So your mattress is wet — now what? Don’t panic, we can fix this! Though it can take several hours to fully dry a mattress (depending on just how wet you got it), there are ways to get the job done more quickly with a few supplies that you probably already have in your house. Keep reading to find out how to clean a wet bed.

What To Do With Wet Mattresses

What do you need to clean a wet bed

  • Towels
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Baking soda
  • Enzyme cleaner (or vinegar/hydrogen peroxide)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Fans

Step 1

The first thing you need to do with a wet mattress is pull up as much liquid as possible right away. Start with sopping it up with a towel. If your bed is totally soaked, use multiple towels and rotate them out as they soak up. You want to get as much liquid out as quickly as you can this way. 

Step 2

If the liquid is something like urine or another particularly smelly substance, you want to neutralize it with an enzyme cleaner next. You can find these at pet stores and all-purpose stores (like Target or Walmart). Next, treat the stains following the instructions on the cleaner bottle. You can also use a vinegar and water solution or hydrogen peroxide solution to clean this and other stains. 

Step 3

From there, you can sprinkle baking soda on the wet spots and let it soak in. The baking soda will continue to bring the liquid out of the mattress. Press it in with your hand so it’s really ground into the bed. 

Step 4

Using your wet/dry vacuum, vacuum up all the baking soda and liquid the best you can. Go over it a few times slowly to ensure you’ve gotten out as much moisture as possible.

Step 5

Put some rubbing alcohol on a towel and rub it all over the wet area to help prevent mold and mildew. Make sure you cover the whole affected area.

Step 6

Now we wait. If you can take your mattress outside to air-dry, that’s your best bet to prevent mildew. Otherwise, open a window and aim a fan (or two or three) at the mattress to help it dry. This will take a while, so be patient with the process.

How To Prevent A Wet Bed

  • Put on a mattress cover: The easiest way to avoid any liquid soaking into your mattress is to put on a waterproof mattress cover. This will be especially helpful if you have small children or pets. The cover goes right on top of the mattress and under your mattress pad and sheets, so your bed is fully protected.
  • Keep pets out of your bed: Try keeping your animals out of your beds, especially if they’re prone to accidents. You can set them up with a nice bed of their own on the floor beside yours, so you don’t have to worry about them making a mess of your mattress.
  • Keep food and drinks out of bed: Having a glass of wine in bed might be appealing, but that increases the chances of a spill. Try keeping your food and drinks out of your bed, so you don’t run the risk of spilling something and soaking the mattress.

What To Remember When Cleaning A Wet Mattress

  • Other substances can dry a mattress: If you don’t have baking soda, there are other things you can use to soak up the liquid. Salt could work, as could kitty litter. Yes, kitty litter. Spread any of these on the wet mattress and press it in to soak up the liquid.
  • Fresh air is very important: It’s not always possible to drag your mattress outside to dry, and we understand that. However, you want as much airflow as possible during this process, so keep the windows open. No air circulation will promote bacterial growth in the mattress, which means mold. 
  • You definitely want to kill the bacteria: Even if you’ve treated the stain (if there was one), you also want to kill any bacteria that can lead to mold. Rubbing alcohol will do the job, so follow up with that after the mattress is dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you dry a mattress quickly?

Soaking up as much of the liquid as you can immediately will help get the job done faster. You can also use materials like salt or kitty litter to soak up water, but the baking soda and vacuum should suffice for quick work.

Is a mattress ruined if it gets wet?

Not necessarily. Depending on how wet your mattress is and what it got wet with, it can be salvageable if you work fast. However, if your bed is soaked and sits soaking for too long, it might end up riddled with mold and mildew, in which case, you should not continue to use it.

What do you do when a mattress gets wet?

If you can, act quickly to start soaking up the liquid. Use towels to soak up the liquid and begin the previously described process to soak up all the liquid, clean the mattress, and dry it out with fresh air.

Can you clean a wet mattress?

You can! You can use a cleaner from the store or your own cleaning solutions. Mixtures of water and vinegar or water and hydrogen peroxide will clean a wet mattress, and make sure also to use something strong, like rubbing alcohol, to kill any bacteria that can lead to mold.