Accidents happen and it's best to take care of the stain right when it happens. However, some stains, like urine, are always going to give you a little bit of trouble. Whether it is from the family pet, your child, or an elderly family member suffering from incontinence, urine stain removal is possible.
A urine stain is probably one of the most unpleasant stains that you will have to deal with. If a stain happened right before your eyes, then quick attention will get you better results. But if for older or hidden stains, much more work is required. Usually it is hard to spot a urine stain, unless of course it is on a light material, carpet or flooring. You might first recognize a strong odor but have no clue where it is coming from. If you have a child who is potty training or has occasional accidents, an elderly relative or a puppy or an older pet, you can purchase a UV light which will detect any urine stains on clothing, carpets and even bedding. The UV light is used in the dark and you can go over the areas where you find the smell coming from. When you find the urine stain, it will glow brightly under the UV light. Once you find the source of the stain, you can begin to treat it.
Regardless of where the urine stain is, many people swear by the tried and true method of hydrogen peroxide, which can be used as a pretreatment for clothing and bedding before washing. Let the peroxide sit for about 5 minutes, and then wash the urine stained item as you would normally. Just make sure that you wash the items alone, not with any other non-urine stained laundry. For other stains, just pour enough hydrogen peroxide to cover the stain, let it sit for about 5 minutes, and you are ready to keep dealing with the stain. On carpets, cover the stain with a rag and set a book over it. The only downside is that peroxide may cause some discoloration.
Another common home remedy for dealing with urine stains is vinegar. Many people prefer using it over peroxide because it doesn't cause discoloration. While the smell can be quite strong, vinegar seems to really nip the urine stain and smell right in the bud. The best bet is to use white vinegar, especially in the wash when dealing with a washable item, such as a blanket or sheet. Just throw a cup or two (depending on the size of the urine stain), into the wash and wash the items as usual.
If home remedies don't work for you, then you may want to explore other options to remove the urine stain. For clothing, this may be as simple as taking the item to a dry cleaner. If you have problems with a urine stain on your carpet or furniture, you may want to first try an enzyme based odor and stain remover, which are often found in the pet aisle of stores but also work wonders on human urine. The enzyme based products are created to essentially dissolve the urine smell, but they attack the stain, too. It may be necessary to repeat the treatment over the urine stain a few times before you get the desired result, so be patient. If you find that is just not working, consult a carpet and furniture cleaning service, which should have more resources available to combat the stain as well as the smell.
The best way to treat a urine stain is to prevent it entirely. This isn't always possible, but there are options to make it easier when it comes to cleanup. If you have children or elderly family members who are incontinent, use a waterproof mattress pad on their bed. You can at least save the urine stains on a mattress this way. You can also save clothing by using waterproof underwear covers, which are made for both children and adults.
Pets are a little trickier, but it's possible to prevent their urine stains too. If you have a puppy or an older dog that is having trouble getting to the bathroom, make many frequent trips outside, regardless of whether your pet shows signs of needing to urinate. If your pet seems to target the same area over and over, try placing his food bowl in that same area after you have cleaned up the stain. Most animals will not want to eat where they use the bathroom. Repeat this process over a few days and then remove the food.
If you find that your child or your pet is having an issue with accidents or they are occurring more frequently, you might want to consult with your child's doctor or your pet's veterinarian. There may be an underlying medical issue.
Review the label of any stain remover you use to make sure that it is safe for children and pets. Use the color spot test on any material that needs to be cleaned, especially when using strong cleaners like hydrogen peroxide. Find a small area that is not noticeable and place a small amount of the product or solution on the material. Wait a few moments and see if there is any discoloration or adverse effects to the area. Also, never try to cover up the urine smell or stain. Letting it sit and not addressing it can cause bigger problems.