How to Remove Pet Urine (and Odor) from Carpet

How to remove pet urine stains from carpet

Having pets at home has this inevitability – urine on carpet. There’s no going around it unless you train your pets to do their business in a specific area; this will be a cycle.

The key here is not only cleaning up urine but also removing odor. If your pet still picks up the scent, chances are they’ll take a piss on that same area over and over again. It’s their way of “marking their territory,” a little animal psychology is in play here.

For fresh pet urine stains

  1. When you spot fresh urine, remove it as quickly as possible. This will lessen the odor and stain afterward.
  2. Use a stack of paper towels to absorb urine. To quicken the process, you can stand on the pile of sheets, so it absorbs as much as possible.
  3. Repeat the process until the area is dry.
  4. Take the urine-soaked paper towel and take it to the designated “pee zone” or “bathroom zone” – the area where you want them to pee.
  5. Use an enzyme cleaner like the Out! Pet Stain and Odor Remover (available in Amazon). Just in case you don’t have an enzyme cleaner, use clean, cold water, then blot dry afterward.

Why not use a towel instead?

You can use a cloth towel, but the purpose of a paper towel is two-fold. First, is to absorb urine, and the second purpose is potty training.

It’s an understanding of pet behavior. Dogs, in particular, will pee on the same area over and over, until the odor is gone.

So to prevent this from happening, the pee scent has to be eliminated.

One way of doing so is throwing the pee-soaked paper towel on a designated “pee” or “potty” zone – preferably an area in your home that they don’t hang out.

In the book “Good Owners, Great Dogs,” Brian McKimmon explains that dogs do not like to poop or pee in areas they spend their time. With this knowledge, identify areas in your home that your dog doesn’t hang out and set it as a designated potty zone.

How to remove pet urine from rugs?

  1. Put rugs and other washable items in a washing machine. Add around a pound of baking soda to the detergent mixture to help remove odor then air-dry outdoors.
  2. After a cleaning cycle in a washing machine, smell the items for traces of pee odor.
  3. If you can still smell it, throw them back in the washing machine for another cycle.
  4. This time wash them with an enzymatic cleaner that is available in pet stores. It will help break down the pet-waste odor.

I recently published a guide on cleaning pet odor on area rugs, check out the link for more information.

How to remove set in pet urine stains from carpet?

  1. To spot urine stains on carpets, turn off the lights then use an Ultraviolet blacklight like this available in Amazon to detect all soiled areas. Mark those areas down with chalk.
  2. If a blacklight isn’t available, try any of these alternatives to detect urine.
  3. Clean the soiled areas with a carpet cleaner (avoid using steam cleaners as heat permanently bonds the proteins of urine to any human-made fiber causing the odor and stain to set).
  4. After cleaning the stains, treat these areas using a pet odor neutralizer available in pet stores.
  5. Make sure to follow instructions and test it in a small inconspicuous area first to see if it’ll stain the carpet.
  6. If stains are still present, then try using a carpet stain remover.

Here are some homemade remedies for urine stains

For people who don’t want to spend on ready-made items and want to go the DIY route, there are several homemade remedies for urine stains available.

But before going further a warning, humansociety.org warns against using potent products like ammonia and vinegar on urine as it may encourage your pet to reinforce the urine scent mark in the area [source].

Vinegar + Baking Soda

To use this effectively, pour in vinegar FIRST before adding baking soda. If you do the reverse order, you’ll have a bubbly mess in your hands.

Vinegar acts as the cleaner, and baking soda absorbs the stains. Miraculously stains are gone! Check these photos by Jillee (thank you for sharing this!).

Removing Pet Stains Before and After

Image source: One Good Thing by Jillee

Use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up all that dirty baking soda.

Now it does not say if this technique removes the urine odor. You’ll have to get down on all fours to smell.

Vinegar + Water + Baking Soda + Liquid Dishwashing Detergent + Hydrogen Peroxide

These are two homemade recipes that I found here.

The first one includes a 50% mixture of water and vinegar. Treat the stained area with this mixture then blot dry with a white towel or paper towel. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess moisture.

The next step is applying baking soda over the affected area.

Then mix one cup hydrogen peroxide (use only 3% max, or it’ll stain) and one teaspoon of liquid detergent. Apply this mixture using your hands (please wear gloves) on the carpet and allow it to dry once it is dry, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the residue.