Mike asked: How do I clean a blood stain and human urine from a cloth couch? We have a cloth couch my mother in law (88 years old) had two cuts on her elbows. She laid on the couch and left a couple of blood stains on the couch. She also has to wear Depends diapers. Sometimes she will not change them and has laid on the couch with a wet diaper. It has left a stain. How do I clean it up?
Upholstery is often thought of as a spot-clean-only fabric, however urine requires a more deep-clean treatment. Luckily, there is an easy way to clean the urine that has soaked into the cushions, as well as to remove the smell. Follow the steps below. For more blood stain treatments, see the guide How to Remove Old Blood Stains from a Mattress (a mattress is treated the same way as upholstery).
Removing the Urine/Fluids
You Will Need:
- An enzyme cleaner (see Step 2 for more information)
- White vinegar
Steps to Remove the Urine/Fluids:
- Begin by pressing a cloth or several paper towels onto the area repeatedly to soak up as much of the urine as possible. Rotate the cloth to a clean area as it becomes soaked. Continue doing this until the cloth no longer gets wet when pressed onto the area.
- Enzyme cleaners are available in the pet aisle of most supermarkets and at pet supply stores. Get one that specifically says it can be used on upholstery. There are some enzyme cleaners that are specifically intended for urine, such as Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer. A general enzyme stain remover will work well for feces stains, such as Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover or Kids ‘N’ Pets Stain and Odor Remover.
- Test the cleaner on a small hidden area of the upholstery first to look for any adverse reaction. Some enzyme cleaners contain ingredients, such as isopropyl alcohol, which could damage the dyes on the upholstery so it is always good to test first.
- If safe, pour as much of the enzyme cleaner onto the area as there was urine. This is done so that the cleaner can soak as deep into the cushion as the urine. The beneficial bacteria in the cleaner will eat up all of the urine matter.
- Wait several minutes, then press a cloth or several paper towels onto the area to soak up the moisture. Rotate the cloth to a clean area as it becomes soaked. Continue doing this until the cloth no longer gets wet when pressed on the area.
- Point a fan on the area to help it dry faster. If the area is on a couch cushion that can be removed, stand it up on one end to help it dry faster.
- Most enzyme cleaners will remove the smell as well as the stain. However, if you find that the smell remains after the area has dried, use the methods in the Removing the Smell section below.
Removing the Smell
Using the steps in the above method should remove the smell in addition to the stain. However, if you don’t want to use the above method or if you find that there is still a smell that remains, use the steps below.
You Will Need:
- An odor absorber (choose one):
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Fresh coffee grounds
- Activated charcoal
Steps to Remove the Smell:
- To use white vinegar, mix it with an equal amount of water. Test this mixture on a small hidden area of the upholstery first to look for any adverse reaction. If safe, pour as much of the white vinegar onto the area as there was urine so that it can soak in just as deep. Wait several minutes, then press a cloth or several paper towels onto the area to soak up as much moisture as possible. Point a fan or a hair dryer on cool air at the area to help it dry as fast as possible.
- To use baking soda, sprinkle a generous amount over the area. If there is a risk for a pet or child disrupting the area, cover it with plastic wrap and tape the edges in place using a weak tape like Scotch tape or masking tape. Leave the baking soda in place for several hours then vacuum it up. This process can be repeated as many times as needed.
- Any of the odor absorbers can be used by putting a generous amount on a plate/bowl and setting the plate next to the area. Leave the plate in place for several hours or overnight. If the smell has not been removed, this process can be repeated as many times as needed using fresh odor absorber each time.
- If urine is a regular risk for your upholstery, such as with an incontinent person or pet, remove the cover from the cushions and wrap them with plastic trash bags, then replace the covers. If the covers are not removable, consider covering the upholstery with a plastic drop cloth (a tablecloth works or a painter’s tarp) and then putting a removable cover over the area (a blanket works well) so that you can simply remove the cover and wash it as needed.