How to Get Pet Urine Smells Out of Your Carpet

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated August 2, 2022
little white dog lying on carpet in the living room
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

Who let the dogs out—and onto your rug

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There’s nothing cuter than a fluffy, roly-poly puppy or furry kitten. But during potty training, accidents are bound to happen, and sometimes, a stinky smell can linger long after you’ve cleaned up the puddle.

These hacks and tricks will help you get rid of pet stains so you can keep your carpet odor-free. 

What Neutralizes The Scent of Urine?

Pet urine can be especially smelly, and that smell can last several days—even if you clean up the stain. The key to cleaning the smell and keeping the odor at bay is to use store-bought or homemade cleaners that don’t just make the stain disappear but also neutralize the odor.

Enzymatic Cleaners

A natural enzymatic cleaner, like Nature’s Miracle, breaks up urine molecules and dissolves lingering odors. Look for cleaners that specifically target pet urine, typically protease-based enzymatic cleaners, which are best for pet urine and feces. Enzymatic cleaners are especially helpful for dried pee stains with odors that have already set into carpet.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are pet-safe, effective, cheap, and eco-friendly. Both will neutralize the bacteria in the urine and remove the odor. 

  • For carpet, mix 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water, then add in 2 teaspoons of baking soda for an odor-neutralizing spray.

  • For urine on hard floor surfaces, you can eliminate odors by spraying white vinegar on the spot, then rinse clean. Add baking soda for any remaining smells, then wipe clean.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another powerful cleaner, but be sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first, as it may cause discoloration on carpet or various types of hard flooring. You can place a cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide over the pee stain and leave it for about eight hours to absorb the smell. Or make a cleaning spray with diluted hydrogen peroxide (two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part water) with several drops of liquid dish soap.

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent can help remove pet urine odor from clothing or bedding (just be sure not to dry the linens until you can’t smell the pee any more, otherwise the heat can set the smell!), but it can also be mixed with water to create a cleaner for use on carpets, rugs, or even furniture and mattresses to eliminate odors.

Dish Detergent

Liquid dish detergent is another helpful odor neutralizer. It can be combined with hydrogen peroxide and warm water to clean stains and eliminate odors from pet urine. Even creating a quick cleaner with just liquid dish detergent and warm water will help stifle odors in a pinch.

Work Quickly and Cautiously

Avoid cleaning chemicals such as ammonia. Strong chemical odors may reinforce the urine odor in the area.

No matter what cleaning agents and deodorizers you decide to use, note that the best way to eliminate urine odors is to work as quickly as possible. Attack fresh urine puddles with your cleaning kit to prevent smells from setting in and smelling for several days or weeks. It’s also best to test your cleaner in a hidden spot first to make sure it won’t cause a stain or bleaching effect on your floor.

5 Steps to Clean Fresh Pet Urine From Your Carpet

While cleaning pet urine from hardwood floors can be as straightforward as mopping it up as soon as you see it, removing Fido’s accident from your living room carpet is a little more challenging. But don’t panic, because you can teach an old dog new tricks. Here are the steps to handle the urine spot.

1. Absorb the Moisture

Rule number one for addressing a fresh pee puddle: Act fast! Dab the urine with paper towels or rags to absorb the moisture, pressing gently with your hands or feet to soak up as much liquid as possible.

2. Clean Up the Cat or Dog Pee

Use an enzymatic cleaner and follow the instructions on the label. Or, combine white vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio and pour it over the affected area. Let it sit for five minutes. In the meantime, use the time to play with your precious pet. 

3. Neutralize the Odor

Sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar mixture, which will create a frizzy foam and neutralize the cat pee smell. Cover the baking soda and vinegar with a damp towel for 24 hours, then vacuum the area to remove any residue that remains.

4. Rinse Spot’s Spot

Rinse the urine spot with cool water. If you have a wet vacuum cleaner or a carpet cleaner, pull it out of the closet and put it to use. 

5. Freshen Up

For additional freshness, add a fabric pet odor eliminator once the spot is completely dry.

How To Get Old Urine Smell Out of Carpet

Sometimes, you can’t catch a pee puddle ASAP. If you come home from work to the odor of urine and a guilty-looking pup, don’t fret. Here’s what to do. 

1. Locate the Dried Urine 

In some cases, dried urine can be hard to locate. Here’s a hack: Use a black light to track down where that pee spot is hiding. Once you see glowing green or yellow stains (and your nose confirms it), mark the spot with tape.

2. Make Your Carpet So Fresh and So Clean (Clean)

Create a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water and pour it over the stain. Scrub the area with a soft brush and blot it with a towel until it’s completely dry. 

3. Neutralize the Smell

You’re almost there! Cover the spot with a pet odor neutralizer or simply sprinkle baking soda onto Garfield’s pee stain to neutralize the smell. Then, vacuum it up. If the smell still lingers, you can call a local professional carpet cleaner.

FAQs

How long can the smell of pee last?

With a thorough cleaning, the smell of pet pee may dissipate within about 15 minutes, although most cases take several days to stop smelling after cleaning up the stain. If you leave a urine spot untreated, it may take up to five years to stop smelling on its own.

Can room spray remove the smell of pee?

You’ve tackled the pee stain on the carpet, but that smell still lingers in the air. Yuck! Fortunately, you can use certain sprays to help remove the odor. A homemade baking soda spray, made with 1/2-cup of baking soda and 4 cups of water in a spray bottle, can help remove the smell of pee. You can also use an enzymatic cleaner directly on the pee stain to deodorize it.

Does hydrogen peroxide get rid of urine smell?

Hydrogen peroxide does help remove urine smells, but you’ll need to combine it with a couple household staples to make an effective deodorizer.

  • Mix 2 parts hydrogen peroxide with 1 part warm water in a spray bottle.

  • Add several drops of liquid dish soap.

  • Spray the urine spot thoroughly.

  • Rinse the stain with water.

  • Repeat the spraying and rinsing until the smell dissipates.

  • Dry the spot with an old cleaning towel.

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