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How To Remove Urine Stains From Clothes and Mattresses

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Stains come in different forms. As an adult, you have to contend with various stains on a daily basis. Even more so if you have children in the house. Children go about their happy life, oblivious to the path of stains they leave in their wake. Some of these stains are unintentional, while others are totally accidental. Accidents do happen. And when the child wets the bed, you have to remove the urine stains from the clothes as well as the mattress.

When dealing with urine stains, you have to first clean the pee from the clothes. Then you need to remove the urine stains completely before you get rid of the pee smell altogether. The same process applies to removing urine stains from a mattress. The difference is in the cleaning materials you’ll use in each case. 

Urine stains, even fresh ones, can be hard to remove. And the smell can linger long after the stain has faded. Read more to find out how to get rid of urine stains both from clothes and mattresses.

How To Remove Urine Stains From Clothes

If a child pees in their clothes or if an untrained pet does the same on any item of clothing, you need to act quickly. The ammonia in the urine tends to latch onto the fabric and becomes hard to get rid of the longer it stays untreated. Urine stains vary in color from transparent to dark yellow. But most often, it’s the smell that first alerts you to the accident that just occurred. 

The faster you act, the better you can remove all traces of the stain along with the smell. Unlike other stains, the process of removing urine stains from clothes goes through three steps. The first step is to clean the urine from the clothes, especially when dealing with fresh stains. Then you need to remove the stains using vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap. Finally, you remove the smell by washing the clothes.

I have also written a guide on what to do if you wet yourself in public that could be really helpful to familiarize yourself with (just in case.)

How to Clean Fresh Urine from Clothes

Fresh stains are often easier to remove. The offending material, in this case, the urine, hasn’t penetrated the fabric yet, and the chemicals haven’t interacted with the textile. It’s important that you try to absorb as much of the urine off the clothes to prevent the spread of the stains and make it easier for you to get rid of the smell. This is the first step in removing the urine stains successfully.

In this step, you will need distilled white vinegar, paper towels or any clean towels, baking soda, heavy-duty laundry detergent, a fan, laundry disinfectant for colors, or oxygen-based bleach for whites, and dish soap. When you have everything ready, follow these steps. (the two links above are paid links to Amazon)

  1. Spread the stained clothes on a table and use a paper towel to blot the stains. Don’t scrub it or rub it in. Just gentle blots to absorb the liquid.
  2. If you don’t have time to wash the stains right away, soak the clothes in cold water. Add half a cup of baking soda to the water to deal with the smell.
  3. When you’re ready to wash the clothes, take them out of the cold water and squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can. 
  4. Set the water in the washer to the highest temperature and put in the wet clothes.
  5. Add the laundry disinfectant or oxygen-based bleach as per the instructions on the package.
  6. Add a cup of baking soda to the load along with the heavy-duty laundry detergent.
  7. Set the washer to a regular washing cycle and let it finish.
  8. Before the rinse cycle starts, pour a cup of vinegar on the clothes.
  9. Examine the stains again and make sure they’re faded. 
  10. If the stains or the smell persist, repeat Steps 4 to 8.
  11. Toss the laundry in the dryer, then put it out to dry in the sun.

How to Remove Dried Urine Stains from Clothes

If you let the urine stains dry on the clothes or they have been there overnight, chances are, you’ll have mildew developing on the stains as well. Now you have to deal with the pee stain, the mildew, the toxins, and the smell as well. Soaking is the first step to dealing with these nasty stains and their by-products. Then wash it in regular or warm water temperature instead of hot water and air the laundry in the sun.

It doesn’t matter how long the urine stain has been on the clothes. Once the pee dries out, the fabric will carry the dank smell of ammonia and mildew even after washing it for the first time. You might have to repeat the pre-soaking and washing a few times. You’ll need distilled white vinegar, baking soda, a spray bottle, oxygen-based bleach, and heavy-duty laundry detergent.

  1. Spread the stained clothes on a table where the stains are visible and easily accessible.
  2. Spray the stains with cold water, just enough to get them a little moist.
  3. Sprinkle the baking soda on the urine stains and leave them for a few hours to break down and absorb the chemicals in the urine stain.
  4. Wipe off the excess baking soda with a paper towel and rinse the stains thoroughly.
  5. Mix a cup of vinegar into 2 liters of cold water and soak the clothes overnight.
  6. In the morning, rinse the clothes and put them in the washer.
  7. Add half a cup of baking soda to the warm water.
  8. Before the rinse cycle, add a cup of distilled white vinegar.
  9. Check that both the urine stains and the smell are gone before you put the laundry in the dryer. If you still get a waft of pee or see the silhouette of the stains, repeat Steps 5 to 8.
  10. Air the laundry in the sun.

