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No matter how well trained your dog is, and how diligently you keep to your potty-break schedule, sometimes pee happens. Whether on the carpet, hardwood floor, or anywhere else, prompt action is the best way to make sure that dog urine won’t leave a lasting impression (and smell). And even if you come upon a dried urine puddle or stain, there are still things you can do to remove the smell.

New Urine Stains on Carpet or Fabric

Your dog just peed on the carpet. Now what? Luckily, you probably have the cleaning tools for the job right at hand. Place a thick layer of paper towels over the wet spot, and, if possible, under it, as well. Cover that with a thick layer of newspaper. You can stand on the paper for a few minutes to help it absorb the urine more quickly, or just leave the paper until most of the urine is soaked up. Then remove all the paper and rinse the area with cool water. Blot up all the water, either with towels or a wet vac. Fair warning: the soggy towels are probably going to stink, which is a good thing, because it means you’re drawing out as much of the urine and its odor as possible.

Once you have most of the liquid blotted up, the next step is to remove the odor. And for this, a common household item is your best weapon: baking soda. Spread baking soda thinly and evenly across the damp spot, being careful not to overdo it; about 1/4 cup or less is enough for most stains. Let the baking soda sit overnight, and then vacuum thoroughly. You may have to go over the area several times to vacuum up all the powder, until the area feels clean to the touch.

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Another method adds one more household staple, vinegar. In a clean spray bottle, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar with one cup of water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Shake it up to mix the ingredients, and then spray on the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then blot with towels until clean.

Dried Dog Urine on Fabric and Carpets

Suppose you didn’t notice an accident spot until it’s dried out? Or, you just moved into a new place to discover that the living room carpet smells of dog urine? While it’s harder to remove the smell from dried stains, there are several effective methods to try.

Start by rinsing the area thoroughly with plain water. Use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner and keep saturating and vacuuming the area until clean. Do not use a steam cleaner, since the heat will set the odor and the stain permanently. If you don’t own a wet-dry vacuum, you can try wetting and blotting the spot repeatedly, using warm water and clean towels.

If this doesn’t get the smell out, use an enzymatic cleanser. These bio-based cleansers work on a molecular level to break down and remove odors and stains. Be sure to choose an enzyme-based cleanser made specifically for pet stains.

Labrador Retriever puppy with urine puddle on carpet

New Urine Stains on Hardwood

You dog just took a piddle on your hardwood floor. Don’t stand there wringing your hands; you need to act fast. Place a thick wad of paper towels or dish towels on the puddle. Your can stand on the towels for a few minutes to speed up absorption. Continue using fresh towels to soak up the urine, until a towel comes up dry.

Removing Odor From Hardwood

It’s difficult to remove odors from hardwood floors because urine can saturate the wood. However, you have a few methods to try. The first is similar to what you’d use on carpet. Mix a one-to-one solution of white vinegar and water. Using a sponge, rub the solution onto the stain. Let it sit for 5-to-10 minutes, and then wipe it up with a clean, dry towel. Some experts advise using a more diluted formulation of 1/2-cup vinegar to one gallon of warm water. If you’re nervous about the effects of vinegar on your floors, try this more diluted version. Either way, test the solution on a small inconspicuous section of floor first.

If the odor lingers, sprinkle baking soda on the floor while it’s still damp, and let it sit for at least several hours or overnight. Then vacuum it up with the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. As a final step, use an enzyme-based stain remover that’s safe for hardwood floors. Test it in a small area first, and then follow directions on the product’s package. When the urine and its odor are completely removed, clean the floor with whatever you usually use on it.

Regardless of what your dog has piddled on, your best course of action is to act fast. The sooner you get to it, the more likely you’ll be able to remove all traces of urine odor. Aside form wanting your home to smell fresh and clean, you don’t want to leave any lingering traces of his accident for your dog to find, since he may then decide this is his new favorite spot to pee.

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