Removing Urine from Carpet

Accidents happen and even the most well-behaved dog or cat has the occasional accident on your carpet. If not cleaned properly and promptly, pet urine stains can settle into the carpet fiber, padding and sometimes even the floor, causing a very stinky and difficult problem. Most pets will continue to urinate in the same area if the smell is not removed completely. If your pet has urinated on your carpet, or you suspect he has, following these steps can help you contain the problem before it gets out of hand.

Cleaning Urine Stains

Please note that for urine stains on delicate Oriental Rugs or Wool Rugs, or for excessive urine stains and spotting, we recommend that you contact a professional carpet cleaner.

What you will need:

  • Cleaning solutions For Dogs:
    • Synthetic Fiber Carpets: Formula 409 Spray Cleaner (or specially designed cleaner such as Petzyme™ found in most pet stores)
    • Oriental Rugs: CitraSolve All Natural Cleaner and Borax natural Laundry Booster
    • Wool Rugs: 1 teaspoon neutral detergent (i.e. Dreft) 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 quart cool water
  • Cleaning solutions For Cats:
    • Synthetic Fiber Carpets: Formula 409 Spray Cleaner (or specially designed cleaner such as above) and distilled white vinegar
    • Oriental rugs: 1 part distilled white vinegar, 1 part water, 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 1 teaspoon of mild dish soap and dry baking soda.
    • Wool Rugs: 1 teaspoon neutral detergent (i.e. Dreft) 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 quart cool water
  • Black light
  • Old towels
  • Spray Bottle (for cats)
  • Clean white washcloth
  • Spoon
  • Masking tape
  • Rubber Gloves

*Always test a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet with the intended cleaning solution first to make sure no staining, color fading or other damage will occur.

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. If the urine stain is fresh, place an old towel over the area and blot up excess moisture, using as much body weight as possible (try standing on the towel).
  2. If urine has dried, use black light to locate the spot, and mark of a square around the area(s) with masking tape.
  3. For Dogs:
    • Synthetic Carpets: Spray area with 409 or other specially designed cleaner and let stand for 5 minutes
    • Oriental Rugs: Moisten washcloth with CitraSolve, lay on top of stain and gently apply pressure with back of spoon to work into stain, remove cloth and sprinkle damp spot with dry Borax.
    • Wool Rugs: Moisten area with cleaning solution
  4. For Cats:
    • Synthetic Carpets: Spray area first with 409 or other specially designed cleaner and then with distilled white vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes
    • Oriental Rugs: Spray area with the above-referenced mixture and let stand for 5 minutes.
    • Wool Rugs: Moisten area with cleaning solution
  5. Blot stain with old towel in a circular motion, working from the outside in (be sure to wear rubber gloves )
  6. Spray with fresh water to rinse.
  7. Blot with clean towel to dry until residue is removed.
  8. Cover stain with clean cloth or stack of paper towels and put heavy weight on top (heavy books, etc.)
  9. Let sit for several hours or overnight.
  10. Remove weights and towels and let area dry.
  11. When area is completely dry, vacuum to remove any remaining residue and restore carpet texture.

