Children who have bed-wetting issues, or a spiteful pet, can leave urine odor on a bed. Flood damage or keeping a bed frame, box spring and mattress in a humid area can cause mildew and mold to grow, leaving a bed smelling musty. Sweating during the night or going to bed without showering causes the bed to reek from body odor. Additionally, chemicals used on the textiles and other parts of the box spring and mattress can give off an offensive odor. Regardless of the cause, a smelly bed does not lead to a good night's sleep.
Things You'll Need
Vacuum or shop vacuum
Grease-cutting dish soap
Enzyme-based urine odor and stain remover
Go over the surface of the box spring and mattress with a vacuum to remove dust, dead skin cells and loose dirt. Turn the box spring and mattress over and vacuum the other side. Use a powerful shop vacuum to pull out deep down dust and debris.
Add 1/4 cup grease-cutting dish soap to a bucket of warm water. Vigorously agitate the water by hand or with a handheld kitchen mixer to make suds. Pick up the suds with a slightly damp sponge and work the suds into the covering on the box spring and mattress to remove surface odors. Flip the mattress and box spring and scrub the other side. Use only the soapsuds to avoid making the mattress or box spring damp.
Submerge the sponge into the soapy water, squeeze excess liquid out of the sponge and wipe down all hard bed surfaces to remove dirt and dust. Dry the bed parts thoroughly with a clean rag.
Move the bed, mattress and box spring outdoors on a sunny day. Lay down a tarp. Stand the mattress and box spring on an end next to each other on top of the tarp. Lean them both at 45-degree angle against a fence, house or other sturdy support in an area of direct sunlight.
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and generously spray both sides of the box spring and mattress. Vinegar neutralizes odors and kills some types of bacteria, mold and mildew. Let the box spring and mattress stay outside for at least eight hours. Take the mattress, box spring and bed back inside the house.
Lay the box spring and mattress on top of a tarp, side by side. Generously sprinkle baking soda over the box spring and mattress. Let the baking soda stay on the box spring and mattress overnight. Vacuum the baking soda off the surface of the box spring and mattress. Flip the mattress and box spring over and generously sprinkle baking soda over the surface. Allow the baking soda to sit on the surface for eight to 10 hours. Vacuum the baking soda off the mattress and box spring.
Apply a commercially available, enzyme-based urine odor and stain remover on the offending mattress and box spring, according to the manufacturer's directions, if a urine odor remains. The process generally consists of thoroughly spraying the box spring and mattress with the enzyme-based odor remover and allowing it to stay on the surface until the mattress and box spring dries. Enzymes break down the odor-causing particles rather than mask the smell.
If odors remain, consider hiring a professional mattress cleaner or replacing the mattress and box spring. Add six to eight drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking soda and mix well before sprinkling on the mattress and box spring to add a fresh scent to the bed. If the odor remains, but is less offensive, repeat steps 4 through 6.
If a musty smell remains, replace the box spring mattress to avoid dangerous mold-related health issues. Do not sleep on beds with visible mold or mildew, as the mold and mildew is harmful to your health.