No matter how potty trained your dog is, accidents can still happen. Dogs are most likely to urinate indoors when they are puppies and still learning their potty training, getting older and having a hard time holding it, and when they are coming into sexual maturity and may mark.
The best way to get pet urine stains out of your carpet is a two-step process to remove and neutralize odors. It is vital to follow each step to eliminate stains and prevent dogs from urinating in the area again.
1. Remove Urine
If the stain is fresh, use puppy pads or paper towels to remove as much urine as possible. Many people find that puppy pads are ideal for this purpose, especially on carpet, since they absorb very thoroughly and form a gel layer to prevent the urine from dripping or getting on your hands.
You can stand on the pad to soak up even the deepest liquid. It is very easy to see if there is any moisture left by looking at the plastic backing.
If you cannot remove all of the dog pee in this way or the stain has had time to settle in, it may be wise to rent a carpet cleaner from your local grocery or hardware store. A carpet cleaner is very different than a steam cleaner.
Instead of sealing the urine in with heat, it thoroughly shampoos the carpet, removing all traces of urine. You will find it even more effective if you use an enzyme-based shampoo designed to be used in carpet cleaners. This formula removes the urine on the enzyme level, eliminating the scent.
Once the carpet is as clean as possible, you must neutralize every last bit of scent. This is even true if you’ve used a carpet cleaner. Since the urine has had an opportunity to soak into the carpet, it may not come out entirely even with carpet shampooing.
To be sure, use an enzyme-based odor eliminator. Enzymatic bacteria are essential to truly eliminate the odor. They are activated when they make contact with stains and odors. They feed on urine crystals, so they remove the urine and the odor that goes with it.
What to Avoid
As you are trying to decide on the best way to clean up urine on the carpet, you may come across a lot of advice. However, some of the most common suggestions may actually do harm. Here are some things to avoid when you are cleaning urine stains from carpet:
- Steam cleaners: Using heat from steam cleaners before all of the urine has been completely removed bonds the protein into the fibers of the carpet, setting the stain permanently.
- Strong chemical odors: Some people suggest cleaners like vinegar or ammonia because the strong smell is aversive to dogs. In fact, dogs may be more likely to want to mark in this area to cover the strong smell.
*If your dog is having accidents because they can’t control their bladder, training your dog not to urinate inside won’t be that easy, so vinegar may be an affordable option.
If you have used the above steps and your carpet still smells like dog pee, it may be ruined. When urine soaks into the pad underneath the carpet, it may go too deep for carpet cleaners or enzymatic cleaners to reach.
In this case, you will need to remove that section of carpet and padding. In cases where dog pee has been allowed to chronically soak into the carpet, the floorboards beneath may also need to be treated or replaced.
However, in the vast majority of cases, you will be able to treat stains on carpet effectively. The faster you get to the stain, the more effectively you will be able to remove it.
If you don’t have an enzymatic cleaner on hand or you’re looking for a cheap way to remove the dog urine smell from large areas of carpet, baking soda and vinegar may be a good option for you. As mentioned previously, using strong smells like vinegar to cover up the urine may cause dogs to urinate on an area more.
However, if this isn’t a concern for you, vinegar can be an affordable option. If you are concerned about your dog urinating on the spot again, try just using baking soda.
Baking Soda Method
Blot the area thoroughly with puppy pads until it is completely dry. Standing on the pad helps to reach deep and get all of the moisture out. Rinse the area thoroughly with cool water and blot it up.
Once the area is thoroughly soaked and blotted with cool water, and there is no trace of urine that you can detect, spread a thin and even layer of baking soda across the stain.
Allow the baking soda to sit at least overnight, and then vacuum it up thoroughly. You may need to vacuum several times to get it all up. If you think there may still be some odor, lay another layer of baking soda, let it sit, and vacuum. The baking soda will help to eliminate the odor that may be left in the carpet.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Method
This is an affordable way to make your own urine eliminator spray. It will leave a strong smell that may cause some dogs to want to urinate over it. However, when it is completely dried, it should not have any scent at all.
Mix a cup of distilled white vinegar, a cup of water, and two teaspoons of baking soda in a spray bottle. Mix the ingredients by shaking. Spray on the stain. Wait for about 10 minutes, and then blot up the stain.
You may want to repeat this step several times. It can also be useful to rinse the area with cool water between steps. Be sure not to let your dog in the area until the vinegar has thoroughly dried. This is a great tool to keep on hand if there are frequent accidents on your carpet.
If you are patient and persistent, you will find that you can eliminate stains and prevent problem urination. Some puppies take longer than others to learn, but with regimented potty training and plenty of positive reinforcement, you’ll be able to convince your pup to go potty where you want them to. Carpet can be especially attractive for puppies, so prevent access to carpet if possible during potty training.
Suppose your older dog or your dog who is becoming sexually mature is having accidents. In that case, tools to control urine like belly wraps can be a great option when training is not sufficient to control excessive urination.
With training, management, and the right cleanup tools, you can have a urine-free carpet for good.