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How to Get Rid of Pet Urine Smell

Carpet Cleaning, Rug Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning
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Pets sometimes urinate on carpet, upholstered furniture, or other fabrics because of medical or environmental conditions. A urine stain will appear an amber-like color but may not be visible on dark carpeting or upholstery. Even when the stain isn't visible, however, the bacteria in urine leaves an unpleasant odor that can linger almost indefinitely if not completely removed. If used properly, commercial cleaners and household items can help get rid of a pet urine smell.

Get Rid of Pet Urine Smells on Upholstery

If the accident has recently occurred and is still "fresh," as much as possible should be soaked up with paper towels. The towels should be replaced with new ones frequently until no more urine can be absorbed. If the urine has already dried, clean cool water applied with towels will allow much of the old urine to be soaked up with clean paper towels.

A solution of one part white vinegar to one part cool water sprayed or lightly poured over the area will help reduce the urine smell as it is allowed to air dry. A fan can be used to hurry the drying process, but a heater of any kind will actually encourage the urine bacteria to multiply and lead to a stronger odor.

A sprinkling of baking soda over the soiled area helps absorb odors. It's best to dampen the area, if it isn't already, before applying the baking soda. Cool water with a small amount of mild soap can be worked into the baking soda to help clean and deodorize. Dish soap or a gentle liquid facial soap works well. The area should be allowed to dry, and then the baking soda can be vacuumed up. If desired, the area can be rinsed with cool water after it has been allowed to dry.

Some furniture cushions have covers that can be removed and laundered in the washing machine. Adding a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar along with laundry detergent should remove all traces of the pet urine odor. However, the padding of the cushion, which cannot be laundered, will still have urine in it and will need to be cleaned. It's best to keep the cover on the padding when cleaning with vinegar or baking soda as described above. This will prevent damage to the padding, and the cover can be laundered later if desired.

Get Rid of Pet Urine Smells on Carpet

As with upholstery, as much of the urine as possible should be removed before attempting to clean and deodorize the area. Paper towels can be used to soak up fresh accidents, and cool water will help draw out old, dried urine. It can help to stand on the towels or lay a heavy object on them. More pressure will draw out more urine from the carpet and from the padding beneath.

The same ingredients used to clean urine from upholstery can be used on carpet as well. Because the urine soaks quickly into the lowest layers of padding, it is essential to use enough water and cleaning solution to reach those lower layers. A carpet shampooer or wet-dry vac can help suck the water back up. It can be virtually impossible to remove all the liquid with towels alone.

A solution of 50/50 water and white vinegar may be poured directly onto the soiled section of carpet. After allowing it to sit for around ten minutes, the excess liquid should be sucked up with the carpet shampooer or wet-dry vac. The area will then air dry, and the vinegar smell will disappear and should take the urine odor with it.

A paste made of three parts baking soda to one part cool water can be rubbed gently into the soiled area and then allowed to dry before vacuuming. If a stain is visible, it can be helpful to add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the paste. The paste can be reapplied as many times as needed to fully remove the odor, but it should be allowed to fully dry between each application.

Commercial Products

Various commercial products are designed to remove pet urine smells from both upholstery and carpet. Cleaners that contain bacteria-digesting enzymes usually work best to fully combat any lingering smell. Label directions should be followed exactly for best results.

Cleaning Safely

Because all carpets and upholsteries are different, every cleaner, even homemade ones, should be tested on an inconspicuous area before using on a pet urine stain. Test the cleaner on the back of a couch or on a hidden area of carpet, for example. It may take 24 hours to show any change in color or texture.

It's wise to avoid using cleaning products that contain bleach or ammonia when trying to get rid of pet urine smells. Urine itself contains ammonia, which can react with bleach to cause a harmful gas. If ammonia is used to clean the area, pets will interpret the remaining odor as a welcome invitation to continue urinating there.

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