How to remove blood stains from a mattress with vinegar.

Step-by-step guide showing blood stain removal from mattress using vinegar
March 14, 2024
  Reading time 11 minutes

Blood stains, particularly when they are fresh, present a unique challenge due to their protein composition. The importance of prompt action cannot be overstated, as fresh blood is always easier to handle than dried blood. Removing blood stains can be particularly trying if they have been allowed to set in. Mattress protectors could help prevent the penetration of stains, but if you’re already dealing with a stain, fear not. By using the right techniques, even stubborn stains might not stand a chance against a well-planned cleaning effort.

Why Vinegar is an Effective Cleaning Agent

Vinegar is a household staple that could also act as a gentle yet effective cleaning solution. Its acidity does not harm most fabrics but is as powerful as many commercial stain removers. For those who are wary of harsh chemicals, vinegar presents a safe, natural, and inexpensive alternative. Vinegar’s versatility is also notable; aside from cleaning purposes, it can be utilized for various home remedies and cleaning solutions across the household.

mattress cleaned of blood stains with vinegar

Pre-Treatment Steps for Blood Stain Removal

Stripping the Bed and Isolating the Stain

The initial step in addressing any mattress stain begins with stripping the bed of all linens and isolating the stained area. For hygiene and ease, isolate the area by placing cleaning cloths around the stain. This will help prevent the stain from spreading during the cleaning process. Additionally, it’s essential to use a dry cloth to then blot the stain. Aggressive rubbing will not help and might even exacerbate the problem by spreading the stain or pushing it deeper into the mattress fibers.

Initial Stain Blotting Technique

Begin the stain removal process with cold water as hot water could set the stain further. Gently pour or dab cold water onto the stain, and then blot with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel. The cold water will help loosen the blood, and blotting will lift the blood particles from the fabric. This process might have to be repeated several times with fresh, clean cloths or paper towels to remove as much blood as possible before moving on to the vinegar solution.

  1. Dab cold water onto the stain.
  2. Blot gently with a dry cloth to absorb the blood.

Removing Blood Stains with Vinegar Solution

Creating the Vinegar Cleaning Solution

To create your vinegar cleaning solution, you will need to mix a simple, yet effective concoction. Combine one part white vinegar with two parts cold water in a bowl or bucket. Stir the solution gently to ensure the vinegar is evenly distributed. This mixture will act as your primary tool in combatting the blood stain.

Application and Soaking Process

Once you have your vinegar solution ready, it’s time to apply it to the stain. Pour a moderate amount of the solution directly onto the blood stain, ensuring it is saturated but not excessively so as to avoid soaking the mattress too deeply. The following is a simplified process to follow:

  1. Soak the stain with the vinegar solution.
  2. Allow the solution to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Gentle Scrubbing Technique for Stubborn Stains

After allowing the vinegar solution to work its magic, use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the stain. The aim here is not to be harsh but to carefully work the vinegar solution into the affected area to loosen any remaining blood particles. Stubborn stains will require patience and a soft touch to remove without causing damage to the mattress fabric.

Cleaning StageBeforeAfter
Cold Water BlottingFresh blood absorbed with minimal liquid used.Excess blood removed, minimal moisture on stain.
Vinegar SolutionStain is noticeable, not treated.Stain is moist from the vinegar solution.
Gentle ScrubbingStain is set in fabric.Stain is lifted, fabric shows signs of cleaning.

By following these steps at the early stages of dealing with a blood stain on your mattress, you lay the groundwork for a successful cleaning session. Keep in mind, periodic blood, such as from a nosebleed or an accident, requires prompt attention for the best results. While vinegar will help with fresh spills, even dried period blood can be addressed with consistency in this method.

Continuing with the consistent application of the vinegar solution and employing the right techniques, a once daunting task becomes manageable – and the likelihood of returning your mattress to its pristine condition improves significantly. Remember, if the vinegar does not lift the stain entirely or if you’re dealing with an especially stubborn situation, do not hesitate to explore alternative methods or enlist professional help.

