Cleaning Pet Urine

Cleaning maven Heloise, the long-time syndicated columnist and television personality, writes that the #1 question she gets about pets involves a certain liquid and the problem it causes. Pet urine stains. 

When puppies and kittens miss the mark, or older pets act up by urinating on the leg of your favorite chair, what’s a pet lover to do?! Urine is a big problem for pet owners at some point. It can cause long-lasting odor and permanent stains. Not only is this the number one pet problem that people write Heloise about, it ranks in her top 10 of all time for “Ask Heloise” columns.

Sometimes, urination outside the litter box or inside the house is a sign of illness. At other times, it’s a behavior that stems from something in the pet’s environment. But before you find out the root of this behavior, you’ll need to act fast to prevent damage to your belongings.

Heloise says that clean-up involves speed, lots of absorbent towels and several steps. Here's how to remove pet urine stains from carpet.

  1. Get the urine up:
    1. Soak it up and dry it out, fast. Use dry paper towels or dry absorbent cloths to get up as much of the urine up as possible. Keep at it until it’s as dry as it can be.
    2. Use a cleaner, but don’t get the area too wet. You can find pet stain cleaners with enzymes in most grocery stores. Heloise also offers a home “recipe”:  mix 1 teaspoon mild liquid dish-washing detergent with 8 ounces of tap water that’s at room temperature. Use a clean, absorbent cloth or sponge to blot or dab, beginning with the outside edge of the stain, working towards the middle.
    3. Rinse (don’t soak) with clean water and blot again with a clean towel.
  2. Remove the soap and deodorize. Heloise recommends the “vinegar solution”: mix one ounce of white vinegar with 8 ounces of water. Rinse the area again and blot dry.
  3. Dry it all out:
    1. Place a clean towel over the area to pick up any remaining moisture.
    2. After 24 hours or so, sprinkle a wide area with baking soda or a rug deodorizer. Vacuum after a few hours.

Heloise also notes that if the furniture or carpet is really wet, you might have to do more work to get it all out. See more tips from Heloise’s column in Good Housekeeping. Also check out her top 10 cleaning tips.

What have you found works best for urine stains? Share your ideas in the comments.

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