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. However, it’s always worth a try. 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
- An enzyme-based cleaner, such as:
- Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover
- Kids ‘N’ Pets Stain and Odor Remover
- Folex Carpet Cleaner
- White vinegar
Steps to Remove the Stains:
- Besides the odor and stain, fecal material should not come in direct contact with your hands. For obvious reasons, rubber gloves should be worn.
- If the accident is fresh and there is solid waste present, carefully pick it up and dispose of it immediately. It can help to put your hand inside a plastic bag for cleaning even with the rubber gloves on so that the bag can simply be removed when the most messy part is done.
- Cover the stained area with an enzyme-based cleaner such as one in the list above. These can be found in the pet aisle of most supermarkets, as well as in pet supply stores. The enzymes will help to break down any proteins in the stain that are causing the discoloration and odors. It helps to use the ‘Stream’ setting on spray bottles rather than the ‘Spray’ setting as the force of the stream aids in the stain removal.
- Allow the cleaner to set on the stain for about 5 minutes. You may immediately see the stain begin to lift up, in which case you can immediately start blotting it up with paper towels.
- Bot the area with a paper towel or cloth to remove the stain. You may have to scrub the area gently. Work from the outside of the stain towards the center to avoid spreading the stain.
- Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed.
- If there is any lingering odor once the stain is removed, moisten a cloth or sponge with white vinegar and blot it on the stain.
- Allow it to sit on the stain for several minutes.
- Blot the area with a clean cloth to remove.
- Rinse by blotting with plain water and following with a clean cloth.
- 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 or Kids ‘N’ Pets are available at pet stores and will fight odor as well as feces and urine stains.
- OxiClean can be substituted for the enzyme cleaner. If using powdered OxiClean, mix it with some water to make a paste. Spread the paste over the stain and gently rub it into the mattress. Let the paste dry, then vacuum up the powder.
- 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.
- Another option to prevent this problem from recurring is potty pads. There are ones made for humans, but dog potty pads can work as well. A reusable (washable) potty pad can be put on top or a towel could work for that and a disposable potty pad underneath for really bad messes.
- If a vinegar smell remains, don’t worry, it will dissipate after a few days.
- If a smell still persists, it may be that the fecal matter (diarrhea) soaked into the mattress rather than just stained the surface. If you think this is the case, pour the enzyme cleaner directly onto the stain. You want it to soak in as deep as you believe the stain went so a good rule of thumb is to pour o nas much cleaner as there was staining matter. Wait about 10 minutes, then blot the area to soak up as much moisture as possible. Point a fan on the area to help it dry.
- If you need to use the mattress before the area has dried, cover the area with either a folded towel or a trash bag, then put the regular bedding on top. In the morning, uncover the area to allow it to finish drying.
- If a cloth was used during the cleaning, be sure to wash it with bleach. Also be sure to clean the gloves with disinfectant.