Rust Stains on a Mattress: Should I Worry & How to Remove

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On April 5th, 2024
Rust Stains on a Mattress: Should I Worry & How to Remove

Key Takeaways

  • Causes of Mattress Rust Stains: Rust stains on a mattress are typically a sign that the inner components of the mattress, such as coils or springs, are rusting due to exposure to moisture. Moisture, lack of mattress protection, old age, low-quality materials, accumulated moisture, environmental factors, and prolonged exposure to liquids are common causes.
  • Treating Rust Stains: If rust stains do appear on your mattress, you can treat them by blotting with a soapy solution, rinsing with clean water, and, if necessary, using a rust stain remover. Allow the mattress to air dry completely before reusing it. If the stains persist or the mattress is in poor condition, consider professional cleaning or replacement.
  • When to Replace a Rusty Mattress: Consider replacing a rusty mattress if you notice severe rust that has spread widely, an uneven surface, visible sagging, or if the mattress makes squeaking or creaking sounds when you move. Additionally, if the mattress is old and shows multiple signs of wear, it may be time for a replacement to ensure comfort and well-being.

Are you dealing with those perplexing rust stains on your mattress, wondering what to do next? You’re not the only one facing this dilemma. Rust stains on a mattress can seem like a mystery, but fear not, because we’re here to provide some clarity.

In this article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind these stains, offer insights into their causes, share tips on prevention, and guide you on how to effectively treat them. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets of dealing with rust stains on your mattress.

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What Causes Mattress Rust Stains?

Rust stains on a mattress are like warning signs from your bed. They usually mean that the inner parts of your mattress, like the coils or springs, are rusting away. While a few rust spots might not make your sleep uncomfortable right away, over time, rust can make your mattress less supportive and comfy.

Moisture Exposure

Moisture, like spills or a humid bedroom, can cause rust stains. When metal parts like coils or springs meet moisture repeatedly, they start to rust. This rusting process can weaken the mattress’s metal parts and create those unsightly stains. Even sleeping with wet hair too often can cause moisture to accumulate in your mattress.

So, keeping your mattress dry and well-protected is essential to avoid this problem, along with other issues like mold and mildew that flourish in moisture-rich environments.

Lack of Mattress Protection

Skipping a mattress protector can put your mattress at risk. Without it, spills have a clear path to seep into the mattress’s inner layers, leading to rust formation on metal parts like coils or springs. To shield your mattress from these stains and damage, consider investing in a reliable mattress protector—it’s a simple yet effective solution.

Old Age

Just like everything else, mattresses have a limited lifespan. As they age, their materials, including the metal springs, can start to break down, and this deterioration can result in rust formation.

So, if your mattress has seen better days and is getting on in years, it’s important to be vigilant for signs of rust to ensure your sleep remains comfortable and rust-free.

Low-Quality Materials

Mattresses crafted from subpar materials, like low-quality metal parts, are more susceptible to rust. These inferior materials lack the durability and resistance to moisture and corrosion found in higher-quality options.

As a result, they are more likely to succumb to rust stains. Such mattresses may also lose mattress edge support or support overall, making it crucial to invest in a mattress made from superior materials for long-lasting comfort and protection against rust.

Accumulated Moisture

Accumulated moisture from spills or accidents can spell trouble for your mattress. When these incidents aren’t thoroughly dried, the moisture can seep deep into the layers of the mattress, leading to rust in its metal components.

Quick and thorough cleaning and drying are needed after any spills or accidents is to maintain the mattress’s integrity and hygiene. See also our guide to drying water-damaged mattresses.

Environmental Factors

The place where you put your mattress matters. The environment in your bedroom can affect your mattress. If your room lacks good airflow or has a lot of moisture because of high humidity levels, it can become a breeding ground for rust on your mattress’s metal parts.

So, keeping your bedroom well-ventilated and dry can help keep those rust stains at bay. You may want to invest in an air purifier, humidifier, or dehumidifier to control allergens and moisture within the bedroom.

See also:

Prolonged Exposure to Liquids

Long exposure to liquids, like sweating during sleep, can be a sneaky way rust stains develop. The moisture from your body can slowly seep into the mattress, causing trouble for its metal parts. To prevent this, keeping your mattress dry and using protective covers is a smart move.

How Can I Prevent Rust Stains on a Mattress?

Preventing rust stains on a mattress is essential to keep it in good shape and extend its lifespan. By taking these simple yet effective steps, you can shield your mattress from the damaging effects of moisture and rust, ensuring a comfortable and rust-free sleep surface.

