Odor Removal

How to Get Rid of Dog Urine Smell

There is nothing worse than coming home to the distinctive smell of dog urine. Add a little humidity and that odor can be very intense! Whether your dog is a young puppy that is still learning or is in its senior years, just like humans, they can have bladder accidents.

Whatever the reason, you’ve got this stinky wet spot that needs cleaning right away. Read on to find out how you can get rid of dog urine smell in your home!

1. Understand the cause.

A dog’s urine is a combination of ammonia, bacteria, hormones, nitrogen and uric acid. It’s the uric acid that creates that lingering smell even after you’ve cleaned up after your dog.

There are many cleaners available that you can buy at the local superstore, but you can effectively clean the area using items you will likely have on hand in your kitchen pantry. The important thing is to stay clam and get to the spot before it dries.

Your dog’s sense of smell is even stronger than yours and if the smell of dog urine lingers in an area, it can trigger a repeat performance from your dog. Your dog will be tempted to use that very same spot over and over again if the necessity arises. In this article, we break down how to get rid of that dog urine smell from some of the common places it would end up in your home.

2. Urine spots on the carpet

The key thing is to get to the spot while it is still wet. If it dries, the smelly bacteria can multiply, and the odor will be even more difficult to get rid of.

If you have some rubber gloves, put them on. Using a sponge or paper towel, dab the spot and try to get up as much urine as you can by blotting the area. Don’t rub the area because that just pushes the urine further into the carpet fibers.

Prepare a mix of vinegar and water in a one to one ratio. Vinegar works against the ammonia smell in the urine. A spray bottle works well, but you can use a bowl as well if you don’t happen to have one. Soak the spot well and let sit for at least ten minutes.

Dab again with the sponge or if using paper towels, get fresh ones to use. Then sprinkle some baking soda over the area, and let it sit for at least fifteen minutes. Baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer, so it will do a great deal of help in getting rid of the bad smell.

After that, go over the entire area with a vacuum to suck up all the powder, and spray with an air freshener for good effect.

3. Urine spots on furniture

Same as the carpet, soak up as much urine as possible with paper towels or a dry sponge by dabbing the area. Prepare a paste of one part baking soda to three parts water and apply to the area with a damp cloth.

Mix Listerine mouthwash with water in a ratio of one part Listerine to two parts water and pour onto the paste. (It’s a good idea to do a spot test to make sure the Listerine won’t discolor your furniture).

Dry the area with a dry cloth, and if possible place the affected furniture out in the sun, or dry with a handheld hair blower. After that, spray with air freshener, or a spray intended for use on fabrics, such as Febreeze.

If none of these solutions work, you can try using Listerine by itself. This doesn’t always get rid of the smell completely, but it will cover it certainly help to cover it up.

4. Urine spots on wood

Dog urine stains on wood can leave dark stains, and even turn the wood black from the uric acid eating away at the tannins that color the wood. Even if you remove the odor, you may have to refinish the wood to restore it to it desired color. Like the other solutions, getting to the stain as early as possible will give you better results.

Clean up whatever liquid remains with paper towels or a dry cloth, trying to sop it up rather than rubbing it in. Then make a mixture of one cup of water with one third of a cup each of vinegar, baking soda and dish soap in an empty spray bottle. Apply the cleaner and scrub with a scrub brush, then rinse the spot and then dry it well.

5. Urine spots outside

If you have a small yard or a preferred area in your yard that your dog repeatedly uses, the smell could get pretty intense, especially on a hot day. If you have more than one dog, that once green lawn could be filled with many yellow dry grassy spots and end up looking like a desert.

If you have a lot of these patches, you can sprinkle garden lime on the urine patches to get neutralize the ammonia. It’s also a good idea to hose down the area with a garden hose, or water sprinkler regularly. This will allow the urine to dissipate and soak into the ground. You can also try some lemon dish soap mixed with a bit of vinegar in a bucket and pour it over the spots.

If the surface is porous, such as cement, and it has dried, you can mix a little chlorine bleach with water and pour it over the area. Allow it to sit on the spot for at least ten minutes and then hose down the area with water.

If you are diligent in training your puppy, frequent accidents in your home can be kept to a minimum. Your dog should be given as many opportunities as possible to relieve itself outdoors to eliminate the sense of urgency your dog may feel if left to go too long.

The smell of urine in your carpet can become quite offensive to visitors to your home, or potential buyers if you were to put your home on the market. People always seem to know if a dog lives there as soon as they enter a home because of the smells. You may become desensitized to the smell if you let it go too long, so take the necessary steps to avoid being in this situation. Nobody likes a smelly home, especially one that smells of dog urine!

About the author

Nicole Harding

28 Comments

  • The vinegar and water solution actually works best. It is a preservative and it blocks the process of decomposition and the related growth of bacteria that cause the odors in the first place. Getting rid of the dog that refuses to urinate outside is actually the best solution. A dog that pees in the house is not worth having.

