Out damned spot, no not the dog: Removing dog urine smell

It’s happened to all dog owners at one time or another.  Dog pee – urine – “magically” appears on our tile, carpet or hardwood floors.  Maybe out dog just really needed to go and it is a random occurrence because we weren’t home in time to let them outside.  Or maybe like my dog it is a matter of marking his “territory” in the house or “paying us back” for some imagined offense.   No matter how quickly or thoroughly you clean up the mess or what type of floor there is just some special chemical composition of dog urine that can leave an odor that you won’t soon forget, especially if it’s a favorite “spot” in your home.  How can you get dog urine odor out of your floors?

How often have you said, “But I cleaned that spot up!” only to discover a few days later that the urine aroma was once again in the air?  I decided to find out exactly why.  Apparently dog’s urine is made up of uric acid which forms into uric acid crystals or urine salts and is the reason for that nasty smell.  What happens is that the salts absorb water from your cleaning products (even carpet cleaner) or from humidity in the air and this causes the urine smell to reappear unless you clean specifically to avoid urine salt “residue.”

The good news is if you catch a dog “in the act” or at the very least as soon as they walk away then most cleaners can be effective at removing the urine stain and smell because it cleans it before it becomes a “salt.”  Unless it’s carpet, because even though you clean the carpet immediately, the urine has already soaked into the backing and padding – but we will talk about carpet cleaning specifically alter on.  But say you find it days later after it has dried and that’s where your problem occurs.

To eliminate the dog urine smell

First soak up the urine thoroughly if still wet.  Soak up, blotting.  Wiping just spreads it around more before you start cleaning.  Try using an absorbent towel or wipes you purchased for this purpose.  It is very important to clean up as much of the urine as possible before beginning the cleaning and odor removing process.  If you are cleaning carpet you may want to use a wet dry vac and be sure to go beyond the initial spot as urine spreads throughout the carpet and padding.  Remember to remove the paper towels, newspaper or other blotting product from the house, because if you through it in the trash you will still smell it and so will your dog.

Next clean with a water and vinegar solution or a commercial product.   To make your own cleaning solution you will need water, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.  Mix 3 parts water to one part vinegar. Saturate the area and then blot.  If you have a tile or concrete floor this may do the trick or you may have to repeat this process a few times if it has “soaked” in.

If it is a urine stain on carpet, wait until it is dry then sprinkle with baking soda and spray ¾ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide and use a brush to work it into your carpet.  Let dry and vacuum.  Make sure that you do a test spot of your carpet before using this second part of the solution.

You may need to repeat this process if there is still some stains or smell remaining.   Use a black light (available at Wal-Mart or most pet stores) to help you locate other “spots” that “Spot” may have marked in your home.

If you are looking for a quicker solution, you may need to go for a professional cleaning solution that you can purchase.  There are several available, however, the most effective urine stain and smell cleaners will be enzyme or oxygen based.

Hopefully it won’t come to this, but for some the only way to really get rid of the smell of dog urine is to remove the part of the flooring that the aroma is coming from.  For some it means a quick fix to a portion of the carpet. For other families it may mean taking out the door strips or trim along the edge of the carpet (after all the dog could have lifted his leg on the edge and it soaked downward into the carpet.)  For some, the only way it to install new flooring, but hopefully your “damned spot” won’t go that far.

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