Invest in a Waterproof Mattress Protector

To safeguard your mattress against rust stains, consider investing in a waterproof mattress protector. This protector acts as a barrier, shielding your mattress from potential moisture sources such as spills and accidents, such as:

It’s a cost-effective way to keep your mattress dry and in excellent condition for years to come.

Keep Drinks Away from the Bed

Steer clear of sipping drinks in bed to reduce the chances of accidental spills. Keeping beverages away from the bed is a simple yet effective way to minimize the risk of liquids seeping into your mattress and causing rust stains. By following this straightforward precaution, you can help ensure your mattress remains clean, dry, and free from unsightly stains, promoting a longer and more comfortable lifespan.

Maintain Good Room Ventilation

Maintaining good room ventilation is a crucial step in preventing rust stains on your mattress. When you ensure that your bedroom has proper airflow, it helps reduce humidity levels, which, if left unchecked, can contribute to the formation of rust. Opening windows, using fans as you sleep at night and even during the day, or investing in a dehumidifier can all help create a more favorable environment for your mattress.

Adequate ventilation not only safeguards your mattress but also promotes a more comfortable and healthier sleeping space, making it a valuable habit to adopt for better sleep quality and mattress longevity.

Clean Spills Promptly

When accidents occur, it’s crucial to act swiftly and clean up spills right away. This quick response is essential because it prevents moisture from seeping deep into the mattress, which can lead to rust formation. By promptly addressing spills, you can protect your mattress from potential damage and keep it in good condition, ensuring a rust-free and comfortable sleeping surface for years to come.

Rotate and Flip Your Mattress

To extend the life of your mattress and prevent rust stains, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for care, including regularly rotating and flipping it. This practice helps distribute wear and tear evenly across the mattress, ensuring that no single area is subjected to excessive pressure or moisture buildup.

By maintaining this routine, you can keep the mattress’s metal components in better condition and minimize the risk of rust formation. It contributes to a more comfortable sleep surface, allowing you to enjoy your mattress for a longer period.

Avoid Placing the Mattress Directly on the Floor

To protect your mattress from absorbing moisture and potential rust issues, it’s advisable to avoid placing it directly on the floor. Instead, elevate your mattress using a frame or foundation. This simple step helps create a barrier between the mattress and the ground, reducing the risk of moisture seeping in. By keeping your mattress off the floor, you contribute to its longevity and overall health, ensuring a rust-free and comfortable sleep surface.

How Can I Treat Mattress Rust Stains?

Treating mattress rust stains requires some effort, but it’s essential to restore your mattress’s appearance and structural integrity. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to treat these unsightly stains.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Begin by gathering the necessary supplies, including mild dish soap, warm water, a clean cloth or sponge, and a rust stain remover (if available).

Step 2: Blot and Clean

Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with the soapy solution (mild dish soap mixed with warm water) and gently blot the rust stain on the mattress. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.

Step 3: Rinse and Repeat

Rinse the cloth or sponge and blot the area with clean water to remove any soap residue. If the rust stain remains, repeat the blotting and cleaning process until the stain is significantly reduced or gone.

Step 4: Apply Rust Stain Remover (if needed)

If the stain persists, you can try using a rust stain remover according to the product’s instructions. Apply it carefully, making sure it doesn’t spread beyond the stain.

Step 5: Allow to Dry

After treating the stain, let the mattress air dry completely before putting back the bedding. Ensure it’s thoroughly dry to prevent further rust issues.

By following these five steps, you can effectively treat rust stains on your mattress and bring back its original appearance and comfort.

If these steps don’t do the trick, it’s a good idea to reach out to professional cleaners for assistance. However, if your mattress is no longer in good condition, it might be time to think about purchasing a new one for a better sleep experience.

Other Reasons for Brown Mattress Stains

There are additional causes of brown stains on mattresses, aside from rust. Two common culprits are bed bugs and mattress mold.

Bed Bugs

These tiny, pesky insects can be responsible for brown stains on your mattress. Bed bugs look like little apple seeds and they often leave behind rusty, reddish-brown fecal spots as evidence of their presence.

These stains can be particularly concerning, as they not only affect the appearance of your mattress but also indicate a potential infestation. If you suspect bed bugs, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further staining and potential health problems. Getting rid of bed bugs in a mattress requires drastic steps and it’s often best to trash the mattress entirely.

Mattress Mold

Mold growth on a mattress can lead to dark, often black or greenish-brown stains. Mold thrives in damp and humid environments, making mattresses susceptible if they become exposed to moisture. Mold stains are not only unsightly but can also pose health risks, as mattress mold can trigger allergies and respiratory issues.

