How to Remove Urine Smell from Carpet

How to remove urine smell from carpet

 Last month when we went to Tennessee I hired a handyman to finish painting Malea’s bed.  What I forgot to tell him was to not close the door to where the cat box is hidden!  Two days after we’d been gone I got a call from my friend, who was there to feed our cat, and she told me that the door had been closed and that our poor kitty had been using our hallway as a bathroom instead.  I, of course, felt horrible for our cat, because she had been locked out of her bathroom!  She’s very obedient so I knew she was probably miserable, holding it in, and finally used the hallway because there was no where else to go!  Luckily when I got home I realized that she had only used the hallway for pooping and that she had actually urinated in my daughter’s bathroom.  She didn’t quite make it to the toilet {that would’ve been awesome} but she did go all in one spot on my shag rug.  The smell was absolutely awful and I was afraid I’d have to throw out the rug!  But because I write this blog, I figured I had to come up with a solution because I probably wasn’t the only one who’d ever had this problem!  So here’s a quick tutorial of what I did.

Step 1:
Take the rug outside and turn it upside down. 

Step 2:
Sprinkle it with lots of baking soda.  I sprinkled baking soda over the entire surface, but I sprinkled it really heavily over the areas where she had urinated.

How to Remove Urine Smell from Carpet

Step 3:
After sprinkling the baking soda, spray the entire rug with white vinegar.  I saturated it with vinegar!  I emptied 1/2 this bottle on the rug, making sure the whole rug had been sprayed really heavily.

How to Remove Urine Smell from Carpet

It will bubble and fizz, it’s kind of fun to watch!

How to Remove Urine Smell from Carpet

Step 4:
Let the rug sit for at least an hour.  It’s important to make sure that both, the baking soda and vinegar, have completely soaked into the rug.  I let mine sit for a couple hours, just to make sure, because I know the smell of cat urine can really linger.

Step 5:
Wash the rug.  Because this is a smaller rug I was able to throw it in the washing machine and wash it with really hot water.  However if you are doing this to a large rug, or carpet, I recommend washing it with a steam cleaner.  Most steam cleaners have a hand held feature to make for easy spot cleaning.  Here’s a link to the one I have, and recommend.

Make sure the rug is completely dry before putting it back in place. You don’t want to put it back when it’s still damp or you will end up dealing with mold or a musty smell.

So if your pet ever has an accident, now you know there’s an easy solution to getting rid of the smell!


About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. I tried this method on my carpet but got the idea from Pinterest. It was a disaster! It turned the whole area of my carpet yellow and we had a heck of time getting all the vinegar and baking soda up off the carpet. I saturated it as it said on Pinterest. It said let it dry and it sat for 3 days and NEVER dried! Luckily my husband owned his own carpet cleaning business and ended up telling me the magic ingredient for cleaning any carpet is Windex!! Who would of thought?! I should have went to him first. I do believe the baking soda helped remove the smell of urine but the Windex was the winner in the end. He said it’s great for brightening up your carpet.

  2. Donna Welch says:

    The best thing I’ve found to permanently remove cat urine is to use Listerine. It soaks down in the fibers, killing all the living bacteria. You may have to repeat it twice, but it has worked for me. Plus, it smells really good. First begin by blotting up any urine on the carpet. You can either spray or pour it directly on the urine spot. Let it dry and there you go. Cat urine odor gone.

  3. I use a product called “Ewww” from Bissel. I buy it at Pet Smart. It’s not cheap but it works wonders on all organic odors. Dog/cat urine, vomit, solid waste. I even have used it for underarm odor on clothing that doesn’t seem to come out even with dry cleaning. It has a very pleasant smell. It takes out the stain as well as the odor. Of course with any stain/odor the sooner you can get to it, the better chance you’ll have of removing both :-) We have two dogs….so this product has been tested often in our house with great results. :-)

  4. Just googled this and came across your article, thanks for the handy tips. Our poor dog has recently had an ‘accident’ and the whole house stinks!

  5. I’ve had this happen on my carpet in a bedroom but it was dog urine. My son in law is a carpet cleaning technician so I called to see what to do. He advised me to blot up as much as I could, then saturate the entire area with full strength white vinegar, being sure it goes all the way to the padding. Then he said to cover the area with white towels and place something heavy on it so the towels can absorb the vinegar. I waited until the next day to remove the plastic box from the towels and when I did, the towels had absorbed the urine, turned the towels yellow (but washable), and all the odor from the urine was gone. I even closed the door until the next day and there were no odors in the room! So, I always have a gallon of white vinegar on hand!!

    • Was this a new stain? My little dog had a bladder infection and was urinating on the carpet at night. By the time I discovered it it had gone down to the padding. I have cleaned with a Bissell SpotBot, and had professional cleaning done, but it still smells of urine. I would like to try the white vinegar but wondered if you can only use it for new stains? Thanks

      • I have a similar issue, Margaret. We’ve had the carpet professionally cleaned and then done it once ourselves with our own cleaner…and no luck. I’m afraid to try the vinegar because of some of the other comments; our problem area is pretty large.

  6. Gloria Crowther says:

    I have 2 medium size dogs: 1 is a VERY HyperActive Min Pin, & my daughter has a Malti-Poo. When they are inside the house, I have a 4 ft. square pen with a floor taro covered with a large, thick fleece blanket, 2 dog beds & then their individual fleece blankets. It is great for them during the night; they would be into EVERYTHING on all 3 floors if they weren’t in that pen!!
    When I get to CLEAN that corner of the Family Room, I just move the pen (the dogs are outside during this) pick all the blankets, beds, & toys into the washer & dryer. I do a good routine on the carpet, but I was starting to notice an odorous that would NOT leave. So I went to this post & mixed up the sprayable recipe & cover the entire area. Next I mixed the dry ingredients (doubled) and hand dispensed handfuls all over the space. I then used my rug stick brush to go over the area & gave it a deep scrub-in of the cleaners. It alldried while the laundry load finished. The dogs were happy out back! We then vacuumed well when dry & replaced everything (CLEAN, NICE SMELL!) The corner has remained odor-free & actually Smells GREAT! I will definitely keep this routine!! The dogs were even happy when it was bedtime! WINNER!!!!!

  7. I have a problem cat that urinates on my couch and one spot in my kitchen. We’ve used Dawn and vinegar on the couch but it still smells. Can I use the baking soda/vinegar idea to get the smell out?

  8. Hello, I was just wondering if this cleaning method affects the colour of the rug at all? The rug I would like to try it on is a shag rug, and it’s mostly a cream colour but has some red and black design on it as well…

  9. Thank you for sharing! You’ve explained everything very well! I tried it on my carpet and I like the final result!