How to Remove the Smell of Pee From a Mattress: Full Guide
| Published September 20, 2023
If you have a pet or baby, you’re no stranger to the smell of pee.
You’ll have to act quickly before the urine can seep into the mattress, and so the pee stains don’t solidify on the mattress cover.
However, you’ll need to be more thorough with pet urine since it can be more dangerous to your health.
Knowing the comprehensive methods of mattress cleaning can be a great help here — but there are additional tips and tricks to help you manage urine stains and smells.
Keep reading our guide to learn how to get pee smell out of a mattress.
Understanding the Cause of Urine Smell in Mattress
That tell-tale ammonia smell is caused by bacteria eating away at urine residue that gets trapped in the mattress. This can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs.
How Urine Gets Absorbed into a Mattress
The longer you don’t act on the urine stains on your mattress, the more it’ll get absorbed.
Agitating the mattress stains by trying to clean it or using the bed can push the urine deeper into the mattress. This makes it harder to remove completely.
Because of that, you’ll need to use dry cloths or paper towels to absorb as much liquid as possible before trying to remove the stain.
Why Urine Smell Persists in Mattress even after Cleaning
You might still get hit with that ammonia smell even after you’ve cleaned your mattress. There are two possible reasons for this.
- You didn’t clean thoroughly enough. You need a lot of paper towels, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and vinegar to eliminate the pet and human urine smell. You’ll need a lot of patience too.
- There are old pee stains and smells that you can’t clean anymore. You’ll need a very thorough deep cleaning and possibly more powerful cleaners than baking soda.
How to Get Pee Smell Out of Mattress
There are several ways to get pee stains and smells out of a mattress — the best solutions involve dry baking soda and vinegar. Here are a few solutions.
A Step-by-Step Guide Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
You can remove fresh urine stains in a few easy steps using household items.
- Strip your mattress and put all the affected bedding straight in the washer. If there are still stains and smells after one cycle, add a cup of white vinegar and run the wash again.
- Blot (don’t scrub!) the affected area on the mattress with a dry towel to soak up as much excess urine as possible.
- Mix 2 parts cold water, 1 part white vinegar, and a few drops of laundry detergent in a spray bottle. Liberally spray the stain until it’s soaked.
- Let the vinegar solution soak for at least 15 minutes. Then blot it with paper towels or another clean cloth to soak up more excess liquid.
- Cover the soiled area with a thin layer of baking soda and let it sit for 8 to 10 hours.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the dried baking soda. Or you can use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up damp powder.
- Repeat steps 3 to 6 if you still need to remove lingering odors or stains.
NOTE: If you’re focusing on eliminating the stain, use the same distilled white vinegar solution to soak the mattress up to the depth of the stain. Then cover the entire surface in plastic wrap for 24-48 hours to prevent it from evaporating. Let the mattress air dry after you remove the plastic.
If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can mix hydrogen peroxide, liquid detergent, and baking soda in a spray bottle.
Spray on the stain and let it dry. Vacuum up any baking soda residue.
Comprehensive Cleaning Method for Deep Stains and Odors
Don’t give up if you’re dealing with dry pee that’s seeped deep into the mattress. You can still try to remove urine from a mattress with stronger cleaning agents.
You can use hydrogen peroxide.
- Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water.
- Use a spray bottle to thoroughly wet the affected area with the solution.
- Use cloth or paper towels to blot and dab the area.
- Let the solution air dry. Then, spray the area with any fragrance you want.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
- Combine 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of dish soap to make a baking soda cleaning agent.
- Spray a thin layer of baking soda paste on the dry stains. Scrub it with an old toothbrush or dry cloth.
- Put another coat of the baking soda solution and repeat until the stains disappear.
Alternatively, you can use borax instead of dry baking soda. However, this is very toxic, so you must be extremely careful when handling it. We recommend using gloves throughout the whole process.
- Thoroughly moisten the affected area with a damp cloth.
- Sprinkle borax over the area with a damp towel. Use another dry cloth or paper towel to spread it over the mattress to turn it into a thin paste.
- Let the paste air dry.
- Once dry, vacuum it up. Brush or clear any remaining residue off the mattress.
Alternative Cleaning Solutions for Specific Ingredient Limitations
The steps we’ve listed above are fairly basic, but you may need something different depending on the kind of mattress and urine you’re dealing with.
- If you’re dealing with pet pee stains with strong odors, an enzyme cleaner can work better than fresh baking soda. That’s because pet urine is more concentrated. Enzyme cleaners will break down elements like carbohydrates, fatty acids (in dog pee), and ammonia (in dog and cat pee). Just remember to choose a non-toxic enzyme cleaner.
- If you’re dealing with a futon mattress, you can substitute vinegar with rubbing alcohol.
- To treat a memory foam mattress, spray the stains with white vinegar. Once it’s dried, mix color-safe laundry detergent and water in a spray bottle and use that to soak the stains.
Homemade Remedies to Eliminate Urine Odor
You might want to grab stronger chemicals like hydrogen peroxide the moment you notice human or pet stains and smells on a mattress.
However, not everyone has those kinds of cleaners lying around.
Fortunately, there are easy homemade remedies you can use to get rid of a pee stain.
DIY Techniques Using Household Items
Everything you need is just in your house!
