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How to Clean Stains in Your Mattress


Accidents happen. Spills, dropped food, pet stains—we’ve all experienced a stained mattress at least once. And while we strongly encourage our customers to use a mattress protector to safeguard their bed against such accidents, we understand that many people go without one.

So what do you do when the inevitable spill happens? Some stains are trickier than others, but in most cases you should be able to clean them out with the right products and a little patience.

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are made with an exterior knit cover, sometimes called the ticking. This is typically stitched or quilted to the layers of foam and filling inside the mattress, and it’s the place where surface stains occur. Here’s how to tackle them.

  • Minor, unidentified stains
    Your average, unknown stain can usually be removed with a mild cleaning product. Try diluting some dish soap (just a drop or two—no more than 1 tablespoon) with water in a spray bottle, or you can use a mild citrus cleanser, available at any grocery store. Spray the area and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Blot the area with a clean white cloth, paper towels or a sponge. You may need to repeat this a few times to completely remove the stain.
  • Blood & urine
    Blood and urine are a littler trickier, but don’t freak out just yet. For these stains, try applying some hydrogen peroxide directly to the mattress—just enough to soak the cover, not the whole bed. Immediately blot with a clean white cloth. Did it work? If not, try adding a small amount of laundry detergent directly to the stain, and brush vigorously, adding cold water as needed.

    Still needs work? You may also want to try making a paste of hydrogen peroxide (about ¼ cup), dish soap (about 1 tablespoon) and salt (about 1 tablespoon). Spread this mixture over the stain and then wait until it’s dry. Then, remove it by scraping it off and/or using a clean white cloth moistened with hydrogen peroxide.

  • Other stubborn stains
    If the paste doesn’t do the trick, some people have success with baking soda. First, treat the area with laundry detergent, then apply the baking soda. Let the baking soda set (you may need to wait until tomorrow), then vacuum the area the next day. You can also use a clean wet cloth to blot the area.

Foam Mattresses

Today’s foam mattresses are increasingly made with their own fabric covers, though the materials vary. Some may even have a zip-on cover, which you can usually throw in the washing machine (just be sure to follow the care instructions on the tag).

If the cover isn’t removable, or the stain isn’t big enough to warrant cleaning the whole thing (the covers can be quite bulky and tricky to put back on), then you can spot clean it with some of methods listed above. We recommend starting with the most mild treatment to start:

  • Use a spray bottle to make a mixture of dish soap (1 tablespoon) and 1-2 cups of water
  • Spray the stained area thoroughly
  • Let sit for 10 minutes
  • Blot with a clean white clot
  • If this does not work, try applying some hydrogen peroxide and/or laundry detergent directly to the stain, following the steps for Innerspring mattresses above

Don’t forget routine mattress cleaning

Regardless of stains, it’s always a good idea to vacuum your mattress every few months. This helps remove dust and dust mites that can create allergic reactions and disrupt your sleep.

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