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How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Carpet & Rugs: 5 Practical Options

Jack Russell Terrier is lying on a white carpet near a wet puddle with urine

If you have a dog, you’re bound to eventually end up with urine on your carpet – whether it’s during potty training or when your dog gets older. All dogs have accidents at some point, even if they’re the best dog in this regard.

When an accident does occur, it’s essential to act fast. You want to get the urine out of the carpet quickly before bacteria begin to grow and stink up your house. However, this isn’t always possible. You may not know that your dog had an accident, or you may be unable to clean it all up at once.

Luckily, there are many ways to get the smell out of your carpet and rugs—and most of these are probably more accessible than you think. We’ll look at the most practical and straightforward methods below.

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Prep Work

Before you start using any of the methods we describe below, you need to do some prep work. While you could technically skip some of them, prepping the area appropriately will go a long way to making the cleaning process more effective.

Firstly, if your pet has just had an accident, get some paper towels and blot up as much moisture as you can. Don’t rub, as that will only push the urine deeper into the carpet. Instead, dab it gently to get as much of the liquid as you can, which will go a long way to making the area less smelly.

Secondly, clean the area as much as you can before applying anything. If the stain is old, vacuum up any debris sitting on top of the carpet. This debris will only get in the way of anything you apply to the carpet, making the following methods less effective.

Once the carpet is clean, you can move on with the following cleaning steps.

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The Top 5 Ways to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Carpet & Rugs

1. Use Vinegar

Surprisingly, vinegar can easily remove just about any pee odors. It is just as effective as many commercial cleaners – if not more so. While vinegar may be a bit stinky when you first apply it, the smell usually goes away pretty fast.

To use vinegar, dilute it with water into a spray bottle. You want to dilute the vinegar by about 50%, which means adding half vinegar and half water to the bottle. However, getting the measurements exact isn’t particularly important. You can eyeball it.

Next, spray the solution onto the stain. You want to soak it pretty well, so don’t worry about using too much. Let the vinegar sit on the stain for a minute or two, and then blot up as much of the liquid as you can.

The general wetness of the solution helps you remove the remaining urine, and the vinegar acts as a sterilizing agent to kill any bacteria left behind. This method is quite helpful on old and new stains alike.

Most people will recommend white vinegar, but you can use whatever you have on hand.

white vinegar bottle
Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

2. Baking Soda

You can utilize baking soda to quickly clean up dog urine stains and smells. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and is a great home solution for just about anything smelly.

To use baking soda, you’ll want to remove as much of the dog urine as you can by blotting—just as we suggested in the prep section. Then, pour a thin layer of baking soda over the urine spot. You don’t want a mountain of baking soda, but you want enough to cover the area.

Now, let it sit overnight and then vacuum it up. You will need to restrict access to the stain for pets and children while it is sitting, so we recommend doing it right before you put everyone to bed for the night and vacuuming it up first thing in the morning.

The baking soda and spot should be completely dry when you vacuum.


3. Use Dish Detergent

If you don’t have any pet-specific cleaners, you can use a dish detergent to clean the spot as well. The best thing about these soaps is that they are entirely safe, making them easier to use around dogs and children.

You’ll want to mix the detergent into a small amount of water in a spray bottle. Warm water seems to work best for this method. Shake the mixture up so that it is bubbly, and then spray it onto the solution. You want to soak the area completely.

Next, blot it up with paper towels.

This method also works great when you do it after one of the other methods we’ve mentioned in this list. If you’re worried about stray vinegar lingering around, you can also use dish detergent to help clean it up.

Household detergent
Image Credit: Michael-T, Pixabay

4. Use a Wet Vacuum

Vacuums that can be used on liquids are an excellent option for cleaning up pee smells. Usually, the carpet or rug still smells because it isn’t completely clean. A vacuum is much more potent at extracting liquids and bacteria than a paper towel, so they do a great job of getting everything shiny and clean.

If the spot is still wet, you can just add some vinegar or dish detergent to the spot as described above and run the wet vacuum over it. However, if the spot is already dried, you can rehydrate the urine with warm water and vacuum.

With that said, you don’t have to use a wet vacuum if you don’t have one. All of the other methods we’ve listed will work perfectly well without one.


5. Use an Enzymatic Cleaner

If you want to purchase a commercial cleaner to help you remove the dog’s urine smell, you may want to try an enzymatic cleaner. These cleaners include enzymes that eat the odor-causing bacteria, effectively removing the smell. They tend to be more effective than other options on the market, but they aren’t much more expensive.

Enzymatic cleaners should be available at most pet stores. You can also order them online anywhere that carries pet products. They are pretty widespread, so finding one shouldn’t be difficult.

When using one, be sure to follow the directions on the back of the bottle. Often, you’ll need to allow them to sit for a few minutes to give the enzymes time to work. However, the exact time can vary from cleaner to cleaner.

spraying carpet cleaner on the carpet
Image Credit: Syda Productions, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

We’ve explained five different methods above that can help you remove the dog urine smell from just about any carpet or rug. While many of these methods are adequate, they work very well when used together.

If you want to try adding methods together to increase effectiveness, we recommend making a vinegar, water, and dish detergent mixture first. Mix half vinegar and half water with a bit of dish detergent. Shake it to mix everything thoroughly, and then soak the stain with the solution.

This mixture is quite potent and should help remove any bacteria and dog urine still in the stain.

You can add the baking soda to the stain to help deodorize it when you’re done. Follow the steps under the baking soda method above.

The methods we’ve included above are just as powerful as commercial cleaners. We don’t recommend going out and purchasing a commercial cleaner (like an enzymatic one designed for dogs) until you’ve tried using some of the at-home cleaners we’ve described above. Often, they’ll work just as well and help save you a bit of money in the process.

Related Read: How To Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Concrete: 5 Practical Options


Featured Image Credit: Bonsales, Shutterstock

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