Yellow Stained Mattress: Causes, Clean & Prevent

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Written by:

Max Stevens

Yellow Stained Mattress: Causes, Clean & Prevent

Yellow stains on a mattress appear for several reasons, such as ageing, drink spills, sweat and urine. Know you’re not alone in stripping your bedsheets and being greeted with the ill-looking stains.

We know a mattress is one of the most important investments in your home, you spend 1/3rd of your life on it. And the sad reality is that yellow stains will form. If you don’t deal with it as soon as you find them then the chances it’ll be hard to remove and potentially reduce the lifespan of your mattress.

But, how do you clean yellow stains? Why do they form? How do you prevent them from forming? These are all questions we’re regularly asked in our community – so lets get right to it.

yellow stains on patterned mattress

Knowing what to do when a yellow stain does appear is important. Why? Because the fresher the stain, the easier it is to remove them from the mattress.

What Causes Yellow Stains On A Mattress?

While we found out that oxidisation is the most common cause of yellow stains, and is most prevalent on memory foam mattresses.

Here are 5 leading causes of yellow stains on mattresses:

Ageing Mattress

As the materials in a mattress deteriorate over time, they oxidise due to prolonged exposure to oxygen and the foam changes colour due to age. The process is a gradual one that’s natural, harmless, and cannot be prevented, especially if you have memory foam as a mattress.

Generally, a mattress has an average lifespan of up to 8 years, while some last longer. However, if yellow stains are due to spills or other mishaps involving urine or blood, it can shorten the lifespan.

Some conditions that can speed up oxidisation include:

  • exposure to sunlight
  • moisture from sweat
  • humidity
  • spills
  • high temperatures.

How To Stop Rapid Oxidisation On Your Mattress?

You can slow down the process by removing your mattress from exposure to direct sun and excessive moisture. Using a mattress protector can also help slow down oxidisation.

Even deep cleaning sessions will not remove the discolouration when the yellow stains are related to ageing. If your mattress is old and covered in yellow stains, it’s probably time to upgrade to a new one.

hands on yellow stained mattress

Sweat and body oils

Sweating is a normal bodily process, and the amount varies from one person to another. Sweat tends to accumulate over time and cause staining on your mattress.

Sweat does not stain your mattress straight away. Make it a priority to wash the sheets regularly as a preventive measure and to stop mould and mildew from thriving. As mould develops, it can appear as small yellow spots on your mattress.

As for your natural body oils or sebum, they can seep into your mattress. Similar to sweat, it takes time for a stain to set. Once odour starts emanating from your mattress, sweat and body oils have likely built up and allow bacteria to thrive, risking attracting bed mites.


Urine is a top cause of yellow stains on a mattress. Accidents involving urine are typically linked to childhood, and if you’re a parent you’ve most likely frequently cleaned urine from a mattress. It can also happen among the elderly, especially those with incontinence issues.

When bed-wetting is frequent, it’ll eventually build up and allow mould, odour, and bed mites may thrive.

Individuals who also have pets might have experienced urine-related accidents. Almost half of the people in the UK allow pets to sleep in their beds. While cute, it increases the risk of pets urinating on the mattress.


removing vomit from mattress

Another accident that can happen on your mattress is vomiting. It can be from pets or humans and leave behind an unsightly yellow stain.

Vomiting in bed can occur if a person has underlying health conditions such as acid reflux, food poisoning, anxiety or as a side effect of certain medications. Or, you’ve had a wild night out and frankly got far too drunk!

Check our our how to clean vomit from your mattress if this is the reason you’re worried about yellow stains.

Coffee and tea spills

coffee spilled on mattress

Imagine celebrating your second honeymoon while spending your initial waking hours in bed. As your partner brings along a breakfast tray for two to enjoy, your arm unintentionally swipes the edge of the tray as you try to move yourself up.

A mug of coffee falls right on your lap, soaking your pyjamas and right into the sheets and mattress.

If you love having breakfast in bed, you know that spills and crumbs happen often. Suppose coffee or tea spills on your mattress. In that case, you must act immediately due to the stubborn nature of the discolouration they cause.

How To Get Yellow Stains Out Of A Mattress?

You now know the common causes of yellow stains; each has different cleaning methods.

