janitor professionally steam cleaning mattress

How to Steam Clean a Mattress to Remove Urine, Sweat Stains

Have you ever cleaned your mattress since you bought it? No? Well, you really need to! Mattresses pick up all kinds of dirt mites and dead skin. Steam cleaning your mattress is the perfect solution!

I’m going to show you how to steam clean a mattress and remove urine and sweat stains, and kill bedbugs and dust mites. You can use this hack on memory foam mattresses, pillow tops, and pillows.

To steam clean a mattress, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress first and leave for an hour to get rid of odors. Vacuum with the upholstery attachment and then run the steam cleaner all over the surface. Leave it for 2-4 hours to dry. Steam will remove sweat and urine stains from the mattress.

See the complete step-by-step process below.

Can you steam clean a mattress?

Yes, you can clean your mattress using a steam cleaner. It will get rid of stains from sweat, urine, dirt and kill bed bugs or dust mites. The steam will also disinfect it and remove allergens.

DIY cleaning with your own steam cleaner is cheaper than that of a mattress cleaning service. Hot water extraction is good for deep lying stains.

Urine stains on an old mattress can be deep that a steam cleaner cannot remove. In this case, you may need to opt for hot water extraction or dry cleaning. The latter uses foam or powder with chemical stain removers.

If you have an infestation of bedbugs, steam cleaning is very effective against these but professional pest control is also

But for routine cleaning and sanitization, do it yourself with a steam cleaner.

Steps to Steam Clean a Mattress

I choose to clean naturally with steam. Superheated low-moisture steam is the best way to remove stains and sanitize your mattress. It is completely natural and safe for you and your kids. Using steam will simply refresh your mattresses, and kill any horrible little bed bugs or dust mites.

To prepare for this step-by-step procedure, you’ll need the following: baking soda, a steam cleaner, and a vacuum cleaner. You’ll have to plug in your steamer early enough to prepare for steaming in step 4 below.

If you already have a good steam cleaner, here’s how to steam clean mattresses:

  1. Remove all bedding from your mattress – sheets, pillows, mattress cover.
  2. Sprinkle a fair amount of baking soda all over the mattress and leave it for 45 minutes to remove odors.
  3. Vacuum the mattress with the upholstery attachment to remove dust and the baking soda.
  4. Run the steamer across the mattress with the upholstery attachment to blast in the steam.
  5. Leave the mattress for about 4 hours to dry.

Steam cleaners do not leave behind a lot of moisture. However, a little bit of it may be trapped inside your mattress due to heavy steaming on urine stains. So, leave the mattress in an aerated area to allow moisture to escape before dressing it.

If you do not have a mattress attachment or upholstery attachment, wrap a towel on the head of your steam cleaner. It will help prevent scratches and tears on your mattress.

Ensure you get the water in your steamer to heat up nicely to at least  212 °F to be able to disinfect your upholstery. High temperatures will also kill any fleas, bedbugs, and dust mites. The process will leave your bedroom clean and safe for kids and anyone with allergy.

Here’s a quick video showing the steaming action.

How often should I deep clean my mattress?

Did you know that there’s quite a bit of sweat you leave on your bed every night? That amounts to a lot of sweat each year that could attract fungi and make you sick. And if you haven’t invested in an effective bed-wetting alarm, your younger kids might be wetting their beds.

In one month, that could be a good amount of sweat and pee loaded into your bedding.

Purpose to clean your mattresses twice a month. It will prevent the accumulation of dirt, urine, saliva, and sweat. I prefer to deep clean at least twice a month.   

Here are signs you need to deep clean your bedding:

  • There are visible stains and marks from urine, sweat, and dirt.
  • Your allergy symptoms worsen at night (meaning there’s buildup of dust, dust mites etc.)
  • The mattress smells or has unusual odors.
  • You have bedbug bites in the morning.
  • You’ve never cleaned your old mattress since you bought it.

These signs indicate that your mattress is dirty and unhealthy for you.


Steam is natural and very effective. It disinfects, deodorizes, and cleans even tough stains. Yet, you should be careful when using it on your upholstery. Take these precautions when using it on your bedding.

  • Steam can damage elastic parts of a mattress and other bedding, so it is important not to be obsessed with it. Choose a medium heat setting to prevent damage to these parts.
  • Read the mattress care guide to understand the best way to clean it. Cleaning with steam may void the warranty of your mattress.

Can you steam clean a pillow top mattress?

A pillow top mattress comes with additional padding. It gives the soft comfort feeling when you sleep on it. Since it extends visibly, it appears as though a pillow is sewn over the mattress beneath it.

