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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