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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 stubborn dog pee smell out of carpets comes with the territory.
Your dog can’t always help going in an inappropriate place or at an inappropriate time. You’ve gotten used to it and learned not to blame your doggo when it happens. But one thing you’ll never get used to is the smell that lingers 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.
Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled tips and tricks to clean up after your pup and get rid of that lingering pee smell. 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 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 foolproof 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!
Step One: Get Rid of the Liquid
To avoid urine odors and stains from affecting your subfloor, time is of the essence! For fresh messes, you’ll first need to work on soaking up as much of the liquid as you can.
Carpet or Upholstery? Soak it up!
Cover the carpeted area with paper towels or other 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.
Great for soaking up those little puddles that your dog leaves behind, grab a bundle of 24, 36, 48, or 144 of these non-abrasive microfiber cloths. Simply launder and reuse for future accidents.Find on Amazon
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. Afterward, it’s a good idea to go over the surface with a cleaner to remove any lingering residue.
Pet safe and made in the U.S., these plant-based wipes, which come in a pack of 75, work on a variety of hard surfaces, ensuring your surface is sanitary and pee-free.Shop on Chewy
Step Two: Shine a Light on Stains to Find the Dog Pee Smell Source
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 can’t find the source, try a UV flashlight, which illuminates set-in dog pee stains for easy cleaning.
A handy UV light (or black light), like this one, illuminates any substance containing phosphors (including dog pee), so you can easily locate and treat set-in urine stains.Find on Amazon
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, yellowish or greenish, in color. Mark the spot(s) in some way so you can find them when the lights are back on.
- If you’re unsure whether the stain is urine, use the tried and true smell test.
Step Three: Try an Enzyme Pet Urine Remover
Dog pee smell and stains can be tough opponents. So you’ll want a cleaner with enzymes—proteins that help break up urine molecules and dissolve lingering odors. Enzyme cleansers work, but they can take time and more than one application to fully remove stubborn stains.
In general, you’ll apply the cleaner to the area, let it sit for a while, then blot it up and scrub 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 pee stain and smell removers out there. This 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—even clothing.Shop on Chewy
Professional strength doesn’t have to mean harsh smells or toxins! If you’re wondering how to get dog pee smell out of your carpet, just reach for a bottle of this enzyme cleaner. This stain and odor remover is chlorine-free and safe to use around pets and kids to permanently remove residues.Shop on Chewy
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 as well as add it to a load of laundry to wash dog beds and blankets stained with pee.Find on Amazon
Or, Make Your Own Cleaner to Remove Dog Pee Smell
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. Then, follow these steps.
- Generously sprinkle baking soda over the urine spot, allowing the baking soda about five minutes to neutralize the 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 this cleaning regimen up by scrubbing the spot with warm water and dish soap, but only after you’ve neutralized the dog pee smell using the baking soda and vinegar steps above first.
Last Step: 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. The sooner you clean up the urine, the easier it will be to avoid that stubborn dog pee smell.
The SpotBot does all the work for you with two hands-free modes for spot and stain removal. Bonus? Each purchase of this cleaning device helps save homeless pets.Find on Amazon
If you feel your carpet fibers need a bit more expertise, or you’re not feeling up for the wet vac experience, a cleaning service is another good option.
Other Products To Get Dog Pee Smell out of Your Carpet
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 of three pairs so you can keep one set specifically for pet messes.Find on Amazon
If you really want to deep clean dog pee from the carpet, this Hoover PowerDash compact carpet cleaner is just what you need. It’s reasonably priced, lightweight, and powerful, with extra heat drying capability.Find on Amazon
If a carpet cleaner isn’t in your budget, this spray for carpets and rugs from Bissell could be the perfect stain-busting alternative. This specially formulated enzyme cleaner targets tough pet odors and stains, working to remove them in as little as 30 seconds!Shop on Chewy
Sometimes it takes multiple tries to really eliminate set-in stains and dog pee odors. In the meantime, this portable odor eliminating air purifier can help keep things smelling fresh. Simply plug it in wherever odors are an issue. It 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.Find on Amazon
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 soy candle is a great way to do it. It comes in a wide variety of scents, all designed to eliminate common household pet odors.Shop on Chewy
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 or if there are ongoing bladder control issues, dog diapers can help until you’re able to eliminate the odor or come up with an alternative solution.
It’s 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.