How to steam clean a mattress? Urine & Sweat stains

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A study from the reputed Ohio State University, showed that a old mattress have on average somewhere from 100,000 to ten million dust mites in it. This is mainly due to the fact that these mites are eating dead skin cells which generally stays into the mattresses. We’ll see here how to steam clean a mattress?

We tend to have floor, bathroom and kitchen clear of any dust and insects but often forget to make sure to disinfect and clean our mattress. As we spend between 6 to 8 hours every day it is important to keep it hygienic. Moreover steam cleaning a mattress is very useful for 3 reasons: it can remove bad odors, kills bedbugs, remove urine and sweat stains.

steam cleaner mattress
Steam Cleaning a mattress

Can you steam clean a mattress?

The first thing to do is check the mattress warranty or notice. Indeed few mattress such as the memory foam mattresses can be damaged with hot steam.

In most of the cases YES you can steam clean a mattress. It will help you remove all the sweat urine and dirt stains and kills bedbugs and mites at the same time.

Of course you have 2 choice when it comes to steam clean, you can call a professional cleaning service that should cost you somewhere between $100 and $150 or you can use your own steam mop. If you don’t have a steam cleaner at home you might be interested to have a look at this guide and buy one for the same price. Nonetheless you should know that a professional service will do a better job when it comes to deep incrusted stains. A external service will use dry cleaning or hot water extraction, these 2 methods will be more efficient to remove deep stains using foam or chemical powder.

On the other side if you have bedbugs issues steam cleaning will be the most effective along with pest control.

Steps to Deep Clean a Mattress

We’ll see below what are the steps to steam clean your mattress. I recommend deep cleaning your mattress regularly to prevent any dust mites especially as it creates allergies. Here’s the best way :

  1. Remove all the beddings: bedsheets, pillow covers, bottom sheet, comforters and put them to wash at high temperature.
  2. Scatter baking soda evenly over the mattress. For a twin-sized bed consider at least 1 full cup of baking soda. You can add a few drops of essential oils such as peppermint, lavender to capture all odors.
  3. After 1 hour vacuum the baking soda with the upholstery attachment.
  4. Steam the mattress with at least 210°F (or 100°C). You should hold it a 3-4 inches above the mattress and make long and slow strokes. When touching it you should feel a little moisture but not water. Don’t forget to steam the sides also
  5. Let it dry for about 4-5 hours. If you can put it under the sun will help drying.
  6. Cover it with bedsheets once it’s fully dried.

Better wait till the process is over before steaming the second side of your mattress if it is flippable. It is also very important to wait until the entire mattress is completely dry. Leaving some moisture inside when pitting the linens will attract insects immediately.

mattress steaming
Steam cleaner in action

How often should you Steam the Mattress?

Dr. Clifford Bassett said that more or less 10% of the people are sensitive to house dust mites or HDM. House dust mites are so tiny that it is very difficult to see them with eyes. It measures about 0.2-0.3mm and has a translucent body. About 84% of American homes have dust mites allergen in beds.

I suggest deep cleaning your bed once a month, some people will do it every 2 weeks but I noticed that if you change the bedsheets regularly it can prevent a lot of issues to your mattress. If you don’t have tile to do it every month try to do it al least several times a year. Steaming your mattress often will increase its lifespan.

According to the Better Sleep Council even the high quality mattresses should be replaced after 7 years. This is valid even for lifetime warranty mattresses, this is due to the lengthy warranty coverage of several mattresses manufacturer.

mattress steam clean
Steam Cleaning with style!

What are the signs that you should clean your mattress?

You can check a few things when your are not sure it is the right time to clean your mattress:

-You have allergies, especially at night

-Bedbugs bites or red buttons when you wake up

-You can see stains that are due to dirt, sweat or urine

-Bad smell arising from your mattress

-You don’t remember the last time you steam cleaned your mattress

Can you steam clean the pillow?

Pillow are considered one of the most used items inside your house, indeed you spending about one third of your time with it at night. It is common to have yellowish stains on your pillow over time. Do you wonder why? It mostly comes from night sweats, sleeping with wet hair, drooling or sleeping with your makeup still on.

Yes you can steam clean your pillow the same way you do it with your mattress, steam cleaner and baking soda will be enough. Kindly note that the pillow might take more time to dry.

You should read your pillow warranty before in order to be sure not to damage the pillow foam.

