Learn the cause of those yellow stains on your mattress and the best approach to cleaning them here.

00:05, Thursday 12/01/2023 - Pro Reviewer I have 5 years of experience in blogging...

Is your mattress covered in unsightly yellow stains? Yellow stains on a mattress are fairly common, and they can be quite unsightly, especially when they begin to turn brown. This is especially true if you've had your mattress for a while, but there are ways to eliminate the vast majority of them.

There are a number of causes for mattress yellowing, and even the best mattresses will eventually succumb to these stains if they are not protected.  

Yordan Yordanov, an expert in upholstery and mattress cleaning for Fantastic Services, was consulted to determine the cause. In this new window: , to talk about why yellow stains form on mattresses, what causes them, how to get rid of them (if possible), and whether or not they're safe to sleep on Only one of them is actually safe, it seems.

Check out our best cheap mattress guide for some highly rated budget beds if you've decided to buy a new mattress after reading this but are on a tight budget.

These four things are the most common reasons for yellow stains on your mattress.

  • First, the mattress is too old (these stains will never come out).
  • Sweat and oil from the skin (can be cleaned off)
  • Removeable Urine
  • Toxic waste (which can be cleaned up)

Mattress deterioration from age and natural causes

Your mattress will deteriorate naturally with time, just like everything else in your home. 'Oxidation is the main reason,' Yordanov says. "Sunlight plays a role in a natural process." ”

This discoloration is harmless. Plus, an anti-oxidant mattress cover can prevent mattress discoloration.

Professional cleaner Yordan Yordanov

This is a natural occurrence that can't be completely halted. However, if you keep the mattress out of direct sunlight, its deterioration can be slowed. Yordanov says, "If you're airing your mattress outside, choose a shaded but warm spot."

The bright side is that this yellowing is harmless. Unfortunately, it's not something that can be fixed. A good mattress protector can still help slow down the oxidation process, but it must completely encase the mattress. ”

2. Animal and human urine

Mattresses can quickly become discolored by urine stains, whether from people or animals. However, Yordanov claims that both fresh and dry urine stains on a mattress are easily eliminated.

A person wearing pink rubber gloves attempts to get a yellow urine stain out of a white mattress

This picture was taken by Getty Images.

Instructions for removing urine-related yellow stains from mattresses

Yordanov advises that "fresh stains should be treated as soon as possible" in order to be successfully removed. First, use a dry cloth to blot up any excess urine, but be careful not to rub; doing so will only serve to set the odor. Then, spray the area liberally with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar.  

Last but not least, finish by sprinkling baking soda on top and waiting eight hours. After the stain has dried, you should vacuum up the leftover liquid, inspect it, and try again if necessary. ”

Urine stains that have dried on fabrics are notoriously difficult to remove. Yordanov recommends mixing 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 2–3 drops of liquid dish soap. To remove stains, spray the affected area and let it dry before vacuuming up the residue. Depending on the severity of the dry stain, you may need to do this multiple times. ”

The nightly perspiration and oil production

In addition to being a natural bodily function, sweating and the excretion of body oils are major contributors to the yellowing of pillows.  

Over time, a mattress can become discolored by the accumulation of sweat and oil from the skin. Although difficult to clean, this stain can be eliminated. In fact, Yordanov recommends two "very good methods," both of which are frequently referenced in how-to guides on cleaning a mattress.

The more time bicarbonate has to neutralize an acid, the better. The mattress should be left for at least a few hours, and overnight for particularly stubborn stains.

The Great Yordan Yordanov

Avoiding yellowing from perspiration on your mattress

Using baking soda and a bristle brush is the first option. Sodium bicarbonate is useful for cleaning mattresses because it "absorbs moisture and unpleasant odors," as Yordanov puts it.  

"Spread some salt on the entire bed. After that, use a bristle brush to work it into the mattress gently. The more time bicarbonate has to neutralize an acid, the better. A few hours should be sufficient, but an overnight soak is recommended for particularly stained and dirty mattresses. When you're finished, just vacuum up the dust."

