How to Get Rid of a Strong Urine Smell on an Elderly Person's Clothing

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Removing urine smell from clothes.
Removing urine smell from clothes. (Image: Vicky Kasala Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, incontinence is often a problem for elderly people, and there is no more unpleasant smell than urine on clothing. Urine is mostly composed of water and urea, and the smell might be stronger depending on ingested food and medications. Although it is difficult to remove the smell of urine, it is possible with some basic steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Lemon juice
  • Cornstarch
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

Soak the clothing in your chosen cleanser. Sprinkle cornstarch on clothing to neutralize the urine smell before washing, and then add a natural or chemical cleanser to the wash and put on soak for 20 to 30 minutes before washing.

Use cleansing agents separately to avoid toxic mixtures. Bleach, baking soda and vinegar, lemon juice, ammonia, cornstarch and Listerine are some of the agents that might be used to decrease the smell of urine on clothing. Adjust if the elderly person has a reaction to agents used to remove urine smells.

Add 1/2 to 1 cup of one of these products into the wash with regular laundry detergent to remove urine smells. Vinegar works best when added to the final rinse to neutralize the smell. Adjust amounts as needed for odor removal purposes.

Wash clothing in hot water and separate clothes that are urine-covered from those that are not in order to avoid cross contamination. Put washer settings on permanent press for sturdy clothing for a more thorough washing. Repeat soaking and washing procedure as necessary. Because elderly people may have sensitive skin, rinse clothing well before adding to dryer.

Dry using dryer towel sheets that contain cornstarch or baking soda to further decrease urine smell on clothing. Sprinkle a small amount of either product on a moist towel and add to dryer if you cannot find commercial towels that contain necessary amounts of these products for odor elimination. Add as needed to remove the urine smell. Because of allergy sensitivities, monitor elderly persons well for any reactions to dryer additives.

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