  • Getting rid of the dog is irresponsible. Adopting a pet is a responsibility and commitment. A dog is a living being, not a product to be dissatisfied with. You adopt a pet for better or worse. Rip up the floors or seal them, then consult with the vet or a good trainer for help with training.

  • I use a product called Urine Out.You can find it at http://www.planeturine.com
    I used this while housebreaking my puppy a few years ago and keep it on hand at all times.It works wonders for all sort of carpet and furniture stains,I even use it in my car.And it does get the smell out.

  • I have a cheap and easy solution for dog and cat urine. Mix 15 oz. of hydrogen peroxide (available at any drug store), two tablespoons of baking soda, and two drops of dish detergent in a sealed bottle you can shake (plastic is best). Shake it for one full minute, then pour the solution over the spot. Let it dry, there will be some white powder to vaccum up when you’re done.

    It works because the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide have a chemical reaction that causes the production of loose oxygen molecules. The oxygen molicules combine with the urine to form another, far less smelly, substance. You’ll be amazed how fast it works.

    Two things, you have to use it right away, you can’t save it even for an hour. Second, if you use it on carpet use enough to soak down into the padding to eliminate the smell there. Lastly, don’t mix it up and let it sit in a sealed bottle for a long time- the chemical reaction could, theoretically, make the bottle explode over time.

  • I always use 3 capfuls of Mr. Clean Antibacterial lemon cleaning liquid with the rest of the bottle filled with water. The lemon in the cleaning solution seems to act as a disinfectant and deodorizer. I saturate the carpet with the solution on the urine accident then extract it with my bissell lightweight shampooer. If you don’t have a carpet cleaner, try to extract it with strong paper towels or old rags. The carpet cleaner is the “Quick Steamer” version that was bought at Target a few years ago for less than $30.00. It really works fantastic for pet accidents and it’s lightweight and has a suction like the heavier shampooers, so there’s no need to lug out the big shampooer.

  • i dont have a tip, i have a question. i moved into a old house that was previouly owned by a bunch of college boys that had 4 or 5 dogs. the carpeting is thick and reeks of dog urine. i’m a college student myself and cant afford to buy or rent a steam cleaner. most of the carpet smells saturated so i can really do spot cleaning. any suggestions? thanks!!!
    – dog kennel carpet-

  • This is not a tip….but a cry for help…we currently live with my father in law and his Queensland Healer (a very sweet dog with a very bad habit) always pees on the carpet in the family room…I am always letting her out to use the bathroom, she will go out and 98% of the time pee where she is suppose to, then come in the house and about 10 min later go in and pee on the carpet, or she will do it durring the night when we are all sleeping, it is driving me crazy and I don’t know what to do any more. We schold her when she does it and she does know better, we have taken her to the vet who tells us she is just fine and has no conditions that would cause this behavior…other then she is just lazy, we have also tried training and it costed us an arm and a leg….I have tried carpet cleaners, viniger, oxyclean, and I can not afford to replace the carpet, does anyone have any suggestions???? Thank You
    Queen Creek AZ

  • I have a cat I thought after being fixed would solve the problem of spraying..Wrong they still spray till it’s all out of their system or he just stopped.. anyway he was in my bedroom and lord and behold I walked in on him as he was doing his thing..Well my first reaction was to yell at him and chase him out. Next I had to do something quick..I stole the baking soda out of the fridge and poured the whole box over the area he marked..I left in there for about a month..yes I had a white spot on the carprt and the smell wasn’t the best for a couple of days. But after that it was as he never sprayed.

  • Okay, another tip. Well, I havnt used it yet. I have a pug that just can’t seem to grasp the idea it’s not cool to hike you leg in the house.. A friend told me that dogs (not sure about cats, i will ask)hate the smell of natural clove. So you are to put clove oil on thier nose (just a dab) they will hate the smell so much they will turn away frome it. You get a spray bottle fill with water and some of the clove oil to it and spray on the base boards and where ever your pet like to mark and that should stop them from marking..And the clove will give a nice scent.