Yordanov suggests the following for the alternative approach:

  • Mix one cup of hydrogen peroxide (at a concentration of 3%) with water.
  • One ounce of hydrogen peroxide at a 3% concentration.
  • Baking soda, 2–3 tablespoons
  • A small amount of non-abrasive liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Make sure the soda is fully dissolved by stirring the mixture.
  • Spray the stained area thoroughly.
  • Let the solution sink in for a while.
  • Mattresses need at least an hour of air drying time.
  • Use a fan or blow dryer on cool to hasten the drying process.

A woman wearing a white sleep t-shirt and shorts holds her stomach as she feels nauseated in bed

Picture: (Getty Images)

Additionally, vomit leaves behind brown and yellow stains.

The color of your mattress can quickly change to a sickly yellow if you throw up on it. You can, fortunately, remove these stains, though you'll need to be mentally prepared for the first step.  

A guide to cleaning up vomit from a mattress

You should start by cleaning up the vomit on the bed. The next step is to get rid of all of your bedding and wash it in hot water to eliminate any potential germs.

Yordanov instructs, "Second, get a piece of old cloth or a piece of paper towel, and dab the stain." You can spot-clean it with some warm water and a mild detergent. Then, blot the area with a solution of three parts white vinegar to one part water. Not only will the stain be removed, but the area will also be disinfected and deodorized. ”

Yordanov recommends the following products for thorough disinfection and deodorization, but before you buy them, you should check your mattress's care instructions to make sure they are safe to use on your mattress.

Use rubbing alcohol as a disinfectant (and essential oils to mask the odor) to thoroughly clean the area. A little bit of baking soda will neutralize any lingering odor. Once the dust settles, be sure to vacuum it up. ”

Is it okay to sleep on a mattress with yellow stains?

The cause of the yellowing is a key factor in determining the answer, say experts. Yordanov assures us that everything is fine if the yellowing is only the result of oxidation and proper hygiene has been followed.

For the sake of safety, however, a thorough cleaning is advised in all other circumstances. The presence of mold can be detected by symptoms such as itching, coughing, or other allergic reactions. That's a serious health risk that needs to be addressed right away because of how quickly it multiplies, how challenging it is to eradicate, and how it poses a unique threat to people with asthma.

A big yellow mattress stain on a white mattress

(Photo by Getty Images)

Some people are allergic to dust mite droppings, which are made up of dead skin cells, sweat, and bacteria. Bedding should be changed weekly, and the mattress should be cleaned and vacuumed every two to three months, to help mitigate these negative effects. ”

Do you have any idea how often a mattress needs to be replaced? If you've had your mattress for more than ten years and it's showing signs of sagging, wear and tear, and yellow stains like those caused by urine, it's time to replace it. The Saatva Classic is a high-end innerspring hybrid with three firmness options and a plethora of cooling and pressure relief features; we heartily endorse it. The results of our three-week long sleep trial on the Saatva Classic are detailed in our review.

Pillows have a higher turnover rate; professionals advise replacing yours every year or two. Getting tired of it, time for a new one Then, check out our 2019 pillow buying guide for the best options no matter how you like to snuggle up in bed.

Solution to the problem of yellowing

A mattress that is protected from the start has a much better chance of avoiding the dreaded yellow stains. Protecting your mattress from spills and stains is essential, so we've compiled some of our favorite options below. They come in a variety of types, some of which are resistant to bed bugs, bacteria, and even bodily fluids like vomit, urine, and sweat.

Yordanov claims that keeping your mattress clean on a regular basis is the best way to keep it looking like new and stain-free. Every year, follow the instructions on the label and steam or dry clean the mattress. You can maintain its cleanliness in-between thorough cleanings by vacuuming it regularly to remove surface dirt, dust, and dead skin cells, or by treating any stains with a more intensive cleaning solution. ”

The aforementioned methods should also prove effective on any yellow stains that have appeared on your bed topper. If you're tired of your old topper and want to upgrade to something more comfortable and healthier, check out our guide to the best mattress toppers, or read up on the differences between a mattress pad and a mattress topper.

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