How to Get Pee Smell Out of Clothes

Sometimes the smell of pee persists even after you’ve washed and aired the clothes. This is often the case with dried urine stains that have already set in the fabric. The next time you take out the clean and folded garment, a whiff of pee hits your face. This is due to either not using baking soda to break down the urine stain or not allowing that step enough time.

If the funky smell of urine persists in clothes that have already been washed and stored, then you’ll need baking soda to treat them. After the prerequisite period, you can wash them normally in the washer and put them out to dry in the fresh air. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Spread the affected clothes on an even surface such as a table or a bench in a well-ventilated area. Avoid drafty spots or strong gusts of wind that could blow away the baking soda.
  2. Sprinkle a thick layer all over the clothes with a special focus on the stained areas. If you can still see a shadow of the stain, increase the baking soda and spread it evenly to cover the whole stain.
  3. Let the baking soda do its magic neutralizing the acidic urine stains and absorbing the odors. Anything from 8 hours to overnight will do.
  4. Wipe off the baking soda and throw the laundry in the washer in lukewarm water.
  5. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  6. Put the laundry out to dry in the sun for at least one day.

Here is my list of all the best laundry detergents to use to get rid of urine smell.

How To Remove Urine Stains From Mattresses

Removing urine stains from clothes is a straightforward process. But the same cannot be said about mattresses. The heavy mattress is not as easy to move or wash. Still, most accidents happen on the mattress. And by the time you discover them, the mattress has already soaked up the urine.

Here too, we’ll deal with two types of urine stain, fresh and dried. But before you get to the mattress, you need to remove the beddings and treat them as we explained above. When the mattress is laid bare in front of you, examine the size and scope of the stains and deal with them as follows.

How to Clean Fresh Urine Stains from the Mattress

You’ll need to act quickly with fresh urine stains. Otherwise, mildew will develop inside of the mattress, which will become hard to get rid of. As with urine-stained clothes, you’ll need white vinegar, baking soda, paper towels, a fan, a vacuum cleaner, and a spray bottle. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Place a few paper towels on the urine stains and press them gently with the palm of your hand. Give them a few minutes, then replace with dry paper towels.
  2. Fill the spray bottle with equal amounts of white vinegar and water. Spray the stains to get them moist and allow the mixture to reach the deeper stains under the surface.
  3. After 5 minutes, use the paper towels to blot the excess vinegar and moisture.
  4. Sprinkle baking soda liberally on the urine stains about one inch thick and leave it for 8 hours. The high pH of the baking soda neutralizes the acidic urine stains.
  5. Vacuum the baking soda and examine the stained areas for any smell or traces of the stains.
  6. Repeat Steps 2 to 5 until the urine stains are gone.
  7. Turn the fan on and aim it at the mattress to dry out the inside of the mattress.

How to Remove Dry Urine Stains from the Mattress

In some cases, the urine stains would be already dry by the time you get to them. But that doesn’t mean that the mattress is totally ruined. You can still get it all cleaned up and remove all traces of the funky odors. However, you’ll need a stronger concoction than the regular baking soda and vinegar combo. Replace the vinegar with hydrogen peroxide and add dish soap for good measure.

  1. Mix 4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and half a tablespoon of dish soap together and fill a spray bottle with the mixture.
  2. Spray the dried urine stains on the mattress generously with the cleaning liquid to get the stains soaked.
  3. After a few hours, the moisture will dry up, leaving behind a thick layer of baking soda.
  4. Allow the baking soda a few more hours to dry out completely, then vacuum it off the mattress.
  5. Inspect the stains to see if they’re gone. If not, repeat the above steps again.
  6. Color might fade in the treated areas as a result of using hydrogen peroxide.

How to Get the Pee Smell Out of the Mattress

Even after treating the urine stains as detailed above, a fading whiff of pee might persist for some time after that. That’s mainly because the mattress hardly gets aired, and trace amounts of urine still linger in the inner layers of the mattress. To deal with this problem, you will need to remove the beddings and leave the mattress to air. Open the windows in the bedroom and push the mattress toward the window to get the sun.

If that doesn’t work, spread baking soda all over the surface of the exposed mattress. Try to detect the spots that have a stronger smell of pee and cover double the amount of baking soda. Let the mattress sit for 5 to 8 hours while the baking soda draws up the dried urine and neutralizes the odors.

Vinegar with water in equal portions might also work in case the urine stains are too deep. Spray the top of the mattress with the mixture and leave it for a few hours to dry. Finish up with another spray of water with a few drops of essential oil mixed in.


Urine stains on clothes and mattresses can ruin the fabric and leave persistent odors. Treat the fresh urine stains on clothes with baking soda, then wash them in hot water, adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. For dried urine stains, use baking soda to break down the stains, then soak them in water and vinegar overnight before washing them in lukewarm water.

For mattresses, you’ll need to treat the fresh urine stains with vinegar before applying baking soda. Dried stains need a baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap combo to remove the stains.

Here is how to clean your memory foam pillow, and here is how to make your bed smell great.


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