Dear Home Ec 101,
I’ve got a problem that I haven’t seen addressed on the blog, or anywhere else for that matter. We have an older twin-size, leather sofa-bed; which lived happily in our library in our home for several years, did an eight-year stint as extra seating at my office, and now has been moved to its permanent home in the boys’ bedroom of our new cabin. Taking it to the cabin was a chore; and as we’re getting older, we thought it would be a good idea to take the mattress-bed contraption out of the leather frame and take it upstairs in two trips. No problem there, we got it apart. Unfortunately, for the first time in probably decades, we unfolded the hide-a-bed part, only to discover rust stains on the top of the mattress! Perhaps really cat pee stains from when it was at home? Maybe coffee spilled behind the cushion at the office? No clue. I figure we can sand and paint the rusted metal hide-a-bed frame with no problem, but how do I possibly get the rust stains out of the mattress?
Any guidance would be most welcome.
We are going to look at these mattress stains from a couple of different perspectives.
Let’s pretend you do have a cat urine issue on your mattress. Without a doubt you will know if you have cat pee on your mattress all it will take is a quick sniff test, not even up close and personal to your mattress, to determine if urine was anywhere near your couch. Cats are quite notorious for the amount of funk (ammonia) contained in their urine. There is simply no way a sniff test will leave you confused about the source of the stain.
Get yourself some Kids’n'Pets or other enzymatic cleaner and if you don’t own a carpet / or upholstery steam cleaner, rent one. Also find a box fan or make sure there is lots of air flow in the room where the mattress cleaning will occur. You absolutely do not want to trade your stain issue for a mildew / mold problem. Only steam clean one side of the mattress at a time and make sure the first side is COMPLETELY -got it?- dry before doing the other.
The enzymatic cleaner should take care of any pet urine issues in your mattress.
Now here’s where I believe I’m probably going to give an unpopular answer.
If the stains were caused by rust. . . Do the stains on your mattress really matter at all?
Rust stains are harmless. Sure they aren’t attractive, but they aren’t doing anything to the mattress other than sitting there and being ugly. What’s the crime in ugly, I ask? This is a hide-a-bed, the mattress isn’t ever going to serve as a conversation piece in your home, right?
On another note, it’s not even like it’s an extremely comfortable mattress. (I’m sure someone, somewhere may make a comfortable hide-a-bed mattress, but I have never encountered one.)
If you want to ensure guests never see the stains, grab yourself an allergen mattress barrier. Zipper that around the mattress and voila! No one sees the rust stains unless they are creepy weird and unzip the barrier and really, who are you inviting into your home that would do that?
For what it’s worth, I do think you are on the right track to fix up the source of the rust stains, I just don’t think the rust stains themselves matter that much.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related post: Mattress Cleaning and Other Indoor Sports