How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Carpet

How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Carpet

A time-consuming and smelly rite of passage for every pet owner, especially dog owners, is the housetraining process.

It takes time, training, and patience to teach a dog to not urinate on carpets. And in the meantime, your carpets, and the olfactory senses of everyone in your home, will suffer.

The longer that dog urine stains stay on a carpet, the worse they will smell.

And your wallet can take a hit because of it.

The average carpet cleaning service will cost $70 per room or $600 for full service.

If the dog urine soaks through down to the underpadding and the floorboards, you may have to replace the flooring. The porous wood and naturally present bacteria will augment the ammoniated dog-urine smell along with the carpet.

Here are tips on how to remove pungent dog urine smells from your carpet. 

But first, a primer on why dog urine is so hard to eliminate from carpets.

If you need advice training your pet, or a source for pet toys and treats, check out Runball today.

Related: Why Does My Dog Cry When he Plays With Squeaky Toys?

Why Are Dog Urine Smells so Pungent and Hard to Eliminate on Carpets?

Dog looking off-screen and standing near food bowl.

To better appreciate the scope of the task before you, then you should understand when dog pee smell in carpets is so challenging to eliminate. Apologies if you feel transported back to high school science class, but if you don't understand the problem, then you'll never find a solution.

Dog urine is a pungent mix of bacteria, hormones, ammonia, and uric acid. 

Ammonia is one of the main reasons dog urine smells so bad, but hardly the only one. The ammonia in dog urine becomes ever progressively concentrated with time the longer it is left uncleaned.

The ammonia in dog urine will naturally convert into a bad-smelling gas called mercaptan on a microbial level. Mercaptan is also called methanethiol. It is mercaptan that gives ammoniated dog urine its obscenely pungent smell.

Additionally, uncleaned urine soaking and drying in any environment, especially in carpets, attract odor-causing bacteria. Bacteria in the environment feed on the urine, create sulfides and ammonia, and make the naturally unpleasant odor of urine worse over time.

If your dog pees on the same spot often, and if the urine soaks down to the padding under the carpet, the smell and problem will just progressively get worse.

So, before we get started, here is a list of what you will need to start cleaning.

Carpet Cleaning Checklist 

To get started eliminating dog pee smells from your carpet, you will need:

  • Heavy-duty sponges and rags
  • Thick paper towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • A toothbrush or small scrubbing brush
  • Distilled white vinegar (regular vinegar is fine too)
  • Baking soda
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • Dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Vacuum cleaner

You should have all of these products on hand in your home. If not, they are cheap to buy. Depending on the severity of the stain problems, you may not have to use them all.

Safety Tips: Only use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in separate succession as cleaning agents. Never mix these two ingredients together. 

Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar can turn into a caustic and corrosive substance when mixed. You could destroy your carpet and harm your pet.

Never use chlorine-based bleach to clean stains on your carpet if you have a pet. Chlorine-based bleach is highly toxic to dogs. 

Always use oxygen-based bleach cleaning products in your home to protect your pet.

And never, ever use ammonia to clean up dog urine stains. As previously mentioned, the main component in dog urine is ammonia. 

Using ammonia to clean up dog urine will only compound the smell. 

Remember to wear rubber gloves throughout the entire process.

Additionally, some of these cleaning treatments may require multiple applications. You may want to mark off some areas to know you are constantly working on the same spot.

Now, let's get started.

Find Every Urine Spot

The worst thing to do is just assume only one dried dog urine spot exists on your carpet. Your dog may urinate in multiple locations on the carpet around the house. Or there may be unnoticed and newer urine spots you don't know about.

Close the doors and windows and use your sense of smell to find all possible dog urine stain sites on the carpet. You should also be able to spot them visually.

You can also use UV lights or backlights to help in the search. Close the curtains or search after dusk. Dog urine stains will appear discolored against the carpet's natural color under the lights of UV or backlights. 

The point is that if you don't find every potential dog urine spot, you're wasting your time while the smell will intensify.

Dry if Necessary 

If the dog's urine stain is new and wet, put on rubber gloves and use paper towels to soak up as much of it as possible. Place several paper towels on the wet spot and step on it if needed. 

If the stain is wet, you must remove as much urine as possible before you start cleaning. Otherwise, you may create a diluted mess that will still smell.

White Vinegar Soaking

Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water in a cup. The quantity of this solution will be proportional to the severity of your carpet staining problems.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the stain, or multiple stains, until the mixture is soaked into the carpet fibers. Let it sit for two hours. Use several paper towel sheets to soak up the vinegar and dry the area. Use clean towels or rags if you must and get the area dry.

Then, repeat the vinegar soaking. And then let it soak for 24-hours. After that, dry the spot, soak it again, and then dry it. 

The acidic properties of vinegar are a natural neutralizing agent against foul odors. But it takes time and patience to neutralize odors in the fibrous, dense materials in carpets.

And if the urine is soaked through to the carpet's underpadding, it will take time and several applications for vinegar to work.

Baking Soda

Generously apply baking soda to all vinegar-treated spots. Ensure the baking soda penetrates deep down to the padding to maximize the baking soda's odor-absorbing qualities.

Let the baking soda sit for 24-hours, and then vacuum it up.

That should eliminate the odors. But if not, here is one more trick.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Dishwashing Liquid

Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide with dishwashing liquid, or laundry detergent, and water. Pour it on the urine stain. Gently brush it in with a toothbrush or small scrubbing brush.

Repeat several times, clean with water, and then thoroughly dry the spot. Generously sprinkle baking soda over the cleaned areas. Let the baking soda sit for 24-hours, then vacuum it up.


Dog laying on dog mattress near two plants as it adoringly looks across room

If all of those cleaning methods fail, you will need to hire a professional cleaning crew or get new carpeting.

You may need to invest in obedience training for your dog. Or you could start buying dog pee pads.

But try the natural cleaning methods a few times before you give up all hope.

Do you need dog toys to train and distract your pet? Check out Runball today.

Related: Dog Not Sharing Toys? Here's How to Train a Dog to Share Toys