How to Remove Urine From Your Carpet and Get Rid of the Urine Smell

Whether it’s a pet accident or a child’s mishap, dealing with urine stains and odours on your carpet can be daunting. However, you can restore your carpet’s freshness and beauty with some know-how on urine composition and the right cleaning approach. In this guide, our stain removal professionals share tips on cleaning urine stains and banishing unpleasant smells from your carpets.

Read also: How to Clean a Carpet at Home – DIY Guide

Urine has a complicated composition which makes it surprisingly difficult to clean. Image by diana.grytsku

Why is it so difficult to remove a dry urine stain?

When dealing with a pee stain on the carpet, knowing why this clear, watery liquid is such a hassle to clean is important. When urine is allowed to dry and linger in the carpet (or the upholstery, for that matter), it starts to adhere to the fibres. The more time it is left to stay, the more robust the bond becomes. Proteins (chains of amino acids) form physical bonds with the fibres. At the same time, other components of the urine crystallise into salts, creating ionic (electrical charge) bonds. At this stage, the pee stain becomes exceedingly challenging to clean entirely. Meanwhile, Mother Nature initiates the process of decay.

Check also: Stain removal is a matter of chemistry

If not handled properly urine leave a lingering smell that only gets worse over time. Image by karlyukav o

Why does urine start to stink, and the odour worsens over time?

Urine has quite an intricate composition. Consider a multitude of substances previously ingested: water, sugars, various fats and oils from both plants, meat and dairy products, alcohol and so forth, all comprising numerous elements. The body transforms some of these constituents into yet other identifiable compounds before being excreted in a liquid form. Now, let’s focus on the components of urine known as “organic wastes,” referring to those portions that undergo decay.

The decay process is a natural mechanism that serves as a means of disposing of this refuse. These organic wastes serve as a natural food source for bacteria. As they feed on the waste, bacteria produce offensive vapours, releasing ammonia, sulphur, and methane gases in various combinations, which we perceive as an unpleasant odour. To put it differently, what our noses detect as a noxious odour is, in fact, bacteria excrement. This laboriously gradual process is the underlying cause of the lingering odour issue.

Read also: How to Clean your Wool Rug

Check your carpet’s textile composition to guarantee efficient pee stain removal. Image by

Peculiarities of cleaning different types of carpets

Also, before cleaning your carpet, it’s good to consider its material to remove the pee stain efficiently without damaging the fibres.

  • Natural carpets like wool, cotton and silk can be destroyed by enzyme cleaners if not rinsed properly after the treatment. 
  • Synthetic carpets are usually easier to clean since they don’t retain moisture, and most can be treated with enzyme cleaners. 
  • Man-made cellulosic fibres like viscose and bamboo silk are extremely vulnerable to moisture, and rigorous scrubbing can crush the carpet pile. So if you have to remove urine stains from such carpet, we recommend blotting up the excess liquid, then contact a carpet care specialist and arrange a same-day appointment. The same applies to silk, vintage and Oriental rugs.

Check also: Pros and Cons of Getting a Viscose Rug

Accidents happen, especially if your pet is still in training. Luckily, our detailed guide will help you get rid of the urine stain on your rug. Image by Freepik

Removing urine stains from carpets step by step

As you’ve already guessed, time is of the essence if you have to deal with pee stains. The best-case scenario is if the stain is still fresh and none of the bonding and decay has started. So, even if you are tired, tardy or occupied, it is wise to spare a few minutes to tend to your carpet. However, there are some tricks you can try even if the liquid has dried.

Read also: How to Choose Upholstery Fabric for Easy Care of Your Furniture

For fresh stains

Although the natural processes we described may make it sound like urine is next to impossible to clean, that’s not true – you must be diligent.

You will need:

  • A few pieces of white cloth or paper towels
  • Cleaning sponge
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Lukewarm water  
  • White distilled vinegar*
  • Container filled with clean water
  • Empty container for dirty water

*Vinegar can harm some fibres, especially when it is not diluted with the correct water ratio. If your carpet contains silk, cotton, or rayon, we strongly recommend soaking up the urine and calling a professional carpet cleaner. 