NOTE: The cleaning solution recommended for Oriental Rugs for both dogs and cats can safely be used on synthetic carpets in lieu of the 409 or other commercial cleaner.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • If urine stains have been allowed to sit and possibly soak into the padding of your carpet, the stains may require more aggressive treatment, such as professional steam cleaning, or the use of heavy-duty cleaners.
  • When large pets leave large messes, a carpet cleaner will be a valuable cleaning tool. Carpet steam cleaners, such as a “Rug Doctor” can be rented or purchased and will help to make removing the urine and cleaning products much less of a chore.
  • Do not leave towels used to clean up urine lying around as your pet will take the scent as an open invitation to urinate in the area of the soiled towels. Wash or dispose of them promptly.
  • If the flooring under the carpet has been affected replacement of that section maybe necessary. This can be an overwhelming project and we recommend that you contact a professional.
  • Avoid walking on any damp areas of carpet. Make sure any spots you cleaned are dry before you walk on them (wet carpet fibers attract more dirt than dry, and you may end up with a bigger stain than you bargained for).
  • There are many enzyme urine odor neutralizers available at pet stores. These are products that are placed on the stains and as they dry, the enzymes break down the acids and remove the urine smell from your carpets. Using a solution with water and vinegar will also remove the odor, but you may wish to consider using one of these products if you are having a difficult time removing the smell from the area.
  • Especially if you have pets, it is highly recommended that you choose a reputable professional carpet cleaner to deep clean your carpets, but if you choose to deep clean your carpets yourself using rented cleaning machines make sure you don’t over saturate the carpet (it might cause the carpet backing or seams to separate) and make sure you have adequate ventilation, using fans to help disperse the odors from the cleaning solution.
  • For additional help finding a reputable carpet cleaner in your area, search the Yellow Pages.
  • Whether you have a professional deep clean your carpets or you choose to do it yourself, always allow the carpets to dry completely before letting pets or anyone else walk on them (12 hours is recommended).


  1. The family dog has soiled our large oriental carpet. We have tried to rid the odor ourselves and with professional cleaning, steam I believe.

    Still, the odor remains. Help is indeed needed before we throw this beautiful carpet from Syria.



  2. In all likelihood the padding underneath will require replacement. This is a common problem, but is fairly inexpensive. You might also check to see if you have a local franchise of a company called “Chem-Dry.” They have a patented solution (the name escapes me, but they should know what you are referring to). It is kind of pricey but is a powerful enzyme solution that feeds on the bacteria-causing odors.

  3. I got this tip from my husband several years ago (he was a carpet layer). To get rid of urine odors in carpet from your pets, use “Massengill Douche POWDER” (I don’t know if it’s still available though). If you can get under the carpet, sprinkle it underneath and leave it. If you can’t – sprinkle it on top of the carpet, let is set several hours, then vacuum up. He would also sprinkle this everywhere he had to put a seam in the new carpet. Dogs and cats are attracted to the smell of the seam tape and pick this as their spot to “mark.” The animals would stay away and a person could not smell it.

  4. For urine odors, I use a product brand-named “Get Serious” and it works great.

  5. For stubborn odors in tile grout around toilets, in carpet pads and mattress pads as well, try a product called NOK-OUT. I recently bought some online and I am very pleased with the results of my first application in a guest bathroom with stubborn stains/odor near the base of the toilet.

    I’ve read that mattress and carpet odors require that NOK-OUT soak all the way through – just as the original spill or urine accident did. This includes the wicking outwards that the offending liquid did originally. If this product works as well on a mattress as it did in my bathroom, I’ll be very pleased. I hope this helps.

  6. I always use the spot remover stuff with the dark blue can with the orange lid (I always forget the name, but there is no other can like it.) It does wonders for me. My mom uses a pet stain remover from Lowe’s in a white bottle with purple writing. She swears by it.

  7. Bethany says:

    I use a product called “Spot Shot” and it’s amazing. I’ve used it for every imaginable pet stain and most of the time, the stain disappears right before my eyes without any scrubbing or blotting! Target and Walmart carry it, but I’m not sure who else does.

  8. I have always liked Petzyme for pet stains/odors, but have had problems with the spray bottle not working and there’s NO way to get the top off and transfer it to a bottle that works!

    Anyone else have this problem?

  9. Although this article has some great tips, I would not recommend “using your body weight” when soaking up stains with an old towel. That will soak up a good amount of urine, but also force some of it deeper into the padding below. Get a bunch of good paper towels, gently press them onto the urine, then leave them there to lift out the urine for a few minutes.
    I would also like to clarify that enzymes do not “eat” bacteria. An enzyme is a chemical. It is not living. There are many different enzymes, each associated with one particular substance, which it helps to break down. For example, lipase is an enzyme which breaks down fat.

