Bedwetting Happens: Here’s How to Get Urine Out of a Mattress

The Everymom’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

how to get urine out of a mattress
Source: Shutterstock

Becoming a parent is glamorous. You’ll get the best sleep you’ve ever had. You’ll have so much free time, you won’t know what to do with it. Your to-do list will be effortlessly manageable. The house will be spotless … Said no one ever. 

The truth is, parenting can be anything but glamorous, new parents are some of the most under-rested people on the planet, and 99% of the time, our homes will be anything but spotless. That being said, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as raising little humans. Getting their sweet hugs and kisses, watching them grow and achieve their goals, and seeing their personalities develop is worth it.

Still, when it comes to parenting, inevitable challenges will come up. The potty-training phase in particular can be especially taxing. Even though there are plenty of techniques and strategies we can follow, bumps in the road are sure to come up on each potty-training journey. 

One thing all parents are likely to run into during potty-training is a bedwetting accident or two (or many). Sometimes they’ll occur in the middle of the night, leaving a mess of wet laundry and an overtired kid in the morning. Other times, a nap-time accident might occur on a sunny afternoon. Or, for those of us who are really lucky, we may even be tasked with dealing with a spot from a beloved pet. So how do you get urine out of a mattress—and the accompanying smell? Luckily, we have the answer—with products you likely already have on hand. 


How to Get Urine Out of a Mattress

Before we send the mattress out with the trash thinking all hope is lost, read these helpful instructions on how to get urine out of a mattress. Whether we’re able to get to it right away, or it has to wait until morning, there’s a technique for that. Plus, we’ll dive into the nuances of cleaning foam mattresses, removing stains and smells (ew!), and even tackling cat pee.



What You’ll Need to Get Urine Out of A Mattress

Knowing how to get urine out of a mattress is one of those skills that will always be nice to have. Not only will we likely need to use it ourselves as parents, but we can offer the sage knowledge to our friends and kids as they grow up as well. Plus, the last thing we want to do is waste an otherwise perfectly good mattress when getting the urine out is 100% possible.

The best kinds of messes (if there is such a thing) can be tackled with simple household products. When it comes to learning how to get urine out of a mattress, the good news is that we don’t need any special tools to get the job done. Here’s what you’ll need to clean the mattress:

  • Clean towels or paper towels
  • Spray bottle
  • Vacuum 

Depending on how long the urine has been on the mattress, you’ll need some of these cleaning elements:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Laundry Detergent



How to Clean the Mattress

For fresh urine stains, clean the mattress as follows:

Step 1: Strip the bed and put all of the bedding into the washing machine as soon as possible. Give them a good wash to make sure the urine stain and scent don’t linger on the sheets or blankets. Even better, add a cup of vinegar to the wash to break down the uric acid in the urine.

Step 2: With a towel or dry paper towels, gently blot the spot to soak up as much of the fluid as possible. Be sure not to scrub. Simply pat the area with a clean towel. Scrubbing may cause the urine to go deeper into the bed, making it harder to get out and a better chance of the smell sticking around. 

Step 3: Fill the spray bottle with one part vinegar and one part cold water. Optional: add a few tablespoons of laundry detergent. Generously spray the area with the mixture, then gently blot any excess liquid with a dry towel or paper towel. 

Step 4: Let the mixture soak into the mattress for 5-10 minutes. 

Step 5: Evenly sprinkle the spot with a generous amount of baking soda. The baking soda should remain on the mattress for as long as possible—8-10 hours is recommended. If possible, leave it to rest for a day or overnight. 

Step 6: Come back to the spot and use the hose attachment on the vacuum to remove the remaining residue. The mattress should be back to normal, but if a spot or odor remains, repeat these steps as many times as necessary until it’s as good as new. 

Optional Step 7: After you’ve cleaned your mattress, the dried vinegar shouldn’t leave much of a smell. However, if there is a faint vinegar smell, using peppermint oil or a purification essential oil on the spot can be dabbed or sprayed on to help get rid of the scent. 


