Upholstery & Mattress Cleaning

What Causes Yellow Stains on a Mattress and How to Remove Them

Just like with any other type of furniture, over time, mattresses get visible signs of ageing. Bagginess, holes, random cuts, and stains are just some of the signs that you might need a replacement. However, if your mattress is relatively new, you’re probably asking yourself why is it then turning yellow?

This comes as a result of not paying nearly enough attention to what we’re sleeping on. And it’s justified – when something is out of our sight by being covered most of the time, how could we be aware of it? Or maybe you’ve noticed it and then continued with your daily routine?

Well, yellow stains are quite difficult to clean, and the longer you take to remove them, the bigger the chance they will stay there forever. 

So, in case you are:

  • on the hunt for answers to why your mattress has yellow stains;
  • looking for an eco-friendly, DIY solution to the problem;
  • wondering how to protect your mattress from staining.

You have found the right article! Keep on reading, and you will learn everything you need to know about yellow stains. 

What causes yellow stains on a mattress?

The unpleasant yellow stains that you notice on your mattress can be a result of a number of factors. Let’s go through each one of them.

Sweat and body oils

Being one of the most common causes, sweat and body oils are difficult to spot immediately. However, with time, similarly to clothes, they will leave yellow marks on your mattress. Once you start noticing unpleasant odours coming from your bed, this will indicate that sweat and oils have soaked in and have created the perfect environment for bacteria.

To prevent this from happening, you should consider keeping temperatures inside your bedroom at lower levels, frequently changing your bedsheets and pyjamas with fresh ones, and further protecting your mattress with a cover. 


It may come as a surprise, but mattresses, just like everything else, have a limited lifespan. And you could easily tell if it is time to get a new one when the yellow stains won’t come off and bad smells resurface, even after the mattress has had a few good cleans.

Oxidation of materials, excessive exposure to sunlight, and moisture are just some of the factors that will speed the ageing process. And if you’re unsure whether it’s time to say bye to your old mattress, many recommend replacing it with a new one every 8 to 9 years. 

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Urine is commonly an inexorable issue, especially when having kids or pets, or both. It causes stubborn, difficult-to-clean yellow stains. And don’t get us started on the smell! But bed-wetting happens, and you should act quickly when it comes to cleaning, as it will create a bed mite and mould heaven.

The first thing to do is to strip the bed and throw all victims in the washing machine on a high-temperature setting. Next, you should proceed by getting the yellow stains out of the mattress – you will find out how to do this later in this article.


Another serious factor that can cause serious damage to your mattress is vomit. It’s highly acidic and contains a long list of harmful bacteria, so, similarly to urine, a more snappy action is required.


Mould can develop small yellow marks and can appear in specific areas where the mattress was exposed to excessive moisture. This can often be a result of a mixture of the different factors mentioned in this article. Once traces of mould are noticed, it is necessary to disinfect the spot in order to prevent a further spread. 

Spilt tea and coffee

Doesn’t breakfast in bed sound just great? Well, yes, but then you spill your tea or coffee straight on the bed. Similarly to the other cases, it’s essential to act quickly and soak as much of the liquid as possible before it gets absorbed deep into the mattress. 


In case you own a memory foam mattress, rust stains are something that you won’t have to worry about. In case you are unsure how to distinguish rust stains from the rest – its colour is closer to a brownish-orange colour, rather than yellow. Rust stains often occur when liquids come into contact with the coils of the mattress, or when humidity levels in your bedroom are exceptionally high. 

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Water spillages can also cause staining when not dealt with properly or on time. The good thing is, these stains don’t leave an unpleasant odour, and are typically difficult to notice. You will be able to tell those marks apart from the rest, as they have a slight ivory or beige colour.   

Dust mites

Out of all nine factors that cause yellow stains on mattresses, dust mites are the least likely one. However, having to deal with these little buggers is a serious job. An easy way to find out if you have dust mites is by inspecting your bed for small yellow marks. That said, we highly recommend that you seek professional help and advice, instead of tackling it yourself.

How to get yellow stains out of the mattress

Now that you know what causes yellow stains, let’s have a better look at the different ways you can clean them.

Baking soda and vinegar 

  1. Spray the stained area thoroughly with vinegar and let it soak in for a good 30 minutes.
  2. Next, sprinkle the area with baking soda and leave it overnight.
  3. Remove all residue from the surface of the mattress and vacuum any remaining bits.

Dish soap and baking soda

  1. Mix 1 tbsp dish soap, 2 tbsp baking soda, and a cup of hot water into a spray bottle. Shake well to ensure all products are mixed together.
  2. Spray a dry towel with the cleaning solution and rub the stained area. Let it sit for 30 minutes. 
  3. Gently dab the area with a damp towel. Follow up by repeating with a dry one.

Hydrogen peroxide and water 

If the stain is stubborn and dish soap or soda solutions don’t seem to be strong enough for the job, we advise you to opt for hydrogen peroxide and water mixture. 

  1. Mix a cup of hydrogen peroxide and a cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well.
  2. Spray the yellow stains generously with the solution.
  3. Dab away any excess solution left remaining on the surface
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How to prevent yellow stains

Although there isn’t much that you can do to prevent your mattress from getting yellow stains, there are certain ways you can protect it from further damage. Here are your options:

  • Get a mattress protector – It will act as a top layer of protection, and in case there is an accident, you can easily remove it and throw it in the washing machine. There is a long list of different mattress protectors that contrast in material and type. Some are even waterproof, making them ideal for baby-related scenarios.
  • Clean your bedding regularly – Wash your bed covers, pillowcases, and sheets regularly to prevent sweat and body oils from getting to your mattress.
  • Act on the issue instantly – There’s nothing worse than leaving spillages to get their way deep into the mattress and create the perfect environment for germs and bacteria. 
  • Avoid having your meals in bed – It’s often more exciting than doing it the usual way, however, you increase the chances of accidents happening. 

Book professional mattress cleaning

Cleaning a mattress is a hard job and in many cases, stains turn out to be more difficult to remove than we thought at first. So, in case you find yourself struggling to remove those unpleasant odours and stubborn yellow spots, go ahead and hire a professional to complete the job for you. Your mattress cleaning expert is just a few clicks away!

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  • If possible, always deal with fresh spills as quickly as possible. Leaving spillages will only make them more difficult to clean later on; 
  • Don’t press or rub when cleaning mattress stains. Use dabbing motions instead;
  • Ideally, mattresses should be cleaned and aired every two months;
  • In case completing the cleaning job seems impossible, don’t throw your comfortable mattress away. Experts can tackle the issue in the blink of an eye!


Did you find our tips useful and the facts interesting? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!

Image source: Shutterstock /Andrey_Popov

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