How to Remove Urine Stains and Odors From Mattresses

How to Remove Urine Stains From Mattresses

The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

  • Working Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 8 hrs

If you have young children or a bed-ridden family member, you have likely experienced an accident that ends with a urine-stained mattress. Mattress pads can help prevent the problem—but if you did not have one in place, what do you do?

Odor-eating sprays like Febreze can help a bit, but because they just mask the smell, they are not a permanent solution. Worse, they do not remove urine stains.

There are several options for eliminating urine odor and stains; each has its pros and cons. And, they are easy to do from home. The same solutions work for multiple surfaces . Even better, the same products will work well on human, cat, or dog urine—all mammal urine is made up of uric acid crystals.

Stain type Body fluid
Detergent type Borax, baking soda, vinegar, or peroxide
Water temperature Cold
Cycle type None

Before You Begin

If you are confronting a puddle, or if a surface is still wet, start by using paper towels to blot up as much urine as possible. You can also use plain water to rinse the area before trying one of the cleaning methods.

If you have a soaked-in or dried urine, common household products can solve the problem. Start with baking soda or vinegar for the clean-up, and if that does not work, then move on to hydrogen peroxide or borax.

materials for mattress odor removal
The Spruce / Michele Lee

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Brush or clean, white towel
  • Spray bottle (optional)


  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar (optional)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
  • Borax (optional)


  1. Make a Baking Soda Paste

    Baking soda, a substance commonly used in baking, can be formed into a paste. First, dampen the soiled area with water, then, sprinkle baking soda over the area. Using a brush or cloth, rub in the baking soda all over the stain on the mattress.

    sprinkling baking soda on a mattress
    The Spruce / Michele Lee 


    Baking soda may not be quite as effective as borax or borax-based products (see below), but it is a low-cost, non-toxic option. It a great odor-eater and can help to clean surfaces as well. Baking soda is used to remove odors from refrigerators and closets.

  2. Air Dry and Vacuum or Brush

    Let the area air dry. Once it is fully dry, vacuum or brush off the dried powder residue.

    vacuuming up the baking soda paste
    The Spruce / Michele Lee
  3. Use Vinegar on the Stain

    Vinegar is not dangerous or toxic—but it is a bit stinky. On the other hand, if you do not mind a vinegar-scented mattress (the smell dissipates over time), vinegar can be a very effective tool for cleaning up soaked-in urine. Put undiluted white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and dampen the stained area with it.

    applying vinegar on a mattress
    The Spruce / Michele Lee
  4. Make a Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

    Hydrogen peroxide is toxic if ingested or inhaled—but it can be an effective deodorizer and cleaner. You can use hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle or cut with two parts water. Dampen the stained area with the diluted or undiluted hydrogen peroxide.

    applying hydrogen peroxide to a mattress
    The Spruce / Michele Lee
  5. Blot the Damp Area and Air Dry

    After treating the urine stain with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar, blot dry with a cloth or paper towel and allow it to air dry.

    blotting the mattress dry
    The Spruce / Michele Lee 
  6. Smear Borax Paste on the Stain

    Borax is a common chemical found in cleaning products. Dampen the soiled area with water. Sprinkle borax over the area. Using a brush or cloth, rub in the borax. It will form a thin paste.

    sprinkling borax on a mattress
    The Spruce / Michele Lee 


    While Borax is an antibacterial agent and can be quite effective, it is also toxic if inhaled or ingested. Use this method as a last resort rather than a go-to method. Borax is usually found in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store.

  7. Air Dry and Vacuum or Brush

    Let the area air dry. Once it is fully dry, vacuum or brush off the dried powder residue.

    action shot of vacuuming the mattress
    The Spruce / Michele Lee

One of these methods should work for you. If the stain or odor persists, try the next cleaning option until you have exhausted them all. If the urine has deeply penetrated the mattress, you might need to call a professional cleaner or replace the mattress. But that should only be necessary once you have exhausted all the cleaning options.