How to Remove Urine Stains and Odors From Mattresses

Illustration of methods to remove urine stains

The Spruce / Ashley Nicole Deleon

If you have young children, you have likely experienced an accident that ends with a urine-stained mattress. Mattress pads can help prevent the problem—but if you are past that, what can you do? Odor-eating sprays like Febreze can help a bit, but because they just mask the smell, they do not have a permanent impact. Worse, they do not remove urine stains.

There are several options for eliminating urine odor and stains; each has its pros and cons. It is important to know that the same solutions work for multiple surfaces (concrete and tiles as well as mattresses and sofas). It is also good to know that since all mammal urine is made up of uric acid crystals, the same products will work well on human, cat, or dog urine.

Stain Type Chemical-based 
Detergent Type Borax, baking soda, vinegar, or peroxide
Water Temperature Cold

Project Metrics

There are a few factors to keep in mind before removing the stain.

  • Working Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours (drying times vary)

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 are dealing with soaked-in or dried urine, go straight to trying one of the methods that work best for you. Each method uses a common household product like borax, baking soda, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide.

What You'll Need

Supplies

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

Tools

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

How to Remove Urine Stain and Odor From a Mattress

  1. Smear Borax Paste on Stain

    Borax is a chemical that is often used 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.

    Be Careful With Borax

    While it is an antibacterial agent and can be quite effective, it is also somewhat toxic. As a result, it is usually used as a last resort rather than a go-to method. Borax is usually found in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store.

  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.

  3. Make a Baking Soda Paste

    Instead of borax, you can use baking soda, a substance commonly used in baking. Dampen the soiled area with water. Sprinkle baking soda over the area. Using a brush or cloth, rub in the baking soda all over the stain on the mattress. It will form a thin paste.

    Baking Soda Basics

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

  4. Air Dry and Vacuum or Brush

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

  5. Make a Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

    Hydrogen peroxide, like borax, 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 2 parts water. Dampen the stained area with the diluted or undiluted hydrogen peroxide.

  6. Use a Vinegar on Stain

    Vinegar is not dangerous or toxic—but it is a bit stinky. On the other hand, if you do not mind a mattress that smells a bit like salad dressing, 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.

  7. Blot the Damp Area and Air Dry

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