Cleaning Guides

The Best Carpet Cleaning Solution for Pet Smells

New Africa /

Mammals love to mark their territory, and Aussie dogs and cats are no different. Problems with marking arise when you try caring for a pet at home, especially if you own a carpet. Pee puddles might go unnoticed for a long time, which will ruin your rug in the long run and tempt your pet into peeing on the carpet repeatedly. You need to know how to eliminate the smell of your pet’s urine, and that’s what this post is all about.

Table of contents:

What kills pet odour in a carpet?

In most cases, you won’t realise your pet peed on your carpet until the puddle has dried. Urine could also affect the rug without leaving a stain – some dyes might not change colour. It all depends on how the chemistry of the dye interacts with the salts in your pet’s pee. 

However, one thing that is guaranteed is odour. Cat urine, in particular, gives off an especially pervasive smell. On top of that, pet urine contains pheromones which animals use to mark pee locations, so if you don’t deal with the odour, what seems like an accident might become a regular occurrence.

The most efficient way to remove pet urine odour from carpeting is using an enzymatic cleaner. Enzymatic cleaners attack the protein structure of pee pheromones, so after you clean your carpet – your pet won’t go back and pee in the same spot.

While enzymatic cleaners are definitely the best, there are various ways to clean your carpeting with household products. And, if all else fails – there’s always professional carpet cleaning.

How to get rid of dog urine smell

Now that you know the “why”, it’s time for the “how”. We’ve described the process of getting dog pee out of your carpet below, but don’t worry if you have a different type of pet – the process is universal, and you can follow the steps to clean any pet urine. All you need is the following:

  • Baking soda – Its alkaline qualities make it great for most cleaning solutions.
  • Vinegar – White vinegar works great if you wonder how to get rid of the smell of dog urine. If you decide to use cleaning vinegar instead, keep in mind it is 1% more acidic, so when you dilute it with water, mix it at a 60:40 ratio instead of 50:50.
  • 3% Hydrogen peroxide – hydrogen peroxide can be a powerful ingredient in your homemade pet urine cleaner. Check the concentration on the bottle because if it says more than 3% – you risk ruining your carpet’s colour.
  • Liquid dish detergent – another common household item. Organic would be best for your carpeting and the environment, but most dish detergents labelled as mild, soft or sensitive would work.
  • Firm bristled brush –  an old toothbrush would work, too, if you don’t have any other choice.

How to get rid of the smell of dog urine

  1. Mix your water and vinegar solution at a 50:50 ratio. (60:40 if you’re using cleaning vinegar instead of white vinegar) Put in a spray bottle.
  2. Soak up the urine from the affected spot with paper towels as best as possible.
  3. Spray your vinegar solution on the affected area and let it rest for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Use more paper towels to dry the area again, then sprinkle baking soda on top of it.
  5. Next, mix liquid dish detergent with hydrogen peroxide at a ratio of 1:9 (a teaspoon of detergent with about 9-10 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide should be enough for most small pet urine stains.
  6. Put in a spray bottle and spray it on top of the baking soda.
  7. Use the brush to spread the mix into the stained area gently.
  8. The final look of the cleaning solution will make it look like there’s a weird paste spread on your carpet. Let it dry, then vacuum it up. 
If baking soda paste is left on the carpeting, use the firm bristle brush to break it up and vacuum again. Be gentle so as not to damage the carpet pile.

This method works because the acid in the vinegar solution helps loosen the stain and tackle the pet urine smell. Then, the baking soda makes the stain adhere to it, and the detergent and hydrogen peroxide eradicate the odour and disinfect the area.

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How to keep your carpets clean when you have a pet?

Cleaning your carpets after your pet pees on them is the obvious course of action, but what if you didn’t have to because the dog didn’t pee on the carpet in the first place? There are numerous ideas you could look into which can help prevent your pet from peeing on your carpet. Here are a few:

Clean up pee puddles ASAP

Make sure you don’t put off cleaning your carpet when your pet pees on it. The longer the pee stays on your carpet, the higher the chance of leaving a stain and a resilient odour. Make sure you clean thoroughly because if you miss a spot, you’re providing bacteria with a breeding ground, and that’s rarely a good thing. You can use a UV light/flashlight to check for any spots you might have missed.

Re-train your pet

Even if your pet is potty-trained, if it doesn’t consistently pee at the right place, you might have to think about re-educating it. An excellent method for dogs is to rub their noses in their pee puddle (gross, but necessary) and then make them stay in the bathroom for five to ten minutes. 

Doing that ensures your dog spends time in the bathroom and smells its own pheromones there (because you rubbed its nose in its pee). In just a couple of weeks, you are bound to notice your dog peeing in your bathroom more often.

Reward peeing in the right place

Positive reinforcement can go a long way in preventing your pet from urinating on your carpet. A suitable method is to keep a small box of pet treats just for peeing at the right spot, but make sure you only give your pet treats when they pee where they have to.

Seek vet advice

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get your pet to urinate where you want it to. It’s always on the carpet, hardwood, or pillow! If you’ve tried the above methods and nothing seems to work, you might want to take the issue to your veterinarian. Pets can struggle with physical problems that make them lose bladder control. 

On top of that, anxiety exists, and pets can experience it, too, especially if they spend a lot of time alone at home during the day. Your vet might refer you to an animal behaviourist if the problem isn’t physical.

Clean your carpet regularly

Regular carpet cleaning is a must for all pet owners. It’s not just about pet urine – there are also lots of hairs, plus your pet doesn’t wear shoes, does it? If you were walking outside with your bare feet, you’d probably be cleaning extra to ensure your carpets are free from grime, so do it for your pet, too. You can check our complete guide to cleaning your carpet at home for tips and tricks specific to your carpeting’s material composition.

Will professional rug cleaning remove pet odours?

A single pet accident is no cause for full-fledged pet urine carpet cleaning, but you may have overlooked previous cases where your pet urinated on your carpeting. When pee stains go unnoticed for an extended period, cleaning at home might do more harm than good. 

If you missed any old pee stains on your carpet, then the urine has probably soaked through the carpet layers. What happens then is an issue our merry carpet cleaners often encounter: there’s been an attempt to clean a new stain, and the attempt was successful! However, moisturising the carpet reactivated an old stain that went unnoticed, and the effort strengthened the urine odour in the end. 

When that happens, cleaning the carpeting at home by yourself becomes counterproductive – no need to give your pet more incitement to pee in the wrong place. In such cases, the most cost-effective option would be to spare yourself time and money and opt for professional carpet cleaning for pets, which will 100% eradicate any underlying odours and stains.

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  • Baking soda and vinegar can work wonders.
  • Enzymatic cleaners are the best at-home option.
  • Professional carpet cleaning is recommended if you suspect there are stains you missed.

What is your experience with cleaning pet urine at home? Did you find this article helpful? Please, share with us in the comments section below.

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