How to Clean a Wet Mattress

Mattresses can get wet in a variety of ways. Kids have accidents, dogs have accidents--maybe you simply had an accident with a glass of water you were drinking in bed. Whatever the reason, a wet mattress is a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. A stain that seeps deep into the mattress can be very hard to dry and can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Catch the spill right away, though, and with a few steps there's a good chance your mattress can be salvaged.

Things You'll Need

  • Dry towel
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Water
  • Fan
  • Hair dryer
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner

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Use towels to absorb as much of the moisture as possible. Press down firmly on the wet spot with a clean, dry towel without rubbing. Repeat the process until the area is fairly dry.

If the wet area is simply water, you can skip to the drying step. Otherwise, you'll need to take additional steps to clean the stain.

Create a "dry" cleaning solution by mixing about a quarter cup of mild powdered detergent with water. Pour the water slowly into the detergent and use no more than a cup of water. Use a whisk or blender to stir the mixture together until a froth is created.

Use a dry sponge to rub a little of the froth into the stain. Rub gently until the stain fades. Rinse the sponge out and wring it out completely, then use it to wipe off any suds on the mattress. Keep the area as dry as possible so no more liquid penetrates the surface of the mattress.

Dry the mattress completely. If possible, and the weather is sunny and dry, bring the mattress outside to dry in the sun. Otherwise, train a powerful fan on the mattress. A hairdryer can also be used to jump-start or finish off the drying process. Give the mattress a full day to dry. Putting sheets on over a damp mattress will trap moisture and encourage mold and mildew.

Sprinkle baking soda on the dry mattress to absorb any residual odor. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, but overnight if possible, then vacuum it off.

Tips & Warnings

  • Invest in a water-resistant mattress cover. The best ones are not cheap, but are worth it. They will block most fluids from penetrating into a mattress.
  • A mattress that has been fully immersed in water in a flooding situation should probably be replaced. Mold and mildew can form deep inside a badly water-damaged mattress and create a health hazard.
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