How to Get Stains from a Mattress: An Extensive Guide

Keeping your mattress clean is essential for ensuring proper hygiene and a good night’s sleep. However, mattresses can easily become stained from spills, bodily fluids, and other dirt and debris over time. These stains not only look unsightly but can also contain allergens, bacteria, and dust mites that impact your health and sleep quality.

mattress stain

In this comprehensive guide, we provide tips on identifying and treating various mattress stains using homemade solutions. We also highlight the professional mattress cleaning services offered by Chem-Dry Central, a leading provider serving Dublin and surrounding areas. Read on to learn how to effectively remove stains from your mattress.

Understanding Mattress Stains

To remove mattress stains correctly, you first need to understand what type of stain it is and what causes it to form. Here are some of the most common mattress stains:

Types of Mattress Stains

Blood stains typically result from nosebleeds, cuts/injuries, or women’s menstrual cycles. The proteins in blood can adhere strongly to mattress fibres.

Urine stains and odours often occur from incontinence, bedwetting (in children and the elderly), or pets marking their territory. Urine contains urea that breaks down into ammonia.

Sweat stains emanate from our bodies nightly. The alkaline chemicals in sweat can discolour mattresses and encourage bacterial growth.

Food and beverages like wine, coffee, juice, baby formula, and ice cream are also frequent mattress-staining culprits. Sugary spills promote mould growth.

Oily stains originate from lotions, massage oils, and hair/skin products transferring from our bodies to the mattress. They attract dirt and are difficult to remove.

Vomit contains acidic digestive juices that can discolour and deteriorate mattress fibres.

Mattresses also accumulate general dirt and dust over time, which can aggravate allergies.

Causes and Consequences

Stains take hold when spilled liquids are absorbed into a mattress’ fibres or when dirt/debris accumulates deep in the material. If left untreated, they encourage mould, mildew, and bacteria growth.

Soiled mattresses compromise your sleep health and hygiene:

  • Trapped allergens and irritants can worsen respiratory issues like asthma.
  • Bacteria and fungi growth pose infection/illness risks.
  • Strong odours disrupt sleep and lower sleep quality.

Mattress stains also reduce the longevity and comfort of a mattress by breaking down its materials prematurely.

Immediate Actions for Fresh Stains

When you first notice a mattress stain, prompt action is key for stain removal success. Follow these general guidelines:

General Guidelines

  • Blot the stain using a clean cloth rather than rubbing, which further presses it into the mattress.
  • For blood stains, use cold water as hot water can denature proteins and set the stain.
  • Avoid oversaturating the mattress, which can damage it and take longer to dry.

You can also take specific immediate steps based on the stain:

Specific Stain Treatments

Blood: Blot with cold water first. If the stain persists, make a hydrogen peroxide solution (1 part peroxide, 2 parts cold water) and gently dab it on the blood stain using a sponge or cloth. Rinse with cold water.

Urine: Liberally sprinkle baking soda over the affected area to draw out moisture and neutralise odours. Follow up by dabbing with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution to lift the stain then rinse with water.

Sweat: Mix a mild washing up liquid with warm water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray on sweat stains then blot (don’t rub) with a microfibre cloth rinsed in clean water.

Food/Beverages: For sugary spills like wine, coffee or ice cream, sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda and leave for 30 minutes to absorb the stain. Blot gently using a damp, cold water rinsed cloth.

Oily Stains: Mix cornflour and baking soda into a paste. Carefully dab and leave for 1-2 hours to draw out the oil. Wipe away paste then sponge with cold water and a dab of washing up liquid.

Vomit: After cleaning up the vomit, sprinkle baking soda liberally on the vomit stain to soak up excess liquid and neutralise acidity. Mix equal parts vinegar and cold water in a spray bottle and lightly mist over the baking soda. Blot dry with a clean towel. After the area has dried, vacuum the area to remove any baking soda particles.

Also, before applying the vinegar solution, it’s always a good idea to test it on a small, hidden area of the carpet to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage.

dirty mattress

Deep Cleaning Techniques

For stubborn, set-in stains or for a periodic deep clean, use these intensive stain removal methods.

Preparing the Mattress

Before cleaning, strip all bedding and use a handheld vacuum to remove loose dirt and debris from the mattress surface. Always check the mattress’s care tag for the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods and solutions.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Baking Soda Paste: Mix baking soda with just enough cold water to form a spreadable paste. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive and neutralises odours.

