingy mattress

Mattresses start looking dingy due to sweat and sometimes dye transfer from our sheets. To brighten your mattress, spray it lightly with 3% hydrogen peroxide until it’s damp, but not soaking wet.

The oxidizing agent in hydrogen peroxide will break down sweat and dyes as it dries, leaving your mattress white again.

Pro Tip

A clean spray bottle nozzle fits directly into most peroxide bottles—just snip the tube with scissors if it’s too long.

Mystery stains

If you aren’t sure what’s causing a stain on your mattress, work some baking soda into the area with your fingers then spray it with vinegar. The fizzing reaction loosens stains, so all you may need to do is wipe with a cool, soapy rag to finish the job.

Grease or makeup

Makeup is often oil-based, so sprinkle baking soda over the stain to absorb it. After a few minutes, vacuum the spot. Then, blot the area with cool, soapy water, wait 5 minutes, wipe away the soapy residue and let it air dry.

Ink

Blot fresh ink stains until you can’t get up any more ink. Clean old or new ink stains with rubbing alcohol on a white cloth, working from the outside in. Wipe with a damp rag once the stain is gone and air dry.

Pro Tip

Turn and fold your cloth as needed so you’re always blotting the stain with a fresh, clean spot.

Sweat

Spray sweat stains on your mattress with equal parts cool water and vinegar plus a drop of dish soap to loosen the stain’s bond to the fabric. After 15 minutes, wipe the surface with a clean damp cloth to remove the sweat and air dry. Then, spray your mattress lightly with hydrogen peroxide if you need to brighten it.

Blood

Pro Tip

It’s crucial you avoid heat while cleaning blood stains, or the proteins in them will bond with the mattress fabric.

To get blood stains out of your mattress, apply a mixture of 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide plus 1 tablespoon each of liquid dish detergent and table salt. Wait 10 minutes then scoop away the mix and blot the area with hydrogen peroxide. Air dry.

Between the salt’s absorbent properties, the dish detergent’s ability to dissolve proteins, and the peroxide’s mild bleaching as it breaks down the hemoglobin in blood, this usually does the trick to get the blood out and whiten your mattress, too.

Did You Know?

Meat tenderizer contains natural enzymes that loosen protein bonds like those in blood. So check your kitchen cupboard. If you’re in luck, apply a paste of meat tenderizer and water to the stain, wait 15 minutes, and wipe it away with water. Gone.

Urine (human)

To get rid of urine stains on your mattress, apply a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Let that sit for 5-10 minutes then wipe it off with a fresh, damp cloth. Once the surface is clean, rinse it with a fresh, damp rag and let it air dry.

Urine (pet)

To keep your pet from using your mattress as a potty, neutralize the odor and remove the stain by spraying it with equal parts white vinegar and water until it’s damp but not soaking wet. After 15 minutes, blot the area with a dry cloth and repeat.

Now, while it’s still damp, sprinkle on some baking soda. That fizzing action will further lift the stain and deodorize the area. Let it air dry then vacuum your mattress. Finish by going over the spot with a disinfecting wipe and you’re done.

Feces (any source)

Getting poop stains off your mattress isn’t only about dealing with the mess, though there’s that. You also want to eliminate the odor. But first, hunt down some rubber gloves and a mask if you still have one around. You’re welcome.

1. Scrape the poop off of your mattress with a disposable plate or piece of cardboard and toss that in the trash. Blot with paper towels and toss them out, too.

2. Fill a spray bottle with 2 cups of cold water then add 1 tablespoon each of liquid dish soap and white vinegar. Swirl this together then spray the stain and give it 15 minutes to break up the fats in the poop.

3. Blot, wipe, and repeat until the discoloration disappears.

4. Eliminate the odor by sprinkling the damp area with baking soda. Let the fizz lift and loosen the stain.

5. Vacuum and disinfect the area with a disinfectant wipe.

Vomit and other bodily fluids

Before you get the wrong idea about what goes on in my home, let me explain that I first developed this mattress stain remover to deal with chemo-induced vomit. It just happens to work great on other stuff, too.

With this one you’re not cleaning with the mixture itself, just with the dry foam that it produces. You whip up that foam by whisking together 2 tablespoons of powdered laundry detergent and 1 tablespoon of water.

Apply the dry cleaning foam to the mattress stain and and give it 10 minutes to loosen proteins, then scoop it up. Spray hydrogen peroxide to loosen any residue and then wipe the area with a clean cloth.

