Best Mattress Stain Remover of 2018 & Buying Guide
Some just assume stains are par for the course with mattresses: after all, it’s not like the thing you sleep on for the next ten years is going to come out looking brand-new, right? But experts warn that poor bedding and mattress hygiene can not only shorten the life of your mattress, but cause a host of health issues, as well.
Our buyer’s guide will explore the importance of regular mattress cleaning, and look at some of the best stain removers to get the job done as thoroughly – and quickly – as possible.
Why should I clean my mattress? How often do I need to clean it?
Keeping your mattress clean helps your health—and your wallet. Clean mattresses last longer than ones building up skin cells, oils, fluids, etc., which can seep through the sheets and down into the bed. These cause odors, harbor bacteria, attract dust mites (or even bedbugs), and degrade the components of your mattress much more quickly. This shortens your mattress’s lifespan by 1-5 years, and will compromise its performance.
As for how often, most experts and manufacturers recommend a minimum of twice per year; many agree that four times, with the change of each season, is best. To clean your bed, remove and wash all bedding. Vacuum the mattress with a brush attachment, taking care to get into every groove and crevice. This removes crumbs, dead skin you can’t see, and other debris that’s somehow wedged itself into the outer fabric and casing.
Next, spot clean with a good stain remover, like one of the choices featured in this guide. You’ll probably notice the most stains where you and your partner sleep; there might be distinct spots (like spilled coffee from breakfasts in bed), or a generalized dark patch where you each lie down/sit regularly. Clean these thoroughly, then allow the mattress to dry with a fan trained on it for several hours.
Deodorize your bed, as well. Some cleaners already do this, but you can use a product such as Febreeze (or make your own with alcohol and water) or good old-fashioned baking soda. Many people prefer to steam their mattress with a handheld device, which both sanitizes and deodorizes in one simple, chemical-free step. Again, let the area dry well, then flip or rotate your mattress per the manufacturer’s instructions. Outfit it with fresh sheets, and voila!
My parents rarely cleaned their mattress (if ever). Are today’s mattresses different?
In the not-so-long-ago days of flippable mattresses, cleaning was less of an issue; you could simply clean every six months, just before flipping it to use the other side, anyway. Mattresses were less dense than most of today’s models, because they were pretty much just innerspring systems and some padding (some offering more than others). This meant dirt and bacteria were easier to get out of the mattress, and weren’t as likely to affect the lifespan; metal springs don’t break down the way foams do.
Overall, you could get away with cleaning your mattress less often—or not at all—because the sweat and germs just tumbled around in the middle of the mattress. Odors weren’t as noticeable, and compromised comfort wasn’t, either.
That said, we all know those old innerspring mattresses weren’t nearly as comfortable as today’s beds! Thanks to newer technologies and designs, we can have innersprings, hybrids, all-foam models, and any combination in between. Almost every mattress now has a generous pillow top of some kind, to provide optimal pressure point relief, and this is where the importance of cleaning really comes into play: all that gross stuff sits much closer to the mattress’s surface, which means it also sits much closer to you. We doubt anyone wants to breathe that in!
Twice a year is sufficient for most beds, but 4 times a year is best. Very sweaty sleepers, people living with incontinence, and anyone whose child or pet shares their bed should clean their mattress more often, at their discretion.
Should I use an all-natural cleaner, or one with chemicals? Which works best?
This is a matter of preference, to an extent. Some mattresses can’t handle certain chemicals, and using them might degrade the materials more quickly, or pose an even greater health hazard than the dirt you were trying to get rid of!
First, don’t use a stain remover or cleanser you can’t thoroughly remove from the bed. That laundry pre-treat spray is great at getting out tough spots, sure—but you can’t exactly chuck your bed in the wash to get the chemicals out when the job is done, either.
Most all-natural cleaners will work just as effectively as traditional ones, but don’t assume either is safe without checking the ingredients. “Green” and “eco-friendly” don’t necessarily mean “100% safe,” especially for a surface you’ll be sleeping on.
As for deodorizing and sanitizing, however, baking soda and steam work wonders, cost mere pennies, and won’t leave any harmful residues or irritating odors behind.
Should I clean my child’s mattress, as well?
Kids’ mattresses are even more prone to bedbugs, bacteria, and other unwelcome guests than adult ones, and should be cleaned every time they have an accident or are ill.
