How to Get Urine Out of a Mattress – Step by Step Instructions

Having to deal with urine stains is never an easy task, but it is very likely to happen if you have children or pets who sleep on the bed. Unless you use a really good waterproof mattress protector, you should be prepared for this possibility. While getting urine out of the mattress isn’t all that complicated, it is a several-steps process that does require a little bit of patience and some ingredients that are easy to find.

Dangers of Urine In/On Your Mattress

Bedwetting is a common problem amongst children and elders, and having urine in the mattress is something with a lot of dangers in the long haul:

  • Bed bugs are more likely to invade a mattress that’s soaked in urine. That’s because these critters are naturally drawn to human hormones and heat, both of which are urine characteristics. Furthermore, urine is filled with histamine, another magnet for bed bugs. The true problem is that getting bed bugs out of the mattress is extremely difficult, which often means that you will have to buy a new bed.
  • There is just one step between getting a mattress soaked with urine and having the bed turn into a regular allergy trigger. Dust mites are more likely to settle in a mattress with urine, as they are fans of warm environments. If you notice any symptoms that include chest tightness, itching or red eyes, wheezing or difficulty in breathing (and you know you have urine in or on the mattress), don’t rule out the possibility of dust mites.
  • Needless to say, it will be very difficult to get that unpleasant urine odor out of the mattress. Some experts suggest using products such as baking soda or hydrogen peroxide as part of the cleaning process, but one thing’s for sure: you need to get that smell out of the mattress before it becomes unbearable to sleep on.
  • Mold build-up inside your mattress is a thing, and it’s something that could easily happen inside an urine-soaked mattress. In case you don’t know just how dangerous mold is, let’s so over a few facts. Mold produces mycotoxins, which can lead to auto-immune conditions and allergies. They can enter your body through the digestive tract, skin, and lungs, and they can lead to respiratory problems in the long run.

When Is It Time for a New Mattress?

Except for when mold and bed bugs have infested your mattress to a point where you can’t get rid of them anymore, you should be able to solve the problem of a urine-soaked bed if you act in due time.

For example, if you want to prevent the formation of mold after a mattress has been soaked with urine, you can use rubbing alcohol in a circular motion on the stained area. Then, you can use a disinfectant and air dry the mattress after. Some people use hydrogen peroxide to clean a mattress stained with urine, which can also be efficient in removing odors. However, you need to take into account the fact that not all mattress fabrics and materials withstand this solution, so be careful not to destroy the mattress when doing so.

At some point, problems like mold and bed bugs can get really out of hand and, when that happens, buying a mattress is the only solution.

Preventing Mattress Urine Damage

A waterproof mattress protector is the very first thing you can do to keep the mattress protected from urine stains. Some mattress protectors are designed with a bottom waterproof layer that stops all sorts of liquids in their tracks and prevents moisture from reaching the top of the bed.

Aside from that, you can also have children or elders use diapers that are appropriate for their age, which is another safety precaution that you can turn to when you want to protect the bed.

It also helps if you always have urine-cleaning solutions at hand. In case of an accident, you can quickly proceed to cleaning the bed and limiting the urine-induced damage that could eventually make you have to spend money on a new mattress.

Bulldog on mattress
Photo by @carrieebecker

What You’ll Need

Most of the ingredients needed to get urine stains and smell out of a mattress are most likely in your household already. Some people like to choose powerful chemical solutions, but there is a high chance of them damaging the mattress if they do. Even more, nobody wants to sleep on a bed that smells like chemical, so we do recommend arming yourself with the following ingredients and tools:

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Your favorite essential oil (most people prefer lavender)
  • Liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn)
  • Vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • One empty spray bottle

Step-by-Step Process

Step #1: The vinegar factor

  • Vinegar is actually one of the most underrated cleaning products that you have inside your home. Solutions based on vinegar have been used to successfully clean microwaves, ovens, and remove nasty smells from refrigerators. Now, people can use vinegar to soak urine stains out of the mattress as well. It doesn’t matter if the stain is old or new, you can soak it in vinegar either way (if the spot is still wet, you can pat a paper towel on it until it comes out dry).
  • After applying the vinegar on the stain, leave it for a few minutes to soak. What you’re basically doing right now is giving the urine stain a chance to re-hydrate so that it will be easier to remove it in the following steps.

Note: You should also apply vinegar in the area surrounding the stain because urine can also soak out into the mattress fabric.

