How to Get Pee Smell Out of Mattress

Save your mattress from your pet or toddler's accidents with these cleaning steps.

<p>Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images</p>

Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

Accidents happen. Whether you have pets or potty-training toddlers in the house, you may end up with a pee-stained mattress. While this mess can be pretty unpleasant to deal with, don't fret. With a few everyday household cleaning items and a bit of patience, you can save your mattress from the smelly accidents. Below, we'll walk through how to remove the stains and how to get pee smell out of a mattress.

Related: 8 Things I Always Stock Up On As a Cleaning Expert

What You'll Need:

  • Paper towels or white cloths

  • Laundry detergent

  • Soft-bristled scrub brush

  • Baking soda

  • Vacuum

  • Distilled white vinegar

  • 3 percent hydrogen peroxide

  • Laundry borax

  • Rubber gloves

How to Remove Fresh Pee Smell From a Mattress With Laundry Detergent

For fresh pee stains, blot the area with paper towels to absorb as much urine as possible.

Step 1: Make a Cleaning Solution

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of heavy-duty laundry detergent with 1 cup of warm water. Dip a soft-bristled scrub brush in the mixture. Working from the outside of the stain toward the center, gently scrub the mattress.

Step 2: Soak Up Extra Moisture and Sprinkle with Baking Soda

Blot the area with a dry cloth to absorb excess moisture. Sprinkle the damp, cleaned area with a layer of baking soda at least 1/4 inch thick.

Step 3: Dry

Allow the mattress to air-dry for several hours. All mattresses take a few hours to dry, but drying times can vary depending on the material. You can speed up the drying process by opening a window or turning on a ceiling fan.

Step 4: Vacuum

When dry, use a vacuum's upholstery attachment to remove the baking soda.

How to Remove Set-in Pee Stains From a Mattress With Baking Soda

Older pee stains require a deeper cleaning that may take up to 12 hours of drying time. Depending on the age of the stain and the biological components of the urine (cat pee is the worst), you may need to use more than one cleaning method or repeat the steps to remove all of the odor. Use one cleaning product at a time, starting with baking soda, until you find that the odor is gone.

Step 1: Make a Cleaning Solution

Create a paste out of baking soda and water. For a thick paste, don't worry about getting a specific amount of baking soda and water—just try to get a ratio of three parts baking soda to one part water.

Step 2: Brush Paste Over Stain

Spread the paste over the pee stain and use a soft-bristled brush to work the paste into the mattress fibers. Mix up more paste as needed.

Step 3: Dry and Vacuum

Allow the paste to air-dry for at least four hours to help absorb the pee odor molecules. For an even deeper clean, wait 24 hours. Use a fan to speed up the process. When dry, vacuum the area.


If baking soda isn't doing the job, try some vinegar. Simply spray the stained areas with pure distilled white vinegar. The vinegar odor will be strong but will dissipate as the mattress dries.

Drying times can vary depending on the mattress material, but a good rule of thumb is to wait at least four hours. You can speed up the drying process by opening a window or turning on a ceiling fan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use hydrogen peroxide to get set-in pee stains out of a mattress?

Yes, you can spray the stains with fresh 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, but be aware that the mild bleach may discolor the mattress cover. After you spray it, allow the mattress to air-dry. Wait at least four hours, but it may take longer to dry depending on the mattress material. You can speed up the drying process by opening a window or turning on a ceiling fan.

Can you use borax to remove set-in pee stains from a mattress?

Yes, you can. Simply mix 1 cup of laundry borax with 1 tablespoon of water to make a paste. For extra cleaning power, you can also use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Spread it over the pee stain and work it into the mattress with a soft-bristled brush. Allow the borax to dry completely and vacuum away. Borax is a natural mineral but it can cause eye and respiratory irritation. Always wear rubber gloves and eye protection when working with the product.

Related: How to Get Pee Smell Out of Carpets—and More

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