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Every dog parent will have to deal with a pee accident at some point. But knowing how to get stubborn dog pee stains and smells out of carpet and furniture can make the incident a lot less stressful when it occurs.
To learn more about handling pet urine messes, we consulted Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM, a veterinarian at Senior Tail Waggers. We discuss steps to tackle pee on multiple household surfaces and what to do if you only have common household cleaners on hand. We also cover how to handle old pee stains and what to do to prevent future accidents.
How To Get Dog Pee Out of the Carpet
It can be stressful when your dog pees in the house, especially on the carpet. But some simple solutions, like the steps below, can help save your rug—and your sanity.
- Blot the area. Cover the soiled spot with paper towels or an absorbent microfiber cloth, using your hands or feet to press down gently. This will help draw out as much liquid as possible. Repeat the process until the area is almost completely dry.
- Apply your cleaner. Our expert, Dr. Bonk, recommends a cleaner with enzymes—proteins that help break up urine molecules and dissolve lingering smells. “Enzymatic cleaners such as Rocco and Roxie or Angry Orange work well and are quicker and easier to use [than baking soda],” she says. Nature’s Miracle Pet Stain and Odor Remover is also widely recommended by veterinary and cleaning professionals for tough pet messes.
- Let the cleaner sit. Read the label on the bottle to find out how long to leave it on the urine stain. Typically, enzyme cleaners need 15 to 20 minutes to break down the uric acid.
- Blot remaining moisture. After the cleaner has had sufficient time to work, blot it up.
- Repeat the process if necessary. Enzymatic cleaners work hard on pet messes, but you might still have to apply a second (or third) application to completely remove the smell and stain.
Only have common household cleaners?
If you don’t have an enzymatic cleaner on hand, a few conventional items found in most homes can help. “The vinegar and baking soda technique works well if you have the time,” Dr. Bonk tells us. Here’s how to do it.
- Blot up most of the liquid. Paper towels or microfiber cloths will work well for this step.
- Neutralize the odor with baking soda. Generously sprinkle baking soda over the urine spot, giving it about five minutes to neutralize the dog pee smell. Then vacuum it up.
- Apply a vinegar mixture. Combine one cup of white vinegar with two cups of cool water in a spray bottle. Then liberally spray the urine spot until it’s saturated. (Note: Always test the carpet in an inconspicuous spot to ensure vinegar won’t discolor it.)
- Finish with dish soap. If you’re concerned about stains on the fabric or carpet, scrub the spot with warm water and dish soap. However, only do this once you’ve neutralized the dog pee smell with baking soda and vinegar in the steps above.
Removing Dried Dog Pee from Carpets
“The best way to remove dried dog pee is with an enzymatic cleaner,” Dr. Bonk tells Rover. “Again, these break down the chemical components of urine so that they can be fully removed.”
To tackle dried pee, follow the same steps as you would for an enzyme-based cleaner on fresh accidents. The only difference is that you’ll skip the first step of blotting up the liquid.
If you’d still prefer to use natural products (or they’re all you have in the house), Dr. Bonk offers the following method.
- Saturate the dried stain with vinegar.
- Sprinkle some baking soda over the stain.
- Let the baking soda dry for a couple of days. Then vacuum it up.
- If the odor or stain persists, repeat the process.
For super set-in pet stains on carpeting or rugs, simple spray cleaners may not suffice. In these cases, you can rent a carpet cleaner from your local grocery or hardware store. You can also hire professional carpet cleaners to attack the stains for you.
If dog accidents are a regular part of your life (perhaps you’re in the throes of puppyhood or have a dog suffering from incontinence), you may want to consider investing in an at-home carpet cleaning machine, like the Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner—the machine one of our editors with a championship puker swears by.
How To Get Dog Pee Out of the Couch or Upholstery
“The problem with pet pee in fabrics is it doesn’t come out with most regular cleaners, such as soap and water,” Dr. Bonk points out. “Instead, pet pee needs enzymatic cleaners that will completely break down the chemical components of the urine to remove them from the fabric fully,” she says.
If your dog has peed on your couch, check the tags on the cushions to avoid damaging them with cleaners. Then try the following steps.
- Blot dry as much of the pee as possible. Use microfiber cloths, paper towels, or newspaper to soak up excess liquid.
- Re-wet the area. After thoroughly blotting, use a spray bottle to re-wet the area with clean, cool water. This dilutes the remaining urine and draws it out as you blot again.
- Soak the area with an enzymatic cleaner. Let the cleaner sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then blot excess liquid.
- Let the couch air dry completely. After you’ve soaked up most of the cleaner, leave the couch to air dry thoroughly. If the cushions are removable (and the weather is agreeable), it’s best to air dry them outside in the sun, which helps to kill bacteria and eliminate odors.
The drying process could take up to a few days. To help protect the damp area as it dries, you can cover it with an upside-down laundry basket or a layer of aluminum foil. This will also discourage pets from re-soiling the area.
Note: You may need to repeat this process several times, depending on the strength of the stain and odor.
Using common household cleaners:
If you only have common household cleaners on hand, no sweat. Here’s how you can still get dog pee out of couches and upholstery.
- Blot the area. Dry up as much urine as possible using clean microfiber cloths or paper towels.
- Rinse with cool water. Re-soak the soiled area with clean, cool water. Then blot the spot again to pull out even more urine along with the water.
- Sprinkle with baking soda. Let baking soda sit on the stain for five minutes to deodorize the urine smell.
- Add white vinegar. Dilute the vinegar with water in a one-to-one ratio and spray or pour it over the soiled area. Let it sit for about five more minutes, then blot the area with a towel.
