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How to Remove Dog Pee and Other Stains from Carpet — Without Harsh Chemicals

The next time your dog pees on your favorite rug, be prepared with this simple, three-step method.

by Marcus Molina
Updated April 13, 2022
dog near pee spot on carpet
Pixel-Shot/Adobe Stock

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No matter how well-trained your dog is, accidents happen: Maybe they release some “excitement pee” when a new friend comes over or they’re sick and have a bout of diarrhea on the rug. Whatever the situation, every pet parent should have a strategy for cleaning up pet urine and poop stains.

This simple, three-step pet stain and urine odor remover uses natural, eco-friendly products that you probably already have in your pantry or cupboard. Best of all, it works just as well as store-bought, pet-stain removers — without any harsh chemicals.

How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Carpet

This homemade stain-and-odor remover also works well for mild stains like spaghetti sauce — it cleans and deodorizes without leaving any residue. You can also store this premixed solution in a spray bottle to apply to pet pee stains and odor quickly. Before using, test this pet-stain-removing technique on an out-of-the-way spot to be sure it won’t discolor your carpet. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get dog pee out of a carpet or rug.

What You’ll Need

  • Paper towels or cloth towels (paper towels seem to work best)

  • White vinegar

  • Water

  • Baking soda (and time for the baking soda to absorb any smell)

  • Vacuum

Step 1: Blot, Don’t Rub the Stain

Figure out where the urine-soaked area is and clean it up swiftly. Use a paper towel to blot the pet stain dry. Rubbing the stain with a towel only serves to spread the stain or urine more, so unless you plan on rearranging your furniture to cover that stain, pat the stain with a paper towel.

Replace the paper towel with a fresh one when it’s no longer soaking up the dog urine. Keep blotting the stain until the spot is fairly dry and little urine comes up on the towel.

Step 2: Apply the Vinegar Cleaning Solution

To get the pee smell out of carpet, mix together a cleaning solution of equal parts water and white vinegar in a small bowl. Soak the area with the water/vinegar solution and then let it sit for 5 minutes. Scrub hard to make sure you get deep into the fibers below the carpet’s surface to remove any lingering pet urine.

For particularly bad pee smells or stains on your carpet, use a 100% vinegar solution. It’s important to let the solution soak into the carpet as it does two things: It helps to cut through the pet stain if it’s being especially stubborn and re­-wets the stain so you can make sure that all the pet urine is lifted off the carpet. The vinegar neutralizes the ammonia in the dog urine, helping to neutralize the smell and cleaning the urine from the carpet.

Step 3: Sprinkle Baking Soda, Then Wait

While the spot is still wet, sprinkle baking soda on the affected area. Pour a little of the vinegar solution on top and mix. Right away, you’ll see and hear it fizzing and crackling as it starts to lift the pet stain and urine smell from the carpet. It helps to rub in the baking soda with your gloved hands or a brush to get it deep down into the carpet fibers.

Leave the baking soda on the carpet until it’s completely dry. This might take a day or two, or it could just be overnight, depending on how much water/vinegar solution you used and what the temperature’s like in your home. Once the baking soda is completely dry, vacuum your carpet thoroughly, and voila, your carpet is as good as new.

How to Get Dried Pee Out of Carpet

If you’ve found a spot of carpet with urine that has already dried out, there’s nothing to fear. This vinegar solution also works remarkably well for dried dog urine, which has set in, though you may have to use a little elbow grease. First, remoisten and rinse the affected area with water. Blot the area as directed above, removing the urine. Then, jump to step two above and continue to work the stain.

When Removing Dog Pee Smells and Stains from Carpet:

Clean up pet urine quickly.

When it comes to pet urine, it’s best to act quickly because if the pee gets soaked into the padding underneath the carpet, the urine odors may be impossible to get out. At that point, you may need to replace the carpet or get a professional carpet cleaner that uses water extraction methods to get your carpet clean.

Do not use steam cleaners.

Avoid using a steam cleaner to clean pet stains and urine. The heat can actually bond the protein from the urine into the carpet fiber, making the stain and smell virtually permanent.

Avoid pet stain removers.

Although it may be tempting, do not use ammonia-based cleaners or other cleaning chemicals with strong odors to clean pet urine on carpets. Ammonia-based cleaners do not effectively cover the pet odor and may actually encourage your dog to reinforce its urine scent mark.

Leave baking soda to absorb.

Baking soda is known for its smell-eliminating powers, but it can take time to work its magic. Tackle canine-created odors in your carpet by sprinkling baking soda on the surface, waiting 15 minutes (up to 24 hours for strong smells), then vacuuming. You can do the same with your dog’s bedding.

Hydrogen peroxide is your friend.

If the vinegar solution doesn’t remove the pet stain, try upping the power with a bit of hydrogen peroxide. Use a ratio of 1:1 cup vinegar and water along with 1/4 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide. This solution is safe for pets and carpets (but be sure to test this solution on the corner of the rug to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration).

Use enzyme-based pet urine remover.

Another great choice as an alternative to the vinegar solution is an enzymatic cleaner. These specialty formulated cleaners use natural ingredients to remove stubborn urine odors. The enzymes actually digest the stain-and odor-causing proteins in the pet urine neutralizing the smell.

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marcus molina

Marcus Molina

Marcus Molina is the President of Scrubbi, your premier eco-friendly house cleaning service servicing homes across the US and Canada.