Whole House Smells Like Dog Urine! — What To Do?

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

When a house smells like dog urine, it can be difficult to live in — even for a doglover! Most people go to extraordinary lengths to keep their homes clean. But throw in the ammonia-rich smell that wafts from canine urine, and things get unbearable.

Dog urine is a notoriously tough odor to get rid of. Mopping it up with common cleaning products will not do the trick. Next, we will get into why this is and more:

What Not to Clean Up Dog Pee With

We have a whole section on the chemicals right for cleaning up this mess. But before we venture there, let’s cover what you shouldn’t use:

  • Bleach is for disinfecting. Expecting it to get rid of dog pee smell magically gets you nothing. What’s more, bleach is harmful when breathed in — not just for you but also for your pets. Wiping leather or wood surfaces with bleach can ruin them. In other words, NO BLEACH!
  • Next up is ammonia. You can’t get rid of an ammonia-like smell with ammonia. It won’t work.

So, those two commonly-used chemicals are out. Then what do you do? You begin by finding the source of that offending aroma.

Use a Blacklight to Zero In

First off, you’ll need to zero in on the spot that’s giving off those noxious vapors. Luckily, we do have the perfect tool for this job, a UV blacklight.

The UV light will also reveal all stains and traces that you might have missed before. Just remember that the light only works if the room is completely dark. How will you recognize the culprit? It will stand out, looking like a shiny mark. Go over the following areas to ensure you aren’t missing any stains:

  • Floors
  • Carpets
  • Mattresses
  • Walls
  • Sofas

Now that you know the where of it, you should move on to the cleaning part.

Control Odor

Go With a Strong Mixture of Easily-Available Ingredients

Grab a bottle of peroxide and dole out 8 fl. oz. of it in a bowl. Then mix in 3 tbsp of baking soda—next, tip in a few drops of your dish detergent. Mix and pour into a spray bottle. Now you have an effective weapon against the strongest smelling canine pee puddles.

Go to the spot that the UV light helped you located. Spray it and let the mixture do its job for 10-20 minutes. After that brush or rub that part down.

Opt for an Enzyme Cleaner

Aside from making your house smell like dog pee, there is another reason to get rid of these messes. Not dealing with them encourages your dog to keep on doing their business there!

If the peroxide recipe above doesn’t work, try a natural enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners are pet-safe, unlike bleach and other synthetic chemicals, and they work on the bacteria that are causing the bad smell.

Apply the enzyme cleaner and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then soak it up using a paper towel. If the first time doesn’t take away the smell completely, repeat this process more than once.

Settle On White Vinegar

Vinegar is weakly acidic. Dog pee is alkaline and smells like ammonia. Since acids and alkalis mix to form neutral liquids, white vinegar can neutralize the urine scent. So, here’s how to use the vinegar when your house smells like dog pee:

  • First, mix in vinegar and water in equal amounts.
  • Then soak some paper towels into that mixture.
  • Use those napkins to saturate the pee stain.
  • Now, pick a tooth/carpet brush and work it into the stain some more.
  • Allow the vinegar to neutralize the stain for 10 minutes.
  • Use more paper towels to soak any liquid left behind.

The process might require repeating to be effective.

Innovate with an Essential Oil Spray

Often, dog-owners prefer a natural cleaning solution to a synthetic one. In that case, you can make an essential-oils based cleaner. It will work on both the carpets and the floors.

To make it, mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle:

  • A tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp orange essential oil
  • A tsp vinegar
  • 5 oz. of hydrogen peroxide

Direct the working nozzle over any affected areas. Allow the mixture to set until its all dry. Then clean any visible powdery remnants with your vacuum cleaner. Re-apply the concoction if you think it didn’t banish the odor completely away.

You have controlled the spot responsible for spreading the noxious smell. What do you do next? Rent a carpet — and not steam — cleaner, of course!

Finishing Up the Cleaning

Any set-in pet stains on rugs or the carpeting won’t completely go away without this additional step. After applying and clearing up the spray mixture, get the carpet cleaner. Contact a hardware store or the local grocery to get one. If they don’t have it, hire professional carpet cleaners to do it for you.

We’d also suggest purchasing this appliance if you deal with pet accidents as a regular part of your life. Some of them will provide you with hands-free stain and spot removal — which can be extremely handy!

Remember, the sooner that stain is gone, the lesser time the carpet’s fibers or your floors will have to absorb it. Because if it sets in, it will make your house smell like dog pee.

After you’ve cleaned the carpets and floors, find the other sources that could be allowing the odor to spread and remain.

Unclog those Air Filters & Let in Fresh Air with Purifiers

These filters allow your heating and cooling systems to breathe. Such ventilation can improve the efficiency of said systems. However, they can become clogged. And when that happens, your pet-odor problem can get worse.

It’s pretty easy to change an air filter — and there’s a video below if you aren’t familiar with home improvement. In any case, you start by taking the old filter out. Visit the local hardware store and take it with you. That way, you’d get the correct replacement filter.

Be gentle when removing old filters, or they will rain dust and debris on your floor. Keep a garbage bag close by, so you can deposit the thing in it directly. Then pop in the new one — and you’re done!

Your next step must be to invest in an air purifier that’s designed specifically for pet odor removal. Choose a high-quality brand, which will also remove bacteria and fungi. Those two can reduce air quality further.

Most importantly, get ready for the next step:

Preventing Future Accidents

Now that you’ve got the smell and stains under control, it is time to prepare for any future pee-related incidents. After all, you wouldn’t want to walk into your home and find that it smells like dog pee again. Would you?

Usually, your pooch will return to the crime scene. That’s because even after you scrub the stain away and purify the air, your dog can still find its scent. You should prevent them from taking the same spot for yet another spin.

Take action by:

  1. Clean the area thoroughly.
  2. Cover it over with a rug or furniture.
  3. Train your canine companion to take their business outside.
  4. If training isn’t doing it, get them to the vet for a checkup.

Questions

Can I get sick by smelling dog pee?

Even though the odor won’t seriously harm you, it can make you feel sick to your stomach. Additionally, you could also begin to have breathing issues if it persists in the air for extended periods. You’ll recognize it as a burning sensation in your lungs. And while adults might not have it too bad, kids and babies will find the odor bothersome.

In any case, like human waste, dog pee also carries bacteria in it. Why take the chance and let it invade the atmosphere at home?

If I don’t clean the puddles immediately, for how long could my house smell like dog pee?

If allowed to remain as is, it can take up to five years for urine to off-gas on its own. Moreover, the longer it sits, the more bacterial build-up you’re going to have. The carpets, too, will become soaked, and the substance might seep into the floor below. Pet urine can even seep into concrete!

Conclusion

Should you have plans for selling your home in the future, the smell of pet urine can be a huge turnoff for a potential homebuyer. That is true even if they turn out to be canine lovers themselves. So you should get rid of the smell as soon as you’re able to. Additionally, ask your real estate agent to give you an honest review of how the air inside smells!

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