How To Get Dog Pee Out of a Dog Bed
Some dog beds are machine-washable, while others need to be hand-washed or spot-cleaned. Check the tag on your dog’s bed to see which approach to take.
Steps for machine-washable dog beds
- Blot excess liquid. Just as you would with carpet or upholstery, use towels to soak up excess urine.
- Pre-treat the stain with a pet-safe enzymatic cleaner. This is an optional step but one that can help secure better results. You can also wait and add it to the wash.
- Launder with a pet-safe detergent. Add baking soda, a cup of white vinegar, or a pet-safe enzymatic cleaner to the wash for more stain- and smell-removing power.
Steps for handwash-only beds
If your dog’s bed is too large to fit into the washing machine, or it’s made with a material that isn’t machine-washable (memory foam usually isn’t), you’ll want to blot out the excess liquid and treat the soiled area with an enzymatic cleaner, just like you would for carpets.
Using common household cleaners:
Follow the instructions below to clean your dog’s bed with common household items.
- Blot up excess liquid. Remove as much dog pee as you can with towels.
- Apply a vinegar solution. Mix a one-to-one ratio of water and white vinegar. Apply generously and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Soak the bed in soapy water. Fill the bathtub with cool water and a few glugs of dish soap. Submerge the bed, letting it soak for a while (30 minutes ought to do it). Rinse thoroughly and leave it to dry fully—ideally in the sun if possible.
How To Get Dog Pee Out of Sheets or Bedding
Dog pee on the bed can be especially tricky to handle. Bulky comforters may be too big to toss in the wash, and quality sheets and blankets can be expensive. Here are some simple steps to help you deal with the mess—just be sure to check that your bedding doesn’t require dry cleaning.
- Blot up excess liquid. Use a clean towel, microfiber cloth, or paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible.
- Pre-treat the urine spot with an enzymatic cleaner. Identify the exact area where the accident occurred. Then soak the affected area with an enzyme cleaner.
- Toss linens in the washing machine. If your bedding is machine-washable, launder it with a pet-safe detergent. You can also add a laundry booster, like this plant-based one by Skout’s Honor, directly to the machine’s drum. If your bedding can’t fit in your washing machine at home, take it to a commercial-size washer at the laundromat. For best results, you may have to rewash several times.
- Air dry. If you can hang your bedding outside, dry it in the sun to remove odors and bacteria.
Using common household cleaners
Here’s how you can get dog pee out of your bedding using everyday items you probably have lying around your house.
- Mix two cups of vinegar in a gallon of cool water.
- Submerge the blanket or sheets in the mixture. Let everything soak overnight.
- Remove bedding from the vinegar mixture and let your washing machine do the rest. For extra odor-fighting strength, add one cup of vinegar to the wash or about two cups of baking soda.
What to do about dried or old dog pee
Removing older urine stains and odors will take a similar approach—you might need to repeat the process a few extra times, however.
Pre-treat urine stains on bedding with an enzyme-based cleaner. Then toss your linens in the washing machine with a pet-safe detergent and a generous scoop of baking soda or vinegar.
How To Get Dog Pee Out of the Car
If your pup rides in the car with you, a pee accident is bound to happen at some point. When it does, open the windows and follow these steps.
- Blot up the urine. Use clean cloths or paper towels to absorb as much liquid as possible, getting into the crevices or seams. Using a wet vac can be even more effective at pulling urine out of your car’s upholstery.
- Apply an enzymatic cleaner. Spray the stain, allowing the cleaner to sit for the recommended time (usually 15 to 20 minutes). For leather seats, look for an enzymatic cleaner specifically made for them (most enzymatic cleaners aren’t for use on leather).
- Blot up the cleaner. Absorb as much cleaner as possible. Let the remaining moisture air dry.
- Deodorize with baking soda. If the smell persists, sprinkle baking soda on the area. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum it up.
Using common household cleaners
If you don’t have an enzymatic cleaner on hand, try these tips to get dog pee out of your car carpet and seats.
- Apply a baking soda paste. Mix three parts baking soda with one part water until a thick paste forms. Wearing gloves, rub the paste into the car’s upholstery, carpet, and floor mats. After the mixture dries, vacuum it up.
- Apply a vinegar mixture. Mix water and white vinegar in a one-to-one ratio. Dilute the vinegar so it doesn’t ruin your car’s upholstery and put it in a spray bottle. Dampen the area and let it sit for 30 minutes, then blot dry with a microfiber cloth or towels.
- Fight odors with a bowl of baking soda. Fill a rimmed plate or baking tray with baking soda. Leave it in your car overnight, then dispose of it the next day. You may want to repeat this process for a few nights if the odor lingers.
How To Stop a Dog from Peeing in the House Again
After you’ve successfully removed dog pee odor and stains from your home, the last thing you want is to do it all over again. But what preventative methods can you take?
According to Dr. Bonk, completely removing the odor from a previous accident is the best way to keep your dog from peeing again. “Odors from old accidents can actually make a pet want to pee in the same spot again,” she says. “So make sure to get that odor completely gone with either an enzymatic cleaner or vinegar and baking soda.”
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 can eliminate the odor or 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, excitement, or emotional distress. If your dog is consistently peeing indoors, check with your vet to rule out any health problems.
How We Chose
The cleaning products featured here were selected based on a combination of our own hands-on testing, a comprehensive look at customer reviews across a wide variety of retail platforms, and interviews with veterinary experts. We prioritized cleaners with pet-safe ingredients that effectively remove visible stains and odors. We’re also guided by the experience of living and playing alongside our own much-loved and strongly opinionated pets, who are never stingy with their feedback.