How to Get Stains Out of a Mattress [5 Methods]

Mattresses are a purchase considered a major investment; it makes sense, considering how much they can impact your sleep quality. Though we often spend thousands on a good mattress, we often don't spend much time maintaining them. Over time, this leads to mattresses getting stained from a variety of different things. So, how can you remove stains from a mattress and keep your investment intact? We've researched cleaning techniques to get the answer for you.

You can do several things to get a stain out of a mattress, each of which is best used in its own unique circumstance. The best methods to remove stains include:

  • Using Vinegar
  • Dabbing With Soapy Water
  • Using Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Utilizing A Mixture Of Baking Soda, Soap, And Peroxide
  • Using A Laundry Detergent Mix

Understanding how to work with stains makes a big difference in the success you'll have with your mattress cleaning. This guide will help you learn how to identify which technique is best for various stains, then give you the best advice on how to use each. 

spring mattress with stains,How to Get Stains Out of Mattress [5 Methods]

What Causes Yellow Stains On A Mattress?

spring mattress with no stains

Mattress stains can be caused by a wide variety of things, including the oil from a person's sweat, urine, vomit, or even drinks spilled in the bed. The regular yellowing that you see on mattresses is caused by the long-term buildup of sweat, oil, and bacteria from people. It's the same reason we see towels in need of bleaching. Getting rid of those stains requires the use of any technique.

To make things easier, we are going to parse out each method individually below. We'll also specify which techniques work best for tough stains, like blood and vomit or deep-set stains.

Using Vinegar

Vinegar is an all-natural stain remover that can work totally fine on its own. Using vinegar on its own is the best way to get rid of light stains like the yellowing that comes from sweat. Here's how to use this classic cure-all for staining on a mattress:

  1. First, mix a solution that's one part white distilled vinegar, one part water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and shake. 
  2. Spray down the mattress, and grab a white cloth. 
  3. Dab and blot away at the stain until you see it lift. 
  4. Let air dry.

Click here to get white vinegar from Amazon.

Dabbing With Soapy Water

Dish soap isn't just for dishes. Much to many peoples' surprise, this is a remarkably good stain remover for textiles too. If you have some dish soap on hand, use this trick to make your mattress clean again. 

  1. Add a tablespoon of dish soap to a liter of water. Stir gently. 
  2. Spray the solution onto the mattress stain in question, ideally to the point of saturation. 
  3. Use a white rag to sop up as much of the stain as you can. 
  4. Continue to dab until you no longer see any improvement. 
  5. Rinse, and let air dry. 
  6. Follow up with additional stain cleaner if necessary. 

Click here to get dish soap from Amazon.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide

This is a unique choice because it also works best on blood stains. You can pour peroxide directly on the stain and use a rag to dab the stain until it vanishes. If your mattress is made of sensitive material (or a blood stain became deeply set), this might not be a good method. Use the method below instead.

Click here to get some hydrogen peroxide from Amazon.

Via A Mixture Of Baking Soda, Soap, And Peroxide

If you have a pretty serious stain that won't lift, then you may need to make your own enzyme cleaner. While this sounds terrifying, it's not. It just means you'll need baking soda, traditional dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide. This works best with urine, vomit, and similar items. To make it and use it, follow these instructions below:

  1. Start by mixing a couple of drops of dish soap, a cup of hydrogen peroxide, and three tablespoons of baking soda. Stir gently, then add it to a spray bottle. 
  2. Spray the solution over the stain, being liberal with your spraying method. If you're cleaning a biological agent, you will need to refrigerate the solution for at least an hour before spraying. 
  3. Scrub the area with an old toothbrush to help lift the stain. Some might also find blotting with a white cloth is effective.
  4. Rinse the area with water. 
  5. Blot with an absorbent towel to remove any moisture.

Click here to get a bucket of baking soda from Amazon.

Using Laundry Detergent Mixtures

Laundry detergent is a notorious stain fighter, and not just for clothing. This can work on virtually any stain, and also happens to be a good way to make your mattress feel softer and look brighter. If you're working with a particularly tough, set-in stain, this is the best choice for you. To make a solution with laundry detergent, follow these handy steps below:

  1. Mix ten parts distilled water, one part laundry detergent, and one part vinegar. Shake gently.
  2. Spray the solution all over the stain, then use a soft-bristled brush (or old toothpaste) to loosen up the stain. 
  3. Let the stain sit for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  4. Blot it all down with a damp towel, letting the stain transfer to the towel. This should remove the extra residue as well as the stain. If the stain doesn't budge, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub a little deeper. 
  5. Once the stain is removed, rinse the area by spraying it liberally with water. 
  6. Use a dry towel to soak up the rest of the moisture, then let air dry. 

What's The Best Way To Clean A Mattress?