The positioning of a pillow top mattress makes it prone to dirt, sweat, and urine stains. The good news is that you can get rid of these stains using a steam cleaner. Follow the procedure described above to sanitize and deodorize your pillow top.

Remember to read the manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent damage to the pillow top. 

Memory foam mattress

Memory foam mattresses are made of polyurethane and some chemicals.  This material is sensitive to pressure and temperature, where it molds to the shape of your body.

The big question I usually get is: Can you clean memory foam mattresses with steam? Well, the first thing you need to do is read the label for instructions before you attempt cleaning it. Professional cleaners do this all the time to keep the warranty intact.

What I like to do is steam clean a memory foam mattress with a medium heat setting. This ensures that heat does not damage the ‘cells’ of the mattress or pillow.

Also, clean lightly when using a steam cleaning machine. Sticking the steamer in one position for long can cause weakening and damage to the polyurethane material. 

Using a Steam Iron

For most of us, spot stains on a mattress are a concern. Instead of hiring a professional mattress cleaner, your steam iron house will do.

Place a towel on the stain and press with your steam iron. Repeat until the moisture gets rid of the stain.

This hack is effective for small areas with pee and sweat stains. It’ll be tedious and time-consuming to clean the entire mattress with a steam iron.

Reasons for steam cleaning a mattress.

Benefits of Deep Cleaning a Mattress with Steam

Steam is natural and safe for pets, kids, and the environment. When using it to clean your bedding, you’ll enjoy the following benefits.

  • Removal of sweat stains: As already noted, sweating at night leaves your cozy bed with liters of sweat. Over time, sweat leaves odor and stains on your mattress. A steam cleaner gets rid of these stains and odor with ease.
  • Steam gets rid of urine stains: If you have a bedwetting family member or child, you’ll need a multipurpose steam cleaner. Use it to remove urine and the ammonia stains it leaves in the mattress.
  • Kills bedbugs: Bedbugs and fleas can infest a house. If you have these, you’ll wake up with itchy bug bites. Hot steam kills fleas and bedbugs as well as their eggs allowing you to get quality sleep.
  • Steam disinfects a mattress: Dead skin cells and germs remain on your bed every time you use it. Using steam to clean it will kill germs and other pathogens.
  • Removes allergens: Dust, dust mites and mold can all be found in your bedroom. Clean it with steam on a regular basis to get rid of allergy triggers.
  • Steam cleaning gets rid of bad odors: The bad smell in your bedroom comes from sweat and urine. Using steam and baking soda will get rid of these unwanted smells.

I like using steam because it breaks down dirt with pressure and hot water vapor. It makes the cleaning process fast and effortless compared to hot water extraction. The drying time for your mattress is also reduced to just a few hours.

What is the Cost of Cleaning a Mattress Professionally?

The average cost of cleaning a mattress is between $50 and $150. This usually depends on the cleaning service and the method used. Cleaning services usually charge on the higher side of that range when it is an old mattress.

A few factors may affect the rate charged for cleaning a mattress. They include the following:

  • Amount of dirt: Old mattresses tend to be very dirty. They’ll cost you more to clean than newer, well-maintained ones.
  • Mattress size: Small mattresses cost less to clean compared to large ones.
  • Bedbug removal: If the cleaning service includes getting rid of bedbugs, the cost may be $500-$1500.

Other than the 3 factors above, the cleaning method can affect the price. The material used to make your mattress dictates which method of cleaning to use. Memory foam mattresses cost more to clean, for example.

The cost of steam cleaning a mattress may include the service charge for the steam machine. You can cut on these costs by using a steam iron or your handheld steam cleaner.

Cleaning a Used Mattress with Baking Soda

This hack is good for old mattresses because they can have a bad odor. When an old mattress smells and produces dust, it is hard to sleep comfortably on it.

Baking soda is a good deodorizer. It will remove all the bad smells from urine and sweat, leaving your bed refreshed. To give your bedroom an even better smell, get your favorite essential oil for this procedure.

You’ll need:

  • A vacuum cleaner with the upholstery attachment.
  • Baking soda.
  • An essential oil of your choice.

To clean a used mattress with baking soda, follow these steps:

  1. Add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda in the box and shake well to mix and remove lumps.
  2. Sprinkle your baking soda mixture all over the mattress.
  3. Rub the mixture into the mattress and leave it for about an hour.
  4. Vacuum the mattress thoroughly to ensure all the baking soda is removed and the surface is clean.

If you’re used to flipping your mattress, make sure you clean both sides using this procedure.

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