Can this mattress be saved?
October 30, 2010 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Is our peed-on mattress salvageable, or do we need to get a new one?

My boyfriend has been a bedwetter all his life, but whereas previously it was an occasional thing, lately it's been happening nearly every night.

We've finally gotten a system down to keep pee off the mattress, but initially, we weren't well equipped, and so despite our best efforts, the mattress has been soaked in pee multiple times (approximately 10-12 times). We've used urine remover, but it's hard to tell if it's been completely effective.

We're planning to put a zip-up waterproof mattress protector on the mattress from now on, so there will be no chance of the mattress getting wet. Given its previous soakings, however, should we go ahead with that, or do we need to start over with a new mattress?

Anon because my boyfriend would rather not have everyone know about his bedwetting. And yes, if you're wondering, he's sought medical advice.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would just go ahead and get a new mattress, then take precautions to protect it like the waterproof protector. I can't speak as to whether or not you'd really NEED to, but if I were you/your partner, I'd just WANT to.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 5:20 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Mattresses can be steam-cleaned or chem-dry cleaned by professional upholstery cleaners.

Is this an option for you?

You could try it, and if there is still odour, then look into replacing the mattress.
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 5:24 PM on October 30, 2010

That probably depends on your definition of clean. Does it smell clean again? Any mattress that is not brand new has got all sort of stuff accumulating in it simply because you use it for x hrs/night - you each sweat over a cup of liquid per night, you may have dribbled on it or have had other bodily fluids seep into it, you lose skin cells, which are appreciated by the dust mites which live in your mattress...what I'm trying to say is that clean is relative. As long as it doesn't smell of pee after you've cleaned it I'd keep it. If it doesn't smell clean at the moment I'd have another go at cleaning it, preferably taking it outside and having sun shine on it as well if that's possible. If you can't shift the smell I'd get a new mattress.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:26 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

I never tried this but I always figured that a carpet cleaning machine would probably do pretty well to clean up a mattress that has been soaked like this.
posted by XMLicious at 7:29 PM on October 30, 2010

Unless the mattress is totally brand new, if I could afford it, I would replace it. You're supposed to replace your mattress every 10 years or so anyway. (But really; who does that?!)

I believe odor is the only issue here, though. If it doesn't smell, then you should be alright. Urine is sterile so it's not a biological contaminant you need to worry about from a germy perspective.
posted by ErikaB at 7:53 PM on October 30, 2010

Urine is sterile so it's not a biological contaminant you need to worry about from a germy perspective.

Urine is sterile in the body, but is contaminated on the way out, (think urethra). Also, diseases can be passed on through urine, but it's not like you don't know the source of the urine.
posted by 6:1 at 9:35 PM on October 30, 2010

I'd replace it and have your boyfriend talk to his doctor about a scrip for DDAVP.
posted by ish__ at 5:31 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sought and got what advice? This is not something to "live with". It may be time to seek better medical help. Honestly, there's no amount of work-arounds to keep trying here.
posted by wkearney99 at 8:09 AM on October 31, 2010

White vinegar is a good neutralizer; maybe mist it with vinegar water. After being away, walk into the room and really smell. People get acclimated to smells, and they can be hard to detect.

A urologist I knew recommended eliminating dyes and, to a lesser extent, artificial flavors, from the diet with good results. Some old-style anti-depressants used to be used to control enuresis. This must be quite difficult fir him, and I hope his doc is taking it seriously.
posted by theora55 at 8:19 AM on October 31, 2010

Get a jug of Nature's Miracle at a pet store. Thoroughly soak the area and let completely dry (probably a few days) before putting the liner over it. The enzymes will get rid of any odor and probably the stains as well. The big jug is about $30 but worth it.
posted by southeastyetagain at 9:31 AM on October 31, 2010

Nthing Nature's Miracle.

If I were your boyfriend, I would hate this suggestion, but . . . an opposite tact to protecting the mattress might be for him to use an adult diaper, at least during this current rash of issues. Has the bonus of protecting you from waking in puddles. The idea of buying them can be embarrassing to imagine, but I spent most of last year buying diapers for my 5 yr old son and my father . . . you get over it, I promise.
posted by MeiraV at 7:41 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Urine is not going to make your mattress structurally unsound. It'll make it ugly to look at, but you'll keep sheets and a cover on it anyway. and it might make it smell.

As long as you're sure it's dry, box the thing up in the mattress cover and sniff it. Can you smell the urine? You may want to spend some time out of the room or even out of your home just to reset your olfactory sensors so that you're not just missing the smell because you're used to it. But basically, the smell is the only ongoing problem, so as long as you've got that covered, don't worry about it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:25 PM on October 31, 2010

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