Bed Mattress with Sheets

Though there are a lot of different methods you can use to make a mattress more sanitary, the truth is that there are several things you need to keep in mind. Even with the right procedure, there's still a right way and a wrong way to make these methods work for you.

Here's how to use this guide to the best of your ability:

  1. Start cleaning the stain as soon as it happens, if possible.
  2. Vacuum the area before you start working on the stain with cleaners to pick up any solids. 
  3. Then, choose the right cleaning solution for your carpet. Each method above mentions which stains are best. If you can't find information on which solvent to use, try a gentler one (like vinegar) before moving up to methods involving commercial cleaners.
  4. Once the stain is removed, work on deodorizing your mattress. 
  5. Let it air dry if any other moisture is noticeable afterward.

How Do You Deodorize Your Mattress?

To fully deodorize your mattress, sprinkle a blend of cornstarch and baking soda into your mattress. Let it sit for at least an hour, up to 24 hours for a very smelly mattress. The cornstarch will help remove any oils left in your mattress, while the baking soda will help remove the odor. Once the odor is absorbed, vacuum up the powders using a hand vacuum or a brush extension.

What's The Best Way To Dry A Mattress?

There's some pretty good news about mattress drying: you probably don't need a towel. Most mattresses do perfectly fine with air drying once they have been properly cleaned. However, it can take a while for your mattress to dry. There are some tips you can use to make the process faster and also further clean your mattress. Check them out below:

  • If you can, position your mattress in the sunlight. The UV rays can help disinfect and destroy any mold spores.
  • Running a fan nearby can help speed up your mattress drying time.
  • Sticking to steaming when you need to have the mattress dry is a smart idea. It's the fastest way to get your mattress fully dried. 
  • Never let a fresh stain dry if you can help it. This can cause the stain to become impossible to remove.
  • The best temperature for a mattress to dry is from 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • To make your mattress dry quickly, use a dehumidifier.

What Can You Spray On A Mattress To Disinfect It?

If you recently had a child who wet the bed or a pet that mistook your mattress for a litterbox, then you will need to disinfect your mattress along with a regular cleaning. Thankfully, disinfectants are a dime a dozen in this category. Two common methods are used to help disinfect mattresses. Both can work in most cases, so don't worry about being too picky. 

The Vinegar Method

If you lifted up a stain using the vinegar method above, then you don't have to worry about disinfecting the stain. The 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water is enough to kill most of the mold and bacteria that could have affected the mattress.

You can use this method for disinfecting, even if you already used another method to remove the stain. Since vinegar also evaporates, all you need to do is spray this mixture liberally throughout the mattress and let it air dry. There's no rinsing required!

Lysol Disinfecting Spray

Believe it or not, Lysol isn't just bleach. The company also makes a sprayable disinfecting solution that's a great choice for disinfecting mattresses. Unlike many other disinfecting sprays, this option is fairly gentle on the textiles found in mattresses. While some might see a little whitening, the truth is that this is the most reliable way to ensure that your mattress is fully rid of germs. For what it's worth, quite a few hospitals and hotels use this disinfectant spray on their beds. 

Click here to get Lysol disinfecting spray from Amazon.

Can You Steam Clean Your Mattress?

Steam cleaning is a great way to prevent those yellow stains from setting into your mattress and prolong your mattress's life. However, there's a right way and a wrong way to do this. In order to make sure that you get as much effect out of your mattress as possible, follow the instructions below:

  1. Start by removing the sheets on your bed and using a vacuum to lift up any noticeable debris on your bed. 
  2. Using a handheld steam cleaner, steam through the entire top of the mattress.
  3. Let the freshly cleaned mattress air dry. This should happen almost immediately after you have passed over an area with a steamer.

Can You Have A Mattress Professionally Cleaned?

Of course, you can! Most companies that offer professional carpet cleaning also are able to do mattress cleaning. How much they charge and whether they are actually willing to do it will differ from place to place. If you want to get a professional to do it, it's best to check local carpet cleaning services and call in advance, specifically asking for that service. 

It's actually a good idea to get a mattress professionally cleaned if you have a serious stain that has not been able to be removed. Stains that are deeply set in, too, are better treated by professional equipment and solvents. When calling the pro's in, make sure you mention the type of stain, just so they can figure out what needs to be done.


If you have a mattress with a fresh stain, don't panic. You're not alone. Mattress stains are inevitable. Whether it's the gradual yellow stain that happens from heavy use or a urine stain from a pet doesn't matter. What matters is that you work on getting rid of the stain as soon as you notice it.

Stain removal might be a pain, but in most cases, it's fairly doable. There are tons of solvents that you can use to lift stains out, and while choosing the right one makes a huge difference, the biggest difference can be seen through the use of effort. Once you're done addressing the stain, make sure to let your mattress dry. After all, no one likes to sleep on a soggy mattress!

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