Infographic illustrating vinegar application to treat mattress blood stains

Post-Removal Care and Mattress Maintenance

Rinsing and Drying the Mattress

After the scrubbing stage, it’s crucial to rinse the area thoroughly with cold water to remove any vinegar residue that could potentially attract more dirt or produce a lingering odor. You can use a clean cloth dipped in cold water to delicately rinse out the cleaning solution. After rinsing, blot the area with a dry towel to remove excess moisture. To expedite the drying process, it may be helpful to aim a fan directly at the damp spot or open windows to allow for air circulation. It’s imperative that the mattress is completely dry before redressing the bed to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Preventative Measures for Future Stains

Investing in a good quality mattress protector following the cleaning process could help guard against future staining incidents. Mattress protectors are designed to provide a waterproof barrier, which can be particularly beneficial for managing period blood mishaps. Additionally, maintaining a regular mattress cleaning routine will ensure minor stains do not become deep-set issues. Encasing your mattress and regular laundering of bed linens will contribute significantly towards a clean and fresh sleeping environment.

Regular Mattress Cleaning Routine

Beyond stain removal, it’s wise to keep up with a regular mattress cleaning routine. Vacuuming your mattress every couple of months will help remove dust, dead skin cells, and other allergens. You can sprinkle baking soda on the surface before vacuuming to help absorb odors. Rotating or flipping the mattress according to the manufacturer’s recommendations will also promote even wear and prolong the life of your mattress.

Alternative Methods and Tips

When to Use a Professional Mattress Cleaning Service

While vinegar is potent for home-based cleaning, there are times when a professional mattress cleaning service might be necessary. If you’ve encountered a large or complex stain that does not respond to home treatments, or if you’re dealing with allergens that could also be contributing to sleep discomfort, it might be worth seeking professional assistance. Professional cleaners have specialized equipment and advanced techniques that could make all the difference.

Additional Natural Remedies for Blood Stain Removal

If vinegar alone does not remove the stain completely, other natural remedies are available that could help. For instance, some swear by the meat tenderizer for its ability to break down proteins, while others suggest hydrogen peroxide, especially for lighter fabrics. When using alternative solutions, always perform a spot test on an inconspicuous part of the mattress to ensure that it does not cause discoloration or damage.

Close-up photo of applying vinegar to a blood-stained mattress for cleaning


Achieving a clean, stain-free mattress is essential for a healthy and comfortable sleep environment. With the help of vinegar and a few careful steps, even the most stubborn of blood stains can be effectively addressed. Always remember to tackle stains as they occur, and consider the use of protective bedding products to minimize future incidents. Should home remedies fail, don’t hesitate to call professional cleaners to restore your mattress to its former glory.


Q1: Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar for blood stain removal?

A1: White vinegar is generally recommended for cleaning purposes due to its colorlessness and higher acetic acid content. However, if it’s all you have on hand, apple cider vinegar could also be used in a pinch. Just be cautious, as it might leave a slight color or odor behind.

Q2: How long should I let the vinegar sit on the stain?

A2: After applying the vinegar solution, allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing. This gives the vinegar ample time to penetrate the stain and start breaking down the blood proteins.

Q3: What should I do if the blood stain is still visible after using vinegar?

A3: If the stain persists, repeat the application of the vinegar solution and gentle scrubbing process. For especially stubborn stains, consider other natural remedies like hydrogen peroxide or consult a professional cleaning service.

Q4: Is it safe to use vinegar on all types of mattresses?

A4: Vinegar is safe for most mattress materials, but it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s care instructions or conduct a patch test on a hidden area first. Some memory foam mattresses may require particular care instructions.

Q5: How often should I clean my mattress, even if there are no visible stains?

A5: It’s good practice to clean your mattress every six months to ensure it remains fresh and free of allergens and dust mites. This includes vacuuming and spot-cleaning as necessary. If you spill something on your mattress or a stain occurs, address it immediately for the best results.