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Home » “Why is my mattress yellow? »5 main causes of yellow coloring

“Why is my mattress yellow? »5 main causes of yellow coloring

It can be difficult to keep a mattress as fresh as the day you bought it, and despite your best efforts, your mattress may start to stain. If you are wondering “why is my mattress turning yellow?” ” you’re not alone. But rest assured, there are things you can do to cool it down and prevent the yellowing from getting worse.

Here, we go over some of the main reasons why a mattress can turn yellow. We also take a look at the health implications of a yellow mattress, and most importantly, how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

If your mattress needs cleaning, our article on how to clean a mattress offers lots of great tips. Once you’ve refreshed it, we’re also sharing a few easy ways to keep it that way longer.

And if it’s all too late and you need a new mattress, take a look at our best mattress guide. It’s packed with top-notch options for all budgets, and the tips here will help keep it clean and beautiful for years to come.

Why are mattresses turning yellow?

The idea of ​​sleeping on a yellow mattress is never pleasant, but sometimes a yellowing mattress is not as disgusting as it seems. In fact, most of the time, a yellowing mattress is caused by oxidation as the mattress ages naturally. When this happens to a mattress, it is perfectly safe to sleep on it.

However, if you’ve had your mattress for a few years, it might be time to replace it anyway. Check out our guides to the best mattress in a box and the best memory foam mattress to see what’s on offer.

Yellow stain on a mattress

(Image credit: Getty)

Besides an aging mattress, there are other reasons why a mattress can turn yellow. And some of them can be harmful to your health, providing a breeding ground for bacteria and other nasties, such as dust mites. The reasons for a stained mattress can be:

  • Yellowing due to a build-up of natural body oils and sweat
  • Accidents involving urine, vomit or blood, including pets
  • Mold and moisture uptake in
  • Food and drink spills
  • A build-up of body moisturizer or other skin / hair care products

If your yellowing or stained mattress is likely caused by any of the above, read on to find out more, plus tips on how to clean it.

Is it safe to sleep on a yellowing mattress?

If you are wondering if it is safe to sleep on a yellow mattress, the answer is: it depends … As we mentioned before, yellowing is something that can happen naturally to a mattress over time, but if your mattress is starting to smell or is stained in patches, it could be unhealthy to sleep on it.

If you are prone to allergies and notice that you are coughing more or itching, rubbing your eyes, or waking up at night, this could be a sign that mold is building up in your mattress. . Or, it could mean that dust mites and bugs are feasting on dead skin cells, sweat, and bacteria on your mattress, and letting their droppings trigger your allergies.

To help keep your mattress hygienic and stain-free, we take a look at the top five causes of mattress yellowing and how to fix them.

1. Mattresses naturally turn yellow with age

The reason mattresses turn yellow over time is that materials oxidize when they react to oxygen in the air. This gradual process is natural, harmless and cannot be avoided, especially with memory foam. However, keeping the mattress away from direct sunlight and excessive moisture will slow down the process.

You should be able to tell if the yellowing is age related because it will not have a smell and cannot be cleaned. Most mattresses need to be replaced every seven to ten years (some, like all-latex mattresses, can last a bit longer), and yellowing due to age is usually a reliable indicator that it’s time to change. upgrade.

A white mattress with yellow spots on top

(Image credit: Getty)

2. Sweat and body oils can cause yellow stains on the mattress.

If you sleep warm a lot or occasionally overheat because you don’t feel well, you are probably sweating more. Over time, sweat can build up and stain your mattress. Sweat stains won’t show up on your mattress immediately, so washing your sheets frequently will help keep things fresher before it’s too late.

Natural body oils (sebum) can also seep into your mattress and, again, can take a little while to appear. While sweat and sebum are only a reality, regularly cleaning the sheets, wearing cool pajamas, and using a mattress topper can help keep you from getting too much on your mattress.