Hydrogen Peroxide Mix: Combine 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, 1 part washing up liquid, and 2 parts cold water. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach alternative. (Use with care and not on colours)

Vinegar Spray: Fill a spray bottle with equal parts cool water and white vinegar. Vinegar helps lift stains and freshens with its acidic properties.


Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

  1. Use a spoon or spray bottle to liberally apply your chosen DIY cleaning solution over the stained/soiled areas of the mattress.
  2. Gently blot the solution into the mattress using a microfibre cloth and dabbing and lifting (not rubbing) motions.
  3. Once the stain appears lifted, use a separate damp cloth to blot away any excess moisture. Allow the mattress surface to fully air dry.
  4. For stubborn stains, repeat the process focusing closely on the stained areas. Avoid oversaturating.

Professional Cleaning Services

While DIY solutions can tackle surface-level stains, for deep-rooted marks or comprehensive mattress cleaning, professional services produce superior results.

Benefits of Professional Cleaning

Companies like Chem-Dry Central offer various advantages:

  • Deep cleaning capabilities to sanitise every layer of a mattress’ construction from surface to core
  • Specialised equipment and solutions like powerful suction vacuums and cleaning agents strong enough to eliminate years-old stains but gentle on materials
  • Convenience and time savings over tackling a cumbersome DIY mattress cleaning project

mattress stain removal

Chem-Dry Mattress Cleaning Service in Dublin

As Dublin’s top specialists in mattress and upholstery cleaning, Chem-Dry Central uses an innovative cleaning process perfected over three decades.

The Chem-Dry Natural® cleaning solution contains detergents derived from plants and minerals that draw out deep-set stains. Their non-toxic, biodegradable formula is child and pet safe once dried.

Every mattress receives a sanitising treatment to eliminate dust mites and neutralise bacteria/allergens.

The combination of state-of-the-art equipment plus fast-acting solutions enables quick dry times so you aren’t displaced from your bedroom.

Preventative Measures

While even set-in stains can be conquered through cleaning, preventing mattress stains in the first place is ideal.

Using Mattress Protectors

Mattress protectors create a barrier against spills, sweat, skin cells and other contaminants penetrating your mattress. Options include:

  • Hypoallergenic covers to block dust mites, mould and allergens
  • Waterproof protectors prevent liquid absorption
  • Natural protectors like organic cotton allow airflow

Choose a protector tailored to your mattress type and specific needs.

Regular Maintenance Tips

In addition to a mattress protector, implement these habits:

  • Vacuum your mattress monthly using a handheld vacuum’s upholstery attachment. This removes loose dirt, skin flakes, dust mite food and other debris.
  • Air out your mattress periodically by stripping the bedding and allowing sunlight and fresh air to circulate. This deters moisture and musty odours.
  • Rotate and flip the mattress with the change of each season to evenly distribute wear and stains.
  • Have your mattress professionally cleaned every 12-18 months by experts like Chem-Dry to revitalise materials and kill germs.

Additional Tips and FAQs

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Using harsh chemicals like bleach that could discolour or damage your mattress’ materials. Always defer to the manufacturer’s care instructions.
  • Oversaturating your mattress, which takes extensive time to dry out and risks mould growth.
  • Ignoring mattress care tag directions specific to your mattress, which could void your warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my mattress? While seasonal vacuuming is smart, a full, deep clean every 12-18 months is ideal for most mattresses depending on use.

Can all stains be removed? In many cases yes, thanks to innovations in professional cleaning solutions and equipment. But extensive water, smoke or fire damage may permanently compromise a mattress’ internal structure.

What if a stain doesn’t come out? Repeating spot treatments may lift stubborn stains. But if deep-set marks remain, know that your mattress integrity and hygiene are likely still compromised.  At this point consider professional cleaning or replacing your mattress.


A clean, odour and stain-free mattress is vital for ensuring you sleep soundly and wake feeling refreshed. Whether a fresh spill or set-in stain, this guide outlined DIY and professional cleaning methods using non-toxic household ingredients and Chem-Dry Dublin’s leading services.

Implementing preventative measures like mattress protectors and regular vacuuming also limits stains taking hold in the first place. With some periodic maintenance, you can keep your mattress in optimal shape for many years of healthy, happy sleeping.

For more information or to book Chem-Dry Central’s mattress cleaning services in the Dublin area. Request a quote today!

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