How to clean your child’s mattress: wetting the bed

If you have a child, you will undoubtedly have to learn how to clean urine from a mattress at one point or another. Nighttime enuresis (that is, bed wetting) happens to almost every kid, and for some can even persist all the way up to their teenage years.

Before we get into how to clean up after an occurrence, it’s good to keep in mind that bed wetting is not a conscious decision on the part of kids. It can be caused by deep sleep, when their brain doesn’t respond to stimulus that normally tells it that it’s time to go to the bathroom. Even if you think you’ve got the problems solved, relapses can occur during times of stress (like, say, switching to a new bed or mattress).

The best way to deal with it? Although it can be frustrating, don’t get angry. Do follow a few simple daytime and evening rules. Make sure your child uses the bathroom regularly throughout the day. Most kids put off using the bathroom until the last possible second. Encourage your child to go as soon as he or she feels the urge, and at regular times, like lunch or naptime. Restrict drinks after dinner. Have him or her use the bathroom just before bedtime. These habits can greatly reduce the occurrences of bed wetting.

You’ll also want to take precautions with your mattress. Make sure you cover it with a waterproof mattress protector. If you’re changing the bedding daily, you may want to purchase two, so you can have one in the wash and one on the bed.

But bed wetting does happen, and the smell and discomfort can make even the most comfortable kid’s mattress… less so. Here’s how to clean urine from a mattress when it does happen.

Cleaning Instructions

Note: The sooner you clean the stain, the easier it will be to get out.

  1. Remove the sheets and bedding, and wash normally. If you notice a particularly strong urine scent after a single wash, add vinegar to the next one — this will help get rid of the smell. If staining is an issue, wash the spots under a hot tap with some laundry detergent before washing.
  2. Gather up your cleaning supplies. You’ll want cold water, vinegar, baking soda, a little detergent, a cloth to dab with, a spray bottle, and a vacuum with a hose attachment. Keeping upholstery cleaner on hand can also be a good idea if it becomes a common occurrence, as this can be used in place of other supplies. You’ll also want to make sure you have a fan or blow dryer on hand to dry the mattress afterwards.
  3. Blot the stain with your cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible. Be sure to not scrub or rub the stained area.
  4. Spray a mixture of 2 parts cold water, 1 part vinegar, and a small amount of detergent onto the stained area, making sure to get the area wet (without making the area a bigger mess). Let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the vinegar time to break down the stain, and remove the smell
  5. After 10 to 15 minutes has passed, blot the area to absorb as much moisture as possible.
  6. Sprinkle the wet area with baking soda, and allow this to sit for another 10 to 15 minutes to absorb moisture and lift the stain
  7. Dab away the baking soda with a cold wet cloth, then use the vacuum cleaner hose attachment to remove any residue left over.
  8. Use a fan (or blow dryer set to a lower temperature if time is an issue) to dry the mattress out.
  9. If there is still a faint stain or the odor is not completely gone, repeat these steps.

Further Deodorizing Instructions

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and will reduce the smell dramatically but, if you want your child’s mattress to smell even better you can add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (such as lavender) to step 6.

In step 6 you’ll need

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • 1 medium or small glass jar with lid

Put 1 cup of baking soda in the jar and 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil, Seal the jar and shake it. Next poke holes in the lid of the jar and shake the solution on the stained area. Allow the mixture to set for another 10-15 minutes to absorb the moisture, lift the stain and deodorize the spot.

Your child’s mattress will be clean and smell great. You can also use this baking soda and essential oil solution on your own mattress to keep it smelling clean and fresh throughout the year

Remember that bed wetting is a common occurrence in kids, and that no matter how frustrating it might be: it’s not their fault. The best way to deal with it is with patience and understanding… and a good set of instructions on-hand to clean up afterwards! When you make it past the bed-wetting stage, and it’s time for a new mattress, take a look at some of the Simmons Beautyrest Black models or the Simmons Beautyrest Platinum models. With a 10-year warranty, a Beautyrest mattress may be the last one you’ll have to buy for your child before he moves into his or her own apartment.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in march 2017.

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