It's no secret that accidents happen. However, it's important to remove even small urine stains as soon as possible to reduce lingering odor and discoloration. The longer acidic urine is in contact with fabrics and fibers, the harder it is to remove.
The following instructions pertain to human urine. If you have pets, whose urine can be more pungent and challenging to erase, it is best to follow specific procedures for removing pet stains, which may involve similar cleaners but slightly different steps.
|Stain type||Organic protein|
|Detergent type||Heavy-duty laundry detergent or enzyme-based stain remover|
|Water temperature||Warm to hot|
|Cycle type||Varies by type of fabric|
Before You Begin
If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, put on a pair of disposable gloves and blot the stained area with a dry white paper towel until the moisture is removed. Sponge the stain with a clean damp white cloth and then blot to dry. Do not use a colored cloth because the dye can transfer to the carpet or fabric, which creates a new problem. Do not add additional water if the fabric is silk, because the stain could grow bigger and be harder for the dry cleaner to remove.
Even if the area looks clean, head to the dry cleaner to point out and identify the stain. The urine can leave acids in the fabric that will affect the fibers with time. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.
When treating urine stains on upholstery, if the fabric is vintage or silk, remove any solids and blot up moisture, then contact an upholstery cleaning specialist.
Equipment / Tools
- Large plastic tub
- Washing machine or large sink
- Soft-bristled brush
- Small bowl or bucket
- Heavy bowl or platter
- Fan (optional)
- Paper towels or old white cloths
- Baking soda
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent
- Laundry disinfectant
- Oxygen-based bleach
- Distilled white vinegar
- Dishwashing liquid
How to Remove Urine From Washable Fabrics
Presoak If Necessary
If you can't treat diapers, bed sheets, or any type of washable clothing right away, fill a large plastic container or the washer with cold water and allow the stained items to soak until they can be properly washed. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to help reduce and remove the odor.
Work quickly to remove the urine. Never allow urine-soaked fabrics to accumulate because they can cause mildew.
Select Water Temperature and Washing Supplies
When it is time to wash away urine stains, use the hottest water recommended for the fabric. Add 1 cup of baking soda to your usual heavy-duty detergent and the wash water.
Remove Set-In Urine Stains
If the urine stain is dried or old, soak the fabric in a solution of cool water and oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean, Clorox 2 for Colors, or OXO Brite. Follow the directions on the package on how to mix the solution. After presoaking for at least 30 minutes, launder in warm—not hot—water with your regular detergent.
If the stain remains, mix a new solution of oxygen-based bleach and water and soak overnight, then wash again. This will remove any discoloration, but oxygen bleach does not disinfect fabrics.
Inspect and Dry the Fabric
After washing urine-stained items, check that the stain is completely removed before tossing the item in the dryer. The high heat from the dryer can set the stain, making it much more difficult to remove. If the stain is still there, repeat the steps.
How to Remove Urine Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
Blot Away Urine
Soak up the urine as quickly as possible from the carpet or upholstery with white paper towels or an old white cloth. Again, do not use a colored cloth because the dye can transfer to the carpet or fabric.
Mix the Cleaning Solution
In a small bowl or bucket, create a solution of 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid.
Treat the Stain
Dip a clean white cloth or soft-bristled brush into the cleaning solution and apply it to the urine-stained carpet or fabric. Start at the outside of the wet stain and work toward the center to help prevent the stain from becoming larger. Work it in, because the solution needs to get deep into the fibers, but try not to saturate the area.
Avoid saturating the fabric and the interior cushion with the cleaning solution or it can lead to mold and mildew.
Blot and Rinse
Use a dry white paper towel or cloth to blot away the soapy mixture. Next, apply a generous amount of plain water to the stain with a clean sponge to rinse away any residue.
Rinsing thoroughly is important because any remaining soap can attract soil.
Absorb Residual Moisture
When most of the soapy solution seems to be gone, place several layers of paper towels on the stain and weigh them down with a heavy bowl or platter. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes and then discard the towels. Repeat if needed.
Air-Dry and Vacuum
Allow the carpet to air-dry away from direct sunlight or heat. Vacuum well to lift carpet fibers.
To help the carpet or fabric dry more quickly, use a rotating fan to circulate air and remove the cushion from the furniture, if possible.
Although vinegar should be enough to cut through the odor of the urine on carpet, the smell may continue to linger. If that's the case and you have a light colored carpet, you can try a mixture that includes hydrogen peroxide. Do not put hydrogen peroxide on dark carpets, or it may bleach out some of the color. Mix a solution of 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, and a few drops of dish detergent in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the carpet, leave for up to 20 minutes, then blot with clean water to rinse.