How to Remove and Prevent Pet Urine Odor and Stains on Your Carpet
| Fact Checked By: Ashley De Zeeuw
Published: July 7, 2020 | Updated: January 27, 2021
We love our furry, four-legged roommates, right? Pets are cute and keep things entertaining. But it’s not-so-cute when their in-home accidents leave behind a stench even after you clean it up. There’s no way around accidents, but what can we do about the lingering pet odor and stains? Remove pet urine from your carpet, of course!
From DIY pet odor removal to heavy-duty floor cleaners, there are a lot of options that help get rid of that unwanted urine smell from your carpet. But by understanding how pet urine and other liquids affect your floors, these smells can be prevented. Learn how in this simple guide to preventing pet odor and removing it from your floors!
Why Pet Odor Stays in Carpet
No matter how much we love our four-legged friends, however, I think we can all agree that pet odor is the worst. But why, even when you clean your pet’s accidents, do the smells stick around? Your carpet is absorbing the mess. If your pet’s urine sits on your floor long enough, the mess will soak through the carpet fibers, and into the carpet padding.
That’s right, that padding you put under the carpet for comfort can also hold onto some gross messes if your carpet does not have the proper leak-proof backing. Plus, the carpet fibers will also hold on to that smell if not cleaned properly. That is why you’re smelling urine, even when you cleaned up the mess weeks ago.
It’s true, a lot of carpets today are designed with a waterproof backing that stops liquids from getting to the carpet pad. But if the carpet in your house is outdated, or simply not pet-friendly, your pet’s smells will extend their stay in and under the carpet.
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How to Prevent Pet Urine Smells and Stains
So maybe the pet smells aren’t affecting your home at the moment. But now that you know why pet odor stays, do you want to know how to prevent this from ever happening to your carpet? Let’s talk about some preventative measures you can take to save your floors.
Clean the Pet Mess in a Timely Matter
Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, or lizard, the obvious solution is to clean up their accidents as soon as possible. While that method alone will decrease your odds of smelly carpets, it’s also imperative that their litter boxes and cages are cleaned regularly as well. For instance, if an animal sees there is nowhere else to go, they will find the next clean spot, your floors.
Plus, if the accident is not cleaned immediately, your pets will also smell the residue and assume it’s okay to go there again. So that spot will continuously be used as their extended bathroom.
If your carpet is outdated but you’re not ready to install new flooring, consider a preventative spray! To protect the fibers of your carpet and remove pet urine from carpet, you can use a rug and carpet protector spray like Scotchgard. This spray repels liquids and blocks stains from your carpet.
You can use this carpet protector and maintain your carpet all at once. Simply spray your carpet, let it dry, then watch your carpet stand against spills and pet mess alike. Just clean those messes up, and this spray will protect the fibers of your carpet.
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Invest in Pet-Friendly Carpet
To avoid these odors and stains altogether, you might consider installing a pet-friendly carpet that is designed to hang tough against all your pets have to offer. These carpets are designed with the leak-proof backing mentioned earlier, and the fibers are sealed with a protective coating to prevent liquids and smell from staying.
No need to worry about style, these carpets are available in several different colors and patterns. So not only will pet odor and stains be a thing of the past, but your carpet will be an expression of your style.
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Invest in Pet-Friendly Carpet Padding
Great news carpet padding can also be designed for homes with pets. There are carpet pads that have moisture barriers meaning they won’t absorb liquid at all! See for yourself and find the carpet pad that works for you.
Carpet Pads with Moisture Barriers
- Smart Cushion Carpet Pad: Featuring a SpillSafe moisture guard, you will no longer have to worry about dog urine, wine, or other liquids seeping into the carpet pad.
- Charity Carpet Pad: Top-selling cushion that features memory foam comfort and a moisture barrier for the ultimate clean carpet.
- Hope Carpet Pad: This budget-friendly carpet underlayment features the revolutionary R2X moisture barrier to keep your floors looking and feeling cleaner for longer.
- Courage Carpet Pad: This carpet supports your floors, adds exceptional comfort underfoot, and is finished with Dual R2X® Barrier prevents moisture from penetrating both sides of the cushion
Whatever carpet pad you choose, just make sure it will stand tough to your pet’s messes. This will ensure your carpet looks and smells good for a long time!
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How to Remove Recent Pet Urine Smell and Stains
Say your carpet has already fallen victim to your pet’s mess. The accident just happened, it’s in one or two spots, and you need to get cleaned up but not sure where to start. Great news, you can clean up these messes in two easy steps.