If you notice mold stains on your mattress or mold in the bedroom elsewhere, it’s essential to take immediate action to eliminate the mold and consider professional cleaning or mattress replacement, depending on the severity of the infestation.

When Should I Get Rid of a Rusty Mattress?

Knowing when to part ways with a rusty mattress is crucial for both your comfort and health. Several signs can indicate that it’s time to replace your mattress.

If you observe severe rust that has spread widely across the mattress, it may have weakened the mattress’s internal support system. It’s best to get rid of the mattress as it might no longer offer the necessary support or motion isolation for a good night’s sleep.

Take note if your mattress displays an uneven surface or visible body impressions or sagging. Rust can weaken the metal components, causing the mattress to develop lumps, bumps, or sags. Sleeping on such a surface can lead to discomfort, disrupt your sleep, and even cause aches and pains.

If your mattress starts making squeaking or creaking sounds when you move, it’s another sign of deteriorating metal parts. These noises can be disruptive and may indicate that the mattress has reached the end of its functional life.

Lastly, consider the age and overall condition of your mattress. If it’s been in use for many years and shows multiple signs of wear, it’s likely time to replace it to ensure your sleep quality and overall well-being.

More Mattress & Bedding Cleaning Guides

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For sheets:

For blankets and more coverings:

For other bedding items:


Should I worry about rust stains on a mattress?

Rust stains on a mattress can be a cause for concern. They often indicate that the inner components of the mattress, such as the coils or springs, are rusting.

While a few rust stains might not immediately affect your sleep, over time, rust can weaken the mattress’s structural integrity and potentially cause discomfort. If you find your mattress has rust stains, address them promptly. If you discover significant rusting or damage to the mattress’s support system, it may be time to consider replacing it.

How can I tell if a mattress has bad coils?

One of the most noticeable signs is sagging. If your mattress has developed visible depressions or indentations, it’s a clear indication that the coils may have lost their resilience and support. These depressions can lead to discomfort during sleep.

Another sign is an uneven surface. A mattress with bad coils may feel lumpy or uneven when you lie on it. This can result in a lack of support and pressure points that lead to discomfort. If you wake up with aches, pains, or discomfort that you didn’t experience before, it could be due to failing coils. Listen also for any squeaking or creaking sounds when you move on the mattress. These noises may suggest issues with the coils.

What can cause mattress springs to fail?

Normal wear and tear can cause mattress coils to fail. Over time, the repeated pressure from sleeping can cause springs to lose their elasticity and support, leading to a decline in mattress performance. Mattresses made with low-quality materials may have coils that wear out faster, contributing to premature spring failure, as can excessive weight or pressure in one area of the mattress.

Moisture is another factor that can accelerate spring failure. Exposure to moisture, whether from spills or high humidity levels, can lead to rusting and deterioration of the springs. When rust sets in, it compromises the structural integrity of the coils, making them less effective at providing support. Lastly, improper care and maintenance, such as not using a mattress protector or neglecting to flip and rotate the mattress as recommended, can also lead to spring failure over time.

Why is my mattress discolored?

Common stains from spills, body oils, or other liquids can cause discoloration. Over time, sweat, urine, and other bodily fluids can seep into the mattress, leading to yellow or brownish stains. Plus, the accumulation of dust, dirt, and debris can give the mattress a dingy appearance.

More seriously, mold growth, often caused by moisture and poor ventilation, can lead to black or greenish discoloration. If this occurs, it may be time to dump the mattress for your own safety, as mold is difficult to completely eliminate. To address mundane mattress discoloration, clean stains promptly. To prevent mattress stains from occurring, use a mattress protector, maintain good ventilation, and follow proper mattress care practices.

What does mattress mold look like?

Mold on a mattress typically appears as dark spots or patches. It can be black, green, or brownish in color. Mold may have a fuzzy or powdery texture and can emit a musty odor. Mattress mold often forms in areas that have been exposed to moisture, such as spills or prolonged humidity.

If you suspect you have mold on your mattress, it’s essential to address it immediately, as mold can lead to health issues and worsen the mattress’ condition. Consider professional cleaning or mattress replacement if the mold growth is severe.


Addressing rust stains on a mattress is essential for maintaining both its appearance and functionality. By understanding the causes, taking preventive measures, and knowing when it’s time to replace a rusty mattress, you can ensure a comfortable and rust-free sleep environment. Remember that regular maintenance and timely action are key to preserving the quality of your mattress and ensuring a good night’s sleep for years to come.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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