We had a bit of a kerfuffle a few weeks after moving into our new house. You see, it has an unfinished basement, and my cat decided he’d rather pee on the floor down there than in his litter box. Whether he was protesting the move or just felt more outdoorsy doing his business on the dirty concrete floor, I’ll never know. What I do know, however, is that once he started peeing on the floor, it was extremely hard to get him to stop.
Eventually, we ended up locking him out of the basement all together, and I was left with the grueling task of getting the permeating smell of cat urine out of the basement. Since the floor is concrete, the liquid had soaked in pretty good, and in my crusade to banish the smell, I found quite a few useful tips on how to get pet urine out of various surfaces in your home, from carpets and furniture to clothing. (I bookmarked them for later, because I never know what mischief my furry friends are going to get up to.)
You’d think hard floors wouldn’t absorb odors, and in some cases, that’s true. If you have linoleum or well-sealed hardwood, liquid will just bead up on top of it, allowing you to wipe away accidents easily. However, if you have old hardwood floors like me, the liquid and its smell can seep into the material and any cracks, making it truly hard to eliminate. If you find yourself in this situation, hydrogen peroxide is going to be your best friend.
For dog or cat urine that’s deeply set into hardwood, dampen a paper towel with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and lay it over the trouble spot. You’ll want to leave it there for a few hours, and you may need to cover it with plastic wrap to keep the towel damp. This should get rid of any lingering odor, but fair warning: it will most likely discolor your floor. However, if you gave me the choice between having my home smell like pet urine or refinishing a section of hardwood, I’m going to pick the latter.
When I catch accidents on the carpet right away—be it urine or vomit from either of my pets—I blot up as much as possible and use Resolve Stain Remover on it. (The brand has a special animal formula, but I’ve found the regular stuff works fine in a pinch.)
However, there are times when you don’t know your pet had an accident, which allows the liquid to soak into carpet fibers. If this happens, I definitely recommend Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator, which has a near-miraculous enzymatic formula that breaks down urine odors. All you have to do is soak the stain in the cleaner (use a generous amount), then let it sit for an hour before blotting it up and vacuuming. It really works wonders.
There are natural cleaning methods you can try, as well. Start by sprinkling baking soda, a natural odor-eliminator, over the stain, then spray it with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Let it sit and fizz for five minutes before blotting up the moisture and vacuuming. Repeat as necessary. For particularly stubborn stains, you can use hydrogen peroxide in the same way, but again, there’s potential that it will discolor your carpets so you may want to test it in an inconspicuous area first.
If, like me, you’re trying to get pet urine out of concrete, grout, or another porous surface, you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you. However, I did it, and you can too!
Start by scrubbing the area down with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar, using a stiff-bristle brush. Alternatively, you can use a properly-diluted TSP cleaner for this step, just make sure you wear gloves and eye protection. Let it soak for 10 minutes, then rinse it off. If you’re outside, you can hose it down and let the surface air dry, but if you’re working in a basement or other enclosed space, you may need to use a wet/dry vac to suck up excess water. Depending on how much urine you’re dealing with and how long it’s been there, you may need to repeat this step.
Once you’ve killed off all the bacteria and the floor is completely dry, it’s time to deal with the lingering odor. Again, I highly recommend using an enzymatic cleaner like Rocco & Roxie—it’s how I got my basement clean and odor-free again! Apply a generous amount of the cleaner to the spot where your pet urinated, then cover it with a plastic material like a tarp or plastic wrap. Let it soak overnight to really get into the concrete, then vacuum the area. This should do the trick.
Pets do the darndest things sometimes, and that might include relieving themselves on your furniture. If you catch them in the act, start blotting ASAP using paper towels. Once you’ve soaked up as much liquid as you can, mist it down with cold water and keep blotting! From here, your best option is to clean the upholstery using a carpet cleaner. I have the Bissell SpotClean Pro, and it works amazing for tasks like this. Alternatively, you can treat the spot using an enzymatic cleaner or regular stain cleaner.
For dried-on stains, there are a few things you can try. If your furniture is a light color, you can spray hydrogen peroxide onto the stain and let it soak for an hour or so before blotting off. (At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s a good idea to test it first to see if it will change the color of the fabric.) For dark couches, do the same thing with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar with a few drops of dish soap mixed in. If your cushions have removable covers, you can put them through the laundry following the instructions in the next section.
If your dog or cat somehow managed to pee on your clothing (or a blanket, towel or other linen), the first step is to rinse and pre-treat the stain, then put it through the wash on a warm cycle. If the smell is still lingering, try adding an enzymatic product like Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost to the wash to help break down the odor-causing molecules.
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