Step 1: Blot or Soak Up the Pet Urine
First thing’s first, clean up the liquid to the best of your ability. Use paper towels, a cloth, or whatever you have on hand to soak up as much of the liquid out of the carpet.
Step 2: Use Your Preferred Pet Odor Neutralizer and Carpet Cleaner
If you’re anything like me, you have your preferred cleaners for every mess in the home. If you have a favorite carpet or pet mess cleaner, this is where you can use it.
For those of you who have not found the perfect pet mess cleaner, you can find a general cleaner and odor neutralizer at your local grocery or pet store, no problem. To remove pet urine from your carpet, in particular, you will want to find an enzymatic cleaner.
Enzymatic Cleaners for Pet Urine and Stains
What in the world is an enzymatic cleaner? I’m glad you asked. To put it plainly, an enzymatic cleaner is the stuff you want to kick pet odor out of your carpet. It will break down the molecules of pet urine to minimize any odors if used as quickly as possible.
An enzymatic cleaner can be found at your local pet store, or online. From there simply follow the instructions for maximum pet odor and stain removal.
Home Remedy for Pet Odor and Stains
If you’re not wanting to use harsh cleaners, or just looking for an alternative, you can also use a home remedy to neutralize those pet odors and remove stains. One of the most tried and tested methods involves water, white vinegar, and baking soda, which can be used on new and old pet stains.
First, in a bucket or spray bottle, mix 50% water and 50% white vinegar. Then saturate the spot of pet mess (after you soak up the initial liquid) and give the area a nice scrub. This lifts the stain and urine, while the vinegar neutralizes the ammonia in the urine, therefore, neutralizing the smell.
Once the area has been thoroughly scrubbed, and while the spot is still wet, sprinkle baking soda. At first, you will see and hear fizzing as it starts to work at lifting the pet stain and urine smell from the carpet. To give a little boost, you can also rub in the baking soda with your hands or a brush to get it deep down into the carpet fibers.
You’ll want to leave the baking soda on the carpet until it’s completely dry. This might take a day or two depending on how much of the vinegar mixture you used. Once it’s completely dry, vacuum the baking soda from the carpet. Then you’re done! (source)
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How to Remove Old/ Stubborn Pet Urine Smell and Stains
Perhaps those cleaners and home remedies helped but didn’t completely get rid of the pet odor from your carpet. As previously mentioned, you can use the water, white vinegar, and baking soda method on old or new stains, but that might only take you so far. That doesn’t mean you have to live with those smells and stains. You just have to consider some advanced cleaning methods to help your home smell fresh again.
Option 1: Wet Vacuum or Carpet Cleaner
If instead of having a few stubborn spots in your carpet, you have pet odor and stains all over, there’s the option of deep cleaning the entire carpet. You can hire professionals to use their machines and advanced carpet cleaners to banish those smelly stains. Or if you’re more a DIY person you can rent or buy a carpet cleaning machine and go to town on those smelly carpets.
While this method is a bit pricier, it can also breathe new life into your carpet. Then you can take some preventative measures to protect your carpet moving forward.
Option 2: Remove and Replace Carpet Padding
Perhaps you can’t replace the carpet you have, or only a centrally located part of your carpet is smelling bad. This is where things can get very advanced. As discussed earlier, smells stay because the liquid leaks into the carpet padding that then holds the urine smells. Therefore, to get rid of the smell, you can remove and replace the carpet padding. To stop the smells in the future, remember there are carpet pads that feature a moisture barrier, meaning it’s harder for liquid to penetrate.
For this method
- Take up your carpet where the smell is located
- Clean or remove the pet urine-soaked carpet padding
- Clean any urine spots on the subfloor and let the subfloor dry
- Replace the damaged carpet padding with new carpet padding
- Clean the underside of your carpet, then wait for it to dry so you can put your carpet back where it belongs.
Please be aware, if your entire carpet smells bad, and you’re not sure where the smell is located, this method might not be for you. If you are not comfortable with taking up carpet please hire a professional.
Option 3: Remove and Replace Your Carpet and Underlayment
So if your carpet is not responding to your tireless efforts to banish pet odors, it might be because the smell has been sitting in the carpet padding all along. Remember, pet odor sticks around because it has soaked through the carpet and into your carpet padding or subfloor.
For the most effective pet odor remover, however, you can completely eliminate the problem by removing the old carpet and padding then installing new flooring. If you choose to cut your losses and rip out that old carpet and buy new flooring, make sure you choose the flooring that is waterproof and pet-friendly to avoid pet odor and stains in the future.
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Do you feel equipped to tackle those pet odors and stains? No matter what method you choose to remove pet urine from your carpet, be sure you are taking every precaution to prevent these accidents and protect your floor!