It happens to every parent: You get your child out of bed in the morning, only to discover the bed is wet and smelling of urine. Or you wake up to find that your beloved cat or dog has had an accident on your mattress.
No matter the circumstance, there’s no need to panic. There are plenty of easy ways to get rid of urine stains and odors, whether from your human kiddo or fuzzy family member.
Read on to learn how to get pee out of a mattress and make it look (and smell) brand new again.
Household cleaners to remove urine stains
All you need to clean urine from a mattress are some common household cleaners and a little bit of patience (OK, sometimes a lot of patience).
The following ingredients can be indispensable in your battle against pee stains.
Baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate, is great at dissolving dirt and grease and neutralizing odors. It also works wonders at absorbing moisture.
The reason why it works so well on smells: The chemical composition of baking soda neutralizes the acids that cause odors.
To use, sprinkle baking soda liberally on the surface of the mattress, covering the entire stain and its edges. Leave it on for a full day, then vacuum it up.
You can also combine baking soda with hydrogen peroxide to make the perfect urine-fighting cleaning solution (more on that in a bit).
Whether the urine stain is fresh or has already dried, vinegar is your friend. That’s because it breaks down the uric acid in pee, making the stain easier to remove. It also acts as a disinfectant.
Undiluted white distilled vinegar can be sprayed (or sponged) onto the stain and then blotted until it’s dry. Stain still wet? Soak up the excess moisture first with paper towels.
Enzyme-based upholstery cleaner
For pet urine stains especially, use an enzyme-based upholstery cleaner. These do a good job of breaking down odor-causing proteins and neutralizing the odors. Both human and pet urine contains uric acid crystals, which can sometimes only be broken down by an enzyme-based cleaner.
Pets have a strong sense of smell, so if there’s any lingering odor in that spot, they’ll keep urinating there. That’s something you want to avoid.
Hydrogen peroxide works as an oxidizing agent, which means it can break down other compounds and kill a wide range of bacteria.
To make a cleaning solution, combine eight ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tablespoons of baking soda, and half a teaspoon of dish soap into an empty spray bottle. Add a drop or two of lavender oil if you’re feeling fancy. Shake gently to combine all the ingredients before use.
Watch this video for more mattress-cleaning advice:
Steps to take to remove pee from a mattress
Whatever cleaner you choose, the basic steps and precautions you need to take when removing pee from your mattress are always the same.
First of all, never drench your mattress with any kind of liquid. “Mattresses aren’t designed to get wet, especially memory foam,” Nancy Bock, senior vice president of education at the American Cleaning Institute, tells Saatva. “They don’t dry quickly, and if yours stays damp for some time it can start to smell or even develop mold and mildew.” (Check out our guide to removing any kind of mattress stain.)
Follow the next four basic steps to get rid of urine stains:
- Absorb. If the stain is still wet, blot it with a dry towel, absorbing as much liquid as possible. Use pressure to remove the wetness instead of rubbing. If the stain is already dry, vacuum up any excess mess, then dampen it slightly with a wet cloth before proceeding to the next step.
- Add cleaner. Lightly spray or dab the cleaner of your choice, covering the entire stain area, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then dab the area with a towel dipped in cool water.
- Blot. Blot the area with a dry cloth or paper towel to absorb as much liquid if possible. Keep pressing and blotting until you can’t get any more liquid out. Repeat steps 2 and 3 if necessary.
- Air dry. If you can, put the mattress outside in the sun to air dry. If that’s not possible, try to get as much air circulation and sunlight in the room as you can, says Bock. Open the windows and blinds and set up a fan. It may take several hours for the mattress to dry completely.
- Optional: Deodorize. Once the mattress is dry, sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over the area (Beck advises using a sifter) to absorb any odors that remain.
Is your current mattress past its prime? Find a new mattress at Saatva
How long does it take for pee to dry on a mattress?
The time it takes for pee to dry on a mattress depends on the amount of pee that has seeped into your mattress, but it can range between two to four hours to dry. Therefore, it’s crucial you act fast to remove the stain.
How do you dry a mattress after wetting the bed?
To dry a mattress after wetting the bed, blot the area with a dry towel to absorb as much liquid as possible. Use pressure instead of rubbing to remove the wetness.
It’s always a good idea to regularly clean your mattress since dust and germs can build up over time. Find out how to clean a mattress in our comprehensive guide.