Mold and mildew

Remove mold and mildew spores from your mattress by spraying the surface with a 50-50 mix of rubbing alcohol and warm water. The trick is you’ve got to keep the surface slightly damp but not soaking for a full hour, so you’ll need to spray again every so often.

Once the time’s up, wipe your mattress with a cloth dampened in plain water to remove the alcohol residue, let it air dry, then continue with the cleaning steps below to remove the odor and dried out mold spores.

Preventing Mattress Stains

There is a very simple way to keep your mattress fresh and free of stains: use a protective cover. Slip it on your mattress before anything else—pad or foam topper, and fitted sheet. Wash it every couple of months and let your mattress air out while you do.

Cleaning Your Mattress After Removing Stains

Once you’ve got out all the stains and the surface is dry, clean your mattress to get rid of any debris left from the stain removal process. This step also helps control dust mites by removing dead skin cells and hair.

1. Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda over the bare mattress surface and rub it in with your hand. Give it 10 minutes to absorb any remaining moisture.

2. Vacuum: Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to clean your mattress head to foot then side to side. Clean along the sides, too, and use the crevice tool along the seams.

3. Make your bed. Don’t forget the mattress protector to prevent future stains, so your mattress can stay clean and fresh.

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43 Comments

  1. Juliett Raabe says:

    Used the dawn, baking soda, peroxide combo – after several apps, it worked great!!
    Is it OK to sprinkle scented body powder or an antiseptic powder like Ammens for a fresh scent?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Juliett,

      I’m so glad the mattress stain remover helped! If you want to add a fresh scent, using body powder won’t harm it but you should vacuum it up after 10 minutes or so. If you aren’t using a mattress protector, the powder will work through your fitted sheet and feel like gritty dust in your bed if you don’t. If you’re using a mattress protector, you won’t smell the scent so it’s an unnecessary step.

  2. Jenelle Rodenbaugh says:

    What about an overall dirty looking mattress? I think from moving in uhaul. Would the spraying of hydrogen peroxide clean it up?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It should definitely help.

  3. I have a brand new Sterns and Foster mattress and I noticed a small black spot almost looks like grease in one of the divots so I got out a white wash cloth and dreft baby soap with a little water and gently dapped and rubbed a little – the black spot is gone (yay) but now I am left with a white spot (mattress off white color) what should I do?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’d just wipe the spot more. It sounds like there might be a little soap residue left since the Dreft doesn’t contain any bleach and your comment indicates the rest of the mattress is off-white.

  4. Any recommendations for white powder detergent? I don’t use powder and the ones I’ve used in the past all had the blue crystals.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Most powdered detergents for sensitive skin don’t have blue crystals. I think Arm & Hammer’s powdered detergent doesn’t, either.

  5. Hi i came very late to visit your site..i washed my mattres 3 days ago with water and now its dry on both surface but the water is still present inside…its too heavy…i am very upset about it…i realized my blundder that it should be not wet…How can i dry it completly?? Kindly suggest

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Naila,

      I’m sorry you hadn’t found my site before getting your mattress wet. I’d move it to a sunny spot outside and place it on something that keeps it off the ground. That way the air can circulate while sunlight helps it dry. If you have access to a shop vacuum (a wet/dry one) you can try suctioning the water out, too.

  6. Germaine Lee says:

    I have a mattress with water stains that are a bit old. Other than that the mattress is in excellent condition.
    How can I remove the stains. Thanks

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Germaine,
      I’d treat them as urine stains and use the methods described.

  7. Veronica Jack-Melville says:

    Thank you very much, it worked!
    I used it on my mattress about twenty-five minutes (25) ago and it really works. The stain has gone.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so happy to have helped!

  8. Does it clean OLD and i mean old like 1 year old blood stains? Same goes for urine stains? Thank you

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes.

  9. Will this work on urine stains that have been there for a while? I have made the mistake of using two mattress covers on my son’s mattress and did not think to look at the condition of the mattress, Well, today…I noticed a good sized urine stain from my son’s dog and I am not 100% sure how long it has been there. Help!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, it works wonderfully on old stains!

  10. Hi, I recently recieved a mattress that has never been used but was stopped in a basement for a couple of years. It reaks of a musty molded basement! I have tried putting it outside to air out, then fanning it out inside after spraying it down with bleach, thinking would kill any mold present. The smell is still there! I don’t know what to do. Can you help?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Assuming it’s completely dry, I’d work baking soda into all surfaces of the mattress and let that sit overnight, then vacuum it very well using your machine’s upholstery attachment. If it still reeks after that, it’s probably hopeless. Sorry! 🙁

  11. Great. This works wonders!!! My jaw dropped to the ground then I dropped to my mattress!! Could not believe the difference. Thank you thank you thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you tried and liked it, Leah!