If you start to notice an odor coming out of the mattress, it’s likely that the sweat and oils have caused bacteria to grow, allowing the bed mites to munch on. Our guide on how to clean a mattress offers tips on how to freshen up your bed, including with household ingredients like baking soda. It also works for body moisturizers and bath oils which can build up and seep into your mattress.

3. Urine stains can turn your mattress yellow.

When urine gets into a mattress, it can quickly cause yellow stains and therefore should be cleaned up as soon as possible. If bedwetting is frequent enough, it will build up quickly (especially if not cleaned up immediately) and lead to mold, odor, and dust mites on the mattress.

If the accident has just happened, undress the bed and wash the sheets in a washing machine. To clean the mattress, first dab as much urine with a cloth or sponge. Then use an enzyme-based cleanser (designed for biological stains) to break down the protein in the urine and make it easier to peel off. You can also use white vinegar and baking soda, as explained in our guide to cleaning a mattress.

Since mattresses are not designed to get wet, it is important not to use too much water when cleaning. The best way is to clean the stains with a solution or cleaner and then let it air dry completely.

If you haven’t noticed that urine has entered the mattress, you may start to notice an odor over time. Once you’ve located the stain, baking soda can help neutralize the odor. Sprinkle it on the affected area and let it run overnight. You can then vacuum the next day.

4. Uncleaned vomit leaves yellow marks

Vomit – from animals or people – on a mattress can leave an unsightly yellow stain. As with urine, it’s important to clean it up quickly, getting rid of as much as possible, and then wiping out any moisture that has seeped on the mattress.

Dab the area with a rag or sponge to remove excess moisture and try not to rub it, as this can spread bacteria. Clean the area with a cool cloth, using an enzyme-based cleaner or white vinegar and baking soda.

It’s important to note that some mattresses absorb liquids more easily than others, so you may need to spend more time removing moisture first. Also, if you are cleaning a particularly absorbent mattress, apply the cleaner to the sponge rather than the mattress.

5. Spilled tea and coffee can cause yellow stains

There is nothing better than breakfast in bed. Until you spill your coffee right on the mattress. Again, to avoid stains, you need to act quickly and blot up the liquid after removing the sheets. You can then dab the stain with cold water and sprinkle a generous amount of salt or baking soda to remove the stain. Gently rub the salt / baking soda and dry it before vacuuming it up. This should work for most food and drink spills, including wine.

If it is an older stain, then you will need to go a little harder and prepare a solution of one part laundry detergent, one part vinegar and 10 parts water, and spray it lightly on task. Then take an old toothbrush and brush it gently, letting it sit for 10 or 15 minutes. You can then blot the area dry. If the stain persists, repeat the step with the cleaning solution.

How to avoid yellow stains on a mattress

While there is nothing you can do about a mattress that is yellowing with age, you can at least be assured that sleeping on it is not harmful. But, if you want to keep your mattress healthy and prevent it from yellowing due to spills, accidents, and sweating, for example, try the following:

  • Use a mattress topper or mattress protector. They are removable and washable and provide a more resistant barrier to liquids that enter your mattress. Some are also waterproof, ideal for younger family members who tend to wet the bed. Check out our guides to the best mattress protectors and top mattress toppers to find the right one for your needs.
  • To prevent sweat and body oils from getting too deep into your mattress, set reminders to clean and air out the mattress about twice a year, as well as your pillows and duvets. Also wash sheets and pillowcases regularly.
  • Act quickly on any accidental spills to clean up before liquid seeps too much into the mattress.
  • Avoid eating or drinking in bed. While this is fun, it also increases the chance of an accidental spill.
  • Avoid letting your pet sleep on the bed. Again, while it can be comfortable, urine accidents – and worse – can happen.

One final note: it’s easier to give away or get rid of a clean mattress. If your yellow mattress has passed the stage where it cannot be cleaned, you may need to purchase a new one. However, getting rid of the old one can be tricky, as most charities and some garbage collection companies will not take a mattress if it is deemed unhygienic. Keeping your mattress as clean as possible until the last minute will help when it’s time to replace it.

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