The frequency of cleanings might depend on your preferences, as well as whether or not your children:
- Bathe during the day instead of at night
- Share their bed with a family pet or younger sibling
- Snack in bed
- Sleep hot and sweat excessively
- Have allergies or immune system disorders
To clean urine or vomit out of a child’s mattress (the two most likely culprits you’ll encounter), rinse it well with a damp washcloth, or spray it directly with a hose or shower attachment. Use a mild dish soap or laundry detergent, if desired, and make sure to rinse all soap residue thoroughly.
Next, disinfect the entire mattress, and perhaps even the bedframe, if needed. Rubbing alcohol (or cheap, plain vodka) in a spray bottle is a natural and safe method for eliminating germs. If stains are still present, use a baby-safe cleaner to remove them, rinsing again if necessary.
Dry the mattress well by firmly pressing towels onto the surface, leaning against the towel with your weight and “squishing” the excess water out. Put the mattress in the sun to dry, or train several fans on it and flip when the top is dry.
I have a mattress protector on my bed—do I still need to clean the mattress?
Yes, and the same goes for pillows with protectors under their cases, too! However, the protector does serve a specific purpose—keeping your mattress clean and as free from germs as possible—so you don’t have to clean it that much, or as thoroughly. Once a year is fine, and can consist of a simple steam-clean and air-dry session, if you like.
Protectors, pads, and toppers themselves should be washed more frequently. Every two months is the standard, although you can wash them monthly, if you prefer. Follow the tag’s instructions for washing and drying; some toppers and pads require hand-washing or dry-cleaning, while others can be tossed into your regular washer and dryer on low.
Best Mattress Stain Remover Reviews
1. Clorox Urine Remover for Stains and Odors Review
For those who sleep with their kids or pets, or adults with incontinence issues (or their caregivers), Clorox has introduced a powerful cleanser specifically for use on urine, although it’s effective for stains and odors of almost any kind.
If other cleansers just aren’t doing the job, consider this powerhouse from Clorox. We especially love its versatility for use on carpets and tile, as well, which is a must for those with pets. Unlike other cleaners, which simply mask the smell of ammonia, Clorox Urine Remover actually breaks down the uric acid and removes it completely, so all that’s left is a clean surface.
2. Husky Bio-Clenz Upholstery Cleaner Review
If you’re looking for a powerful enzyme-based cleaner to get rid of anything from urine to vomit, blood, or milk—even beer!—Husky Bio-Clenz might be your best bet. It doubles as a mattress stain remover and carpet cleaner, and has a long-lasting tropical scent that many buyers will love.
This enzymatic cleaner should be highly effective at removing organic stains, but might leave behind things like ink blots or makeup marks. However, because most mattress stains come from humans (fluids, dirt, etc.), almost everything on your mattress is going to be organic. We recommend Husky’s Bio-Clenz to anyone in need of a powerful cleaner…who won’t mind a fruity scent in place of the stains.
3. Resolve Multi-Fabric Cleaner and Stain Remover Review
Resolve is a popular name in the stain removal business, and it’s easy to see why: their laundry products remove stains effectively, lift odors fast, break down stubborn dirt, and leave existing dyes and designs fade-free. But can their upholstery cleaner work the same magic on your mattress that it works on those grass-stained football pants or ketchup-smeared T-shirt?
While it’s better on fresh spills, Resolve is a powerful cleaner with a not-too-powerful scent; for the lighter stains typical adults will find on their mattresses, we think this cleaner could do the job well. For heavy-duty jobs or set-in stains, however, you might find yourself scrubbing through several applications before seeing results.
4. Woolite Advanced Stain and Odor Remover and Sanitizer Review
For all-in-one cleaning, deodorizing, and disinfecting, trusted brand Bissell has engineered their Woolite stain and odor eliminator. Most impressive is that it also kills 99.9% of bacteria on soft surfaces, including Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin and respiratory infections, and Enterobacter aerogenes, which can affect anything from the urinary tract to the eyes. This cleanser even tackles allergens, something most of its competitors can’t accomplish.
With an affordable price and Woolite’s trusted name, there aren’t many reasons not to try this cleaner—except that, ironically, it can’t be used on wool. Mattresses with wool covers will need to be stripped down before cleaning, and the cover treated separately.
Stains on mattresses are more than unsightly; they’re downright unsanitary, and removing them during a regular cleaning (or as soon as they happen) is necessary to prolong your mattress’s lifespan, keep yourself healthy, and enjoy a better night’s sleep. We hope our guide can help you choose an effective and safe stain remover for your mattress.