Whether you have one dog or 10 in your home, a single puddle of urine can soak in and create an awful, lasting smell. Dog urine cleaners are designed to maintain a healthy, fresh-smelling home. If you're fighting stains or scents, these are the best cleaners to get your floors and carpet clean.
Why Does Dog Urine Smell?
Dog urine is a concoction of ammonia, bacteria, hormones, and uric acid. As the urine breaks down, the ammonia concentration increases, and then mercaptans are produced. Mercaptans are the same chemical compound that gives skunk spray its long-lasting funk.
Uric acid contains crystals that are left behind even after the urine has dried. These crystals are reactivated anytime new moisture reaches the crystals, including humidity. A dog's urine acts as a scent marker. This potent combination gives dog urine its staying power long after the spot has dried and is the reason specialized dog urine cleaners are so indispensable.
Some cleaning products will help mask the smell, but unless they contain enzymes to break down the urine, they may not remove smells. You need an enzymatic product to eliminate pet urine odors.
Black Light Helps Find Stains
Dog urine can also leave a stain on carpets, furniture, and clothing, depending on how concentrated the dog's urine is. Some stains are barely noticeable when the urine dries, yet the smell still remains, leaving some pet owners wondering how in the world they can clean what they can't even see.
Ultraviolet (UV) light, or black light, allows you to see even the lightest dog urine stains. Just turn off your lights and shine the black light around the room. If you've noticed an odor, you should be able to see one or more bright spots under the UV light. Clean the spots with whatever dog urine cleaners you choose to use, and you should be on your way to a fresher-smelling home.
Commercial Cleaners That Work
You will find a slew of products when you visit the store. But not all products are created equal when it comes to urine removal. Many of these cleaning agents use enzymes formulated specifically to break down urine compounds and crystals, removing odor in the process.
- Odorcide 210 is a product that absorbs into the affected area, bonds with the molecular structure of the urine, and inhibits the production of further odors.
- Urine Gone is an enzymatic cleaner that literally eats the organic matter, causing the smells and stains.
- Urine-Off is another enzymatic product that works directly on urine crystals.
- Nature's Miracle removes pet stains and odors, and it helps stop dogs from returning to the same places to soil again.
- X-O Odor Neutralizer is plant-based and works to remove odors. It is not enzymatic and is also formulated to be non-toxic.
Always spot clean a hidden area first and follow the directions on the product packaging for any stain cleaner or odor remover. Going off-label may cause damage to flooring, carpeting, and upholstery.
Other Useful Dog Urine Cleaners
Additional help for stains and odors is sometimes necessary. If you can't find the commercial cleaners listed above, or you want some added protection, there are some other useful cleaners. You have probably already heard of them. They're easy to find, including:
- Oxiclean removes staining and can help get rid of unwanted odors. Just be sure to follow the directions on the product packaging, because this is powerful stuff. Oxiclean uses proteolytic enzyms to break down stubborn smells, and it can be highly effective at removing dog urine smells.
- Listerine helps reduce urine smells. Try mixing two parts water to one part Listerine Original in a spray bottle and applying to the stain. While many anecdotal reports suggest that Listerine helps, it doesn't break down urine crystal the same way an enzymatic product does, so smells may linger afterward.
- Pine-Sol is a heavy duty cleaner that cleans stains and helps reduce the source of the odors. Dilute one part Pine-Sol with two parts water to help prevent dogs from marking in the future. Pine-sol helps mask the scent of dog urine, but you need an enzymatic product to remove the scent permanently.
Natural Urine Cleaners
- White Vinegar is the ultimate in natural dog urine cleaner. Blot up as much urine as you can, then completely soak the area with undiluted white vinegar. Be sure to let it soak in well enough to reach all affected layers, including padding and subflooring beneath carpets. Blot the area again and allow to dry. This should take care of the smell and remove any staining.
- Cat Litter helps to soak up urine. Pour a good amount of clumping cat litter on the wet spot and allow it to soak the urine up. Clumping litter works best because it can absorb up to 15 times its own weight in liquid. Follow up with a white vinegar cleaning to remove any lingering stains.
- Baking Soda is a known odor eliminator. Pour it directly onto the fresh urine spot after blotting up as much liquid as possible. Allow it to sit for several hours and then vacuum it up.
- Borax is the same product that was once used as a pre-soak for cloth baby diapers. It is also one of the better dog urine cleaners. Borax helps kill the smelly bacteria and eliminate stains.
- Rubbing Alcohol is a great disinfectant that will soak into the area that was urinated on, reaching the deepest penetration.
Now that you know what to use, it's time to get rid of those stubborn smells. And no one wants stains on their floor. Whether you choose one way or decide to try a combination of options, these solutions are bound to clean up your pet's mess.