Bulldog on mattress
image from @dreamcloudsleep

Step #2: Making the solution

  • Now, you will have to make the solution that will be used to remove the stain. It is really important that you make this mix right before the application, as making it in advance and just leaving it there will cause it to lose its effectiveness.
  • You will need to mix eight ounces of hydrogen peroxide with half a teaspoon of dish washing soap, and add another three tablespoons of baking soda to the mix.
  • Put all of the ingredients inside the spray bottle and make sure that you do not shake it before use. You can either swish it around or mix it with a spoon or something similar.
  • Optional: Some people like to add a few drops of their favorite essential oils to the mix, as this will add a more pleasant fragrance to the solution and cause the mattress to smell of something better than dish washing soap. Even more, essential oils have sanitizing properties, so the smell is just an added bonus.

Related: Top 10 Best Mattresses of 2020 – For a Good Night’s Sleep

Step #3: Applying the solution

  • Now that you have soaked the stain in vinegar and have made the solution needed to clean the mattress, it’s time to actually apply it on the stained area. Make sure that you also cover the areas around the stain.
  • After you have applied the solution (as generously as possibly), allow the stain to soak for another 10 minutes. If the stain has been there for quite some time, chances are it penetrated the surface of the mattress a lot, in which case leaving it there for 20 minutes might be a better idea.
  • When the time is up, use a dry paper towel to pat the stain once again. In case you notice that the stain is still very visible, you can apply the cleaning solution and wait another 10 minutes.
  • It is not recommended that you wipe the stain with towels. When you gently pat the mattress with a light colored paper towel, you are more likely to see if the towel comes out clean or if you need to reapply the solution.

Step #4: Using baking soda

  • If you know that vinegar is one of the best cleaning solutions around the kitchen, then you also know that when paired with baking soda, these two can do a wonderful job in removing all sorts of stains.
  • In this case, baking soda is used to remove the urine smell from the mattress. It is also used because of its capacity to absorb excess moisture from the mattress.
  • Using a tablespoon, liberally sprinkle baking soda all over the stain, making sure that you include the surrounding as well. Leave it on the mattress so that both of them can dry along.
  • At this point, you want to leave your mattress to dry for about six hours. This will allow the moisture to be absorbed and dissipated. If you skip this step, there are chances that your mattress ends up having mold.

Extra tip: Some people like to sprinkle baking soda between the sheets and the mattress so that the two can stay fresh for longer between two cleanings.

Step #5: Vacuuming the mattress

  • The final step requires you getting rid of the baking soda from the surface of the mattress. A handheld vacuum is the best tool to use in this scenario. If you don’t have one and are required to use a regular vacuum, make sure that the nozzle that comes in contact with the mattress is as clean as possible.
  • When using a vacuum to remove the excess baking soda, make sure that you carefully apply in on the crevices and folds. Pay close attention to seams, as baking soda is really fine and will easily infiltrate such sensitive areas. In fact, this is a rule that you can take into account every time you want to clean your mattress: make sure that you vacuum areas where allergens might take shelter.

Extra tip: If your mattresses are prone to getting urine stains for one reason or another, you might want to consider investing in a quality mattress protector. Even if they cost more, waterproof protectors are a great way to ensure that liquid spills and accidents are kept away from the mattress, thus making it easier for you to clean it when the time comes.

Bulldog on mattress

Optional Step: Using Enzymatic Cleaner

If the urine stain is caused by a pet, you should know that it becomes 10 times more important for you to get the smell out of the mattress. You might think that the mattress is clean, but the pet’s heightened smell will surely detect a trace of urine and chances are they will pee on the bed again. The best way to help prevent that is to buy and apply an enzymatic cleaner.

There are different types of enzymatic cleaners on the market which have proven to be effective in removing the scent of urine so that cats (since they are the ones more difficult to train and keep off the bed) will not pee in that exact same spot again. Make sure that you carefully follow the instructions that are written on the package.

Bottom Line

Cleaning your mattress is a mandatory thing and a task that should be performed on a regular basis. However, there are times when mattress cleaning can’t be postponed, and having a bed with urine stains requires immediate attention. Thankfully, almost every one of the ingredients needed to clean urine stains are already inside most of your homes, which means that you can act fast while the stain is still fresh.

Remember to not be afraid to reapply the cleaning solution if you notice a stubborn stain and keep in mind that using a white paper towel to remove the excess solution will make it easier for you to see if the stain is actually gone (if the towel is clean).