How to Remove the Odor of Dog Urine From Carpets

Updated on April 18, 2018
Alison Graham profile image

Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.

My homemade kit for removing dog urine odor from carpet!
My homemade kit for removing dog urine odor from carpet! | Source

Step by Step "how to" Guide

1. How to remove pet urine from carpet by blotting it up

2. How to find 'invisible' dried stains

3. Best homemade dog urine odor remover treatment

4. How to use a vacuum cleaner for the final step

All You Need to Know About Removing Urine Odor from Carpet!

Accidents will happen, particularly if you have a young puppy or an older dog. How to get the smell of dog wee out of carpet is big business, judging by the number of products that are on the market to do the job! But do you really need these chemicals? In this article, I am going to show you some simple tips for how to get dog urine out of carpet without chemicals, fuss or expense!

Oh and by the way, in case you are one of the many people who walk into a room and ask,"can you smell something?", when you know your dog or cat has peed but it's already dried and there is nothing left but the odor - I am going to reveal how you can find the offending area of carpet or upholstery in seconds and get it dealt with, right away!

Step 1: Blot Up The Urine

Act quickly! If you can get to the wee whilst it is still wet, the job is so much easier. If you can remove the majority of the urine right away, bacteria do not get a hold and it is the bacteria which cause the worst of the smell, not the urine itself.

The first step is to grab a length of around six sheets of kitchen roll, fold this into a six sheet thick square and press it down onto the wet area of the carpet with your foot. Repeat with fresh kitchen roll until the area is as dry as you can get it.

Cleaning Urine Stains with Dish Soap, Vinegar and Water Only

Step 2: Find Invisible Dried Urine Stains With a Black Light Flashlight

This brilliant gadget uses UV light to detect those dried urine stains you cannot see but can definitely smell!
This brilliant gadget uses UV light to detect those dried urine stains you cannot see but can definitely smell! | Source

At the beginning of this article, I told you that I was going to tell you a clever way of tracking down those urine stains you can smell but you cannot see!

Pictured above is the brilliant gadget that will detect dried urine and those stains you just cannot see! It is an LED/UV Cat-Dog-Pet Urine Stain Blacklight Flashlight and is available at a big discount from Amazon.

Basically, the gadget is an Ultraviolet or 'Black' light which has an LED, low energy bulb. Just shine it over your carpet or upholstery and those little 'whoopsies' will become visible so you can deal with them.

However, nothing is absolutely foolproof and the manufacturers state that around 2% of urine stains will not show up under any UV light but for the other 98%, the investment is well worth it!

My carpet looks clean under normal daylight but take a look at the next picture using A UV Black Flashlight on the same area!
My carpet looks clean under normal daylight but take a look at the next picture using A UV Black Flashlight on the same area! | Source
The same area of carpet looks very different when I shine the UV Black Light on it!
The same area of carpet looks very different when I shine the UV Black Light on it! | Source

See A Demonstration of the Black Light Flashlight

Step 3: Homemade Dog Urine Odor removal Treatment

After you have used the blotting treatment above to deal with wet stains or the blacklight gadget above to locate those 'invisible; dry stains, it is time to tackle the odor! I like to keep a spray bottle handy containing a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.

Put on your rubber gloves, spray from the outside edge of the stain towards the middle, working the vinegar solution into the carpet fibers with your fingers or a clean, lint-free cloth, towards the middle of the stain.

Repeat the same paper towel technique you used to blot up the wee in Step 1. (above).

The vinegar does smell a bit strong, but it does not last long and is definitely the best dog urine odor remover because it neutralizes the ammonia.

Once you have got the area as dry as you can, liberally sprinkle on ordinary baking soda, again working it into the fibers of the carpet with your fingertips (don't forget the rubber gloves!), or an old, soft toothbrush.

You need to be generous with the baking soda, give the carpet a good covering so it is completely white!

Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide?

Some DIY remedies for dog urine odor removal that I have read, advocate using hydrogen peroxide at this point but I have never found this necessary.

If you act quickly, the vinegar followed by baking soda should be sufficient. So if you want to leave out this step, go onto step 4 (below).

However, if you do want to use the hydrogen peroxide, make sure you only ever use 3% solution and that you always check for color-fastness on an inconspicuous area first as it could bleach the fibers of the carpet, leaving a permanent light patch as a reminder of the accident!

Mix around half a cup of the hydrogen peroxide with about a teaspoon of ordinary washing up liquid that you use for hand washing dishes in the sink - do NOT use dish washing machine detergent!

You will probably find it easier to put your hydrogen peroxide/washing up liquid mixture into a spray bottle for the next step to avoid over-wetting.

Spray onto the baking soda and work this into the carpet with an old, soft toothbrush.

Leave to dry completely.

Step 4: The Final Step in Dog Urine Odor Removal ...

4. Once the baking soda you put on is dry, whether or not you used the hydrogen peroxide in step 3 (above), you just need to vacuum this out of your carpet and you're done.

The best way to do this is if you have got a pet hair remover attachment on your vacuum cleaner as this breaks up any hardening of the baking soda.

If you don't have this sort of attachment, you can use a small stiff brush or the back of an old table knife blade (not the sharp edge) to break up any stubborn bits.

That, as they say, should be that! The trick is to make sure you get as much of the dog urine in the carpet blotted up before you start.

If you can still smell the odor once the area is dry, you may have to repeat the process - which is a bit of a pain, but is still the best method for how to get pet urine smell out of carpet in your home.

When You Want To Clean The Whole Carpet

Nature's Miracle Deep Cleaning Pet Stain and Odor Carpet Shampoo 64oz (1/2 Gallon)
Nature's Miracle Deep Cleaning Pet Stain and Odor Carpet Shampoo 64oz (1/2 Gallon)

However effective you are at spot cleaning those 'little accidents', there is always going to be a time when you want to clean the whole carpet. This could also be the case if you have moved into a new home where pets lived previously.

Try this super product from Nature's Miracle that contains no phosphates and is designed for use with any brand of machine you have for cleaning your rugs and carpets, provided that it is of the water-based type.

This product will really deep clean your carpet and is particularly good at getting rid of lingering odors and old stains. Nature's Miracle call this 'odor lock technology' and it really does seem to break down the molecules that cause the smell and this results in a permanent solution to any difficult to remove smells. It is also very good for removal of allergens.

Many happy customers on Amazon report on its effectiveness and how gentle it is on their rugs and carpets, leaving them soft, bright and fresh smelling.

The smell of dog urine when an elderly dog has the occasional accident need not be a problem, clean-up is easy with the simple tips in this article!
The smell of dog urine when an elderly dog has the occasional accident need not be a problem, clean-up is easy with the simple tips in this article! | Source

A Reader's Personal Experience with Carpets That Smelled of Dog Urine

I am often contacted by readers of my articles. This is the story of one reader, Sophia. She told me about her experience with carpets that smelled of dog urine in a house that her family has recently moved into.

Sophia emailed me about her problem and has given her permission for me to publish our email conversation here.

Sophia: I really need to do something about this problem in the house we just moved into 3 weeks ago. Before we moved into this house we had the entire carpet professionally steam cleaned. The carpet cleaner could smell dog urine as soon as he came into the house (it was a rainy day). It has been three weeks and we still smell it in a couple of the rooms.

I have very, very lightly sprinkled baking soda over the entire house without working the powder into the fibers, and vacuumed it the next day. The smell has improved some but when I get down on the floor I still smell it. I don't know how long the urine has been there.

Do you think it is worthwhile to buy a light and treat as you suggest in this article? Thank you very much for your help!

Me: I'm so sorry that you have this problem and having read the following advice on the website of the Humane Society of the United States -

"Avoid using steam cleaners to clean urine odors from carpet or upholstery. The heat will permanently set the stain and the odor by bonding the protein into any man-made fibers."

You could certainly try my method but I'm not sure how effective it would be after steam cleaning. However, the black light would definitely help in identifying an individual area you could treat and see how successful it was.

I do hope you have success in resolving your problem - I am in the UK and we have the NCCA here (National Carpet Cleaners' Association) - but if you are in the USA, you could try contacting the trade association for professional carpet cleaners in your area to see if you were given bad advice by the carpet cleaner who steam cleaned your floor. He was evidently aware of the dog urine problem as soon as he arrived to clean your carpet. If this is the case and he belongs to a professional body, you may have some comeback about this.

Please let me know how you get on!

Sophia: Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me! I really appreciate it.

Well, after the black light arrived, we went around the house and found white patches showing up EVERYWHERE! I read that the bright white can be from left-over carpet cleaners, that urine should be dull and yellowish. Anyhow, in our case, the black light did not help us identify urine spots, because most of the white spots did not smell like urine, and there was so much "white" that we cannot tell "yellow". We gave up the idea of "spot-cleaning" except for one spot that I definitely smelled urine.

What I finally did was to purchase this baking soda based + fragrance carpet deodorizer (Arm & Hammer brand with oxy-clean which pulls up 25% more dirt), sprinkled all over, brush the carpet with a broom to spread out the powder, then vacuum in 30 mins. I am quite pleased as I no longer smell urine in the house.

We also plan to purchase a carpet cleaning machine as soon as it is on-sale, and we will clean our carpet ourselves every three months. We trust that after a few cleans, we will get most of the stuff out. In the meantime, we vacuum our house very frequently. Every cleaning helps!

Me: Thank you for the update - sounds as though you have really got on top of the problem and it's great that you can no longer smell the urine after using the Arm & Hammer brand cleaner.

It's a good idea to wait until the cleaner is on sale - we have a Vax cleaner which dries the carpet as well - you can use detergent, then a rinse and then do 'dry' passes until you are happy that as much water as possible has been removed. We have had this machine for some years and have found it very good.

I would definitely recommend a machine that has this 'drying' action as the carpets are nearly dry to walk on right afterwards - here in the UK this is especially appreciated during winter months when it's not ideal if you have to have the windows open to help dry the carpet!

A Final Word

I hope that you have found this article useful and now know how to remove the odor of dog urine from your carpets and eliminate the evidence of those little accidents that are bound to happen from time to time! I use only ingredients from my store cupboard and have never found it necessary to use hydrogen peroxide.

With younger or very elderly dogs who are likely to have more frequent accidents, the blacklight gadget for detecting those dried on stains could be your best friend in keeping your carpets smelling fresh and looking clean - dog urine odor removal could be much more of a breeze than you thought!

Questions & Answers


    Submit a Comment

    • profile image

      So mad 

      21 months ago

      I also followed these steps now my room smells so bad I can't even stand to go in there the ammonia smell is oh, I don't know what to do and baking soda isn't helping

    • profile image

      Very disappointed 

      21 months ago

      I follow the steps with the ingredients exactly like it said used the whole 32 ounce spray bottle and it didn't work at all

    • profile image

      Callie Marie 

      2 years ago

      I completely forgot that you can use a UV light to find stains in the carpet. My husband and I have noticed that our living room smells like our dog, so we are working on getting it cleaned up. I could use the light to spot clean, but I think it would be better to shampoo the entire room. Thanks for your advice about what products to try!

    • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

      Alison Graham 

      3 years ago from UK

      Thanks Patsy, even though this is a method I have used successfully over many years when my dogs have had the occasional accident, it is always good to receive affirmation from a professional, thanks again for leaving a comment, Alison

    • JKWriter profile image


      3 years ago from Right in the middle.

      Really helpful! The light sounds especially useful, as I have mostly black and other dark fabrics. Accidents are hard to spot! Our dog doesn't actually pee in the floor, he is just one of those dogs that sprinkles when he is happy (and excited, scared, upset, sleeping, etc!)

    • raquelle148 profile image


      4 years ago

      I love dogs but I hate the smell of their urine. Thanks that I found this.

    • profile image

      Ratna Sondhi 

      4 years ago

      Very useful remedies have made a note of them

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks so much for sharing! Always looking for carpet cleaning tips at We often let homeowners know that a simple rug doctor is a great investment for getting and keeping carpets clean....approx $400 and you can clean your carpets whenever you want. No special technical education needed either.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you so much!!!!! I am having this problem with one of my dogs. We have been using the baking soda and that dries it up. We have tried all kinds of store bought sprays that promise to work, but none of them do work. The vinegar sounds perfect ( the way you explained it makes perfect sense.) I am going to start doing it today. I just stumbled on this, Thank God for that.

      Voted up!!!

    • Jesus_saves_us_7 profile image


      5 years ago from Seeking Salvation

      Thank you! Very helpful!

    • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

      Alison Graham 

      5 years ago from UK

      Thanks Dreamhowl, I hope Murdoch, my JRT is not embarrassed that his picture is being shared across the Internet, portraying him as a slightly incontinent elderly terrier! It will do his street cred no good at all!

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 

      5 years ago from United States

      It's great to hear that simple household products can get the dog urine smell out of carpets. I'll have to make a mental note of this one. Voted up!

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      5 years ago from Texas

      I have used Listerine on all kinds of surfaces with absolutely no ill effects. I keep a spray bottle of it on hand to use as a way of keeping my cats away from areas where I don't want them. It can be lightly sprayed on furniture, carpet, drapes, hardwood floors and just about anything else with no problems. It is more effective as a fabric freshener than Febreze and other products of that nature. In a fine mist bottle, it makes a good air freshener. It is much better used this way than in your mouth! LOL! :D

    • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

      Alison Graham 

      5 years ago from UK

      Thanks justmesuzanne, but I haven't found any odor problems after treating the area promptly with just vinegar and baking soda. Listerine is a good tip (apparently this product was first invented as a floor cleaner and only later became a mouthwash!!). I would definitely recommend checking that it has no effect on the color of the carpet by testing in an inconspicuous area first though.

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      5 years ago from Texas

      Good information! After you have done all these things, spray the area with straight Listerine (or a knock-off). It will kill the odor, and dogs and cats don't like the smell of the Listerine, so it will help prevent their returning to the scene of the crime. Voted up and useful! :)

    • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

      Alison Graham 

      5 years ago from UK

      Thanks for your comment crazymom3 - I can imagine that you often get to the problem once the urine has dried - I definitely recommend the UV light tool for locating the source of the smell!

    • crazymom3 profile image


      5 years ago

      THANK YOU, as a rental manager pet disinfecting is often necessary.


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