  1. Grab a few rags or a bunch of paper towels and soak up the urine as quickly as you can from your carpet. Do not use dark rags because the fabric’s dye can transfer to the carpet. When the rag gets soaked, put it in your empty container or a garbage bag and continue blotting with a dry one until you get as much liquid out of the carpet as possible.
  2. Mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water in a small bowl or spray bottle.
  3. Dip a clean sponge into your cleaning solution, squeeze it so it is not dripping wet, and blot the affected carpet area. Start at the outside of the wet spot and work toward the centre to help prevent the stain from spreading out. 
  4. Work it in, blotting meticulously as the solution needs to get deep into the fibres, but try not to saturate the area. Oversoaking your carpet will make it more challenging to dry, and the residual moisture can lead to mould and mildew.
  5. Squeeze the contaminated mixture into your dirty water container, dip the sponge in the cleaning solution and blot again. Repeat a few times.  
  6. Use paper towels or a dry cloth to blot out the cleaning mixture.
  7. Apply a generous amount of clean water onto affected area using a clean sponge to rinse away any vinegar residue. Repeat until you make sure there’s no cleaning solution on the carpet. This step is essential because any remaining acid can deteriorate the carpet fibres. 
  8. Use dry clean rags or paper towels to soak up the residual water. If your rag gets wet, replace it with a dry one and continue blotting the moisture. 
  9. Let the carpet air-dry away from direct sunlight or heat. Don’t be tempted to use a hair dryer for this step, as the high heat can set the stain, making it very difficult to clean. 
  10. To help the carpet more quickly, you can place a rotating fan in the room to enhance the circulation of air in the room. 
  11. Vacuum the area to lift carpet fibres. When cleaning a high-pile carpet, brushing it with a soft bristle brush is a good way to form and style the fibres.

For dried urine stains 

Dealing with pee stains that have set in the carpet fibres takes more time and patience. Dried urine can be difficult to locate; even the slightest spot you fail to clean will eventually start stinking. That is why getting a small UV torch and shining it onto the carpet is good – it will immediately show you all the splashes and spots. After locating all the stains, you can spray them with only water to rehydrate them. Then, follow the same steps as cleaning fresh urine. You may need to repeat each step more times, but it is essentially the same process.

If possible, it’s best to get your rug outside and hose it to rinse out the urine. Image by Freepik

Check also: How To Clean The Bathroom Carpet

Removing a urine stain from your rug

Suppose you are not cleaning a fitted wall-to-wall carpet but a small area rug made from wool or synthetic fibres. In that case, there’s an alternative cleaning method. Bring the carpet outside and rinse the stain with lots of water; you can use a garden hose if you have one. After that, leave the rug to air dry completely before taking it outside. This old-school method is really effective, but only for wool and synthetic rugs, do not attempt it for cotton, silk or viscose carpets. Also, if you are cleaning urine from a rug, it’s wise to check its back because the liquids get deep into the fibres. When professional cleaners deal with urine stains on fitted carpets, they inject syringes with specialised products to battle the odours. Luckily, with smaller rugs, it’s possible to treat both sides.

Read also: Things You Can Do to Keep Your Carpets Clean

Feline urine is notoriously stinky, that is why it’s worth being particularly diligent when treating a cat pee stain on your rug. Image by Freepik

How to get rid of urine odour from your carpet

Whilst vinegar should be sufficient to cut through the odour of the urine on the carpet, the smell may still linger. If that’s the case, you can try some of the following methods:

Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda:

You can prepare a hydrogen peroxide solution if you have a light-coloured carpet. Never use this mixture on dark rugs, as it may bleach them. 

  • Pour 1 cup of water, 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and add 3 tablespoons of baking soda into a spray bottle. Shake well to combine all the ingredients.
  • Spray the mixture onto your carpet, leave for 10 to 20 minutes, then blot with clean water to rinse.
  • Dry the carpet with a clean towel.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to use this recipe on your rug, you can prepare the solution and test it on a small inconspicuous area.

Check also: What Are the Best Ways to Remove Pet Hair Off of Furniture and Carpets

Enzyme cleaner

Enzyme cleaners are great for removing urine stains and smell from clothes. However, when it comes to carpet cleaning, they can be a bit risky to use, which is why you should make sure the enzymatic cleaner won’t damage your rug. Most synthetic carpets can be safely treated with enzyme stain removers, while most natural ones will be damaged if you fail to rinse the spot thoroughly. There is a wide variety of enzymatic cleaners, so when you choose one, strictly follow the instructions on the label. As with all situations where you need to try a new product, we suggest testing on a small inconspicuous spot of the carpet before treating the stain.