How To Clean Bedwetting Stains From Mattresses

Those of us that don’t have toddlers or young children in the home may think tips for cleaning bedwetting stains won’t apply to us, but over the holidays I was pulling out this information when visiting family with children caught me by surprise ;).

BedThe first tip is to plan ahead. If you know children will be staying the night, prepare their bed before they arrive. It’s nice to do this when they’re not around since no one will know what you’ve been up to (most kiddos are sensitive about their accidents so it’s nice to do this covertly).


  • There are a couple different things you can do. You can buy a plastic cover 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 that you don’t use, you could lay that on instead (if fabric backed–leave the fabric side up).
  • On top of the plastic lining, lay a large towel to cover. Then put on the pad and then the fitted sheet.

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

If you were caught without your mattress protected, here are a few ways to cleanup the mess (you can use a blacklight to see what size of area 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 cover the entire area.
  • Pour the cornstarch mixture over the spot and leave it for several hours to dry. You can do this overnight if you like.
  • Once the cornstarch is dried thoroughly, vacuum off.

Use your 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 up as much of the urine as you can with paper towels blotting and soaking up the spot.
  • Next mix the vinegar and dishwashing liquid in a container and apply over spot with a wet sponge, dab it on generously. Let the soap 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 up.

Method #3

This one’s from the page for cleaning cat urine (found here).

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

  • Mix ingredients into an old plastic container and stir well with a plastic or wooden spoon (do not use metal utensils or metal dishes).
  • Once powder is dissolved, pour liquid into a plastic squirt bottle and squirt on urine spot, 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 spot–there may be baking soda residue. You can wipe with a rag if needed.

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

Bedding Care

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

General Tips

These are for general mattress care:

  • Use a cover to protect it and wash 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 spots, try blotting with hydrogen peroxide.
  • When stripping the beds down for laundry, freshen things up by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda directly on top of it. Leave sit for a few hours then vacuum the powder up.
  • Air it out by letting the sun in, open up the curtains and windows when the bed is stripped down.
  • Turn it over every few months to help prevent permanent wear spots (flip top to bottom and side to side).

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What Readers Are Saying: 16 Comments
  1. Jamie says:

    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.

  2. Pamela says:

    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!

  3. Ram says:

    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 says:

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

    • Sherry says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

        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

  4. Linda says:

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

  5. deirdre henry says:

    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

  6. Kris says:

    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.

  7. Be says:

    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

  8. Nan says:

    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?

  9. maksim says:

    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.

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