How to clean urine from a mattress — 7 pro tips for removing stains and smells

How to clean a mattress from urine image shows a fresh yellow urine stain on a white mattress surrounded by pink rubber cleaning gloves, a pink pot of bicarbonate of soda and a blush scrubbing brush
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Accidents happen, so if you need to quickly learn how to clean urine from a mattress, we've rounded up the best tips and products right here. When it comes to cleaning a mattress of urine, every second counts. If the yellow stain is old, you'll need a different approach to how you would clean fresh urine from a mattress.

Whether it’s a potty training setback, an overactive bladder or your furry friend getting a little over-excited, urine on mattresses is a common cause for cleaning. Covering your bed in a waterproof mattress protector helps safeguard against the worst urine can do in terms of stains and smells, but it may not catch all of the pee.

Here we've spoken to cleaning experts to get their top tips for how to clean pee from a mattress, as well as sharing some of the best products to help make clean-up a breeze. If you decide after reading that your bed can't be salvaged, then take a look at our official best mattress of the year guide for all sleepers and budgets.

How to clean urine from a mattress: 6 expert tips

If an accident has just happened then it’s important to act fast. The faster you treat the urine stain the easier it will be to remove. This is because urine contains uric acid crystals which bond to the fibres of the mattress. 

Which means the sooner you remove it, the less time it has to set in. Plus, fresh urine doesn’t smell as strong as dried urine which has had more time to break down and create unpleasant odors. Here's how to clean urine out of a mattress. 

Yellow urine stains on an older white mattress – these will be very stubborn to remove during cleaning

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The cleaning products you'll need:

  • Paper towels 
  • Mild detergent or enzyme cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Spray bottle (optional)

1. Strip the bed

The first thing you need to do is remove all bedding from your mattress. If you’re quick, hopefully you can remove the bedding before the urine has had a chance to soak through to the mattress. 

If it’s too late and the urine has seeped down into the mattress already, pop your sheets to the side to go on a hot wash as soon as you've cleaned your mattress.

2. Blot excess urine

Dab the affected are with a clean paper towel (or clean absorbent cloths) . Do not rub the area under any circumstances, as this will only drive the urine further into the mattress. 

Rubbing the area covered in urine can risk spreading the stain further on your mattress. Instead, keep blotting the spot until your paper towel doesn’t pick up any more liquid.

A hand wearing a rubber glove uses a soft bristled brush to clean a mattress

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Use rubbing alcohol

Rhonda Wilson, Quality Lead Cleaner at FreshSpace Cleaning, recommends using rubbing alcohol on the area of your mattress that has been covered in urine. “Using rubbing alcohol or vodka can be surprisingly effective. They contain a high percentage of alcohol, which is great for breaking down and dissolving organic substances like urine,” says Wilson. 

“Plus, they evaporate quickly, so you won't have to deal with a lingering smell.” You can apply the rubbing alcohol directly to the area or use a spray bottle.

4. Make a cleaning solution

Grab a spray bottle or a bucket for this next step. “Next, you'll want to prepare a cleaning solution by mixing warm water with a mild detergent or enzyme-based cleaner,” advises Wilson. 

Nature's Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Remover is my top pick,” she says, “but Bubba's Rowdy Friends Super Strength Commercial Enzyme Cleaner  works well too. Dab this solution onto the affected area and avoid aggressive scrubbing.”

Be very conservative about the amount of liquid you apply to the area – you want to clean the mattress of urine, not soak it in further liquids. When wet, certain mattress materials such as memory foam can get damaged. (If you do have a memory foam mattress take a look at our guide on how to clean a memory foam mattress.)

5. Rinse and leave to dry

Once you’ve applied your cleaning solution, wipe the area with a damp cloth to ensure that you remove all traces of the detergent. Remember not to get the mattress too wet, we recommend using a microfibre cloth for this stage as they can clean and also help to absorb any excess liquids. 

Once you’ve rinsed the area leave the mattress to dry in a well-ventilated space. Make sure the mattress is completely dry before you add your sheets back to the bed. 

how to clean a mattress: baking soda, vinegar, sponge and gloves

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

6. Use baking soda to freshen up

Once your mattress is dry, sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the surface of the mattress and leave it to stand for at least an hour. The longer you can leave the baking soda on, the better.

Once the baking soda has been left to sit, vacuum the mattress and remove all traces of powder. Baking soda will help to eliminate any trapped urine odors within the mattress so it won't smell of pee for days after.


Once the mattress has been cleaned of urine, leave it dry fully before you cover it in a mattress protector, sheets and a comforter. Definitely let it dry before placing a mattress topper on top, otherwise you'll create the perfect damp and warm breeding ground for mold and mildew.

How to get rid of urine stains on a mattress

It is always better to react to urine stains as soon as they happen but that doesn’t mean that tough stains can’t be tackled. And the good news is, you don’t need harsh chemicals – some common household supplies can easily remove them. 

Here’s how to get stubborn urine stains out of a mattress...

The cleaning products you'll need

  • White vinegar
  • Distilled water (optional)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap (optional)
  • Spray bottle
  • Brush or sponge 
  • Vacuum cleaner

1. Pre-treat with baking soda and vinegar 

If you’re about to tackle some stubborn stains then making a pre-treatment from baking soda and white vinegar is a good first step. Mix together some baking soda, white vinegar and water to form a thick paste. Apply this mixture to the stain and gently work it in with a brush or sponge. 

Leave this mixture to sit on the mattress until it dries and vacuum away. You can use regular water for this but distilled water is better for cleaning as it doesn’t leave the same amount of residue as tap water does. 

2. Make a cleaning solution

Once you’ve vacuumed away your pre-treatment, it’s time to apply a cleaner which you can make at home. We spoke to Sabrina Tretyakova, an ISSA-certified cleaning expert, who gave us her perfect mixture to remove stubborn urine stains from your mattress. 

Tretyakova advises “Mix 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tablespoons of baking soda, and four drops of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap. Using a spray bottle, generously apply this solution to the stained areas and allow it to soak into the mattress.”

Vacuum cleaning a white mattress to get rid of excess baking soda used to soak up urine and pee smells

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

3. Blot, vacuum, repeat

It’s important not to saturate your mattress, especially if you have a memory foam bed so blot up as much liquid as possible with a clean, absorbent towel. Once the area has fully dried you may notice some of the baking power residue left behind, vacuum this away.  

Tretyakova also advises you to, “Check if the stains persist and repeat the entire procedure if necessary. You must be cautious because hydrogen peroxide can bleach fabric materials. Therefore, I advise you to test it on a small area first.”

Pro mattress cleaning tip: Use enzyme cleaner

For super-strong stains and those with a strong odor, such as pet urine, you may want to consider using an enzyme cleaner. These are specifically designed to break down the proteins in urine and permanently eliminate both the stain and the odor. 

Tretyakova recommends Nature’s Miracle which breaks down urine proteins and eliminates odors or Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator which is a good alternative. 

How to protect your mattress from urine

One of the best ways to stop urine reaching your mattress is to invest in a mattress protector. They look like fitted sheets and most are waterproof or water-resistant, helping to shield your mattress from bedwetting, pet pee and spilled drinks. 

If you’re looking for the best mattress protector for kids prone to bedwetting, look for one with a polyurethane (PU) coating as these tend to work best for waterproofing. 

Backing fabrics such as cotton or polyester terrycloth will be comfortable to lie on. And also since this is for children, a PU coating on a breathable fabric will be quieter than vinyl protectors that crinkle with every movement.

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.