Professional Steam Cleaning Pillow
Steam Cleaning a pillow

What are the main benefits of steam cleaning a mattress?

First let’s have a look at the various insects that can live in your mattress.

Bed bugs is one of the worst, they can live up to one year without eating and their main meals are blood and usually at night. The bedbugs bites can induce skin rashes, psychological effects and allergies. Even if their bites are not transmitting any infectious disease they are quite harmful for an insect of less than 7mm.

Dust mites are in many cases responsible for allergies especially with people prone to asthma. HDM eats mainly dead skin cells present in the mattress. HDM prefers dark, warm and humid climates. Their feces are released upon contact with moisture, this can happen when a person inhales and the feces enzyme kill cells within our body. [2] 

It seems obvious that the main benefit of using steam to clean your mattress and pillow if to make sure you kill the bacteria and insects lying in it.

Other pros inherent to steam cleaning is that it is eco-friendly. A steamer requires only hot water to clean and sanitize the hole process doesn’t use any chemicals. Therefore it is safe for children and pets.

Moreover it increases the lifespan of your mattress and removes any stains resulting from urine and sweat

What is the cost of a professional mattress deep cleaning?

Having your mattress cleaned will cost you around $100-$150 for a local service. Getting rid of bed bugs will cost you somewhere around $750 – $1,000 for a regular cleaning. This is why I suggest to purchase a steam cleaner, if you don’t already have one, to do it at home and save on it.

If you are afraid of damaging your mattress you can use a dry vapour steam cleaner, or a stem iron on your mattress. They use about 5-6% water vapor that dries out in few minutes, therefore prevents any formation of mold.

On the opposite hot water extractions (like carpet cleaners) will leave a lot of water and usually you’ll need 24 hours to dry it after shampooed. As per FEMA it takes at least 24-48 hours before mold begins but I prefer not to take any risk on it. This environment is favorable for mold growth.

Steam cleaning Memory Foam Mattress?

Foam Mattress are mainly made out of Polyurethane or PU. This polyurethane is mixed with chemicals to increase its density and viscosity to make a viscoelastic foam. This foam has opened bubbles though which air can move therefore softens when in reaction to body heat. The foam takes back it’s original size at the end of the night.

You can use the same process but we recommend not staying more than 10 seconds on the same spot as memory foam mattresses are sensible to heat.

Will steam remove urine stains from a mattress?

It is helpful but sometimes not enough to remove all the stain. It is better to clear away urine with an enzyme cleaner of baking soda.

  1. Rub the fresh urine with a clean paper towel or cloth.
  2. Mix about 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 8 onces of hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap
  3. Put the liquid in a spray bottle and apply it on the stain
  4. Wait for 3 hours for it to completely dry

If you want to disinfect you can spray also a mixture of half vinegar half water. Essentials oils may also reduce the bad smell.

urine stained mattress
Urine Stains on Mattress

What are the cons of steam cleaning your mattresses?

Some people are saying that steam cleaning didn’t work to remove their stains. Maybe the stains were too deep or the mattress too old. We saw that too much moisture with favour mold and mildew. Therefore it will increase any allergy and your clean mattress will be damaged. Steam cleaner work very well for mites and insects but tend to be weak compared to other methods when you need to remove stains.

What should you avoid when cleaning your mattress?


JUST DON’T use water on your mattress. All the mattresses manufacturer advise about the risk of cleaning it with sponge and water. This is very important if you have children or pets at home. Most of us will understand that an accident is quick to happen and it is difficult to always keep your mattress clean…

If you notice an urine stain on it better purchase some enzyme based cleaning chemicals. You can also remove bad odor with baking soda and essential oils.


It is common myths that you need a beater to clean your mattress. While I can understand when it comes to remove excessive excess of dust, I see no point when it comes to regular cleaning. All HDM and beg bugs will remain unaffected by this technique. Instead use your vacuum cleaner and steam mop.


  1. Arbes, Samuel J.; Cohn, Richard D.; Yin, Ming; Muilenberg, Michael L.; Burge, Harriet A.; Friedman, Warren; Zeldin, Darryl C. (2003-02-01). “House dust mite allergen in US beds: Results from the first national survey of lead and allergens in housing”. 
  2.  Abadi, Sara (August 2009). “The Great American Hygiene Survey Results Revealed”.

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