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How to get rid of pet urine smells & stains


Kittens and puppies are just like toddlers; they need help toilet training and often have accidents along the way.

As these little mishaps occur on the floor, the bed, or even your clothes, it’s important to clean the stain and remove the odour to ensure your pet doesn’t become a repeat offender. The smell of old pee is an attractant that will bring your pet back to urinate in the same location again and again.

I have a puppy in training and an old cat, so know all too well that blotting the spot with paper isn’t enough. It requires extra attention, or you’ll really regret it in the longer term.

Your pet should know the couch is a place for cuddles, snoozes and playful antics only. Picture: Getty

What to do when you discover a spill?

Remain calm and understand it’s not your pet’s fault. But act quickly as letting the stain soak makes it harder to clean.

  • Soak up as much urine as possible using paper towels.
  • After you’ve blotted the area, spray the stain with an enzyme-based cleaner. Enzymes break the acid in the urine down into carbon dioxide and ammonia gases that easily evaporate – eliminating the smell. You can find non-toxic enzyme cleaners at most pet stores. Alternatively, a vinegar solution (1-part vinegar and 1-part water) does the trick too.
  • Saturate the area with the spray and let the product absorb for 10 minutes. Blot excess residue with paper towels and allow to air dry.
  • When the area is dry, sprinkle bi-carb soda across the old stain and leave for 24 hours. Baking soda acts as a sanitiser and pulls out any remaining smell. For carpets, vacuum the area to remove any remaining powder and leave the room with a fresh scent again. This same cleaning process can be used on furniture such as couches and mattresses.

Read more: 9 things you should know about keeping pets in highrise residences

This same cleaning process can be used on furniture such as couches and mattresses.

When accidents happen, remain calm and understand it’s not your pet’s fault. Picture: Getty

Tips on what not to do when cleaning pet urine

  • Do not use a steam cleaner or hairdryer to dry the area, as this will embed the stain and smell into your carpet fibres. This applies to upholstery and clothing – make sure to keep wash settings on cold and air dry.
  • Do not wash the area with regular soap or carpet wash after applying the enzyme cleaner or vinegar solution, as it deactivates the neutralisation process. Meaning the smell will remain.
  • Do not clean the area with ammonia-based cleaning products, as the smell attracts your pet to re-mark the area.
  • If the carpet or upholstery is in bad condition, it’s recommended to call in a professional carpet cleaner but be sure to advise the issue, so they know to apply a sanitising solution prior to cleaning.

Read more: 5 eco-friendly cleaning products for the sustainable home

Beware that some cleaning methods, such as steaming or using ammonia-based cleaning products, can make the smell worse on your fabrics. Picture: Getty

How to clean pet urine from clothes?

If your pet urinates on clothing, linens or anything else machine washable, simply rinse the area well under cold water. Then, place the items into the washing machine with the settings kept cold, and add detergent and a cup of baking soda.

If you still smell the odour, repeat the process but add a quarter cup of apple vinegar to the cycle and spray direct onto the stain before adding to the wash. Always air dry and do not use a steamer or dryer, as both will lock in the smell.

Worth it. Picture: Getty

Now that you have the tips and tricks you need to clean pet urine, should a mess occur, you can let go of the stress and instead have fun playing with your family furbaby.

Read more: Convert these secret spaces at home into doggy dens

This article was originally published as How to get rid of pet urine smells & stains by and is written by Elke Keeley.

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