Getting rid of stubborn urine smell is tough, but not impossible!
Some people simply wash their home with soap and water, hoping to scrub and scour the smell and stain away. However, in most cases, it’s not enough. In the case of carpets, they are even more difficult to clean as some may require a deeper treatment, or even a complete replacement if the urine saturation is heavy.
Luckily, the following solutions are easy to implement both on tile and wooden floor, as well as on carpets and even furniture. Not only will you learn what to do when your whole house smells like dog urine, but also how to finally tackle pet pee odors for good.
What To Do When Your House Smells Like Dog Urine?
1. Find the Spot
Finding the source of the smell is the first step to getting rid of it. TaoTronics Black Light (Amazon) is perhaps the most essential product for fighting pee odors. It can reveal long-dried stains and urine traces that you may have missed, which bound to happen while you potty train your dog.
Here’s how to use it: Make sure the room is completely dark before you start searching for the urine. The pee stain should look like a shiny mark, so it shouldn’t be difficult to locate. Use the light on floors, walls, carpets, mattresses, and sofas to make sure you don’t miss anything.
2. Clean It Right!
Once you’ve found the source of the urine smell, you need to remove it entirely, or else your dog will keep marking this place again and again. I prefer to use a natural enzymatic odor neutralizer because it’s both effective and pet-safe. You can check out our best enzyme cleaners here.
This products not only breaks down the bacteria that causes the bad smell, but they also neutralize it. It’s important to test the cleaner in a hidden place first, and then apply and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Finally, soak the excess liquid with a paper towel.
Keep in mind though, you may need to repeat this process more than once for persistent smells. I should also mention that it will be quite challenging to treat a heavily soiled carpet using just an enzyme cleaner. In that case, you should consider other options (which I’ll talk about later).
3. Try Using Vinegar
Does vinegar really help to remove urine odor? Well, while it can, it definitely depends.
It’s known that highly concentrated urine tends to have a strong ammonia smell, which has alkaline properties. Vinegar, on the other hand, is acidic, so it does have the ability to neutralize the urine scent. The downfall is that vinegar isn’t a powerful pet odor neutralizer. Also, it doesn’t seem to be that effective with really stubborn urine smells. If the urine smell is rather weak, using vinegar may be enough.
In case you’re going to use vinegar, be sure to use it right:
First, don’t apply the vinegar right on the soiled area. Instead, absorb the urine using paper towels. Once everything is soaked up, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water, and then saturate the pee spot.
At this point, you can pick a toothbrush or a carpet brush and work the mixture into the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes and clean everything up using more paper towels. If you need to, repeat the process.
4. Clear the Air
Even if you do everything right, dog urine odors can be hard to eliminate completely. This is because urine contains compounds that release strong chemicals into the air. These chemicals eventually get oxidized, and that, along with the presence of bacteria, is what causes the strong smell. Additionally, your dog can leave traces of urine in places you can’t reach, or you don’t even know about.
So how does an air purifier help? To remove these nasty compounds, you’ll need an air purifier with a charcoal filter for capturing odors. You’ll also need a true HEPA filter that can trap dust, dander, and hair, which can also cause an odd smell. GermGuardian AC4825 Air Cleaner (Amazon) has both of these filters, as well as a UV lamp for sanitization.
If you’re on a tight budget, an air purifying bag, such as the RejuvenAir Air Freshener (Amazon), is a cheaper option for clearing the air from unpleasant odors and allergens, and it does it using an activated bamboo charcoal, which is safe to use around pets, and will stay effective for up to two years.
5. Treat Your Carpet
Older stains that have managed to soak into the carpet padding and backing may need a deeper cleaning. You can rent a wet vac to remove tracks of heavy stains and lingering urine odor in the carpet. Some vacuums even clean mattresses.
The cleaning process is simple: The carpet-cleaning machine pushes clean water through your carpet, and then pulls out the dirty water. Cool, huh?
You can use a pet urine odor remover or vinegar at this point to rub out what’s left of the stain, and give it some time to dry completely. While you’re at it, you might as well clean the whole carpet so that it won’t look uneven.
I highly suggest avoiding using steam cleaners to remove urine odors from your carpet as the heat will probably set the stain in the fibers.
In order to reduce more pet smells, you should make sure to pick up dog hair and dander regularly using a broom or a robotic vacuum cleaner.
6. Light a Scented Candle
Once you’ve treated the bed smell with an enzyme cleaner or vinegar, and maybe washed your entire carpet, it’s time to sit back, dim the lights, and finish the work with a pet odor eliminator candle. Yes, there really is such a thing!
Pet House Scented Candles (Amazon) are available in 20 different fragrances (from Apple Cider to Wildflowers), and they also include a pet odor neutralizer component to remove unpleasant smells. The products are pet-safe and environmentally friendly as they contain soy wax instead of paraffin, and you can expect to get up to seventy hours of use from them.
After you’re done with the candle, you can reuse the glass jar for your dog’s treats. On top of that, there’s a full money back satisfaction guarantee if for some reason you’re not happy with the product.
What NOT to Use to Remove Dog Urine Odor?
Floor Cleaner- A floor cleaner just simply isn’t enough. Even if you don’t notice the smell, your dog has a much stronger sense of smell, and can almost certainly still notice remnants of his urine on the floor.
Ammonia or Ammonia-Based Products- Dog urine naturally smells like ammonia. Therefore, if you use a product that has ammonia in it, your dog will likely continue to mark the same spot you’re trying to clean.
Bleach- While bleach is a powerful disinfectant, it doesn’t do anything to neutralize dog urine odors. Besides, bleach fumes are harmful, and it’s also highly toxic if ingested. As you can see, there are far more effective and pet-friendly options available.
How to Help Your Dog Avoid Peeing Accidents?
Keep in mind that first and foremost, canines are territorial animals. When your dog is marking inside the house, he just follows his instincts. Other potential causes may be poor training, stress, or medical issue.
So how can you stop this destructive behavior?
Start Housebreaking Early
Whether you decide to do potty training indoors or outside is your choice, as long as your dog knows where he’s allowed to relieve himself and where he isn’t.
If you choose to potty train your dog to go outdoors, then you need to take him out often. If not, he won’t have any other choice but to do his business inside the house. You should take your dog out 3-4 times a day, and even more if he’s a senior or a puppy.
If the bathroom schedule is too demanding, you can always make use of pee pads, or hire a dog walker to help you out.
Use an Odor Eliminator
To avoid future potty accidents you need to clean them right away. As I mentioned earlier, old accidents, even if washed, may still attract your dog. Enzyme cleaner is one of the best (and safest) ways to keep your dog from remarking.
Check for Other Reasons
If your dog is properly potty trained, and your house is urine-free, yet the urination problem persists, then perhaps there’s a health problem you should talk to your vet about. Aging, urinary tract infections, and kidney stones can all contribute to a lack of bladder control in dogs. This makes them more prone to having accidents.
If your dog is soiling around the house mostly when he’s alone, he might be having separation anxiety. In that case, you want to learn more about this behavioral problem in order to address it or consult with a professional.