  10. This is a tip that was passed along to me by a vacuum cleaner/steam carpet cleaner repair person. If using a steam cleaner/extraction machine (both Hoover and Bissell make them), use only hot water for the first pass – no cleaning solution or any kind. Make sure the water is as hot as you can get it. The hot water breaks down the enzymes in the cat or dog urine. After using the hot water and extracting as much as possible, use the solution recommended by your steam cleaner/extractor manufacturer for cleaning pet stains for the second pass. This will not only take away any smell, but also any stains. Using this method stopped our cat from going back to the spot where he had peed on the carpet repeatedly prior.

  11. ODOBAN–available from Costco or online. My cat sprayed (you know how badly that smells) all around the perimeter of my apartment repeatedly. It is difficult to get that close to the wall and I was looking at a huge bill to replace the carpet. I used other pet cleaners and enzymes with no result, even Hot Spot. The summer exacerbated the odor and it was unbearable. I sprayed the area thoroughly with OdoBan and after the first time, the odor was greatly reduced. The second time-all odor and yellow/orange stain disappeared. You get a gallon bottle, which is very concentrated and lasted a year and half. You can use it for many things, laundry, housework, litter boxes, even as an air freshener. It is a cleaner, deodorizer, and disinfectant with minimal environmental impact, which is important to me. Mold, fungus, bacteria, and viruses, are killed by it. The cost is around $12.00 – a real bargain.

  12. Barbara says:

    One end of my Oriental durable wool rug had been peed on more than I had imagined. Tiny dogs are sly. I had been cleaning with enzyme with water and vinegar and weighted towels. It still smelled awful. I used my spot cleaning machine as per directions and that left cleaning solution in the carpet and still the pee smell. With the rug outside on the deck, I poured buckets of water with some vinegar in it over and over the entire end so that eventually it flushed out all the dirt, cleaner and smell. (Raise the elevation of the part of the rug you don’t want to soak.) But here’s the new idea…I used a window cleaning tool…a squeegee…and going in the least resistant direction towards the fringe, I could remove most of the water that remained after dripping. Wherever there still was the faintest smell, I flushed it again and again and squeegeed at the end. Finally, it is outside hanging to dry in the fresh air. Also, the squeegee flattened it instead of leaving ripples.

  13. I have a Boston terrier who sleeps with my hubby in one bedroom because she and our other two Bostons will fight if in same room. Recently she was diagnosed with Diabetes -excessive urination is one symptom. She has saturated the carpet in the room despite the 2-3 pads we put down at night. I am having a terrible time getting out the smell, despite cleaning carpet several times. The carpet was recently replaced and now we have another ruined room that will knock you over with dog urine. Suggestions?

  14. Areta,

    In addition to cleaning the carpet and the carpet padding (pet enzyme cleaners are specifically designed for urine odors), you can try using some regular odor absorbers. Use the information in this article: How to Remove Odors from Carpet.
    Another idea is to place bowls of vinegar or coffee grounds, or plates covered with baking soda, around the room for several hours or overnight to absorb any smells that may be clinging to other items in the room. Activated charcoal is another good option and works particularly well on organic odors. You may need to repeat this several times (refreshing the vinegar or coffee grounds each time) until the odor is completely absorbed.

  15. Melissa says:

    I used the vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, mild detergent, white vinegar concoction on my oriental rug for cat pee that I’m not sure how long was there. Took a scrub brush and gave a gentle scrubbing on both sides of the carpet [no rug pad] and it took much of the odor out instantaneously. Will give another go around if there’s still some odor left after it dries.

  16. Kathy T. says:

    In cases of expensive oriental rugs DO NOT consult a “professional” because I have had two “professional” rug cleaners use water on a urine-stained rug, which makes the entire carpet reek worse than before it was treated. Do it yourself at home. Make sure to hang the carpet to dry. You will do a better job with a pet urine problem than a stupid professional. They will nod and say “yes” they can do. They will say “not a problem” and ruin your expensive Persian rug.

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