Cats and dogs are wonderful—so wonderful that we spend countless time and money on feeding, brushing, bathing, medicating, entertaining, training, and exercising them, for the privilege of living beside us in our comfortable homes.
So when they repeatedly pee all over our carpet and make it smell like a filthy toilet, we might wonder why we didn’t get a goldfish.
Thankfully, if you’re wondering how to remove pet odor from carpet, you’ve struck gold. Read on to find out how to vanquish the rancid odors that our pets release into our carpets.
Removing pet odor yourself is simple enough, but may need to be repeated multiple times to be effective. Here’s how you can remove pet odor without the help of a professional.
1. Shoo your pets, and block off the area
While scrubbing your carpet, the last thing you want is for your pet to be creating fresh stains behind you, so make sure they can’t get into the area that you’re cleaning. If necessary, you might need to temporarily lock them away.
2. Soak up excess urine
If there’s areas on the carpet that are still damp, soak up the excess urine with a paper towel. Extracting as much urine as possible is the most important thing to do, so even if you’re dabbing away for 10 minutes at a single spot, it’s worth it. Push down hard to reach the deeper layers of the carpet, unless your paper towel is absent of wet spots. You’ll be surprised by how much you can extract.
As a side note—if your pet has fresh accidents after you’ve cleaned, extracting as much urine as possible from the carpet is the most effective way to eliminate the noxious odor.
3. Vacuum thoroughly
A dirt-free carpet will allow you to clean the smelly areas more effectively, so give it a thorough vacuuming. For best results, vacuum it twice.
4. Identify soiled areas
If your pet has soiled your beautiful carpet once, they’ve probably done it multiple times, and in various spots. Unless you have an exceptional memory, you’re unlikely to remember exactly where the accidents occurred, which is necessary to remove the smell.
Unpleasant as it is, one of the best ways to identify soiled areas is to get down on your knees and have a good sniff. If you live with other people, it might be best to do this after everyone has gone out, to prevent being turned into a weird carpet-sniffing meme. Another effective way to identify urine is with a blacklight, if you happen to have one.
When you identify soiled areas, mark them with an object such as a coin, shoe, or anything else at hand.
5. Apply the pet carpet cleaner of your choosing
There’s two common pet urine carpet cleaner products you can use, depending on your preference: baking soda, or a pet odor neutraliser. Don’t use smell-strong solutions like vinegar or ammonia—using ammonia on carpet pet stains is an invitation for your pet to empty its bladder all over it again, as it tries to cover the smell with its own.
Liberally sprinkle the baking soda over the soiled areas, making sure not to skimp on the amount. You might need to use more than one box, and it’s better to use fresh baking soda, if possible. If you find that the baking soda is clumpy, it can help to apply it using a large shaker1.
Once applied, use a dry brush or sponge to scrub the baking soda into the carpet. Apply a lot of pressure to push the baking soda as deep as possible. If your carpet is expensive, and you’re worried about ruining its texture, you can use a soft cloth instead.
When you’ve finished scrubbing, and are satisfied that the baking soda is covering the entire area, let it sit for 24 hours, and then vacuum it away.
If the smell remains, try repeating the process, as you might cover areas that you missed previously.
Pet odor neutraliser
Pet odor neutraliser uses enzymes to break down the molecular bonds of urine, which eliminates the smell. When applying the product to your carpet, it’s best to follow the instructions on the label, but usually, you’ll need to spray a generous amount into the soiled areas, let it stand for an hour or two, and then remove any excess liquid with paper towel.
Some products will be better than others, so do a little research by googling “best carpet cleaner for pet urine smell,” to find an effective solution.
Hire a professional carpet cleaner
If you’ve tried to clean the carpet yourself but can still smell the urine, hiring a professional carpet cleaner might do the trick, as they’ll have the experience and specialist products needed for the job.
When contacting a professional, you might want to explain the reason for the carpet clean, and confirm whether they have the equipment for the job.
Replace the carpet and underlay
If you’ve hired a professional, and even they can’t remove the urine smell from your carpet, the last resort is to replace it. Unfortunately, urine can soak through to the underlay, which might need to be replaced too.
Pet urine odor can be difficult to eliminate, but with these tips, you should be able to remove most of the smell from your carpet, leaving your house smelling fresh and clean.