Note: In most cases, timely action is crucial to prevent the yellow stain from setting in deep into the mattress.

sponge on a yellow stained mattress

Removing Yellow Stains Caused By Urine

Tools you need

materials needed to clean yellow stains off mattress

  • Enzyme-based cleaner
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap or liquid detergent
  • Vacuum
  • Cloth or sponge

Step 1. Remove beddings

removing beddings from mattress

Right after a bed-wetting episode, immediately strip the bed of sheets to prevent the urine from further soaking into the mattress.

Step 2. Try to dab off the urine

dabbing yellow stains off the mattress

Dab as much urine off the mattress using an absorbent cloth or sponge.

Step 3. Use an enzyme-based cleaner or a natural solution

Use an enzyme-based cleaner to effectively break down the proteins in the urine and make it easier to lift. If you’ll go for a natural approach, combine 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 2-4 drops of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent. Pour into a spray bottle and apply on the stain. Allow the mixture to dry as the baking soda forms a residue layer. Vacuum the baking soda once it dries.

Make it a priority to avoid getting the mattress wet. With this in mind, avoid using too much water during cleaning. The best approach is to perform spot cleaning using a cleaner or solution and leave it to air dry.


Tools you need

  • Enzyme-based cleaner
  • Liquid detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cloth or paper towels

Step 1: Remove the Bedding

When cleaning up vomit, timely action is crucial: stripping away the bedding to prevent the vomit from seeping into the mattress.

Step 2. Remove the moisture

Deal with any dampness that may have seeped onto the mattress using a sponge or cloth to eliminate any lingering moisture. Avoid rubbing since it’ll only allow the bacteria to spread.

Step 3. Spot-clean the site of the vomit

Perform spot cleaning of the site using a clean rag with an enzyme-based cleaner or prepare a solution of warm water and detergent. Use a cloth to dab the stain using this solution.

Step 4. Disinfect and deodorise

Prepare a solution of one part water and three parts vinegar. Blot the site with the solution to clean, disinfect, and deodorise simultaneously.

Step 5. Allow the site to dry

Leave the site to dry, or use an electric fan or blow dryer for faster results.  

Tea and coffee spills

Tools you need

  • Baking soda
  • Liquid detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Cloth
  • Vacuum

Step 1. Remove the beddings

Strip the bedding off the mattress.

Step 2. Blot the site to remove leftover liquid

Start by blotting the liquid after removing the sheets.

Step 3. Clean the stain

Dab the stain using cold water and sprinkle large amounts of baking soda and salt to lift the colour. Rub baking soda or salt and blot the site until dry before vacuuming. An older stain you failed to notice will require an aggressive approach. Prepare a solution comprising one part laundry detergent, one-part vinegar, and ten parts water. After mixing all ingredients thoroughly, spritz evenly on the site of the stain.

Step 4. Rinse the area

Use a moist cloth or paper towels to rinse the site.

Step 5. Leave the mattress to dry

Use an electric fan to allow the mattress to air dry.

4 Ways To Prevent Yellow Stains On A Mattress

Although a mattress will eventually develop discolouration as it ages, timely cleaning will keep it safe to sleep on. However, several preventive measures are worth considering if you want to keep your mattress stain-free and safe for years.

  1. Invest in a mattress protector. Today, you can find many of these products on the market. Most are removable and washable while serving as a durable barrier against liquids from seeping into your mattress. You may also find waterproof variants suitable if you have young children prone to bed-wetting episodes.
  2. Schedule a routine to thoroughly clean and air out the mattress. It’s best to do this at least two times a year. Consider doing the same for your duvets and pillows. Also, ensure you thoroughly wash the bed sheets and pillows regularly.
  3. Timely intervention on any spills. Cleaning up spills before it penetrates the mattress will go a long way in preventing the formation of yellow stains.
  4. Avoid eating or drinking while in bed. Consider designating your bed for sleep or rest only as a preventive measure. Although bringing along food or drinks in bed can be enticing, it can increase the risk of accidental spills.

Good Riddance To Yellow Stains

Proper care and observing preventive measures will go a long way in keeping your mattress clean and free of yellow stains. Knowing about the common causes of yellow stains and how to get yellow stains out of mattress will be helpful if you discover one on your mattress. Remember that taking on a proactive approach in caring for your mattress will ensure it stays hygienic and looks good as new for years to come.

Written by:

Max Stevens