How to Remove Fecal Stains from a Mattress


Linda asked: How do I remove fecal stains from a pillow top mattress? The stains have been set in for as long as six months. They are from an elderly man.

When accidents occur, especially on a mattress, prompt removal is important. The longer the stains are allowed to set, the less likely they are to come out completely when you try to remove them. Here are the methods and cleaning products that will help to rid your mattress of those unsightly stains.

You Will Need:


  • Rubber gloves
  • Old cloths or Paper towels
  • Folex carpet cleaner or other enzyme-based cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Sponges
  • Fans

Steps to Remove the Stains:

  1. Besides the odor and stain, fecal material should not come in direct contact with your hands. For obvious reasons, rubber gloves should be worn.
  2. If the accident is fresh and there is solid waste present, carefully pick it up and dispose of it immediately. Wipe any chunks away with a paper towel.
  3. Cover the stained area with Folex Carpet Cleaner or another enzyme-based cleaner. These can be found in the cleaning section as well as pet supply stores. The enzymes will help to break down any proteins in the stain that can leave discoloration and odors.
  4. Allow the cleaner to set on the stain for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Blot with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove. You may have to scrub the area gently. Work from the outside of the stain towards the center to avoid spreading the stain.
  6. Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed.
  7. Once the stain is removed, moisten a cloth or sponge with white vinegar and blot it on the stain.
  8. The vinegar will help to remove any lingering odors that may be present.
  9. Allow it to set on the stain for several minutes.
  10. Blot the area with a clean cloth to remove.
  11. Rinse by blotting with plain water and following with a clean cloth.
  12. Once the area is clean and rinsed, allow it to air dry completely. If it’s possible to take the mattress outside, this is preferable. If not, simply open the windows and use fans to circulate the air.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Enzyme-based cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle are available at pet stores and will fight odor as well as feces and urine stains.
  • OxiClean can also be substituted for the Folex Carpet Cleaner.
  • If this is a recurring problem, wait until the mattress is dry and then cover with a plastic cover. The cover will protect the mattress and provides a barrier against future stains.
  • If a vinegar smell remains, it will dissipate after a few days.



  1. Jane says:

    What is Folex?

  2. Melanie says:

    Folex is a brand of carpet cleaner. Here is their website.
    If you can’t find or get that product, use another enzyme-based carpet cleaner instead. Some good choices are the pet accident cleaning products made for carpets.

  3. Alan says:

    What if the stain is a week or so old?

  4. Melanie says:

    Enzyme cleaners can work on fresh or old, dry stains. The only thing that really effects how well an enzyme cleaner will work is if you try to clean the stain with chemicals before using the enzymes; the chemicals can kill the enzymes.

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