How to Get Stains Off and Clean a Mattress

You spend 7 to 9 hours on your mattress every night. With time your mattresses may develop stains from accumulated sweat and body oil. Sometimes you may accidentally spill coffee…

Last Updated On November 23rd, 2022
How to Get Stains Off and Clean a Mattress

You spend 7 to 9 hours on your mattress every night. With time your mattresses may develop stains from accumulated sweat and body oil. Sometimes you may accidentally spill coffee or juice on your mattress which requires immediate cleaning, otherwise, stains may set permanently.

Stains can void your mattress warranty. Mattresses are big investments and you don’t want to risk losing the warranty on it.  In this article, we discuss how to get stains off and clean a mattress without damaging it.

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Steps to Remove Mattress Stains

You don’t need to buy too many things from the store to remove stains from your mattress. A few household items are usually enough to treat tough stains.

How to Treat Common Mattress Stains

While we try to keep our beds clean, they still might get stained. If you have small children in the house, some stains are impossible to avoid. Such accidents can leave a lingering urine stains and smell in the mattress that will need treatment to remove.

When removing stains, it’s best to use white or light-colored cloth because dark colors may bleed when dipped in cleaning solutions. Once you remove the stain, let the mattress air dry before re-making the bed. Double-check to confirm there’s no moisture inside the mattress. Moisture leads to mold and mildew growth.


      Stain removers: Vinegar, liquid dish soap, laundry detergent

      How to remove:

  • Put a towel on the spilled coffee to soak in the liquid
  • Dampen a dry cloth with warm water
  • Blot the stain starting from the edges and moving inwards to prevent spreading
  • Dip another clean dry cloth in a vinegar and liquid dish soap solution
  • Repeat blotting, starting from the edges
  • If your coffee had sugar or cream in it, then dab a mixture of laundry detergent and warm water on the stain
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes
  • Dab a fresh wet cloth to rinse the detergent
  • Blot dry with a clean towel


     Stain removers: White vinegar, ammonia, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, laundry detergent

     How to remove:

  • Blot the area with a dry towel
  • Mix equal portions white vinegar and water or ammonia in a spray bottle
  • Spray on the entire affected area
  • Let it rest for 5 minutes
  • Blot with a dry cloth
  • Sprinkle baking soda all over the area
  • Let it rest for 5 to 6 hours
  • Vacuum clean the area

Set-In Stains

  • Mix a cup of hydrogen peroxide and a few drops laundry detergent in a spray bottle
  • Spray the solution on the affected area
  • Scatter baking soda all over
  • Let rest for 5 to 6 hours
  • Vacuum clean the area

Nail Polish

     Stain removers: Nail polish remover and laundry detergent

     How to remove:

  • Blot with a paper towel
  • Use a cotton ball to dab nail polish remover on the stain
  • Blot dry the area with a fresh paper towel
  • Dab a mixture of laundry detergent and water on the spot
  • Let rest for 5 minutes
  • Wipe with a damp cloth to rinse the detergent
  • Pat dry with a towel


     Stain removers: Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda

     How to remove:

  • Blot the area dry with a towel
  • Spray hydrogen peroxide all over the affected area
  • Let rest for 5 to 8 minutes
  • Blot the hydrogen peroxide with a dry cloth
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area
  • Let rest for 5 to 6 hours
  • Vacuum clean the area


      Stain removers: Baking soda, cornstarch, and dish soap

      How to remove:

  • Mix equal portions of cornstarch and baking soda and sprinkle on the stain
  • Let rest for 20 minutes
  • Use the upholstery attachment in your vacuum to remove the mixture
  • If you still see marks, mix dish soap with warm water and dab on the stain
  • Let sit for 5 minutes
  • Rinse the solution with a fresh wet cloth
  • Use a clean towel to blot dry

Yellow Stains

      Stain removers: Salt, baking soda, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide

      How to remove:

  • Mix equal portions salt, baking soda, and lemon juice
  • Rub the paste onto the stains
  • Let rest for 30 minutes
  • Brush off the paste
  • Remove remaining residue with a damp cloth
  • Blot dry with paper towels

How to Prevent Mattress Stains

You can avoid some stains by being cautious, but yellow sweat stains may still appear. They are usually noticeable after using a mattress for 5 to 6 years.

