Removing Pet Urine Stains From Carpet on the Cheap

by Reader Contributors

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A pet can ruin your carpeting if you don’t know how to properly treat stains. Our frugal readers share their most effective tips for removing pet urine stains from carpet.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
Do any of your readers know how to inexpensively remove pet urine stains from rugs? My poodle has made his “mark” on my off white area rug by urinating on it and I am having trouble getting rid of the stain.

Any suggestions?
Cathy D.

Organic Stain Removal

There are several organic products on the market that completely remove stains and odors. Urine is an organic material and “like dissolves like.” That’s why inorganic chemicals and perfumes never remove the stains and odors. There are many organic products advertised and sold at pet stores; but the most effective one is called Spot Shot and it’s available at Home Depot.

I had a rental property that had many large “pet urine stains”. When I followed the directions and a little scrubbing, you’d never know it was the same carpet.

Peroxide Removes Urine

Your reader should try using peroxide and a little water on a sponge this will get rid of the odor and the stain!

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Remove Urine With Windex

I have found that using spray window cleaner (i.e. Windex) works wonders for removing all kinds of stains from my carpet. (I have 2 cats and a 20 month old son!)

Just spray to soak the stain completely, then blot with paper towel. You may need to use several towels. You may want to test a small area in the corner or someplace less noticeable first.
Leesa of Winnipeg, Manitoba

Incredible Cleaner for Pet Urine Stains

In response to Cathy D. concerning pet urine, I have found a good product called Incredible Cleaner which will take the stain and odor of urine out of carpet. You only use a little so a bottle will last a long time.

If you cannot find this product, a good alternative is diluted white vinegar. Use about 1/4 cup of vinegar to a quart of water. You may have to blot the area several times with this mixture to get rid of the odor and stain.

Detergent and a Shop Vac

I’ve had good luck removing dog urine from carpeting with detergent and my trusty shop vacuum. I’ve tried commercial cleaners, and have had little luck.

I mix a tablespoon of Tide in very hot water and pour it onto the stain, with the shop vacuum already running and in place on the stain. This keeps the liquid from saturating the carpet and works pretty much like the rental steam cleaners do. Vacuum as much of the moisture as possible out of the carpet and ventilate the room well to dry. (I’ve tried cheaper brands of detergent for this, and Tide definitely works best.)

Vinegar for Stain Removal

You can try vinegar. It should lift the odor and it should be able to lift the stain.

She could also try a raw potato for other stains.  A friend told me to take a raw potato – cut in half and rub into the stain. Beats heavy detergents.

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Been There…

We’ve got one dog and two cats who share our house, as well as numerous “foster dogs” who stay until they find a home, as we do volunteer work for a rescue group. We’ve had lots of experience with just this sort of problem. I’ve found that the best formulas for removing urine are as follows:

If the stain is fresh:
First, some sort of blotting – a towel, powder or absorbent applied immediately (Nature’s Miracle makes a granular product that works unbelievably well for this purpose. Don’t use flour or powder, as you will have a mess. I’ve heard diatomaceous earth works well for this, but have not tried it.)

Next, a 50:50 mixture of good old vinegar and water, doused on and blotted, blotted, blotted up. Also, depending on the size of the rug, a simple run under the faucet or hose with plenty of water usually works quite well.

If the stain is not fresh:
There are several options. Laundry detergent designed for baby diapers (such as Dreft) is good to wash out urine if the rug is washable; if not, apply an enzymatic cleaner as mentioned below, and keep the dog away for a week or two (can be done with foil).

Finally, a last resort for us (due to the cost) is Simple Solution Stain & Odor Remover. This will emulsify the stain and make it blottable, wipeable, or extractable, as mentioned below. It got green poop out of our rug, a gift from a foster dog.

Miscellaneous tips:
These products are all pricey if you get them at the pet store. But they are reasonable when you consider the investment you have in your carpet.

If you are fortunate enough to have access to a small, extractor-type carpet cleaner, these work unbelievable wonders for pet stains. We have used all of the above formulas on our wall-to-wall carpet in the extractor and have had success removing diarrhea, urine, throw-up, etc. from off-white carpet.

Most products on the market are excellent for dog urine, but not cat urine. Vinegar and water seems to work best, followed closely by Simple Solution Carpet Shampoo, and then Dreft mixed with water, for cats.

Finally, rubber-backed rugs sometimes attract animals to pee on them. I don’t know why this is, but have found it to be generally true.

Toothpaste Urine Stain Removal

I’ve found that toothpaste (ordinary daily-use toothpaste) gets out some tough stains. I had a white hat once that had an oil stain on it and a little toothpaste and warm water (with an old toothbrush) and the hat’s as white as it ever was.

Dishwashing Liquid and Vinegar

I had a wonderful, well-trained dog, that never soiled the floors, but unfortunately after 3 years, he suddenly developed epilepsy. This caused him to soil the floors often. Someone told us to use about 1 qt. of water, with a squirt of dishwashing liquid, and 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar on the spots where there was urine to prevent odor.

This worked perfectly. After 4 years of doing this, we never had an odor. Of course, you have to get to the spot while it is still wet. IF it dries, I don’t know anything that will take it out.

Reviewed June 2023

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