How to Get Urine out of a Mattress

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It happens to all parents at one point or another: a wailing toddler, soggy pajamas, and a mattress soaked in urine. After you sort out your little one and start an emergency load of laundry, you may be wondering how best to clean the mattress.

Fortunately, it is possible to get urine out of a mattress, even if the pee was from a pet. Here’s what you’ll need and what you can do to protect your mattress against future accidents.

How Do You Get Urine out of a Mattress?

To get urine out of a mattress, start by sopping up any moisture. Spray the stain with a cleaning solution of water, vinegar, and some laundry detergent and allow to soak. Next, sprinkle with baking soda and allow to sit for at least eight hours. Then, vacuum up the baking soda. You may need to repeat the process several times.

The Cleaning Supplies You’ll Need

First, you’ll need to gather your supplies:

  • Clean towels
  • Cold water
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent
  • Spray bottle 
  • Vacuum cleaner

How to Get Urine out of a Mattress: Step-by-Step

You’ll be surprised at how far a little elbow grease and a lot of patience can go when it comes to getting urine out of a mattress. Here’s what to do.

Step 1. Remove All Bedding

Begin by clearing the mattress of all linens and bedding. Make sure to wash those separately to avoid stains. Pro tip: Adding a cup of white vinegar to the laundry cycle can help remove lingering smells.

Step 2. Blot Thoroughly

If the mattress is still wet, use a clean, dry towel to blot firmly. This will help absorb as much liquid as possible. Don’t rub! Instead, apply even pressure to help soak up the liquid. For urine stains that have already dried, use a wet cloth to lightly dampen the stain before moving to step three.

Step 3. Spray With Cleaning Solution

Combine two parts cold water with one part white vinegar and a few tablespoons of laundry detergent. Shake well, then spray generously on the stain. Allow to soak for at least 15 minutes before using a dry cloth to blog again.

Step 4. Sprinkle With Baking Soda

Sprinkle the cleaned area liberally with baking soda and allow to sit overnight or at least eight hours. If possible, allow sunlight in, crack a window or switch on a fan to help expedite the process. Once the baking soda is completely dry, use a vacuum with the hose attachment to remove.

If the stain isn’t gone and you can still smell urine, repeat steps three and four. Depending on how much urine you’re dealing with, you may have to repeat several times.

What to Do if it’s Pet Urine

Urine from your dog or cat can be a little stinkier because its composition is different from human urine and it’s far more concentrated. You’ll need to completely remove any trace of pet urine in your mattress so your pet isn’t tempted to mark the spot again.

Start by applying baking soda directly to the stain. It should become clumpier and a little darker as it absorbs the moisture. Use a wet-dry vacuum to clear the solid powder and sprinkle with more baking soda. Repeat this process until the baking soda stays white and dry. Then, clean the mattress with the same cleaning solution you’d use for human urine, sprinkle with more baking soda, and allow to sit overnight before vacuuming.

For especially stinky situations, consider using an enzyme cleaner that’s specifically made for pet stains.

How to Get Urine Stains out of a Mattress 

Removing dried urine stains from a mattress is a fairly similar process. Gather all of the same supplies as you would for a fresh accident, along with an extra towel. Then, follow these steps.

Step 1. Spray With Cleaning Solution

Using the same cleaning solution outlined above, spray the stain liberally. Avoid blotting or rubbing. Instead, cover the stain with a damp towel and allow to sit for at least 24 hours. The damp towel will help slow down the rate of evaporation so the solution can work more effectively. If you live in a dry climate, check the towel to make sure it’s still damp.

Step 2. Remove Towel And Allow Mattress To Dry

After the solution has soaked for at least 24 hours, remove the damp towel and allow the mattress to dry thoroughly. When it’s dry, check the stain. You may need to repeat steps one and two several times, especially for old, deep urine stains.

Step 3. Spot Clean

Once the mattress is dry and clean, check for any dried vinegar residue. You can clean that up with a damp towel. 

Tips for Removing Urine Smell from Mattress

Baking soda works wonders for neutralizing odors, urine included. If you’ve cleaned your mattress and there are no visible stains but you still smell urine, here’s what to do.

Start by stripping the sheets again. Sprinkle the area generously with baking soda and allow to sit for at least six hours. Then, use the hose attachment on your vacuum to remove the baking soda. If you still smell urine, repeat the process.

How to Protect Your Mattress from Accidents and Spills

Accidents happen, and one of the best ways to keep your mattress safe is by adding a waterproof mattress protector. This kind of bedding creates a barrier that not only safeguards your mattress against urine, it protects against things like dust and dander, even skin and oil. A mattress protector is a great way to prolong the lifespan of your mattress.

Saatva Mattress Protector

This organic cotton mattress protector has a soft feel and is virtually silent beneath your sheets. An ultra-thin layer of polyurethane gives it waterproofing benefits to ensure your mattress is protected, and the durable silicone band around the bottom of the protector keeps it securely in place.

Nolah Bamboo Mattress Protector

Fabrics made with bamboo are naturally temperature neutral, so this mattress protector won’t retain heat. Plus, it’s antibacterial, so it shouldn’t trigger allergies, either. Like the Saatva option, this mattress protector from Nolah has a thin layer of thermoplastic polyurethane to protect against spills and accidents. Plus, it’s ultra quiet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kills the urine smell in a mattress?

White vinegar can help remove the urine odor from a mattress because it breaks down the chemical compounds. Baking soda is also a natural odor neutralizer. Avoid using harsh chemicals, like bleach or strong cleaners, which could damage the materials in your mattress.

Does pee smell ever go away from a bed?

Most accidents can be cleaned if you act quickly. Be prepared to repeat all of the necessary steps, especially the use of baking soda.

Does urine ruin memory foam?

Not unless you allow it to sit for an extended time. Urine that is cleaned promptly from a memory foam mattress shouldn’t ruin its integrity or comfort.

Bottom line

Getting urine out of a mattress takes some work, but it’s not impossible. The best thing to do in the event of an accident is to act quickly. The longer the urine sits, the harder it is to get it out. Fortunately, with some household products, a little work and some patience, you really can get urine out of a mattress.

Jessica Timmons