How to clean a memory foam mattress and get urine out

Spot cleaning fabric
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Life happens, and sometimes it’s our mattresses that bear the brunt of those unexpected mishaps. Whether it’s a potty training setback, a furry friend getting a little over-excited, or the result of an overactive bladder, you might find yourself wondering how to get urine out of your memory foam mattress. 

Even the best mattresses aren’t immune to the occasional exposure to urine. But accidents happen, and the good news is that it doesn’t need to be a disaster — even if you have a memory foam mattress. Whilst the best memory foam mattresses are one of the most comfortable surfaces to sleep on, they can be a little bit tricky to care for when it comes to spills and stains. 

That’s because, unlike traditional sprung mattresses, memory foam is highly porous, meaning any liquid, such as urine, will eventually sink in. And if your mattress gets too wet, that could spell disaster. When memory foam gets wet, it can result in the growth of mold within the mattress or even the breakdown of the foam.

Don’t panic, though — there is a way to clean your memory foam mattress to get rid of urine as well as any other stains such as blood, vomit, or diarrhea. In this article, we will walk you through step by step on how to clean your memory foam mattress using a few basic household items.    

What you need to clean a memory foam mattress 

Knowing how to clean any stains or spills out of a memory foam mattress is a life skill you’ll never regret having, especially when cleaning it the wrong way is a common way of accidentally damaging your memory foam mattress. Whether it’s an accidental coffee or wine spillage, or something less palatable, such as urine, blood, vomit, or diarrhea, it’s good to know how to deal with it safely and efficiently. 

The image shows a cup of coffe tipped on its side with its contents spilling over a white mattress

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The good news is cleaning urine from your memory foam mattress doesn’t require any specialist equipment, and it can often be tackled with a couple of simple household products. Whether the urine is wet or dry, the cleaning process remains the same. By following the steps in this guide, you will always be prepared for a urine emergency. Here’s what you’ll need to clean the mattress:

• Clean towels or paper towels

• A spray bottle

• White vinegar

• Liquid dish soap or laundry detergent

• Baking soda

How to clean a memory foam mattress and get urine stains out

Step 1: Strip any bedding as soon as you notice

Time is of the essence when it comes to liquid spills on your memory foam mattress. So, remove all bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, mattress protectors, and toppers, as soon as you notice wet marks or stains. You can pop these in the washing machine while you get on with the task of cleaning your mattress.

Man and toddler playfully loading a washing machine

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Many memory foam mattresses come with removable covers; if yours does, check the care instructions carefully, as many are machine washable. If your topper is stained and has a funky odor, you may want to add half a cup of white vinegar to the washing machine to help keep bacteria at bay.

Strep 2. Blot don't scrub the stain

Your natural reaction when you see a puddle of urine may be to scrub at it with soap until you’re left with a foamy lather. Stop! Scrubbing will cause the urine to soak deeper into the mattress. Instead, take a clean towel or dry paper towel and gently blot the spot to soak up the liquid. Keep doing this until you have removed as much of the urine as possible. 

Step 3: Grab your spray bottle

Now that you’ve removed as much of the urine as possible, the next step is cleaning the area. Be mindful with this step, as soaking the area could cause damage to the foam, which ultimately could shorten your mattresses lifespan. 

An unlabelled spray bottle being held by a gloved hand on a blue background

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Fill a clean spray bottle with one part vinegar and one part water, and add a small amount of laundry detergent or liquid soap. Then, gently shake to mix the liquids together. Next, carefully spray the area, blotting any excess liquid with a dry paper towel. Let the mixture soak into the mattress for about 15-20 minutes. 

Step 4: Remove the risk of staining and odors

To remove any odors before they get chance to take hold, get some baking soda and evenly sprinkle a generous amount across the area where you’ve just cleaned. This effectively combats odors caused by all kinds of bodily fluids and stains, including blood, diarrhea, urine, and vomit. 

The baking soda should bubble a little - don’t worry about that, it’s just reacting with the vinegar in your cleaning solution, which loosens stains and breaks down the enzymes to eliminate any nasty smells. Leave your baking soda on the area for up to 12 hours to get the best results. 

As a side note, it’s worth sprinkling your memory foam mattress with baking soda every few months. This will absorb any excess moisture trapped in the memory foam's top layers and keep your bed clean and fresh. 

Step 4. Vacuum the mattress 

Using the hose attachment of your vacuum, remove all the baking soda. You will need to make sure you vacuum thoroughly to dislodge any hidden specs of baking power still hanging about. 

At this point, check for any remaining stains or smells. You shouldn’t be able to still smell the vinegar, but if you do, then a couple of drops of essential oil on the spot should sort that out, especially something a little stronger like lavender. 

Woman wearing beige shorts vacuuming her white mattress to get rid of bed bugs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 7. Repeat if necessary 

Repeat the above steps if you can still see a lingering urine stain or odor. You may want to reduce the amount of water you use so that the solution has a higher vinegar concentration - this will work harder against any stains and odors, especially when in conjunction with the baking soda. 

3 dos and don'ts of cleaning your memory foam mattress

Don’t use harsh chemicals: Avoid any harsh cleaners such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide. These will damage the structure of your memory foam mattress and lead to the breakdown of the foam. 

Do keep your memory foam mattress to dry: If you are using liquid to clean your mattress, make sure that you don’t use too much. Instead, carefully dampen the area and use a dry towel or paper to keep blotting up any excess liquid. 

Don’t use extreme heat: whilst it can be tempting to use a hair dryer to quickly dry out the area, doing so will cause damage to the foam layers. Likewise, you’re considering using a steam cleaner, whilst this may work with a regular mattress, the combination of heat and moisture with memory foam is a big no no.

When it’s time to replace your memory foam mattress

Taking care of your memory foam mattress can extend its lifespan. However, there does come a time when you have to eventually replace your mattress

The lifespan of a memory foam mattress mostly depends on the quality of the foam. On average they last around eight to 10 years before they start to lose their elasticity and develop dips. However, struggling to get comfortable and waking with new aches and pains is a strong indicator that it’s time to buy a new mattress. .   

There are always deals to be found on the latest memory foam mattresses. But if you want a really good deal at an excellent price point, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the perfect time to make that purchase. This is when we see retailers apply the biggest discount to their current offers. While Black Friday is behind us, there are still some excellent Cyber Monday memory foam mattress deals to be found - but you'll have to be quick. 

Rachael Penn

Rachael is a freelance journalist based in South Wales who writes about lifestyle, travel, home and technology. She also reviews a variety of products for various publications including Tom’s Guide, CreativeBloq, IdealHome and Woman&Home. When she’s not writing and reviewing products she can be found walking her Sealyham and West Highland terrier dogs or catching up on some cringe-worthy reality tv.