How to Clean Urine From Bedding

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What's the best way to get out the smell and germs when your loved one has an episode of incontinence? Try this:

To wash bedding:

  • Strip the bed of sheets and mattress cover.
  • Pretreat the stains with stain remover.
  • Use bleach in the wash. (Ideally, stick to all-white sheets so you won't have to worry about fading.)
  • Wash in hot water, and set on disinfectant cycle if the machine has it.
  • Before putting bedding in dryer, check to see if stains are still visible. If so, wash again (also pretreating again). If you skip that step, drying will set the stains.
  • When bedding is ready for the dryer, try adding scented dryer sheets to further eliminate odor. Line drying outside helps, too.

To clean a mattress:

  • Gently blot the area with dry towels to absorb urine; wash towels with bedding.
  • Saturate with hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol; let set for five minutes. Blot dry.
  • Sprinkle baking soda onto the mattress when it's relatively dry; let set eight hours or overnight. Or take it outside to dry in sun, if feasible. (You may want to keep a cot on hand for your loved one to use during the cleaning.)
  • Vacuum off powder.
  • Invest in a plastic or rubberized mattress cover to protect from future damage.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio