Pet Odor

Welcome to our everything-pet-odor-removal-page! Here you will find answers to commonly asked questions of how to remove dog urine or pet odors from your carpet. Note: It does not include vinegar and baking soda! As a professional carpet cleaning company, dog urine odors in carpet is so repetitive a service that it seems like Groundhog Day for us. We are continually mediating between the ongoing argument of who’s to blame for pet urine odors: landlord who allowed the pet, tenant who allowed the behavior, previous owner’s pet or  the new owner’s? I have even had a pet owner blame my technician for micturating on her carpet because it just couldn’t have been her puppy. We have truly seen and heard it all.

The Science Behind Pet Urine Odors

Urine contains a substance called uric acid or uric salt. Salt is a natural desiccant, which means it absorbs moisture out of the atmosphere. When a pet urinates on the carpet, the urine goes through the carpet as carpet is only a mesh or net; it cannot hold liquids. The pet urine pools in the padding beneath the carpet and at times can permeate wood or concrete subfloor beneath – not good. As pet urine dries the uric salt remains, which starts to attract moisture, and where there is water there is life.

As the salt attracts moisture it creates a flora of odor causing bacteria that essentially off-gasses ammonia as a by-product. Over time this metropolis of bacteria grows into an odor causing nightmare. I have actually spoke to customers over the phone where their sinuses are so inflamed by pet urine odors that they have finally given up and called us for help. They’ve tried everything including vinegar and baking soda, essential oils, pet urine odor enzyme sprays and cleaners, peroxide, DIY carpet cleaning machines – I mean everything to no avail.

As this metropolis of pet odor causing bacteria grows it needs more moisture to sustain it. This is why you smell dog urine more on rainy days or days of high humidity even in the dead of Winter! That bacteria needs more food and moisture because it is not only surviving, but thriving! Thanks Fido! There is hope, however. There are several methods of removing pet urine odors from your carpet that doesn’t involve gasoline and a match.

How To Remove Pet Urine Odors From Your Carpet For Good

There are several ways to remove dog, cat, kids, drunken friend, even rabbit urine from your carpet. First a comment on reality: You cannot completely remove urine odors from your carpet unless you replace the carpet, pad and seal or replace the subfloor beneath. You can only remove a significant amount of pet urine, enough where you will stop the bacterial funk from further growth while not being able to smell it unless you stick your nose right down into where it was. As you start your journey of fresh air you will need an ultra violet black light to find each urine spot.

Uric salt fluoresces under ultra violet light in a darkened room. When you find a urine spot keep in mind that the urine beneath the carpet mushrooms out, so the urine is likely three times the size of the surface spot. If you have polyester carpet, and you, a previous tenant, owner or anyone recently cleaned the carpet, there is a chance they have cleaned away the evidence making it harder to find the pet urine with a UV light. So do you have polyester carpet?

If you have polyester carpet you’re likely unhappy with its appearance. Polyester carpet (oil-based fibers) tend to lay on their sides like fallen timber. If you have looped carpet, known as berber, it is likely polyester or oil-based carpet. Not always, but we have found that most berber’s are polyester. An easy way to find out if you have oil-based carpet is that stains come right up as the oil and water repel each other. Another telltale sign is that recently cleaned spots reappear a day or two later in a process known as wicking.

Wicking occurs when water evaporates up the shaft of the fiber. The water evaporates but leaves the soil at the tip of the carpet fiber. Fun. Simply wipe the surface with rubbing alcohol if you’re battling wicking stains. If you have polyester carpet and you unknowingly cleaned it, you will likely need to wait days, weeks, maybe even months for the urine in the pad to re-wick back to the surface. Once that occurs, you can likely see it again with the UV blacklight.

Flush Extraction Method to Remove Pet Urine Odors

The first method of pet urine odor removal is the dirty of dirties: Flush Extraction. As I sat in the ER years ago with the doctor shooting saline solution into my gaping gash from weekend-warrior yard work, I asked, “how do you know when it’s clean?” Without hesitation and while continuing to prepare my wound for stitches, he said, “the solution to pollution is dilution.” The flush extraction is simply that, overwhelming the source of the problem (uric salt) with water to dilute it out. You will need either several thick cotton towels or a wet/dry shop vac to extract the water out. Caution: you must remove a significant amount of moisture to avoid mold and mildew growth.

When flushing urine out of your carpet, I recommend having a professional carpet cleaning company do the job as our machines and tools are made for this very task. If you go alone, I recommend using more water to each urine spot than there is urine. I guesstimate that a 20 pound dog’s urine volume is between 8 to 16 ounces depending on the time of day. If so,  you would want to use more water than urine to flush it out. CAUTION: If upstairs, you may not want to give your downstairs ceiling a bath. I recommend using hot water with just a drop or two of liquid dish detergent. You may also wish to make it acidic by adding some distilled vinegar as urine actually becomes alkaline as it dries. The hot water, drop of detergent and dash of distilled vinegar will help turn the salt back into liquid.

