How to Get Sweat Stains Out of a Mattress

Our sweat-stained Bellagio mattress has plagued me for 2 years now, but I never was brave enough (or had the time) to try to fix it.

We got snowed in the other day here in Tokyo so I thought it would be a great day to try to clean up the stains.

I first tried a diluted bleach spray. That worked a little to lighten the stains, but it also spread out the stain quite a bit.

Then I did something you should never EVER do. I looked under the sink and found Clorox clean up+ bleach. I tried a test spot and it brightened right up so I quickly went to town spraying it all over.

About 10 minutes later the pin-tucking points along the mattress had turned brown and the stains were still there. It smelled strongly of bleach, even though I had windows open and an air purifier going in there.

I used ShamWows on the mattress top to try to get up the remaining dampness. When that didn’t help I decided to sprinkle baking soda and corn starch all over the mattress, close the door, and get back to researching.

This meant we had to sleep on the couch for 2 nights while the smell dissipated, but luckily our Ikea pull-out sofa bed is comfortable.

The next day the smell was gone so I vacuumed up the mess and started over. I found a recipe on the Rudy Family Ruckus blog  that saved my (snow)day.

Check her post out for comments and tips from other readers, but the basic recipe is:

  • 3 Tablespoons Baking Soda
  • 8 ounces Hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 drop dish soap

It might be hard to tell, but there were sweat stains in the middle area of the mattress.

Get a big spray bottle, pour the mixture in, shake it up, and use it right away. Shake it up occasionally as you’re spraying.

If your bottle gets clogged like mine did take the sprayer off and put it in water, then keep spraying until it is clear. Reattach it to the bottle with the mixture then go back to work.

I had to make 3 batches because my mattress stains were all over (because we rotate the mattress ever so often) but it worked as described.

I would have trouble believing that this simple mixture worked had it not brightened up our mattress right before my eyes.

It didn’t make our mattress look right-out-of-the-plastic new, but it looks like-new.

I would have kept going for a 4th or 5th application, but I ran out of hydrogen peroxide.

I bought 3 32 oz. bottles and we’re supposed to get more snow this weekend, so maybe I’ll give it another go.

Update 2/27/16: 

This continues to be one of my most popular posts, so I wanted to give an update. This recipe works, but I’d be careful about doing this type of cleaning too often.

I was cleaning the mattress once a month, but I stopped doing it so often because the mattress developed tears on the pillow-top layer.

My guess is that it is a combination of the damage done to the fabric by the bleach application I used in my first try and any friction that’s created from when I try to speed up the drying process by using a Sham-Wow. I suspect that I was scrubbing instead of blotting.

Just remember to blot, not scrub. Otherwise you’ll probably end up with tears like I did.

And skip the bleach… (lesson learned!).

25 thoughts on “How to Get Sweat Stains Out of a Mattress

  1. Pingback: Miracle Laundry Whitening Solution Review | angela schnabel

  2. Absolutely wonderful!!! except couldn’t use a spray bottle, it kept clogging up, so just sprinkled it as i kept shaking the bottle…with gloves and a white cloth i wiped the solution in and my mattress looks like New!! Thanks 🙂

    • That’s great! I’m glad it worked for you, too! Thank you for sharing. I also had to give up on the spray bottle after my third of fourth mattress cleaning. The bottle just gets clogged way too easily.

  3. Can you tell me how long it generally takes for this solution to dry? I have 2 fans to help. So I’m hoping it won’t take long.

    • Hi Wendy! It usually takes a few hours. When I do it it’s usually in the afternoon. I open the windows (if possible) and put fans on it and it’s dry by bedtime.

    • No worries! I actually don’t use water in the mixture. It’s 3 Tablespoons Baking Soda, 8 ounces Hydrogen peroxide, 1 drop dish soap. I do use water, though, when my spray bottle gets clogged. I fill the sink with some water, set the spray bottle head in there and swish it around, then pump some of that water through it to get the clogs out. I hope that helps!

    • Hi Ashley, thank you for your comment. I spray it on. Leave it on for a few hours and vacuum it (the baking soda) part up. Some people put a fan facing the bed to help with the drying. I sometimes do that, and other times I just use a sham-wow and blot the rest of the moisture up. I also open the bedroom window on sunny days to help with the drying process.

    • Hi! I didn’t have any smells to remove so I can’t say for sure. I imagine the baking soda would help, but if it is a pet stain or people stain (is that even a thing? sorry, I can’t think of what it’s called) then I’d try adding a separate spray down of an enzyme or sports cleaner like ATSKO sports wash (I got mine on Amazon for my
      husband’s gym clothes). Good luck!

  4. Monthly cleaning of your mattress is excessive in my opinion. A good vacuuming once or twice a year should suffice. You should invest in a good quality mattress protector and wash it when needed. Your mattress shouldn’t even get any sweat stains if you use a mattress protector. My two cents…

    • Thanks for sharing! Everybody has a different way of doing things. 🙂 I’ve never been a fan of mattress protectors.. they make my get way too hot at night. I did buy a Japanese cooling mattress pad a few months ago, though, and that’s helped a lot. I only need to spot clean the mattress now.

    • I vacuum my mattress in the spring and again in the fall (sorry, but it’s a fact that we all have dust mites and shed dead skin cells). But, this didn’t prevent my hubby’s sweat stains on our mattress pad. Thanks for the tip on cleeaning the sweat stain!

  5. Thanks for this amazing tip. My mattresses cleaned up really well. I do agree that the spray gets clogged almost immediately, so I made my solution in a mixing bowl and whisked it up as I used it. Much quicker, although I had to use a soft brush to spread the solution and also lightly sprinkled some soda on heavily stained areas once fabric was slightly damp.

  6. I tried this and it did not work well. I think a mattress protector or some type of sheet would be a better approach than the constant cleaning. It’s annoying because the mattress is brand new, thanks for saving me the mistake of putting bleach on it!

  7. You are so right about the bleach and it did nothing but darken the stain even more and spread it out until it almost covers the whole mattress. Now the problem I have is that not only does the black stain cover the mattress but the body sweat stench can be smelt throughout the apt Now. What can I do? Will the soda, peroxide and dish soap get all it out including the ass and armpit smell or do I just throw it out and tell the guy he should have thought taking showers and changing clothes because now you get to sleep on the floor? I need help so I don’t kill him over the mattress?

    • HI! What a situation!

      Well, I’m not expert..but if the stench is that bad then it might be less of a hassle to just dispose of the mattress. If you can and it’s not unbearable wherever you are, open windows to help get that bleach smell out. I did this experiment in winter and had to open my windows in the bedroom and close the door to avoid freezing in the rest of the apartment. I really don’t think that spot treatment will work on an entire mattress. It might, but it will take a LOT of elbow grease and patience for drying times, reapplication, more drying time after the second application, etc.

      As far as the hygiene thing goes..that’s another tough one. I really do recommend insisting upon showering before bed. And if you all share finances I’d show him the cost of the new mattress compared to the “hassle” of taking a shower before bed. It’s cheaper/easier than having to buy a whole new mattress IMO!

      I have also heard that a thick wool blanket between the mattress and fitted sheet will help with that. I am allergic to wool, so we didn’t try that method.

      What we did do is get a washable cooling material cover that goes over the mattress and under the fitted sheet. No more sweat stains to the mattress! The cover has stains, but it’s washable.

      Good luck to you!

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