Cleaning up “potty” accidents is an occasional part of life when you have a healthy pet. The task to remove dog urine stains and odors can be an ongoing problem if your fur kid is incontinent. Dogs lose the ability to control their bladder due to paralysis, age, injuries and illness, but it shouldn’t mean living with the persistent smell of urine in your home.
Fortunately, there are lots of quality products and DIY solutions to safely fix the situation.
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How dog urine can hurt your health
Animal waste carries bacteria and ammonia that can make you sick. Even if you clean an area immediately after your pet’s had an accident, you’ll probably notice the lingering scent of urine. This odor is actually microscopic particles that can be inhaled into your lungs.
The particles aggravate the respiratory system and cause health problems, especially for people with asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
They can also irritate the lungs of healthy people, if they’re exposed for a long period of time. The ammonia can cause your throat and nose to burn or make your eyes water.
That’s why it’s important to keep your home free of odors and stains and to clean up an accident as soon as you see it.
Here are steps to take to safely remove dog urine stains and odors:
- Wear rubber gloves
- Open a window to ventilate the room
- Soak up the urine with paper towels, a clean cloth or sponge
- Apply your favorite DIY or commercial cleaning solution
- Blot the area until it’s clean and dry
- Thoroughly wash any mops, sponges and rags you used to clean
My favorite cleaning tip
A couple of years ago, my husband fell in love with “white carpet” for our living room. It’s beautiful and totally impractical for pets. The guy who installed the carpet told me to keep a spray bottle with equal portions of distilled vinegar and water and to use it on any dog or cat stain.
He said to spray the area thoroughly and blot the stain, rather than rub it, with a clean white towel. The results are nearly perfect for removing urine stains and the odor. You would think distilled vinegar would add an unwanted smell to your home, but it actually it neutralizes odors.
The key is to spray a small area of your carpet or floor as a test, before saturating the stain. You want to be sure the solution doesn’t hurt your flooring in any way. Once you’re sure everything is okay, spray freely.
Remedies from experienced pet owners
The Dog Wheelchair LIFE Facebook page is made up of pet owners who live with at least one disabled dog. I found out a long time ago, they’re a wealth of information when it comes to solving problems. I reached out to them about tips to remove dog urine stains and odors and they had lots of remedies to share.
I’ve divided their recommendations into DIY favorites and commercial products.
DIY solutions to clean dog urine
In addition to distilled vinegar, there are two other common household products people use on animal urine. These are: baking soda and corn starch. According to, The Nest blog, both neutralize odors while being harmless to your animals. Sprinkle either product on a urine stain (after you’ve blotted up any excess urine), work it in well with a scrub brush, add a small amount of water and let it sit. Vacuum the area when it dries.
Here are other DIY tips from pet parents:
(Be sure to test a small area before using any recommendation below)
Angela – This pet mom combines equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water for every day cleanups on hard surface floors.
Lori – Combines peroxide and lemon oil to clean accidents. Then she uses a wet/dry vacuum to finish the job.
Sarah – Uses a biological laundry powder to clean urine messes. The enzymes in the detergent eat away at the residue of urine and its odor.
Michelle – This owner uses BioKleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator. I added it to the DIY products because it a natural plant-based laundry product.
Commercial stain removers pet owners love
(Again, be sure to test each of these products to be sure they don’t harm your flooring or carpet)
A common theme I noticed with the commercial products recommended, is the use of steam carpet cleaners and bacteria-reducing enzyme ingredients. I hope you’ll keep them in mind as they were shared by several pet owners.
Cheyeanne – Loves her Bissell® Carpet Cleaner. She adds the Bissell 2X Pet Stain & Odor cleaner to the home steamer.
Leanne – Recommends adding hydrogen peroxide to her steam cleaner.
Products with enzymes
Quite a few pet owners use cleansers that contain enzymes. These are mighty proteins that accelerate chemical reactions and boost the cleaning and disinfecting abilities of products.
Here are a few recommendations:
Linda & Pam – These pet moms use KOE Kennel Odor Eliminator. It’s an enzyme cleanser that’s used by professional kennel owners.
Kelly, Sam and Glenn – All of these pet parents swear by Nature’s Miracle For Dogs and Nature’s Miracle For Cats. The product uses bio-enzymes to eat away odors.
Chrissy – Recommends Furry Freshness. She said it cleans “like magic.” This premium stain and odor remover is tough and environmentally friendly.
This is the most common type of odor and stain remover you’ll find on the market. Biocidal compounds are chemicals like alcohol, chlorine and peroxide that destroy harmful germs, odors and microorganisms.
Judy – Mixes vinegar and F10 Veterinary Disinfectant to mop up an accident
Charlene – Calls SCOE 10x Super Concentrated Odor Eliminator, the “single best product.” SCOE uses non-toxic, hypoallergenic compounds to remove stains and odors quickly.
Melody – This pet owner combines 1 cup distilled vinegar, 1 cup Oxiclean® and 1 cup Febreeze.
April – Uses pet cleaning products from Odoban. This well-known disinfectant kills germs on floors, carpet and upholstery.
Making a case for expressing a dog
Accidents will happen, but one of the best ways to minimize them is by manually expressing your incontinent dog’s bladder. If you haven’t learned how to do this, please ask your vet for a hands-on lesson. It’s the number one way to limit messes in your home. It’s also a good way to keep urinary tract infections at bay.
If you have a product you love that removes dog urine stains and odors, please share it in the comments section. I’ll be happy to add it to my list.