  12. Michelle Henry says:

    That. Is. Awesome. Thank you for solving a lifelong struggle in one fell swoop!

  13. Marianne Barkman says:

    Hi, I found a very large yellow stain on my mattress about 1 meter x 80cm…which I don’t remember being there before I stored it during my move. There is no odour. None of the mattress protectors have a stain. Its a puzzle. Anyway we sprayed it with white vinegar and then ladled bi-carbonate soda on it and left it overnight. Now just brushed a bit of the soda away…the yellow stain is till there 🙁 Question: is bi-carbonate soda the same as the baking soda you are talking about? I’m in the UK. I don’t use this soda in baking.
    Can you help?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, bi-carbonate soda is the same thing as baking soda. Hydrogen peroxide is really the key to removing that stain. You should be able to purchase it at the chemist.

  14. My 4 year old sister came to visit me earlier this year and she had an accident in my bed, i thought we’d cleaned it up but the pee stained, i just tried your hydrogen peroxide/baking soda/soap concoction.. and can I just say.. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I really appreciate the post, it’s helped me so much! 😀

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so happy to have helped!

  15. Hello, just bought a brand new loom and leaf foam mattress. Blood stain, didn’t read this before i started cleaning it but what I did was use soap and cold water and it completely came out. Now there is a large brown ring surrounding the cleaned stain. How do I get that out?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      The brown ring is where the soap and water spread the blood, rather than completely getting rid of it. Spraying hydrogen peroxide lightly on the ring should take it away after 15 minutes or so. Don’t drench the mattress; just spray lightly, wait, blot with a clean white cloth and repeat if necessary.

  16. Helen Tsobanis says:

    Thanks for the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda/dishwashing liquid cleaning tip. It worked wonders on my children’s mattresses which had a bit of everything stains( urine,sweat and blood due to my sons nosebleeds). Still trying to scrape off the paste which I also used in an attempt to extra clean one stubborn spot on the mattress

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  17. Any suggestions if you don’t own a vacuum? I realize that sounds odd, but our house has all wood or tile floors. Our vacuum was old and not useful for sweeping those types of floors (unless I liked scratching up the wood!) so I gave it to a friend who needed one.

    1. Heather Z says:

      You could use a shop vac if you have one, or you could borrow one (vacuum or shop vac) from a family member or good friend or neighbor.

    2. Katie Berry says:

      That’s great advice, Heather!

  18. Katie your tip for stain worked great. My four year old did a number on my mattress which sift through the mattress cover I had (I ought to think about changing that) and the rest of the solution worked great for removing her pencil graffiti from the wall. Thanks!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Bebe, I’m so glad to have been of help! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. 🙂

  19. I looked at your website too late. I have already soaked my mattress with bleach and used the steam cleaner on it.obviously that didn’t work very well otherwise I wouldn’t have started looking for your site. I hope to let it dry and then perhaps try one of your methods. I have a urine stain on my bed from my old dog who had kidney problems. scrubbing it with bleach and the steam cleaner only made a big white spot where the urine was and the rest of the mattress is the color of when I bought it. I think I’ve made a mess and this is an expensive mattress. I wish I would have come here first. Wish me luck!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh no! Soaking a mattress is never, ever a good idea. But here’s some bad news: if it’s soaked, it’s going to take a very long time to get it completely dry. Blot as well as you can with towels (seriously, put them on and lay down on them, then switch to new ones, repeat, etc. until the towels come up dry) THEN let it air dry or blow a fan at it for a day or so.

      After it’s completely dry, give my methods a shot. But don’t soak it — never soak it. Please.

      I hope it all works out for you! My dog did the same thing when she was having kidney and liver issues, bless her heart, and the directions in this blog entry fixed it. Wish I had directions to bring her back. She was a very good dog.

  20. Beth Hall says:

    I tried the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixture to get those awful brown stains off an expensive king mattress. Worked like magic. At first I thought it wasn’t working but when I looked a half hour or so later the stains were gone! Be patient. More is not always better in this case.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Glad to have helped, Beth!

    2. User123445 says:

      Will that also work on a yellow stain in a mattress? Deep cleaning my room before I leave for Christmas vacation and I got my bed from my sister but I’ve notice it got a yellow stain on it.. but will that also work on it? Practically a brand new bed, didn’t use it for a long period of time before she gave it to me. Thank you

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Most yellowing stains are either from sweat or urine. I’ve provided recipes to remove both types of mattress stains.

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