When you know for sure your subfloor will hold the moisture for a short amount of time, pour the liquid into the center of the urine spot. Once saturated, using a rubber shoe step on the carpet to further loosen the urine from the carpet and pad. Once done, extract immediately and repeat. If a small job and using a cotton towel(s), fold the towel, lay it over the spot and stand on it to wick the water/urine into it. Repeat until mostly dry. Congratulations! You are now likely covered in pet urine! Your work should pay off, however.

Removing Pet Urine Odors with Enzyme Cleaners

The next cleaner, safer and easier method is using enzymes to digest the pet urine odors in your carpet. Enzymes do one thing, they break down larger compounds to smaller molecules. Our sister company, RAW PreSpray llc sells Ur-OUT Pet Urine Odor Remover to both cleaning professionals and the DIY type, and we also use it at EverClean Carpet Cleaning. Most enzymatic cleaners work simply by applying it to the food source (pet urine). Most pet odor removal enzymes don’t work well because the instructions do not give enough detailed information to properly destroy the odor causing bacteria. Think extinguishing a camp fire with a couple spritzes of water – not gonna happen. The reason most store-bought enzymes don’t work is because the urine odor is in the pad beneath the carpet not on the surface where they instruct you to spray! Do yourself a favor, throw the spritzer in the trash and pour the right amount enzyme on the urine spot.

When purchasing an enzyme, you want to find an enzyme in spore form, which means the enzyme-base (non-harmful bacterial spores) are basically seeds waiting to be activated. While most pet odor enzymes sold on the shelf are already active, dormant formulas are much better as they’re more durable in regards to heat and cold exposure, shelf life and much more potent when activated and ready to use. Ur-OUT is in dormant spore form which requires activation with shower hot water prior to applying to pet urine or other organic matter. Ur-OUT also digest uric salt, the very source of your odor problem. Ur-OUT is also available on Amazon!

How to apply pet urine odor enzymes. You must first locate each urine spot with a UV light. I recommend applying one ounce of enzyme to every two inch urine spot diameter. So if you have a six inch urine stain, I recommend pouring three ounces of enzyme into the center of the urine stain. Then with a rubber shoe press the enzyme through the carpet (mesh) to disperse it evenly in the pad beneath. You want to make sure all areas of urine contamination come into contact with the enzyme. You can improve the enzyme digestion by covering the area with a sheet of plastic to keep the enzyme moist longer. The longer the enzyme stays wet the more effective it will be.

Once you have successfully injected the carpet pad with enzymes it is a waiting game of usually three to seven days for the digestion to reach completion. You may wish to surface clean the area the next day but you’ll want to make sure to leave the enzyme in the pad indefinitely unless the product instructs you otherwise. Most enzymes used in textiles break down the organic matter into smaller, unnoticeable molecules so it is fine to leave the residue in the pad.

Flush Extraction with Enzyme Cleaner Method Together

Now you’re a pet odor busting pro! We have found that next to replacing the carpet and pad, doing both the flush extraction and enzyme method works the best. This is because you will have removed as much uric salt as possible while depopulating the bacterial growth. When you apply the enzyme the enzymes now outnumber the odor causing bacteria, which leads to a more thorough and complete digestion.

 Peroxide Oxygen Pet Odor Removal Method

Just stop there. Yes, peroxide kills odor causing bacteria on contact; however, it doesn’t effect the uric salt. Once you apply oxygen-based pet odor removers to a urine spot, it will likely remove the stain and odors but only for a short time. Remember, the salt is a desiccant therefore it attracts moisture. Peroxide also breaks down into H2O which means you’re giving the soon-to-be bacterial growth a nice, moist habitat with the salt to absorb and attract even more moisture! It’s like Saturday Night Fever!


The science behind this method involves changing the molecular structure and shape of the odor molecule so your olfactory bulb doesn’t recognize it. I’m sure this method works for some, but not me. It’s like plugging your nose in a porta-potty knowing full well you’re breathing the odors. This is like Neo taking the blue pill. This method may need continual application to keep it effective.

There are several other pet urine odor removal techniques including odor encapsulation or fragrance (out smell it – lol!) but we haven’t looked too far into those options as the first two methods seem to do a great job next to replacing it. Some things to remember: If you have nylon carpet, which we hope you do, you will never be able to fully remove the urine stain that appears under the UV light. Nylon carpet fibers wear like a tank, but they’re very porous and completely removing the uric salt lodged inside the fiber is impossible. Luckily you can extract and/or digest enough of the urine where any residue is unnoticeable.

I hope you have enjoyed this page and wish you the best with tackling your pet urine odor problems. If you know of a friend, forum or the like that can use this information, please feel free to share this page’s link.

To fresh, clean air!

Disclaimer: All information within this page and website is for information purposes only. We recommend you contact a professional service technician for all work you are unfamiliar with. We are not responsible for any informational errors or from problems that might arise from information given from this website.