Can You Clean a Mattress with Bleach?

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There’s no place like home, and your bed may be the most comfortable place in the world. If you stay in your bed (maybe all the time) like most people, messes are inevitable. Can you clean a mattress with bleach, whether it’s a small spill or a horrible stain?

You can clean a mattress with bleach, but you must be cautious when using it. Bleach is a corrosive cleaner, and you should only use it as a last resort. With the extra care needed to use it, it is best to clean with other methods and substances.

This article explores the causes of yellow stains on mattresses and whether you can clean one with bleach. I also describe how to clean and sanitize a mattress.

What Causes Yellow Stains on Mattresses?


Stains, holes, tears, and sagging are things that reduce a mattress’s lifespan. Yellow stains are very prominent and distressing. Of the issues that reduce the lifespan of a mattress, yellow surface stains are the easiest to clean.

If you aren’t ready to change your mattress, cleaning these eyesores is your best bet. It is essential to understand the reasons for yellow stains on mattresses to clean them properly.

Some protein substances (sweat, urine, and blood) stain your mattress, and cleaning with bleach can kill the color.

Here are some major and minor reasons for yellow stains on mattresses:

Natural aging

The metal springs in your mattress oxidize on exposure to moisture and air. On oxidation, they lose their tensile strength and get darker. It is a natural process (rust), and you can still sleep on the mattress safely.

You may notice these stains if you have an innerspring or hybrid mattress, but memory foam mattresses do not have them. The color is closer to orange-brown than yellow, though.

Sweat stains

These are invisible initially but become notable over time because of the foul odor. You will often find sweat stains in the palms, cheek, forehead, and feet areas— or on the pillows as well. Sweat and body oil are the primary causes of yellow stains.

Urine stains

Urine stains appear bright, and they stink. They are difficult to remove from a mattress, and the odors are even more challenging to eliminate.

Mold stains

Excessive moisture is the pathway for the appearance of mold stains. They resemble small yellow/brown spots.

Water stains

They might be closer to beige or ivory, but you will notice water stains. A water stain is due to water spillage you don’t dry properly.

Dust mites

Although familiar, dust mites aren’t the most common causes of yellow stains in a mattress. If you find small yellow spots on your mattress or pillow, it may be dust mites at work.

Dust mites can cause or worsen allergic rhinitis in healthy people, and they are highly hazardous to asthmatic patients.

Mold and dust mites are dangerous for your health, and you should treat the stains they cause quickly. If you notice a stain and trace its origins to mold or dust mites, you can eradicate them fast.

You can prevent mattress stains by using a mattress cover, changing your sheets as frequently as possible, and flipping your mattress.

Mattress covers offer extra protection from bodily fluids and moisture. Flip your mattress from top-to-bottom once every four months to allow it to get dry and last longer.

Can You Clean a Mattress with Bleach?

If you usually use bleach for all stains, you might want to pause before applying it to your mattress. It is a touch chemical cleaner with corrosive properties, and it may be harsh on your mattress if you misuse it.

Apart from stain removal, bleach can also remove germs and bacteria. Your type of mattress determines whether you can use bleach as a last resort or not at all. If you must clean your mattress with bleach, here’s the right way to do it:

  • Dilute the bleach: To minimize its harshness on the mattress and your skin, ensure to dilute it with water. Two to three teaspoons of bleach per quart of water make a good mix. Diluting also helps limit the heavy scent of bleach left behind after use.
  • Give the mattress a once-over: Pass a vacuum over it before spraying or wiping down your mattress with the solution. Removing the dander, dead skin cells, and dust mites before applying bleach make cleaning easier.
  • Use a spray bottle: It’s not advised to soak your mattress with bleach because of how difficult it is to rinse mattresses. Put the diluted bleach solution in a spray bottle and spritz it on. You can also dab the stain with a cloth.
  • Do a test patch: Bleach is unfriendly to most materials and may destroy fibers. To be safe, check your mattress’ label before applying the solution. Spritz it on a small area and wait for 15 minutes, checking for discoloration or fiber damage.

If nothing happens, you can proceed with spritzing your target area. Apply the bleach carefully and as necessary to avoid dousing your mattress.

  • Maintain ventilation: When working with bleach, a well-ventilated room is ideal. Keep the windows and doors open, operating carefully and quickly. Prolonged exposure to bleach’s strong fumes is harmful.
  • Use baking soda: After wiping down your mattress or cleaning off the stain, you can use baking soda to remove lingering odors.
  • Dry the mattress: Drying a wet mattress is crucial to prevent mold growth. Good drying options are for direct sunlight, high-speed drying fans, or a hairdryer on medium heat.

Never use bleach on a memory foam mattress because it irreparably damages it. Also, wear gloves when working with bleach to prevent chemical burns.

Although you can use bleach to clean your mattress, consider alternatives (like steam cleaning) whenever possible. Commercial cleaners, enzyme cleaners, or a homemade mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are enough to remove stains from a mattress.

It is better to consult professional mattress cleaners for challenging stains than to use bleach.

How Do You Clean and Sanitize a Mattress?

A mattress is a significant home investment, as it can last between five and ten years. If you will keep your mattress in good condition for as long as it should last, frequent cleaning is crucial.

I recommend washing your beddings and sheets at least once a week, with deep cleaning and sanitizing once in six months. Even if your mattress doesn’t look dirty, bacteria, musty odors, and dust mites can build up over time.

You can clean and sanitize with homemade products, commercial products or use professional cleaners. Some cleaning supplies and methods are:

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • White vinegar
  • Vodka
  • Steam cleaning
  • Exposure to UV light
  • Bleach (as a last resort)

A simple mix of baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide can remove stains, odors and eliminate bacteria. You can use a spray bottle, vacuum cleaner, vacuum brush or toothbrush, and clean towels in the process. Professional cleaning costs $100 on average.

When cleaning a mattress, you must be mindful about dousing it with your cleaning solution. A wet mattress is terrible to sleep on and a breeding ground for mildew, mold, and bacteria. Cleaning and sanitizing your mattress is excellent, but it is even better to dry it properly.

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