How To Clean Bedwetting / Urine Stains From Mattresses

Those of us who don’t have toddlers or young children in the home may think directions for dealing with bedwetting mishaps won’t apply to us, but during the holidays I was pulling out this information when family members visiting with children caught me by surprise ;).

The first tip is to plan ahead. If you know children will be staying the night, prepare their sleep space before they arrive (mattress, inflatable airbed, foam, etc.).

It’s nice to do this when they’re not around since no one will know what you’ve done (most kiddos are vulnerable when it comes to their accidents so it’s sensitive to do this covertly).


There are a couple different things you can do:

  • Fit a plastic sheet or lay a garbage bag down the middle of the bed (first split it open and make sure the bag covers the width end to end).
  • If you have an old vinyl tablecloth stashed away in the closet, you could lay that on instead (if fabric backed–position the fabric side up).

On top of the plastic lining, lay a large towel. Next put on the mattress cover and lastly the fitted sheet.

With this setup, chances are the little ones won’t even know you’ve prepared for potential mishaps.

Removing Stains

If you were caught without the bed protected, here are a few recipes that will help cleanup the mess (a blacklight will show what size you’re dealing with, the urine will glow).

Method #1

  • Mix a pourable thick paste with cornstarch and water, stir until there are no lumps and make enough to generously smother across the entire patch.
  • Pour the mixture over the spot and leave it for several hours to dry. This can be left overnight if you like.
  • Once this has dried thoroughly, vacuum off.

Check with the blacklight again to see if you caught it all. If not, reapply a fresh batch of cornstarch mix.

Method #2

1 part white vinegar
2 parts dishwashing liquid

  • Lift as much of the urine as you can with paper towels blotting and soaking up the spot.
  • Next combine the two ingredients in a container and apply with a wet sponge, dab it on generously. Let the soapy solution sit for 30 minutes.
  • Take a wet sponge and pull up as much of the soap that you can.
  • Sprinkle wet area generously with cornstarch and leave for several hours–then vacuum.

Method #3

This one’s from the article for cleaning cat pee (found here).

1 16-oz. bottle Hydrogen Peroxide
1 TBS Baking Soda
1 tsp dish detergent

  • Combine ingredients in an old container and stir well with a plastic or wooden spoon (do not use metal utensils or dishes).
  • Once powder is dissolved, pour batch into a squirt bottle, shake well then squirt on urine, completely saturate the area. Do not scrub or touch the spot, leave the solution to set and air dry for at least one hour.
  • After it’s completely dry, vacuum the area–there may be baking soda residue. Wipe off with a rag if needed.

Lingering Odors: If you’re concerned about lingering odors, you can also spray some vinegar & sprinkle baking powder across the now dried and cleaned stain before making a fresh bed (wait for it to dry first).

Linens Care:

  • Wash it all as soon as possible after an accident, adding a good 1/2 cup of vinegar per load (cider variety if you have it). This will help kill the smell.

General Tips

These are for general mattress care:

  • Use a cover for protection and launder at least once a month.
  • Remove stains by lightly dabbing with liquid dish detergent that has been well diluted in water. For toughies like blood, try blotting with hydrogen peroxide.
  • When stripping down bedding for laundry, freshen things by sprinkling a thin layer of bicarb directly on bare surface. Allow to sit for a few hours then vacuum the powder.
  • Air it out by letting the sun in, open the curtains and windows when the sheets are pulled back.
  • Turn it over every few months to help prevent permanent wear patches from developing (flip top to bottom and side to side).

Related Posts


    • Jamie

    I have a son who has a problem with bedwetting. He usually pees an himself every night, and getting the smell of urine out of his clothing was always difficult. I learned that though vinegar removed the urine smell, it left his clothes smelling like vinegar. I changed from vinegar to to 1 cup of lemon juice in his laundry, and t worked. No more urine or vinegar smell. Because lemon juice has a natually clean and fresh scent my problem was solved.

    • Pamela

    I always put about 1/2 cup of cheap pine cleaner ito the wash when stuff is peed on, or even overly sweaty.

    This smells lie pine when it gets out of the wash, but has NO smaell at all after drying.

    I have used this for yers, and it woks great on eerything!

    • Ram

    My kid did wet the bed several times and I have ignored all along to take care of it, he did multiple times for the past 2 years. My wife and myself didnt noticed at all, but now we see the stains very clearly. So my questions, can I remove the old stains from the bed by following above tips? If so, which one is better? Please help me.

      • Lou

      Two years??? Time to buy a new mattress…. ya think!

        • Mia

        Not when the mattress cost you $2000.00! You think!? I would rather clean it:)

      • Sherry

      I would like to know as well. My kids have had accidents, and of course I cleaned and disinfected the spots, but there are still stains. Will any of these methods work to remove the old stains? I always figured that the mattress manufacturers but some sort of dye in the padding so it would be harder to sell used mattresses….LOL. I’ve scrubbed and blotted and dabbed and pounded these spots (although not with any of these solutions) even just moments after they happen and there’s still a stain!

        • Adrianna Mazur

        This method will work on old stains as well! I just tried this on 2 year old stains and it COMPLETELY disappeared!!!!! I have cleaned and disinfected the area each time, unfortunately the stain remained.
        I jut tried it and the mattress is like brand new! AMAZING!!

        • Llinda Fraser

        Hi I had the same problem but the mattress was like that when I got it. I looked online and found a GREAT solution that really works. My mattress is like new now.

        Put one cup regular hydrogen peroxide and one cup white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the soiled area and leave on for 2 minutes. Take a sponge and with some pressure, wipe the area. When it dries, the stain will be gone or much lighter in color. If so, then re-apply and it will (in time )be gone. WORKS GREAT

    • Linda

    Used the hydrogen peroxide on urine stains on the mattress. Worked fabulously!!

      • Jennifer Lee Jones

      I too tried different methods to clean these nasty stains and I can confirm the hydrogen peroxide really get the job done!

    • deirdre henry

    I had a hot water bottle that leaked one night. The hints to remove stains from mattresses are to do with urine, mine is water. Does anyone know if the above hints would work just the same.
    Thank you

    • Kris

    I had the problem with both my boys wetting the bed. Thank goodness I didn’t ever really scold them too much, because I found out that it is a hereditary problem (small bladder), as my Mom, Uncle, & Sister had the same thing. I always used hydrogen peroxide on the mattresses and then I added vinegar to the laundry and it worked fabulous! Today, I still use vinegar to rewash towels, etc. that may be forgotten in the washer. Never had a problem.

    • Be

    I love the vinyl table clothes idea on the mattress! Genius!!! I so went and bought one for $2 and saved so much!!! I’m sure it’s sturdier than the cheap plastic mattress covers that cost 20 at Walmart

    • Nan

    Urine penetrated all the way through the memory foam mattress topper and soaked the mattress as well. Will use above suggestion(s) for cleaning mattress. Any suggestions for cleaning the memory foam topper?

      • Mishifu

      That is what I would like to know Nan.

    • maksim

    Never use vinegar on your bed unless you want your bed and room to smell like vinegar for two weeks.
    Even a light layer from a spray bottle is way too much.

      • Gayathri

      You can add a few drops of essential oil to reduce the smell.

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