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!).