How to Clean Dog Urine

A terrier sitting next to a pool of urine on a tiled floor.

Since the days when I was knee high to a grasshopper there have been dogs in my life. Growing up in my parent’s home, we always had at least two of the little butt-walkers roaming the house at any one time. We’ve had a German shepherd, a brittany spaniel, several Labrador retrievers, and more damn cocker spaniels than you can shake a stick at. Along with a never-ending supply of dogs in the house, there also happened to be six children. And in a house made up of two adults and six children, you can guess whose job it was to remove dog urine from carpet. So yeah, we had no choice but to become pretty accomplished little dog pee scrubbers.

These days, now that I’m not living under the warm embrace of my parent’s love and strong demand for dog urine removal, I have my own animals to deal with. And for the sake of honesty, I feel I should mention that no, my pets are not dogs (yet). They are cats, which happen to be (in my opinion) even more difficult to clean up after and have forced me to come up my own recipe and method for removing pet urine of all flavors. This method is the result of the trial and error stemming from experimenting with several different home remedies and combining the effectiveness of each into one easy, effective, natural and inexpensive method of cleaning dog urine from carpet. My grandma has even taken to using this method for cleaning up after her Yorkies. And if it’s Grandma-approved, you can damn sure bet it’s gonna work.

Steps to Cleaning Dog Urine

  1. person standing on towel to soak up urineThe first thing you will want to do, if you were lucky enough to come across the dog urine while it was still nice and wet (if your stain is old, see step two), is to absorb as much of the urine as humanly possible using some old rags or towels. If at all possible, try not to use paper towels. Not only are they costly, but you can’t reuse them. It’s just wasteful. Take your first towel, fold it in half, put it on the stain and step on it. Not just in one spot though, do a little dance all around the towel. Bounce up and down and walk on your tiptoes. Once the first old towel has soaked up as much as it can, grab the next one and repeat. Continue this with new towels until you no longer see any wetness on the towel after walking on it. Oh, and make sure to wear some foot protection, something with a nice rubber sole. You don’t want dog urine soaking through onto your bare feet. If you plan to reuse your old towels, mix about a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar in with your regular detergent when doing the wash to disinfect and freshen the fabrics.
  2. pouring vinegar on carpet stainStep two is to soak the dog urine stain with a solution of plain white vinegar and warm water. You won’t need a whole lot, just enough to pour over the stain. Depending on the size of the puddle, most of the time I just take half a cup of the white vinegar and mix it with one and half cups of the warm water. After stirring it together with a spoon, I drizzle the mixture over the entire stain and let it soak for about five minutes. Vinegar is a good ingredient for cleaning dog urine due to its properties as a solvent and for being antibacterial.
  3. pouring baking soda on stainBlot up the vinegar and water using the same method found in step one. After that, shake a healthy amount of baking soda over the entire stain. Baking soda is extremely absorbent and will help not only with dog urine stains but also with dog urine odor. With the baking soda in place, grab yourself a flashlight, it’s time to dig around for a couple more ingredients for the next step.
  4. mixing hydrogen peroxide and dish soapScavenge up some 3% hydrogen peroxide (think little brown plastic bottle) and some dish soap. Using the same pouring vessel you used for drizzling the warm water and vinegar (so as not to make a bunch of extra dishes to wash) combine about a cup of the peroxide with a little over a teaspoon of a good organic dish soap such as Seventh Generation that doesn’t contain any petroleum products. Stir the soap gently but thoroughly into the peroxide.
  5. working peroxide mixture into carpetNext, get ready to pour. Take your concoction of dish soap and peroxide and sprinkle it as slowly as you can, so as not to splatter, all over the stain. Don’t over due it though. Peroxide has a habit of sometimes discoloring fabrics. (For this reason, I strongly advise that you first try this in an inconspicuous area of carpeting). Once the spot is good and saturated you may want to grab yourself a pair rubber gloves. Because now, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Using your fingertips (my preferred method) or a scrub brush, you’ll want to really get that baking soda down into the carpet. The better you work it in, the better it’s gonna be at removing dog urine.
  6. dog peeing on hydrantNow give yourself a pat on the back and relax for awhile. You’re almost done cleaning dog urine. All you can do now is let the ingredients do their magic and wait for it all to dry. So throw in your favorite album and grab a large glass of your favorite beverage. Or better yet, get the leash and a frisbee and take Fido out for that walk he was begging for just a couple minutes before releasing that flood on your carpet. When you get back in, check to see if it’s dry. Once completely dry you’ll need to run the vacuum over it to get all the leftovers. Take your time with this, move the vacuum very slowly back and forth over the spot, sometimes the baking soda gets a little crunchy and it takes some time for the vacuum to get it all.

Removing Dog Urine Organically

While the method to remove dog urine that was explained above is very effective, some folks, quite understandably, simply don’t want to get so close to that dog urine smell and don’t want all that nastiness on their fingers. It’s also common for there to be too many dog urine stains for the method above to be practical. In these cases, it might be better to use a large extractor with commercial dog urine cleaner. And that’s perfectly fine, there’s actually quite a few carpet cleaners out there that work to clean dog urine. Just be careful about what you get. Many standard carpet cleaners rely heavily on perchloroethylene and naphthalene. Perchloroethylene is actually an ingredient used in dry cleaning that has been known to cause such wonderful things as kidney damage, liver damage, nausea and dizziness. Naphthalene, according to the EPA, has the superb distinction of being, in fact, a possible carcinogen and a neurotoxin. What’s more, is that it’s also a petroleum product and leaves a greasy film on your carpeting that dirt actually enjoys sticking to.

You can easily avoid risking exposure to dangerous chemicals when removing dog urine from carpet simply by using a natural and organic dog urine remover. If there’s just a single dog urine stain on the floor and it would be easy to spot clean, I would first recommend using Simple Solution NATURAL Stain & Odor Eliminator. Not only does it work very well, it also happens to be 100% biodegradable. I have also had good luck with dog urine stain removal by using natural bacteria and enzyme cleaners such as Complete Pet Stain and Odor Remover by 8 in 1, Bac Out Stain & odor Eliminator by Bi-O-Kleen, Capture Pet Stain and Odor Neutralizer, and as my #2 choice; Nature’s Miracle.

If you’re looking for how to remove dog urine on a grander scale while still keeping it Green, have no fear. There happens to be some excellent organic shampoos for your carpet that are designed for use in an extraction machine. Check out products like Ecosafe Products Carpet Cleaner, Enviro-Rite Carpet Cleaner, and Earth Friendly Products Carpet Shampoo.

Clean Dog Urine Naturally

bottle of simple solution cleanerSimple Solution NATURAL Stain & Odor Eliminator combines plant-based cleaners, corn-based ethanol and natural bio-cultures to create what is, in my opinion, the best product for removing dog urine from carpet. You can order a bottle of it from Amazon if you need.

spray bottle of seventh generationSeventh Generation Carpet Cleaner is a great choice for spot cleaning dog urine stains effectively and organically. This cleaner is also effective against other organic stains like grease, wine, coffee and beer. Seventh Generation Carpet Cleaner will not give off any offensive fumes or leave behind and harmful residues.

bottles of natumate cleanersNatumate Pet Stain & Odor Remover uses lemon oil, purified water, corn derived alcohol, enzymes and a coconut based surfactant that, when combined, work very efficiently for stains caused by pet urine, blood, food and vomit. Besides carpeting, you can also use Natumate Pet Stain & Odor Remover on furniture, wood floors, fabric, dirty laundry, tile and upholstery.