How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of a Couch: 5 Practical Options
Even the most well-trained dog can have the occasional mishap on the floor, carpet, or worst of all—upholstered furniture. We accept that accidents can happen, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you have to pull dog pee from the couch.
Absorbent sofa cushion fabric and underlying foam readily suck up dog pee, and its potent aroma can last for days, weeks, or even years. Sometimes, it can feel like a never-ending chore of cleaning and re-cleaning your sofa, only for the smell to inevitably emerge again later.
If you’re ready to get rid of the stench but not the sofa, we’ll show you how to get dog urine out of couch cushions with five practical solutions.
Before You Begin: Check the Fabric Care Instructions
Before attempting these cleaning methods, you need to check the care instruction tag on your sofa. If you have a stationary sofa, you can often find the care tag on the sofa cushion or underneath one of the cushions on the sofa’s platform. A reclining sofa will usually have it on the underside of one of the reclining footrests.
The sofa tag will usually have one of four cleaning codes for the fabric—W, S, W/S, or X. These codes indicate the proper cleaning method to prevent damage.
- W: Water-based cleaner
- S: Solvent-based cleaner (dry-cleaning solution or alcohol)
- W/S: Either water-based or solvent-based cleaner will work
- X: Neither cleaner will work; talk to a professional cleaner
Synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon generally use water-based cleaners, while organic materials like cotton, wool, and linen require dry-cleaning solvents or professional treatment. Failing to use the correct cleaning method could cause the fabric to stain, shrink, or warp.
Before You Begin: Soak Up Wet Pee From the Cushion
No matter what kind of material you have or the cleaning method you prefer, always start cleaning dog pee from the sofa by drying as much of it as possible.
Fresh pee can take some time to soak through the material and into the foam core underneath. Once it does, the process of removing the pee smell becomes far more challenging. Blotting it up as soon as possible will make cleaning much faster and buy you some time if you have to run to the store for cleaning supplies.
Remove Cushion Covers
If you have removable cushion covers, it’s easier to dry and clean them by taking them off. You’ll need to press into the material to soak up all of the pee, so taking the cover off and drying it separately will prevent liquid from spreading to the foam core underneath.
Use a dry microfiber cloth or paper towels and press as hard as possible into the fabric to soak up as much pee as possible. Lay it down on a piece of cardboard and step down on it to apply as much pressure as you can.
Alternatively, you can use a wet/dry vac to suck out the urine. Try this technique if you have a soaked cloth cushion without a removable cover.
After blotting up as much as possible, use these methods to clean any lingering pee.
The 5 Ways to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of a Couch
1. Enzymatic Cleaner
Enzyme cleaners are the most effective products for eliminating wet or dried dog urine from carpet, hardwood, fabric, and more. Uric acid crystals and odor-producing waste bond tightly to fabric fibers when they dry, and ordinary water and soap treatments aren’t enough to dissolve and lift them. You may mask the smell for a while with fragrance, but it will come back eventually.
An enzyme or bio-enzymatic cleaner introduces enzymes and bacteria that break down and devour these organic substances, allowing them to evaporate harmlessly into the air. Look for products such as Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator or Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator. These formulas are safe for use on most fabrics and penetrate deep to dissolve any leftover dog urine.
Follow these steps when using an enzyme cleaner to remove dog pee from your sofa:
- Spot test the cleaner in a hidden area and let it dry to ensure it won’t damage the fabric.
- Spray the stained area until it is well-saturated.
- Let the cleaner sit for 15–20 minutes. Follow the bottle’s instructions for the exact wait time.
- Dry as much liquid as possible by blotting the spray with a clean, white cloth, which will prevent any color transfer from the cloth to the fabric.
- Allow it to air dry.
It can take a few days to dry completely, so you may want to cover the spot to prevent people or pets from using it. If possible, place the cushion outside to air dry in the sun, which will help to not only dry it faster but remove odor as well.
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2. Vinegar and Baking Soda (“W”)
If you don’t have an enzyme cleaner, or you prefer an all-natural DIY concoction, you can leverage the acidity of the vinegar and the odor-neutralizing and absorbent qualities of the baking soda in an effective cleaning tandem. The acetic acid in vinegar breaks down the urine crystals in the fabric. Meanwhile, the baking soda’s alkalinity negates the acidity in the odor to create a pH-balanced, odor-free gas.
- Fill a spray bottle with ½ distilled white vinegar and ½ warm water. Shake well to mix.
- Spot test the spray on an inconspicuous area and allow it to dry.
- Spray the stain liberally with the solution.
