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Every dog owner deals with accidents from time to time. Whether you’re house-training a new puppy, caring for an elderly dog, or giving a rescue dog a refresher course, learning how to get a stubborn dog pee smell out of the carpet comes with the territory.
Your dog can’t always help going in an inappropriate place or at an inappropriate time, and you’ve learned not to blame him when it happens. You’ve gotten used to it. One thing you’ll never get used to, however, is the smell that tends to linger on even after you’ve cleaned up the mess.
Depending on what surface your dog goes on, and how long the pee sits before you find it, that stubborn smell can really stick around. But it doesn’t have to!
House-training is a necessary rite of passage for both pets and their parents, and so are the smells that come with it. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled some of the best tips and tricks to clean up after your pup and get rid of the pee smell. without worrying about those lingering odors. We’ve also put together a list of recommended products to help you keep your home clean and odor-free.
A Step-by-Step Plan of Attack for Dog Pee Accidents
You’ve tried it all before, and maybe you’ve even found a pet urine remover that gets the job done well enough. But there’s always room for improvement. If you’re wondering whether there’s a fool-proof plan for how to get dog pee smell out of carpet, there is!
Here is a simple 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.
Now, let’s see these steps in action!
First, get rid of the liquid.
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $11.27
These microfiber cleaning cloths are great for soaking up pet urine and they can be rinsed and reused hundreds of times. Made from ultra-soft, non-abrasive microfiber, these cloths absorb eight times their own weight in liquid.
Carpet or upholstery? Soak it up!
To remove dog urine and that dog pee smell 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.
After soaking up the pee, it’s a good idea to clean the surface to remove any lingering residue. These scrubbing wipes are specifically formulated to tackle tough pet messes and odors. With extra-thick scrubbing dots, you can even use them on carpet. They come in a convenient 30-pack priced under $10, so throw a container in your pantry to have on hand!Buy Now on Amazon for $8.80
Shine a light on dried urine.
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 obvious 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.
But how do you find these secret spots? If you can smell dog pee but you can’t find the source, try a UV flashlight, which illuminates set-in dog pee stains for easy cleaning.
Buy Now on Amazon for $12.99
UV light (or black light) illuminates any substance containing phosphors (including dog pee), so you can easily 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.
Try an enzyme pet urine remover.
Dog pee smell and stains can be tough opponents. Enzymes are proteins that help break up urine molecules and dissolve lingering odors. Enzyme cleansers work, but they can take time and repeated application to achieve the desired effect.
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 top picks for the best enzyme cleaner for dog urine:
Nature’s Miracle is one of the most popular pet urine removers 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 including carpets, hardwood, furniture, and even clothing.Buy Now on Amazon for $33.30
Professional strength doesn’t have to mean harsh smells or toxins! If you’re wondering how to get dog pee smell out of carpet, just reach for a bottle of this enzyme cleaner. This pet urine remover is chlorine-free and safe to use around pets and kids to permanently remove the reside and odor of dog pee from the carpet.Buy Now on Amazon for $19.97
Bubba’s calls its enzyme cleaner “the pet stain and odor TERMINATOR” because it destroys stubborn urine smells for good. Not only does it treat the initial stain, but 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 pet urine remover.
Pet owners with a bit of know-how can make a cleaning solution tailored to their home. First, combine one cup of white vinegar with two cups of hot water in a spray bottle. 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 dog pee smell.
- 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 about 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 neutralize dog pee smell, beginning with the steps above using baking soda and vinegar spray solution.
Finish with a carpet cleaner (NOT a steam cleaner).
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 Pet, which provides hands-free spot and stain removal at home. The sooner you clean up the urine, the easier it will be to avoid that stubborn dog pee smell.Buy Now on Amazon for $149.00
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 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 or come up with an alternative solution.
Other Products To Get Dog Pee Smell out of the Carpet
If you asked a dozen different pet owners how to get dog pee smell out, you would get a dozen different answers. Pet owners have their own preferences for products and cleaning methods, so don’t feel like you have to commit to just one of the products on this list.
Whether you’re looking for the best enzyme cleaner for dog pee or a handy tool to save you from doing the scrubbing yourself, here are some other products to help you get dog pee smell out of the carpet:
When cleaning up pet urine, you definitely want to have a layer between your skin and the mess. These rubber cleaning gloves are made from high-quality materials and come in a pack with three pairs so you can keep one specifically for pet messes.Buy Now on Amazon for $11.99
If you really want to deep clean dog pee from the carpet, this Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner is just what you need. Reasonably priced and lightweight for easy use, this carpet cleaner delivers 2x the cleaning power than the leading lightweight carpet cleaner and features the PowerSpin Pet Brush Roll to deliver a powerful clean with added antimicrobial protectionBuy Now on Amazon for $99
If a carpet cleaner isn’t in your budget, this stain destroyer from Bissell could be the perfect alternative. This 2-in-1 cleaner features a built-in rinseable brush paired with a powerful Oxy stain destroyer formula to eliminate tough pet odors and stains. Permanently remove stains in as little as 30 seconds!Buy Now on Amazon for $5.99
Sometimes it takes multiple tries to really eliminate set-in stains and odors. In the meantime, this portable odor eliminating air purifier can help keep things fresh. Simply plug it in wherever odors are an issue and let it get to work. This mini air purifier neutralizes airborne bacteria and odors instead of just masking them. Plus, it makes little to no noise when running and doesn’t require a filter.Buy Now on Amazon for $27.99
Even if you’ve removed the stain and neutralized lingering odors, that smell might still be in your nose. If you’re looking for a simple way to freshen things up—for yourself or for guests—this all-natural candle is a great way to do it. It comes in a wide variety of scents, all designed to eliminate common odors found in households with pets.Buy Now on Amazon for $21.95
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.