How to Remove Dog Urine Odor

Black lights illuminate less obvious urine stains.
Black lights illuminate less obvious urine stains. (Image: persian rug image by Gina Smith from

How you clean dog urine determines whether you eliminate or exacerbate the odor. In the wild, dogs use their urine to mark territory. This means that, by design, the odor of a dog’s urine is highly pungent. The noxious smell also makes it easier for your dog to find the same spot on the dinning room rug and mark it again. Removing dog urine odor takes patience, and in the case of older stains, several repetitions of the cleaning process.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Cool water
  • Wet vacuum or extractor
  • Enzymatic cleaner
  • Black light (optional)

Soak up the excess urine with paper towel. Press the paper towels into the stain very gently, only until they begin absorbing the urine. Pressing too forcefully will push the urine deeper into the underlying surface. Promptly strip the bed if the dog pees on your sheets or pillowcases.

Flush the stain with cool water to make it less concentrated. For stained clothing and linens, run the material under cool water. Cool rinses are also effective on upholstery and carpeting, provided you remove the water immediately afterward with a wet vacuum or an extractor.

Saturate the urine with an enzymatic cleaner by making a large circle around the stain. The saturation circle of the cleanser should be at least 2 inches outside the perimeter of the stain. This ensures that you capture the entire urine-stained spot. Enzymatic cleaning products are available at any major pet store, and contain powerful enzymes that actually break down the odor-causing compounds found in dog urine. If the stain occurred on clothing or linens, use an enzymatic laundry detergent, found in the same aisle as other urine removal products.

Let the enzymatic cleaner soak on the stain for at least 30 minutes. For older stains or extra plush carpeting, scrub the cleaner into the stain with a bristled brush. The scrubbing forces the cleaner deep into the carpet, where it’s toughest to remove odor. Remove any remaining cleanser after 30 minutes using a wet vacuum or extractor. Allow the spot to dry.

Repeat steps three and four until the odor subsides.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't let your dog near the urine stained spot until you've completely removed the odor.
  • For area rugs, apply the enzymatic cleaner to the carpet pad, as well as the carpet surface.
  • Never use hot water or steam cleaner to remove urine. Hot water actually sets the stain, making the smell almost impossible to remove.
  • Use enzymatic cleaners before other products. They’re more expensive than most odor-removal solutions, but they’re also the most effective, and using other chemical cleansers beforehand binds the stain to the carpet fibers.

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