- Work the spray into the fabric with a clean cloth or soft-bristled brush, moving from the outer edge to the center of the stain to prevent it from spreading.
- Pour enough baking soda on the stain to cover it completely.
- Let the baking soda sit for several hours or overnight to absorb the moisture.
- Use a shop vac to vacuum the baking soda when the cushion is dry.
You can also add a few drops of fragrant essential oils to the baking soda. It does not affect the performance of the vinegar or baking soda, but it can give off a temporary pleasant scent to mask the smell of urine or vinegar as it cleans.
You may see the fabric fizz a little when the baking soda hits the vinegar spray. Fizzing is normal, and it helps lift particles from the fabric, making it easier to clean.
3. Vinegar and Dish Soap (“W”)
Vinegar and dish soap can make another useful combination for removing dog urine, with the acetic acid breaking down urine compounds and the dish liquid lifting them away.
- Mix 2 cups of cold water, 1 tablespoon of dish liquid, and 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake gently to mix.
- Spot test on an inconspicuous area and allow it to dry.
- Spray the cleaner on the stain until it is well-saturated.
- Work the cleaner into the fabric with a clean, white cloth or soft-bristled brush. Start at the outer edge and work toward the center of the stain.
- Rinse the sudsy cleaner with a clean, damp cloth. You may need to go over it several times to remove all of the soap.
- Blot up as much moisture as possible with a clean rag or paper towels. Allow the fabric to air dry in the sun if you can.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, and Dish Soap (“W”)
If you’re dealing with an old, dried dog pee stain on your couch, you can try hydrogen peroxide and dish soap to remove it.
- Mix ½ cup hydrogen peroxide, 1 ½ tablespoons of baking soda, and 1–2 drops of mild dish soap in a spray bottle with the top off. The solution will fizz and settle as the baking soda dissolves.
- Spot test the solution in an inconspicuous area and allow it to dry.
- Spray the stain until it is well-saturated.
- Let the solution sit for at least 1 hour on the stain. The stain should fade as it dries.
- Repeat steps 3–4 if the stain is not gone after the first attempt.
- When the stain is gone, rinse the area with a damp cloth.
5. Alcohol (“S” Cleaning Code)
Water-based solutions like the aforementioned DIY cleaners will work on most sofa materials. But if you have an “S” cleaning code on your furniture, you’ll need to resort to dry-cleaning chemicals or alcohol to prevent damage.
Follow these steps to clean dog urine with alcohol:
- Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol or plain vodka.
- Spot test the spray in an inconspicuous area and allow it to dry.
- Spray the stain with the alcohol until it is well-saturated.
- Work the alcohol into the spot with a clean, white cloth or soft-bristled brush, moving from the outer edge to the center of the stain.
- Blot the alcohol up with a cloth and allow it to air out until it is completely dry.
Can You Wash the Cushion Foam Cores?
Removing the couch cushion cover is the best way to eliminate pet urine because it will keep the batting and foam core dry and urine-free during the cleaning process. But if the urine has been sitting for a while, it may have sunk through the fabric. Even if you get it out of the cover, the smell can still permeate from the foam and fill up the room.
To remove dog pee from the cushion core, take off the cover and follow these cleaning steps:
- Place the cushion core in your bathtub.
- Fill the tub with water until the cushion is soaked. Make sure the polyester fiber batting and foam layers do not separate or shift while you clean.
- Add mild dish liquid to the tub and work it into the foam core. Use your hands to press and work the sudsy mixture deep into the foam.
- Drain the tub and rinse the soap from the foam and polyester batting. Rinse and squeeze the foam repeatedly until you remove all of the soap.
- Use a clean towel to pat the foam core dry. Squeeze hard to force out as much water as possible.
- Put the foam core outside and let it air dry in the sun. If you can’t put it outside, lean it on an open back chair with a towel underneath it, open the windows, and turn on a fan to circulate the air.
For more odor-killing power, you can also try spraying and soaking the foam core with white vinegar before washing it. The vinegar can help break down the urine, and as it evaporates, its scent will dissipate.
Whether your dog had an accident or not, you should clean your sofa at least once a year. Regular care will keep your upholstery looking fresh and bright, and it will prevent growing layers of dirt from seeping into the cushion core. That is crucial if you want to keep your foam from wearing down prematurely.
An annual deep clean can do wonders for your couch, but when your dog has an unfortunate accident, standard soap and water won’t be enough to undo the damage. Pay attention to your sofa’s care instructions and follow these five practical suggestions on how to get dog urine out of couch cushions, and you’ll keep your sofa in pristine condition for the long term!
Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock