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Pet Friendly House

How to Remove Pee Stains and the Smell of Urine from the Home

Picture of a dog on a bed

While you don’t mind a little pet hair in your home as a reminder you share your life with a dog, you draw the line at the smell of urine. Whether you have a male dog who likes to “mark” in your home or a puppy who hasn’t quite gotten down the fine art of housebreaking, you are likely familiar with the problem that urine stains and smell pose for every home owner. Dog urine is particularly noxious, and it can be very difficult to completely eradicate from a home. Since dogs possess a sense of smell which is so much keener than our own, they are able to detect even the most minute trace of urine which may remain in your carpet or upholstery when the fabric has already passed your own sniff test. Since dogs are drawn to mark over areas that already contain the smell of urine, you could be doomed to an endless cycle of your pooch marking and re-marking the same area over and over and over again…unless you find the right combination of cleaners to get rid of the smell and stain for good. Is it possible to remove pee stains and the smell of urine from your home?

Why Do Dogs Mark in the House?

Many dogs, both male and female, like to mark their homes with a small splash of urine to send a message that the area belongs to them. Though this behavior is most commonly seen in intact dogs, neutered males and spayed females may also engage in it as well. Since dog urine contains valuable information about the dog in particular, it can often be seen as a sort of calling card to let other animals know just who owns the area that has been concentrated in urine.

Dogs don’t always mark things on the floor. Male dogs have the ability to lift their legs to urinate, giving them opportunity to douse your furniture, doorways, and appliances with their “scent” as well. This higher up marking style may be done to indicate to other dogs that the dog who “owns” that territory is a big, strong, dominant creature who should not be messed with.

The problem with failure to completely remove a scent is that your dog will be drawn to re-mark the area to refresh the smell he is attempting to leave behind. If the aroma becomes faint to your dog’s sense of smell, he will want to intensify it, so as to leave the area smelling like him.

The good news is that once a dog has marked an area, so that it bears his own unique fragrance, he will typically stop doing it. It is not usually an every day occurrence. However, there are some events that can trigger reoccurring marking.

They are as follows:

  • The introduction of a new dog or cat to the house
  • Bringing home a baby for the first time
  • Stress
  • Change of routine
  • Overnight guests

In general, dogs do not respond well to change. If a dog’s routine is interrupted, it can sometimes lead to a reversion to urinating in the house.

Of course, some urination indoors is not related to marking at all. In the case of puppies, it is often simply a matter of the pup not being fully housetrained yet. But elderly dogs also can have compromised bladder function leading to accidents in pets who have been housetrained all of their lives.

Is It Possible to Remove Urine Stains and Odors from Your House?

The good news is that if your house has started to smell like it’s inhabited by Pepi Le Pew, it is possible to get it smelling clean and fresh again. There are many different methods you can use to remove offensive urine stains and odors from your carpet, furniture, and upholstery.

One of the first things to consider is prevention. If you can prevent the behavior from happening in the first place, it will save you a lot of time and effort in scrubbing out stains.

The most effective thing you can do to keep a dog who likes to mark from urinating in your house is to make use of a belly band. A belly band is a wide piece of fabric with Velcro secured at both ends. You simply wrap the band around your dog’s waist and over his genitals and secure it in place with the Velcro. This will not prevent your dog from marking initially. The belly band works by acting as a physical reminder not to urinate in your home. When your dog goes to lift his leg on a piece of furniture or your floor; instead of leaving his scent on his intended object, the urine is trapped inside the belly band leaving your dog wet instead. Since dogs are clean animals, they don’t like being wet and smelly. It may take several more attempts before your dog realizes the effect of the belly band, but theoretically; in time, your dog will no longer attempt to mark in the house.

However, some dogs never quite learn not to mark indoors and thus a repeated use of the belly band becomes necessary. Even if your dog learns not to mark in his own home, you will still need to make use of a belly band when you take him to visit new places as his instinct to leave behind his smell will still be strong, causing him to mark in other people’s homes or public buildings, an embarrassment indeed!

Belly bands are easily washable and can be lined with mini pads for easy removal when the pads absorb urine. You can purchase belly bands at most pet retailers, and many boutique pet stores online sell them in a variety of fashionable colors and styles to keep your pooch looking dapper in his “undies.”

When it comes to puppies, pee pads are your friend. But if you can’t be there to supervise, containment is important as well. Making use of a crate is a great way to help your puppy to quickly learn where the appropriate place is to empty his bladder. Since dogs don’t like to make messes in the same place where they sleep, you can put your puppy in his crate, removing him at appropriate intervals to go outside to pee.

When your puppy pees in the correct place, it’s party time! By getting excited when your dog urinates where he is supposed to, you reinforce the behavior you want to see again. Be aware that puppies most typically will pee and poop just after a play time, after a meal, and as soon as they wake up. Be proactive and take your puppy outside following any of these activities until he learns where he is supposed to go on his own. If you cannot be there to supervise your puppy, crate him. Since a puppy does not have the bladder capacity to go for endless hours without using the bathroom, be certain to let your little pooch out every few hours to pee to prevent accidents or frustration in the crate.

With older pets who may be experiencing urinary incontinence, you can make use of belly bands or even diapers. Placing pee pads in areas around the house may also provide an alternative for older dogs who find themselves caught short and cannot hold their urine until they get outside.

But if your home has already been the victim of repeat marking attempts or accidents, you’ll need to figure out how to get the smell and stains out of your carpet, upholstery, and furniture. If it’s happened to you, not to worry. You can get your house back to smelling like a rose again with a little bit of savvy and some elbow grease.

Here are some top remedies for ridding your home of urine stains and odors:

  • Make use of an enzymatic cleaner.

There are many commercial products on the market today that do an excellent job of permanently removing urine stains and smells. If the urine marking is fresh, you must take care to blot any remaining urine out of the area with a paper towel or cloth. The more liquid you can absorb from the fabric, the easier it will be to treat the stain. If the stain is old, you will need to saturate it with the enzymatic cleaner of your choice. Among the best cleaners on the market today are Odoban, Nature’s Miracle, or Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator. All of these sprays work by breaking down the molecules within the urine to eradicate them completely. The odor is neutralized, and the stain is lifted.

  • Always blot stains prior to any treatment.

Regardless of which mode of treatment you opt to use, you need to remove as much of the liquid urine from your fabric as possible. Make use of paper towels or rags and always blot rather than rub at a stain. Rubbing tends to cause the odor and discoloration to spread. Blot gently to sop up as much of the liquid as you can then proceed with your treatment of choice. 

  • Use a home remedy.

Often, some of the very best cleaning options can be found right within your own pantry. When it comes to removing pet urine stains and odors, this is most definitely true! One of the most effective cleaning solutions is a homemade concoction you can put together using white vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, dishwashing detergent, and some good old fashioned H20.

To mix up this home remedy, grab a spray bottle and fill it with 50 percent water and 50 percent white vinegar. Spray the affected area liberally and allow it to sit for a few minutes before using a brush to work the liquid into the fibers of the fabric. The vinegar in the mixture will help to remove the ammonia smell from the urine. Once the area has been completely saturated and the mixture worked into the carpet or upholstery, grab a soft cloth to blot the area as dry as possible.

Once moisture has been removed from the stain, sprinkle it liberally with baking soda and allow to set. Mix up a 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1 tsp of dishwashing liquid and apply to the stain, working it in with a brush. Allow the mixture to dry completely. Vacuum up any remaining residue, and voila! The stain and its smell should now be gone! 

  • Make use of black light.

If you’ve treated all of the areas you can think of and a smell still remains, it’s time to get out the black light. You can purchase black light bulbs at your local hardware store. When the lights are turned off in your home and illuminated only by a black light bulb, any remaining urine stains in your carpet, upholstery, or furniture will glow a fluorescent white. You can then mark those areas for treatment with a commercial enzymatic cleaner or a home remedy.

  • Call in the professionals.

If all attempts to remove pet urine odors are futile, it may be time to call in the professionals. Urine stains that are not caught immediately can soak through the carpet into the lining and pads underneath your carpet, making the stain much harder to treat and eliminate. Professional carpet cleaners have the tools and solutions to help you return your flooring to its former state.

In some cases, the carpeting may be beyond repair, and you will need to consider new flooring options.

Is there hope for carpets, upholstery, and furniture with urine stains and odors? For sure! Consider some of our top tips to help prevent urine staining and smells from becoming a problem for your home. But if all else fails, there are lots of remedies you can try to rid your home of that litter box smell once and for all! Just because you share your home with pets doesn’t mean it has to smell like it. Pick up an enzymatic cleaner today!

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