How to Clean Discoloration on a Pillow Top Mattress

Karen Sheviak

Even though most people spend up to one-third of their lives asleep, they rarely think about cleaning that mattress that lulls them into dreamland each night. However, if your pillow top mattress is discolored or stained, you'll want to clean it as soon as possible so the discoloration doesn't become permanent.

You have a few options to clean discoloration from a pillow top mattress.

If possible, start your cleaning process in the morning so that mattress can dry fully before bedtime.


Purchase a mattress cover for your pillow top mattress to protect it. It can easily be removed and laundered regularly.

  1. Vacuum your pillow top mattress thoroughly to remove excess dust. If there is an unpleasant odor to the mattress along with the discoloration, sprinkle the mattress with baking soda first, let it sit for a few minutes, then thoroughly vacuum.

  2. Wash the discoloration with a mixture of laundry soap and water or mild soap and water. Rub the mixture into the discolored area, letting it sit for up to 20 minutes. Then use plain water on a clean cloth to wipe off the soap.

  3. Blot the area with a clean white or light-colored towel to dry it as much as possible. If necessary, use a hair dryer to dry the cleaned area more thoroughly, or turn on a fan in the room to circulate the air and help the mattress dry.

  4. Steam clean the pillow top mattress if the discoloration is still there. Simply run the cleaner quickly over the area you want to clean. It should not be very damp when you are done, but use a hair dryer if you want to be sure it will dry quickly.

  5. Clean a pillow top mattress naturally by spraying vinegar on the discolored area and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle baking soda on the stain and wait until the fizzing stops. Vacuum up the baking soda. If the discoloration is still there, sprinkle the mattress with Borax, blot and vacuum. If that doesn't work, blot with hydrogen peroxide, rubbing in a circular motion. Be aware that hydrogen peroxide may bleach the fabric, so test it in an inconspicuous area first.