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essential tips

How to clean pet urine out of a mattress

Whether the stain is old or new, feline or canine, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or time to remove it.

Updated August 24, 2021

Created By

Mariah Ackary,
Small dog that left a pee stain on a blue comforter

Getting urine out of a mattress can be frustrating, but even more so when it’s pet urine. Dog pee is more concentrated (and smelly) than human pee, and cat pee even more so.

Your bedding can go in the washing machine, but what do you do about your mattress? Before you mentally commit to hours of elbow-grease or hundreds of dollars spent on professional cleaning services, you should know that it’s not too tough or costly to rid your mattress of cat or dog urine by yourself.

In fact, you probably have most or all of the ingredients in your house already. The way you should approach the cleaning depends on whether the stain is still wet or if it’s dried. Either way, plan to sleep on your couch or elsewhere for at least a night.

What you’ll need

The most effective way to clean urine from a mattress is simple and inexpensive. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Laundry detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cold water
  • A spray bottle
  • A vacuum

A step-by-step guide to get fresh urine out of your mattress

Whether your pet has soiled a futon mattress, memory foam, or spring mattress, the process is the same. You want to absorb the excess liquid yet without pressing the stain further into the mattress.

Remove bedding

As soon as you notice the pee, you’ll want to put your bedding in the wash so that the urine doesn’t leave a stain.

Cover the stain in baking soda

Your first goal is to soak up as much of the pee as possible. Instead of blotting paper towels into the stain, which could push urine deeper into your mattress, you need to sprinkle baking soda over the top of the affected area.

The baking soda will draw the liquid up without you applying any pressure. You’ll see the baking soda darken as it absorbs the urine.

Vacuum baking soda

Once the baking soda has changed color, you can vacuum it up and repeat the process until the baking soda does not change in color. That means there’s no more liquid to absorb.

Apply a cleaning solution to the stain

In your spray bottle, mix one cup of vinegar with two cups of cold water and two to three tablespoons of laundry detergent. If you don’t have vinegar on hand, you can also create a solution using eight ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tablespoons of more baking soda, and a few drops of liquid detergent.

Spray this mixture over the stain until it is completely soaked. Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. Now, you can use a paper towel or cloth to blot away any excess liquid.

Repeat steps two and three

After your vinegar solution has sat for at least 15 minutes, cover the stained area with baking soda again. Let the area sit undisturbed for eight to ten hours this time. When the time comes, vacuum the dried baking soda up again.

The urine should be gone at this point, but some stains are tough. If you can still see the stain or smell the urine odor, repeat the entire process until you can’t.

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How to clean up a dry urine stain

It’s best if you can get address pee stains before they set, but that’s not always possible. The cleaning process is similar for dry urine, but takes a bit longer to remove dried-out stains.

Soak the stain in a vinegar solution

Use the same cleaning solution mentioned above (two parts cold water, one part vinegar, and a tablespoon or so of detergent) to soak the entire stain. Be generous!

Cover the stain with plastic wrap

You’re going to leave the solution to work its magic for a while, so you need to prevent it from evaporating. Covering the stain in plastic wrap will allow the solution to work on breaking down the stain for longer.

Wait 24-48 hours

Plan to sleep somewhere else for at least one night, but preferably two. Make sure to keep your door shut in the meantime.

Let the area dry

Remove the plastic wrap and let the mattress air dry. It will probably take at least eight hours to fully dry on its own.

Assess and repeat if necessary

If the stain is still visible or smelly, try not to get frustrated. Dry stains and even fresh cat urine can be trickier beasts to tackle, sometimes requiring several rounds of cleaning to get all of the pee out.

Other cleaning products that remove urine stains

Enzymatic cleaners

Many stain removers are enzymatic cleaners, meaning they are formulated with enzymes, which are catalysts that speed up chemical reactions. In stain removers, certain enzymes break down stain-causing substances and make them easier to wash away. Enzyme cleaners work on both wet and dry urine stains. We love the Bodhi Dog Carpet and Stain Remover for its professional strength, as well as its pet-safe, kid-safe formula.

If regular detergent isn’t doing the trick for your soiled linens, you have a few options. First, you can try adding a cup of vinegar to your load of laundry. Additionally, this Rockin Green Platinum Series Dirty Diaper Detergent is meant for washing soiled diapers, but it can be used for pet accidents, too.

Products and chemicals to avoid

Avoid using everyday carpet cleaners or stain removers, as they may contain harsh chemicals that are both strong-smelling and toxic to humans and pets. Most enzymatic cleaners are non-toxic, but you can always check with your vet to be sure. Do not use bleach or other disinfectants.

Air fresheners can be a nice touch when the odor is gone, but you should avoid using them while the odor is still present. At best, it will only mask the urine smell for a while, and you’ll still be able to detect lingering odors. If you can still smell urine, that means you need to do another round of cleaning.

Our detergent recommendation

Preventing your pet from soiling your mattress

After going through the process of cleaning a stained mattress, you’ll probably be eager to make sure you never have to do it again. Unfortunately, after it happens once, your dog or cat may be more likely to return to the same spot even after it’s been cleaned to claim their territory once again.

The best way to stop your pet from peeing on your bed is to not let them anywhere near it. Shutting your door or putting up a baby gate can do the trick, but it’s best to have another layer of defense, too.

🚨 If your pet is repeatedly having accidents, call your vet. Urinary issues can indicate an infection or anxiety problem.

Mattress protector

Mattress protectors act as rain jackets, repelling water and keeping your mattress dry. They go under the fitted sheet and will limit urine stains to the bedding above them, which can simply be thrown in the wash in the case of an accident.

Mattress protectors will also keep dust, dander, and other substances out of your mattress, making them a great purchase for anyone hoping to extend their mattress’s lifespan.

Pet repellent

You can buy safe pet repellent sprays that will make your bed smell unappealing to your pet without bothering your own sense of smell. Just check with your veterinarian that the solution is safe first.

If you prefer an all-natural or DIY approach, you can make a pet repellent with water, vinegar, and your favorite essential oil. In a spray bottle, mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with one and a half cups of cold water and 20 drops of essential oil to create your spray.

Citrus essential oils are naturally unappealing to dogs and cats (and toxic, if ingested), so they probably won’t be keen to get near furniture that’s been sprayed with your solution.