Use a Mattress Protector

Clean a Mattress

Most mattress protectors are waterproof, preventing liquid from seeping through. They can be easily removed and machine washed on the gentle cycle every two weeks. Mattress protectors are a relatively inexpensive way to extend mattress durability. Plus, they save you the effort of removing stains from your mattress.

Rotate Your Mattress

Rotating your mattress once every three to four months can prevent sweat and body oil from accumulating, causing stains. Rotating the mattress ensures you sleep on different parts of the mattress, reducing stain build-up.

Why Should You Clean Your Mattress?

Your mattress may be a breeding ground for allergens if you don’t clean it regularly. Every normal adult sheds skin cells and considering we spend 7 to 9 hours in bed each night, lots of debris could accumulate and attract dust mites.

Dust mites feed on skin cells and thrive in a warm humid environment. Sweat provides the required humidity for dust mites, mold, mildew, fungi, bacteria, and other indoor allergens to grow.

These allergens trigger symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, itchy throat, skin rashes, and breathing difficulties. Allergic reactions cause sleep disruptions, affecting your daytime productivity. Even if you are not prone to allergies, it’s not hygienic to sleep in a bed full of dust and germs. Cleaning your mattress regularly eliminates these dust and germs, keeping your mattress fresh. A clean mattress has a longer shelf life, saving you money.

Steps to Keep a Mattress Clean

Cleaning a mattress takes some time and effort. Following a few simple steps goes a long way in keeping your mattress clean.

Wash Bedding Accessories

Wash bedsheets, duvet covers, and pillow covers every week in hot water. The high temperature kills germs and other allergens. Washing sheets regularly reduces the chances of skin cells and allergens permeating the mattress. Wash pillows and comforters once every four months. Expose them to sunlight for 4 to 5 hours once a month. The sun’s UV rays kill germs.

We have a number of guides on the proper washing and cleaning of various bedding:


Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to clean the surface and sides of your mattress every 4 to 6 months. Pay extra attention to the areas beneath mattress seams and headboards, which are prone to accumulating germs. Vacuum your foundation, box spring, or platform bed, too.


Deodorizing your mattress maintains its freshness for longer. Mix equal parts cornstarch and baking soda and sprinkle all over your mattress. Let it rest for 8 to 10 hours. Cornstarch absorbs oil, while baking soda neutralizes odors. Then vacuum your mattress again to clean up the baking soda and cornstarch. Mixing baking soda with your favorite essential oils is also an option to keep the soothing fragrances in your bed for a few days.


Can you use bleach on a mattress?

You can use bleach as a last resort for stubborn stains on white mattresses. Wear gloves while using bleach, and keep windows open for ventilation. Dilute bleach with water in a 1:10 ratio. Spray it on the stain, then blot with a damp cloth. Repeat the same process with plain water to remove any residual bleach.

Can you steam clean a mattress?

Though the vapor steam from steam cleaners removes dust and allergen build-up, it comes with a risk. Moisture set within thick foam may not be detectable from the surface, causing damage to the mattress.

How do you deep clean a mattress?

Mattress deep cleaning includes removing all bedding, vacuuming the mattress surface, sprinkling baking soda all over, letting it rest for 10 to 24 hours, and finally re-vacuuming it to remove all baking soda. It’s best to deep clean your mattress once every 6 months. While deep cleaning, open your windows to expose your bed to natural sunlight. The sun’s rays absorb moisture, making your mattress feel fresh.


The best way to tackle stains is to deal with them as soon as possible. With time, they set into the mattress fabric, making removal difficult. Using a high-quality mattress protector is an easy way to safeguard your bed against stains.

About the author

April Mayer has a degree in exercise physiology and is a firm believer in the power of a good night’s sleep. She spends her days reading, researching, and writing about sleep, and her nights, well, sleeping. April’s passion lies in helping others lead more productive lives by helping them get sound, restful sleep every night. April primarily writes about foods and vitamins for better sleep and has written several “better sleep guides” covering a wide variety of topics in her time with Early Bird. She's been a member of the team since March 2020. Additionally, as a sleep expert, April has been featured in various publications including Forbes, Greatist, Real Homes, Thrillist, Tom's Guide, and Eat This, Not That.

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