- Sprinkle baking soda to absorb fresh urine and deodorize the mattress. Leave it on for around 10 hours. Repeat the process until the baking soda stays white.
- Spray vinegar solution on the urine stains and let it sit for about 15 minutes. If you’re dealing with particularly strong odors (especially from animal urine), use cleaning vinegar rather than distilled white vinegar.
- Mix a small amount of laundry detergent with vinegar and water to help get rid of stains. Just soak the stain and cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from evaporating. Then leave it for 24-48 hours.
Efficacy and Limitations of Homemade Urine Odor Eliminators
Household items are cost-effective and can efficiently remove pee stains and smells.
However, dry pee can be especially difficult for household items to handle. On top of that, not everyone likes dealing with the vinegar smell.
Depending on the severity of your mattress stain and smell, you may need to use other items, such as hydrogen peroxide.
Persistent Pee Smells: Causes and Solutions
Urine stains and smells are never easy to eliminate, especially if they’ve already dried or been absorbed deeply into the mattress.
Why Urine Smell May Still Remain after Cleaning
Sometimes the stain and odor will linger even after running the urine stain through several baking soda and vinegar runs.
This may be because you haven’t cleaned thoroughly enough, or the pee has already been absorbed deeply.
You may need to repeat the process more depending on the type of pee. Animal urine is more concentrated, so it can be smellier.
Human urine isn’t as harsh, but how you deal with it depends on whether it’s dry or fresh.
Dealing with Persistent Odors: When to Consider Professional Cleaning or Replacement
Sometimes you just can’t eliminate the urine smells and stains from a mattress. Or maybe you don’t like the smell of vinegar, and the baking soda isn’t working.
If that’s the case, you can opt for professional cleaning services.
These services can use a heavier cleaning solution (such as borax paste) to clean urine stains and smells.
However, ensure your mattress hasn’t exceeded its shelf life. If it’s been at least 7 years, and you feel lumps and uneven surfaces, it’s best to replace it rather than have it cleaned.
Tips to Prevent Urine Odors in the Future
You can prevent future stains even with a baby or pet in the house with these tips.
Using Mattress Protectors
A waterproof mattress protector provides a barrier to keep your mattress safe from urine. Plus, it can also extend your mattress’s life and protect its warranty.
On top of that, a mattress protector can keep your mattress from collecting dust, dander, hair, dead skin, and oil. It can even stop bed bugs from making their home in your bed.
You should ideally get a mattress protector that can cover your entire mattress surface.
Regular Mattress Cleaning Practices
Another way to stop your mattress and sheets from collecting unwanted smells is simply by ensuring they are always clean. This is key to maintaining a clean bedroom and ensures that your bed is free of dust, debris, and unwanted scents.
Fortunately, maintaining cleanliness with a bedroom checklist is easy and manageable as long as you maintain a steady routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still need more help to get pee out of your mattress? We’ve answered a few more questions about it below.
Can I Use Commercial Products to Remove Urine Odors?
Yes, you can use commercial products to remove the urine smell from your mattress. Commercial products tend to be more potent than homemade remedies.
Because of that, you may need to be careful in how you handle them. Alternatively, you can leave it to the professionals.
Will the Urine Smell Persist if Not Handled Immediately?
Yes, the longer you don’t work to remove urine stains, the more difficult it can be to get the urine smell out. That’s because the urine will be absorbed more deeply into the mattress.
Also, remember that the smell comes from the bacteria that feed on the urine residue.
So, the longer you leave the stain alone, the more bacteria you’ll need to eliminate to remove the smell too.
Does Steam Cleaning Help in Removing Urine Odor?
Yes, you can remove the smell through steam cleaning.
However, you should first try to remove urine stains with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap.
If there’s still any lingering smell, you can steam clean the mattress.
Can I Use Bleach to Remove Urine Odor From the Mattress?
Bleach may eliminate smells and stains — but not completely.
On top of that, bleach can weaken the synthetic fibers in your mattress cover. This can leave a more obvious stain if your mattress isn’t white.
As such, you shouldn’t use toxic chemicals when removing urine from a mattress. That’s because they can be harmful to the mattress and your health.
What Are the Health Concerns Associated With Urine Odors in Mattresses?
Leaving pee stains alone comes with a host of potential health risks.
Allergies – Urine attracts dust mites, and their poop can cause allergies. Other side effects of sharing your bed with dust mites include difficulty breathing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and irritated and itchy eyes.
Bed bugs – Signs of bed bugs include small spots of blood and brown specks (bed bug poop) on your bed. Their bites can itch and appear as small red bumps on the skin.
Mold and bacteria – Mold and bacteria love damp places. Mold spores, in particular, are dangerous if inhaled, since they can cause allergies, asthma, and autoimmune problems.
Take immediate action the moment you notice a urine stain or smell, because old pee smell is harder to eliminate than fresh pee.
Press paper towels against the mattress to remove excess liquid before spraying it with vinegar and adding baking soda. Let the baking soda sit and absorb excess moisture to get urine smell from the mattress.
You can make a cleaning solution out of household items like baking soda, white vinegar, and liquid detergent to help you.
Finally, remember that dog and cat pee may require more patience since animal pee is more concentrated than human urine.