How to Get Urine Out of a Mattress That’s Already Dry

The process for cleaning a mattress when the urine has already dried will be similar. Many of the same products will be used: white vinegar, a spray bottle, towels or paper towels, baking soda, and a vacuum. But, this time, you’ll also want to have some laundry detergent on hand.

First, get the spot wet by soaking it with a mixture of white vinegar and laundry detergent. Let it soak for about 10-15 minutes, and then pat the area of excess liquid. Next, sprinkle the spot with baking soda and let it sit for 8-10 hours. Lastly, vacuum up the baking soda for a mattress that’s good as new. 


How to Get Urine Out of a Foam Mattress

When it comes to cleaning urine out of a foam mattress, we’ll take very similar steps. However, instead of mixing vinegar with water in the spray bottle, it is recommended not to dilute the vinegar. Once again, time is of the essence, and the best way to ensure we’ll have a clean mattress is to clean the spot as soon as possible. Follow these simple steps:

  • Gently blot the spot with towels or paper towels
  • Again, don’t scrub the spot to avoid the liquid going deeper 
  • Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar
  • Spray the mattress generously with the vinegar and let it sit
  • Blot the area again to remove excess liquid
  • Cover with baking soda and let it sit for several hours or a full day
  • Vacuum up the baking soda after it dries and clumps



How to Get Rid of Urine Stains

One of the most unfortunate parts of dealing with an accident like this is that pee can quickly stain. If there’s a case where the liquid has set and a urine stain remains, it’s dry baking soda to the rescue again.

Grab an old toothbrush or small cleaning scrub brush and begin brushing the baking soda into the soiled area. The baking soda will begin to darken, meaning it’s soaking up the liquid that caused the stain. Once it clumps and dries, vacuum up the baking soda, and keep repeating until the baking soda remains white. Then spray the area with a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water. Vacuum up this residue once it’s completely dry. 


How to Get Rid of Urine Smell

When the stains are gone but an odor still lingers, take the cleaning up a notch. Here’s the way to remove the smell of urine from a mattress:

  • Mix hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a few drops of liquid laundry detergent together in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the spot generously with the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid detergent combo to fight off the pee smell that remains.
  • Once you see the solid baking soda residue that remains when dried, vacuum it away.
  • And as a bonus, this technique works for getting the scent of cat pee out of a mattress too if you have a feline family member sharing the bed.

Hydrogen peroxide is part of the magic in this cleaning solution. You may have used hydrogen peroxide to get blood stains out of fabric—it causes a reaction that breaks down the blood. In a similar way, and much like an enzyme cleaner that breaks down stains, as the hydrogen peroxide evaporates, the urine is drawn upwards where it meets the baking soda. Drawing out the urine and urine odor helps neutralize both the stain and scents. Plus, it’s inexpensive and highly effective.

However, keep in mind that peroxide does have the potential to bleach certain materials. Because of this, it’s best to test a small amount of it on an unnoticeable area first to make sure there won’t be a bad reaction. 

Again, feel free to spray or dab on some peppermint oil or purification essential oils like lemongrass, rosemary, or tea tree to eliminate any remaining scent. 


The Best Products for Cleaning Up Nap and Bedtime Accidents

Have these products on hand for when the inevitable bedwetting accidents happen. A quality spray bottle will make the cleaning process easier, and a cleaning caddy helps organize everything you’ll need to quickly get the mess taken care of. 

Target | Grove Co.
Use a glass spray bottle for your mattress cleaning solution.
Target | Made By Design
Keep all your mattress cleaning products in a caddy so you can easily grab for a naptime or nighttime accident.

Parents and caregivers can also take some preventative steps. Aside from keeping your kiddo in Pull-ups overnight, limiting liquids in the hours before bedtime, or waking them for a “dream pee”, these waterproof mattress covers can help keep urine out of their mattress in the first place.

Target | Coop Home Goods
Available in sizes twin-California king.
Target | Cloud Island
Sized for toddler beds.

Just remember, bedwetting is a normal part of potty training and each child will develop nighttime continence on their own timeline. 

6 Tips to Help You Nighttime Potty Train Your Children
Click to Read