How to Get Diarrhea Out of a Mattress

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I’ve seen more parents and pet owners thinking about throwing out a mattress due to poop or diarrhea than I’d care to remember. The solution, however, was right in their homes!

Getting rid of diarrhea from a mattress, cleaning it properly, and having it back to fresh and new is actually easily achievable with a few ingredients. As a parent, I know the right products that can help remove diarrhea messes and odor from both the mattress and bedsheets.

I’m assuming you’ve already taken care of any solid waste from the mattress as soon as possible. The longer it lingers, the harder it is to clean it off.

How to Clean Diarrhea Stains Off a Mattress

What you’ll need:

  • Enzyme cleaner
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar

Pre-treat stains

After you have removed the excess waste, you should ideally pre-treat all the stains caused due to it. This can be done with an enzyme cleaner. This step comes before laundering the mattress or cover. Choose a color-safe cleaner to protect your mattress. I myself use the Resolve Stain Remover (view on Amazon).

Resolve 22 fl oz Liquid Multi-Fabric Cleaner and Upholstery Stain Remover


The next step is disinfection.

You can disinfect your bedding with hot water that kills bacteria. You can also add bleach before you toss the bedding in the washing machine. Don’t make it any hotter than the recommended washing directions for the fabric in question (generally low-heat for most bedding).

Enzyme cleaners such as the above-mentioned ones work really well on all types of mattresses. You can also make your own solution by mixing vinegar, lemon, and essential oils.

Use baking soda

A glass jar of baking soda next to a bottle of laundry detergent on top of a pile of clothes
Baking soda can be an effective cleaner for poop stains.

Alternatively, you can also spray baking soda on the stains and leave it there for an hour or so – cleaning it off with a vacuum cleaner later.

I often recommend enzyme cleaners because they make all the biowaste sort of “bubble up” and out of the mattress, which makes it infinitely easier to scrape off actual diarrhea.

Try ammonia and hydrogen peroxide

You’ll also find many recommending ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. I can confirm that both work really well as stain removers for diarrhea on mattresses but you have to be sure about how much to use.

With the enzyme cleaner, baking soda, or your own homemade mixture on the spot(s), dab the area with a clean, wet towel. Note that you want to blot and dab, not smear it all around.

Repeat as necessary

Once you’re comfortable with the outcome, you should repeat the process of applying the cleaning solution or just vinegar to brighten, freshen, and deodorize the mattress thoroughly. Hopefully, after a few rounds of treatment throughout the day, your mattress will be clean and fresh as before.

Instead of spraying a vinegar-water solution every few minutes and dabbing it off, you can also just put some baking soda on the spot, spread it evenly, and vacuum it an hour or two later. Stronger odors can take up to a day of baking soda treatment to go away.

Ultimately, as an added safety measure, I’d put my mattress out in the air and sun. Sunlight can do the much-needed last round of disinfection which none of your products could.

Bonus Tip: Any piece of rag or cloth you end up “wasting” in this step can be easily reused. I always handwash such rags with a powerful dose of detergent, which disinfects and kills off any germs and bacteria.

How to Get Diarrhea Smell Out of a Mattress

The smell of diarrhea can be removed by using a number of products on the market but also with the help of some homemade solutions.

If you go the DIY route, however, remember that these mixtures often lose their power within a day and have to be recreated from scratch to work well.

Here are some tips to try that work for all types of mattresses:

  1. Wiping the spots repeatedly with a lemon can have good success with all types of mattresses except memory foam ones, where the job can become too tedious.
  2. Using a mixture of (cooled) boiled water and distilled white vinegar is the best deodorizing agent for the vast majority of mattresses that have experienced the trauma of diarrhea. Make this solution by mixing equal amounts of both and repeatedly spraying it on the stains. Let the area self-dry and continue.
  3. Sprinkling baking soda is also a great way to get rid of the diarrhea smell from a mattress. As a bonus, it also disinfects the surface, kills dust mites, and brightens the mattress.
  4. Make sure there’s a good mattress encasement or cover for next time!

The best way to break down the molecules in stains or biowaste is with the help of an enzyme cleaner. There are a lot of enzyme cleaners on the market, like Nature's Miracle Laundry Boost (view on Amazon) and you can use any of those to do the job.

Nature's Miracle Laundry Boost 32 Ounces

How to Get Diarrhea Out of Sheets

How to get rid of diarrhea stains out of sheets
Check your linens’ washing directions before trying different cleaning methods.

Sheets are easier to manage. Vinegar can easily remove lighter poop stains and you can follow pretty much the same steps as for mattresses to have the same results, just faster.

Laundering the sheets is additional so let’s focus on that.

What you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Hot water
  • Detergent
  • Oxygen bleach/cleaner (optional)
  • Baking Soda (optional)
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Lemon (optional)
  • Old toothbrush

How to do it:

  1. Wipe off any waste, stool, or diarrhea wearing disposable or rubber gloves.
  2. Run the sheets through hot water and rinse off any strong stains with a detergent.
  3. Put the soiled sheet in a washing machine and wash it in a low-heat setting. Your normal detergent will work.
  4. You can also add color-safe chlorine or oxygen bleach to the detergent. If you’re worried about using peroxide on colorful sheets, we suggest using an No products found..
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  5. Let the sheet dry in plenty of air and sun for a whole day.
  6. You can follow up with another treatment by either sprinkling baking soda on the spot or using a vinegar-water-lemon mixture. You can also throw some dishwashing liquid or detergent into the mix if you wish.
  7. If you use an absorbent like baking soda or cornstarch, make sure you leave it there for an hour at minimum. Stronger stains can take up to a day to clear. Also, with an absorbent, you can make use of an old toothbrush to gently scrape off the waste from the affected area. The stiffer the bristles, the better.

Don’t use mildew remover or bleach directly.

Although there are instances where they can solve the odor and stain problem, they should be a last resort. If you must, stick to proper safety guidelines and ensure nobody is going to be affected.

Pro tip: If you have a pet that soiled the bedsheet, put the pet back on the sheet to see if it can smell the spot. Their sense of smell is remarkably stronger so it can be used as a “tell” to determine if more of your kitchen vinegar is going to meet its end before the day ends or not.

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