  • I have had my bedroom smell like ammonia before because of my puppy who couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of using the bathroom outside. I soaked my carpets in enzyme cleaners, I tried the vinigar, I tried everything. The sad thing was me and my husband had just moved into a new apartmetn and had only been there for less than 3 weeks and the carets smelled like they were already ruined. I got so frustrated because I spent so much money on all these different enzyme cleaners that claim to work but they never did. I called a professional carpet cleaner in town who specializes in pet odor restoration, crime scene clean up and smoke restoration. I told him my story and he told me exactly what he uses. You will never believe it but he uses a product called Clairoxide Vol 20. This can be purchased at your local beauty supply store. You need the liquid not the cream. The Clairoxide is nothing more than a more powerful house hold 3 % peroxide. You have to make sure you don’t get this product on your skin though. What I did was pour the whole bottle in my carpet cleaning tank and filled it the rest of the way up with water, I hooked up the hose that you would use to clean furnature with and I just got down on my hands and knees and soaked the carpets with the sprayer and let it sit. Pretty much the whole carpet foamed up but in the spots that had been pee infested foamed up a lot!! I ended up doing the whole bedroom because I couldn’t pin point where the smell was coming from. It took about 5 bottles but these were 32 oz bottles and they only cost 2.00 a piece. Cheaper than enzyme cleaners that don’t work. After I let the carpets soak long enough to reach through and treat the padding I then pulled up all the liquid from the floor with my carpet cleaner. This worked!!! Mind you the smell in out bed room was so horrible that when you walked in your nose would burn and your eyes would water. Since I used the liquid color developer (Clairoxide vol 20) I haven’t smelled that smell again and it has been a month since I put it down on the floors, the clairoxide does not leave behind any kind of film or odor and when you open up the bottle there is no smell to this product at all so no perfume smells were used to get rid of the wretched urine smell in my carpet.

  • TOM! EVERY DOG IS WORTH HAVING! ITS PEOPLE THAT CANT HANDLE THEM! TAKE SOME TRAINING YOURSELF, BEFORE YOU TRY TRAINING OTHERS!

  • i have tryed a bottle of hydrogen peroxide,hot water and juice from a fresh lemon in my carpet clesner…..it took out the stain and odor!!

  • I really don’t have a tip, It’s more of a question!
    I have a 9 year old Skye Terrier (male), and he is fully house broke, but when I take him out, he’ll only stay out for a few minutes and want to come back in, he is yipping and jumping trying to get back in and when I bring him in, it’s no time until he is in my hallway relieving himself, number 1 and number 2 sometimes. But I was wondering if he is doing it because I had a Chiuahua mixed with Rat terrier (female)that I was trying to break and never could so I got rid of her, she would use it in the hallway an places alot, could it be because the stuff has soaked into the padding an he smells it? I have shampooed like 12 times since Ive gotten rid of her an the odor is still horrendous so Im going to try the tips listed on this page, but I was wondering if anyone had any tips about why my Skye Terrier wants to do his thing in here instead of outside after this long?

  • Tom, sounds to me like the best solution is for you to either take dog training classes or maybe consider a fish for a pet….Ther’s a thought.Good thing your mom never got rid of you when you were potty training!!!!

  • i have a question. what if you have wood floor ,and your dogs constantly pee in the house and sometimes in the same spot?how do you get rid of the smell?what would be the best products in order toget out a very very strong sent?

  • Trying to flip a house and the neighbours next door have 3 German Shepherds that have urinated so badly that the backyard air stinks. Any suggestions on how I can neutralize the odour other then calling the health department??

  • I had Stainmaster Carpeting installed, and was told by the salesman that stains could be easily removed with bleach. DON’T EVEN THINK OF USING BLEACH if the stains are from cat or dog URINE! I did just that, forgetting that urine changes into ammonia, which when combined with bleach produces chlorine gas — a gas so deadly that it was used as a military weapon.

    I was lucky; I just spent 3 days in the hospital and the pulmonologist said I can probably resume normal activity in about 10 days.

  • hi i have a dog he 1year old and every time my dog get so extied when other people bring their male dog around him and the people dog pee on the rug and how canm’t i get rid off the dog pee. thx you roxanne

  • i have two female dogs and one male rabbit. they all like to pee o my hardwood floor in my dining room. i have tried everything to get rid of the smell. i think white vinegar works best with the smell so far. thanks for all the help.

  • I have two cats and have tried everything. I recently found an amazing new product called Room Shocker. It not only took the urine smell out but it also helped with my husband’s allergies. It seems that it completely purifies the air and eliminates any severe bad odors right at the source. I ordered it online from a website called BiocideSystems.com. The best part was I didn’t have to scrub anything. Very low maintenance just leave it in a room for a few hours, come back and the smell is gone!

    This product seems to work well for all severe bad odors.

  • Most of these comments regarding dog owners are disparaging and not really helpful. Please stop bashing owners who are frustrated and loosing their patience if you are not willing to offer positive advice. You are basically treating the owners how they are treating their dogs, so who are you to point fingers.

    I am proud of the owners for voicing their frustration so they can get the encouragement they need.

    I recently (2 months ago) adopted a rescue dog from shelter. He was not socialized and peed and crapped in the house. Basically I knew what I was getting myself into having had many dogs growing up on my grandparents small farm. It takes time, patience and humor to train a dog and yes they will have accidents. Sometimes it is deliberate and sometimes not.

    See TRAINING YOUR DOG TO PEE AND POO in the following posting.

