Cleaning Guides

How to Get Sick Out of a Mattress

Let’s be honest – it has happened to many, if not to all of us. Maybe you’ve had a bad case of food poisoning or caught the seasonal flu, whatever the case may be – cleaning sick off a mattress is not pleasant, and not as easy as you may think. You wouldn’t be able to simply throw it in the washing machine, just like you would with the other victims – sheets, throws, and pillowcases. So, waste no time, and continue reading to find out how to get sick out of a mattress.  

So, in case you:

  • need to clean stubborn stains from your mattress;
  • are looking for a more eco-friendly way to clean vomit from a mattress;
  • need a step-by-step guide.

You’re at the right place!

The supplies you’ll need

Before we start looking at how to tackle the problem, you will need certain tools. Here is what you’ll need to clean sick off a mattress:

  • Dustpan (or paper plates)
  • Bin bags 
  • Detergent 
  • Old rags (or cloths/paper towels) 
  • Liquid soap or vinegar
  • Water
  • Spraying bottle 
  • Baking soda, rubbing alcohol (or hand sanitiser), or corn flour 

How to get sick out of a mattress

Washing clothing, sheets, other bedding, and even rugs is rather easy. When it comes to mattresses, on the other hand, it can get a bit tricky. You will need to put extra effort into cleaning in order to avoid potential long-lasting odours and marks. Good thing is, you can easily complete the task using only products, commonly found in every home. This way, you will exclude the use of strong chemicals and ensure that the job gets done in a safe and eco-friendly manner.  

Scrape the vomit off the bed and remove the sheets

The first thing you will need to do is remove any wet solids from the mattress. Make sure you act as quickly as possible, as liquids can easily get their way in, deep into the mattress, making it even more difficult to remove later on. 

Start by putting gloves on – vomit contains high levels of acidic fluids, bacteria, and germs. Then, proceed by scraping most of the solids off the surface with a dustpan and binning them into a plastic bag. After completing this step, make sure you wash the dustpan thoroughly. A great alternative to the dustpan is paper plates, however, remember to bin everything into a plastic bag, which should be tightly tied afterwards. 

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Next, remove all bedding, such as pillow covers, sheets, blankets, and comforters and throw them in the washing machine. The appliance should be set at the highest temperature possible, or, in case the bed items have different washing requirements, add an extra washing cycle to kill all potential bacteria. 

If any fluid has gone through your pillowcases, don’t rush to throw them away. Many pillows, such as latex and memory foam pillows, can be hand washed with lukewarm water and laundry detergent. Furthermore, in case your pillows have zippers, you will be able to take out the filling material, hand wash it, and leave it to air out.

Take care of the remaining liquid

Now that you’ve removed all of the solids and put the bedding items in the washing machine, you will need to remove as much of the remaining liquid as possible. You can use any old rags, paper towels, or dry clothes that you are planning to get rid of.

Important: Try cleaning with blotting motions. Don’t rub or press on the area, as this will only smear the liquid.

Repeat the process until there is no fluid left on the surface. 

Deal with the vomit stain

After you have blotted away all possible remaining liquid, it’s time to remove the stain. There are two ways to complete the task using home products – you can either use a soap solution or a vinegar one. 

The dish soap solution does magic – it removes unpleasant odours and tends to easily break up oil particles. To get a soap solution, you will need to mix one part of dish soap with three parts of warm water in a spraying bottle. Spray a cloth or a rag until soaked in the solution, and blot the area well until the stain disappears.  

Similarly, when making a vinegar solution, you will need to mix one part white vinegar and three parts water into a spraying bottle. Again, soak a rag or cloth, and pat the stained surface until all visible remains are removed. Once finished, have a well-deserved rest, and allow the area to dry for 6 to 8 hours. 

Important: Make sure you have a number of spare towels, rags, or cloths, as you shouldn’t use the same one over and over again. You don’t want to spread the stain now, do you?

Disinfect the mattress

Now that you’ve dealt with the stain, you will need to move on to the next step – disinfection of the area. Sometimes, no matter how many hours you spend cleaning your mattress, there will be bacteria left. But no need to worry. You can effortlessly prevent this from happening with one easy step. Once your mattress dries out, apply rubbing alcohol or hand sanitiser to the affected area. This will, without a doubt, kill any stubborn germs and bacteria. 

Let it dry overnight

Making sure the mattress is entirely dry is essential, as excess moisture can lead to mould. So, what you need to do is leave your mattress in a ventilated room for 8 to 9 hours. For this to work, you will need to either have your windows open or use a fan, placed facing the damp area. Alternatively, you can also use a hairdryer that is set on cold.

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How to clean vomit from a memory foam mattress

And you’re probably thinking that cleaning vomit stains from a memory foam mattress requires even more effort. And it will probably come as a surprise, but it’s actually no different from cleaning a regular one. Just follow the above-mentioned steps, and you will achieve the expected result. However, something to keep in mind is that memory foam mattresses tend to soak liquid much faster than regular ones. Thus, you will need to act quicker, or your mattress will be permanently damaged.

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How to get the sick smell out of the mattress

Once you’re done cleaning the mattress, you will want to remove all unpleasant odours. Here are a few ideas how to tackle the problem:

  • Baking soda is famous for its many cleaning uses. In order to deal with vomit odour, all you need to do is sprinkle the area with baking soda and leave it for an hour or so. Next, put rubber gloves on and remove the soda dust, which by then would’ve also absorbed any excess moisture. Don’t hesitate to repeat the process or use large amounts in case the smell doesn’t seem to be going away. Finish by vacuuming to ensure no baking soda residue is left on the mattress.
  • Rubbing alcohol kills odour-causing bacteria in seconds. In order to treat the area that you’ve just cleaned, pour a small amount into a spraying bottle and gently moisten the spot. Let it dry, and repeat if necessary. Apart from removing the unpleasant smells out of the mattress, rubbing alcohol also kills remaining bacteria and disinfects the sprayed area.  
  • Corn flour, or cornstarch, is another great deodoriser. Keep in mind that cornflour takes a bit more time to get rid of strong vomit smells when compared to the other two alternatives. This being said, you should ideally leave it sit overnight for optimal results. 
Tip: You can up your game by adding a few drops of essential oil (citrus or peppermint) to make everything smell even better, and get rid of any remaining unpleasant smells.

Keep your mattress protected

A great way to prevent the impact of accidents and extend the life of your mattress is by purchasing a mattress protector. It will act as a top layer of protection against all types of stains, and in case there is an undesirable event, you can simply throw it in the washing machine for a wash. 

Do you want a professional deep mattress cleaning?

Cleaning your mattress is, without a doubt, a time-consuming and exhausting process. Instead of having no choice and having to do all the dirty work yourself, let the professionals take care of the problem instead. Head over to our booking form and schedule a mattress cleaning service! It will only take a few minutes of your time!

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  • You can easily clean vomit from a mattress with the use of items you most likely already have at home, making it a cost-efficient and eco-friendly process;
  • Vomit is highly acidic and contains harmful germs and bacteria, so you should be extra careful when completing this particular cleaning task;
  • Cleaning a memory foam mattress is no different than taking care of a regular one, however, it can soak liquid easier, therefore, a more prompt response is needed in case of an accident;
  • Getting a mattress protector is the best way to secure the quality of your mattress.


Have you ever cleaned a mattress? Yes? Don’t keep those cleaning secrets to yourself – share your tips and tricks in the comments section below!

Image source: Shutterstock / mdbildes

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