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Most pet owners deal with indoor accidents. Particularly if you have:
- a new puppy (fun!)
- an elderly dog (the sweetest!)
- or a dog still mastering their potty training skills (it happens!)
We fully support your love of dogs who are still learning to go outside. Or maybe your dog has long since learned to use the yard, but you’re still working out the lingering smells. Depending on what surface your dog goes on, and how long the urine sits before you find it, that stubborn smell can really stick around. It doesn’t have to!
A step-by-step plan of attack for dog urine accidents
Accidents new or old, don’t worry, we’ve got the solutions you need. To help make life with your pet a little easier, and to make your house smell a lot better, we’ve rounded up all the best tips and product suggestions to get dog pee smell out of your house for good.
Below, we offer a step-by-step plan of attack:
- Clean up all the liquid you can.
- Search and destroy: use a UV light to find any dried urine you may have missed.
- Use the right cleaning products to combat the urine smell.
- Get a deeper clean on fabric stains with a wet vac.
- Repeat as necessary to prevent future stains.
First, get rid of the liquidBuy Now on Amazon for $11.27
Before you even think about strategies for removing that dog pee smell, you have to remove the pee itself. For fresh messes, it’s simply a matter of soaking up as much of the liquid as you can. And to avoid the urine odors and stains from affecting your subfloor, time is of the essence.
Carpet or upholstery? Soak it up!
To remove dog urine from carpet, cover the area with paper towels or an absorbent cloth and use your hands or feet to gently press down. This will help draw out and soak up as much liquid as possible. You may need to use several paper towels, so you don’t get pee on yourself.
Repeat the process until the area is almost completely dry.
Solid surface? Wipe it down!
On laminate, tile, or hardwood floors, use paper towels, an absorbent cloth, or a mop to sop up the pee. We love these reusable, super-absorbent cleaning cloths. Just throw them in the washing machine after use, and you don’t end up with a pile of used paper towels crowding your garbage can.
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You can’t get a smell out of the house if you don’t know where it’s coming from. An old pee stain may be visible to your dog’s nose, but not to your eyes, and many dogs can’t pass up the opportunity to re-mark a spot once it has the scent of urine, causing them to mark the spot over and over, maybe when you aren’t aware.
But how do you find these secret spots? If you can smell dog urine but you can’t find the source, try a UV flashlight.
UV light (or black light) illuminates any substance containing phosphors (including dog pee), making it easy for you to locate and treat set-in urine stains. Using a UV light to seek out your dog’s secret spots is easy:
- First, vacuum up all that you can from the area you’ll be sleuthing. The UV will also highlight particles such as lint and fur.
- Turn off the overhead lights and darken the room as much as possible.
- Turn on your UV flashlight, and get searching.
- Urine stains will be dull in color, yellowish or greenish. Use a marker to remind yourself of the spots you find for when the lights are back on.
- If you’re unsure the stain is urine, use the tried and true smell test.
Use enzyme cleansers
Dog urine odor and stains can be tough opponents. Enzymes are proteins that help break up urine molecules and dissolve odors. This method requires patience. Enzyme cleansers work, but they can take time and repeated application.
Depending on the directions accompanying the product, you’ll spray or blot the area with cleaner, then let it sit for a while before blotting it up and scrubbing the spot. You may need to repeat this process.
Here are a few of our favorite enzymatic cleaners for battling the smell of dog urine:
Nature’s Miracle is one of the most popular pet cleaning products out there. The advanced formula attacks set-in pet stains, removes pet pheromones, and destroys odors on contact to prevent re-soiling. Best of all, you can use it on any surface.Buy Now on Amazon for $30.83
Professional strength doesn’t have to mean harsh smells or toxins! This enzyme cleaner is chlorine-free and safe to use around pets and kids.Buy Now on Amazon for $19.97
Bubba’s calls their enzyme cleaner “the pet stain and odor TERMINATOR” because it destroys stubborn urine smells for good. It eats away urine bacteria to prevent re-marking. You can spot-treat with Bubba’s, or add it to a load of laundry to wash dog beds and blankets stained with pee.Buy Now on Amazon for $39.97
Make your own homemade cleaner
Pet owners with a bit of know-how can make a cleaning solution tailored to their home. First, in a spray bottle, combine one cup of white vinegar with two cups of hot water. To improve the vinegar solution’s pet odor fighting capabilities, add 10 drops of your preferred essential oil, such as tea tree, lavender, lemongrass, or rosemary.
- Start by generously sprinkling baking soda over the urine spot, allowing the baking soda about five minutes to neutralize the smell of dog urine.
- Vacuum up the baking soda.
- Then, liberally spray the spot with your vinegar solution (always test the fabric or carpet in a hidden spot for color retention). As a bonus, the essential oil will also serve as an air freshener.
If you’re concerned with stains on the fabric or carpet, you can follow up this cleaning regimen by scrubbing the spot with warm water and dish soap. But before using soap and water, it’s essential to get dog urine smell neutralized, beginning with the steps above using baking soda and vinegar spray solution.
Finish with a carpet cleaner (NOT a steam cleaner)Buy Now on Amazon for $142.35
For set-in pet stains on carpeting or rugs, simple spray cleaners may not suffice. You can rent a carpet cleaner from your local grocery or hardware store, or hire professional carpet cleaners to attack the stains for you.
If pet accidents are a regular part of your life, consider investing in an at-home carpet cleaning machine like the Bissell Spotbot. The sooner you clean up the urine, the easier it will be to avoid that stubborn dog pee smell.
If you feel your carpet fibers need a bit more expertise, or you’re not feeling up for the wet vac experience, call a cleaning service.
Prevent future accidents
After you’ve successfully removed the dog pee smell and stains from your home, the last thing you want is to have to start all over again.
As we mentioned, dogs may return to the scene of the pee crime if they can still smell their own personal scent, so be sure to clean thoroughly. You can also make the area unavailable by placing furniture or a rug over the spot. In a pinch, you can use a male dog belly band to prevent this marking behavior until you’re able to eliminate the odor come up with an alternative solution.
It’s also important to consider your dog’s motivations for peeing inside. Sometimes, inappropriate elimination is a sign of a medical issue. It can also indicate anxiety or emotional distress. If your dog is consistently peeing indoors, start with a vet visit to rule out physical causes.