  • TRAINING YOUR DOG TO PEE AND POO OUTSIDE 101.

    If you are doing the following please stop now.

    1. Please DO NOT USE TRAINING PADS. They only confuse your dog and teach him/her that it is okay to do their business indoors. Then when they do, they get negative attention i.e scolding. See why this does not help in the next step.

    2. Your dog loves attention, even if it is negative so when he does relieve himself in the house, DO NOT SCOLD HIM. DILUTED BLEACH in a spray bottle on floors does the trick and eliminates odors mixed in a 1 to 10 ratio. Let it sit for 30 seconds or so until the pee starts turning white and wipe up. Spray the floor again with fresh water and wipe again.

    For your furnishing the remedies of WHITE VINEGAR and BAKING SODA work the best

    Then ignore your dog. He will look for attention. Do not gaze at him or meet his eyes. If he comes near you, continue to turn your back on him. (This really works). Do this until you take him out next. Then praise him when he does his business outside. If he does not do his business then DO NOT PRAISE HIM. Continue the ignoring even when you feed him…That means no singing, no talking to him, no treats. The whole family must follow this rule.

    3. DO take your dog outside every 2 to 3 hours while trying to train your dog. Use words like “Get Busy” when your dog stops to sniff around. An indication that he may want to poo is that he will walk in circles around on the spot. Do not speak then. When he is finished, scoop up the poo and then liberally pet and praise your dog (” Good Dog is my favorite). Offer his favorite treat then. This is the only time to offer a treat to your dog.

    4. Increase the time that you take your dog out. Dogs like humans should not be forced to keep their urine for more that 8 hours. It damages their bladders. So move from 2 hours to 2.5 hours every couple of days. Soon your dog will be holding their urine for 4 or more hours. Praise your dog.. always use the same words and give a treat.

    5. Feed your dog at the same times ( 2 times) each day and take them out 15-30 minutes after you feed them. Dogs like people need a routine.
    Liberally praise your dog when he goes outside.

    6. While training keep the same route when taking him for a walk. You will soon discover that he has a favorite place to go. This transference from your house to outside is an indication that your training is successful.

    7. Gradually withdraw the treats and praise your dog liberally when he is starting to get the picture that when he goes outside nice things happen, like praise and sometimes on the odd occasion treats.

    8. Always put fresh food and water for your pet at set mealtimes. Dogs are finicky and might not eat stale food. When your dog has finished eating ( which should be in a few minutes). Take away his food bowl even if he is not eaten all. This regulates his system when and lets you know when he had had enough. We do not leave our food on the table all day until we feel like eating, right? Leave fresh water out for your dog.

    9. At nights, take your dog’s water bowl away to limit his intake of water. Then he will not need to pee all over the place. Many of us sleep the night through without needing water. Most physicians tell us to do this for children when potty training to avoid bed-wetting accidents. Dogs are important members of our family and should be treated the same as any other member.

    10. This entire process can take from 1 week to 3 weeks.

    11. Please do not use old remedies like rubbing your dogs nose in pee, spraying your dogs face, or shaking , hitting or yelling at your pet. This only serves to give him negative attention, create an angry, broken, willful, anxious dog and make you feel dispirited and hopeless.

    12.Please be encouraged, have patience and love yourself as well as your dog. Like humans dogs can sense anxiety, so give yourself adequate rest and do not rush, more importantly, have realistic expectations from your pet. Humans take up to 3 years in some cases more to be potty trained, do not expect a dog to get it in a day or a week.

    After all we got our pets to be faithful companions and give love and get some in return. Do not give up..the rewards are great.

    Good Luck

  • I work an 8 hour shift, and cannot tend to my dog 24/7. I really wish I had the time to take him out every 2 hours, but fact is I can’t. I do use a training pad, problem is my dog stopped using it, and now he tears it to pieces.
    I need help. He is a smart dog (toy poodle), but I cannot get him to go on his pad anymore. I think he is doing it on purpose out of frustration or something.
    Help!!!

  • My dog is on a tieout outside due to him always jumping cyclone fence. He pees in the same spot, because of being on the tieout. I have noticed a strong odor just lately is there any product that I can put on the ground to help eliminate the odor??? thanks for amy help you might have

  • I JUST USED WHITE VINGER ON MY CARPET TO DOG PEE WAS REALLY BAD A COUPLS HOURS LATER THE SMELL WAS GONE THANK GOD FOR THE PERSON WHO MADE VINGER I USE IT ON EVRY THING I CLEAN .

  • Please let me know what the ratio of vinegar and baking soda to use for cleaning furniture (legs of tables) from urine smell. Thank you!

  • Hello i just moved into to a small apartment… and it smells like dog urine…(really bad i might add) the carpets were “cleaned” prior to moving in and ive even cleaned them but the smell will not go away.. please help its driving me crAzy

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