Especially if you’re a parent or pet owner, you know that accidents happen all the time. Unfortunately, these accidents are hardest to clean when they affect anything upholstered. And with nighttime accidents, you often have to take care of the bedding and the mattress itself for proper sanitation and to avoid permanent mattress damage.
But don’t worry—if you act quickly, you can remove urine from your mattress and make your bed (almost) as good as new. This guide will cover how to tackle both urine smells and stains. We’ll also provide tips for keeping your mattress safe and clean in the future.
Mattress Pee Stain Removal Guide
Dealing with a pee-stained mattress? There are two tips you should know right off the bat.
- Act Fast– The best way to avoid discoloration, lasting odors, or mattress damage is to act quickly. Take action as soon as you notice the accident to prevent the urine stain from setting it.
- Avoid Soaking the Mattress– Use liquid sparingly when treating any mattress stain. Soaking the mattress with water can cause more harm than good. The remaining moisture will invite mold and mildew if it doesn't dry thoroughly.
These tips aside, it also helps to recognize what you're up against. Why does it matter? Different types of urine stains require unique cleaning methods.
Fresh Urine Stains vs. Dried Urine Stains
The newer the urine stain, the easier it is to clean. If the pee hasn't set in, your main objective is to absorb the liquid and prevent it from soaking deeper into the mattress. For dried stains, you'll likely need a more robust cleaning solution. To protect your mattress, you always want to use the gentlest cleaning method that's still effective.
People Urine vs. Pet Urine
Have you ever noticed pet pee stains and smells worse than human urine? That's because it's more concentrated. While human urine has a fair amount of water, dog and cat urine is denser, containing more elements that smell foul and leave dark stains. Cat urine has a powerful odor because it contains the most ammonia.
How to Get Pee Smell Out of Mattress
On that note, getting the pee stain out of your mattress is only half the battle; you also have to mitigate the small. That's why baking soda is a critical ingredient to many DIY stain removers—it neutralizes the odor-causing acids in the urine. You can also try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to one of the cleaning methods described below; lavender and eucalyptus are two refreshing scent options. For strong pet urine odors, you may need an enzyme cleaner.
DIY Mattress Pee Stain Removal Methods
Luckily, you can use common household items to treat urine stains. Below, we explore two of the best methods for cleaning pee stains and smells out of your mattress.
We recommend starting with this solution because it's gentle and unlikely to damage your mattress if done properly. If it doesn't work, you can always try again with more aggressive cleaning ingredients. However, you may skip it if you're dealing with a deep, set-in stain or pet pee.
Works Best For: Fresh urine stains—people
- Clean towels (cloth, not paper towels)
- Spray bottle
- White vinegar
- Optional: laundry detergent, dish soap, or essential oil
- Baking soda
- Step 1: Strip all the linens from your bed and start the washing machine as soon as possible.
- Step 2: Gently press a clean towel to the stain to soak up the liquid. Dab the affected area to absorb as much liquid as possible but avoid scrubbing or pressing hard into the mattress, which can cause the liquid to seep further into foam.
- Step 3: Combine 50 percent water and 50 percent white vinegar in the spray bottle. You can also add a few drops of laundry detergent, dish soap, or essential oil if desired.
- Step 4: Spray the solution on the affected area. Use a clean towel to blot out any excess liquid as you spray.
- Step 5: Cover the area with baking soda and leave it to sit for about eight to 10 hours.
- Step 6: Make sure the baking soda is completely dry. If so, vacuum up the baking soda and inspect the area. If it's still stained or has a urine odor, repeat the process or move on to our next recommended DIY solution.
Hydrogen Peroxide, Detergent, and Baking Soda
For tougher, set-in urine stains, you may need a chemical compound like hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is tough on stains and bacteria, but beware, it can cause bleaching or discoloration. Hydrogen peroxide may not be a suitable solution if you have a memory foam mattress.
Works Best For: Dried urine stains—people
- Spray bottle
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Liquid detergent
- Baking soda
- Optional: essential oil
- Step 1: Create the cleaning solution by mixing 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of liquid detergent in your spray bottle. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to help tackle the odor.
- Step 2: Spray the affected area of the mattress. Then, let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. You should see a residue form from the baking soda as it dries.
- Step 3: Vacuum the area to clean up the baking soda residue. To make sure your mattress is completely dry, air it out for a few hours before making the bed.
Store-Bought Mattress Pee Stain Removers
For tougher urine stains, you may need a stronger solution than you can drum up at home. Here's what to look for if you take the store-bought or chemical route.
Works Best For: Fresh and dried pet urine stains
As previously mentioned, pet urine is more concentrated than human urine, leaving tougher stains and more pungent smells. We recommend treating the stain with an enzyme cleaner made explicitly for cat or dog pee. The enzymes will break down the compounds in pet urine, like uric acid, that create a strong stench. You can find enzyme cleaners online or at your local pet store.
Mattress Protection Moving Forward
Hopefully, one of these methods clears up your mattress stains and eliminates the urine odor. If you’ve tried all three methods with no success, it may be time to call in a professional mattress cleaner or consider a replacement. In any case, you'll want to take preventative action to ensure an accident never harms your bed again.
That’s where a waterproof mattress protector comes in. This extra layer will defend your bed from liquids should anyone have an accident or spill their drink. Protectors reduce wear and tear, ensuring your mattress lasts longer. They also keep out critters, dust mites, and other allergens.
If you've invested hundreds of dollars into a quality mattress, it's worth spending a little more to keep it safe and clean. Nolah offers two waterproof protector options: our cooling Bamboo Mattress Protector and ultra-soft Organic Cotton Mattress Protector.
For extra peace of mind, Nolah also offers the 10-year Mulberry Accident Protection Plan with any new mattress purchase. For an extra one-time payment, you can protect your mattress from user-caused damage (like pee stains) that our lifetime warranty doesn’t cover. It’s only an additional $.99 when you buy our Nolah Nurture kids’ mattress. For our other models, the protection plan starts at just $29.
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