Dog sitting on carpet
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Help! I Can’t Get Dog Urine Smell Out of My Carpet

Here’s why you, and the carpet cleaner you already hired, can’t get the dog urine smell in your carpet to go away

Internet Pet Urine Remedies

The internet is full of ideas on how to remove dog urine from carpet. Hand-held steam cleaners. Vinegar. Ammonia. Various pet enzymes. Magical promises of DIY solutions all over Pinterest… you name it.

Perhaps you’ve tried some of these techniques, or perhaps not. If you have, and they haven’t worked, you’re looking for another solution. This should involve bringing in a professional carpet cleaning company. Here’s what you should know in order to make an informed decision for getting dog urine out of your carpet. Read this before you hire a company that doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Unscrupulous or Otherwise Clueless Carpet Cleaning Companies

Unfortunately, the carpet cleaning industry has become somewhat synonymous with unscrupulous business practices and sketchy companies. These companies are, frankly, unqualified to be selling the services they sell. Never is this more apparent than with treating pet stains.

Out of the Loop

Many carpet cleaning companies really don’t know what they are doing. They haven’t kept up with the major technological improvements in solutions, techniques and applied principles surrounding pet urine removal. Further, many companies try to cheap out by applying mediocre or poor pet treatment solutions. These are in every way inferior to the solutions used by those of us doing the job right.

This article should help you understand the right way to treat pet urine (dog urine specifically in this article) in your carpets.

The Consumer Pet Urine Treatment Industry

There is an entire industry built on selling deodorizers and pet enzyme products to consumers. And that’s fine. Some of them even work reasonably well. Deoderizers can cover up the smell of pet urine long enough that you forget about it. Enzymes can actually consume the pet urine and help to remedy the issue somewhat. Once it gets warm and sunny and the house heats up though, there it is again… the smell of dog urine. Gross.


MSS Cleaning dog, Steve, who was responsible for many dog urine stains

I’ve Been There – My Dog Urine Story

Before I got into the carpet cleaning business, my wife and I went away on a trip for a few weeks and left our dogs in the care of a friend.

Well, you know how this story goes.

We came home to find the carpeted rec room covered in dog urine spots. We tried everything we could to clean the urine from the carpet., including:

  • The home remedies and Pinterest solutions
  • Renting a rug doctor with the pet specific pet urine treatment
  • Doused the spots beyond liberally with Nature’s Miracle
  • Rented the rug doctor again and tried a different detergent.

It didn’t work. It got a bit better, but it was still driving us crazy.


We Hired a Carpet Cleaner to Help

Failing to remove the dog urine ourselves, we hired a company to clean the carpets. They really didn’t know what they were doing, in retrospect. That didn’t work either. We hired them to come back and replace portions of the carpet pad. That helped, but it didn’t fully solve the problem. Oh, and they also installed a different density and thickness of carpet pad. This made it noticeable walking from one area to another.

Wow, was that whole experience was frustrating.

So we lived with it until, well, I bought a carpet cleaning business. Yes, this experience actually helped lead me to buy a carpet cleaning business. Is that hard-headed, or what?

You’ve Already Tried Removing the Pet Urine Yourself

Chances are, like most of our customers (and like me from some years ago), you’ve already tried the commonly available products and home remedies. You rented a rug doctor. Then you tried applying Nature’s Miracle.

You’ve probably thrown a whole lot of time, energy, and money at this problem. And you’re still frustrated. If you haven’t yet, you may want to try using baking soda to treat dog urine before moving further.

At this point, you may have even hired a carpet cleaning company to clean up the pet mess. But if you did, and you’re here… they didn’t know what they were doing and now you’re reading this article.

A surprising number of carpet cleaning companies can’t treat dog urine correctly. The rest of this article will hopefully share some insights on this problem. It should help you figure out what you need to do from here and who you need to hire to get it done right.

So, What Actually Removes Dog Urine Odor From Carpet?

As I previously alluded to, the carpet isn’t the big problem. Pet urine can be cleaned from most standard carpet relatively easily. The issue is actually the carpet pad and the subfloor. Carpet pad is basically a giant sponge that traps and holds on to dog urine until it dries, leaving a nasty, stinky mess.

Furthermore, the specific treatment regimen is going to depend on whether we’re talking about a cat or a dog. Cat urine is (believe it or not from my story above) actually harder to remove from carpet than dog urine. Let’s keep this post to dog urine, but I’ll leave a handy link here for what we recommend for getting cat urine smell out of carpet. Check out our pet stains and odor page.

Removing Dog Urine from Carpet

The first thing you need to do is to identify the dog urine spots with a black light or by peeling the carpet off of the tack strips and looking at the underside. If you are trying to DIY the blacklight, you probably will need to wait until its dusk/dark. This will be needed to see the spots since you need a pretty powerful blacklight to show the spots during they day. When feasible, we prefer to pull back the carpet. It really allows you to look at the carpet pad and very obviously shows the dog urine stains on the backing of the carpet.


Dog urine stains showing through on the back of a piece of pulled back carpet

Next, after the carpeted areas affected by the urine have been identified, it’s time to make a judgement call on the carpet pad.


Applying topical dog urine treatment to carpet with a power sprayer

Topical Treatment

If the spots are not too severe, a professional grade topical treatment can be applied. This will break down the dog urine and allow for extraction. A plastic coated carpet pad like a Stain Master pad can also afford some added pad protection. The carpet and the pad can both be treated topically. If price is an issue, topical dog urine treatment is typically the way to go. Topical pet treatment does an OK (but still far better than you could do yourself) job of cleaning the carpet, but there are certainly more advanced options.

If a topical treatment isn’t going to cut it, the carpet is going to need either a flood treatment or it’s going to need a new piece of pad seamed in.

Advanced dog urine removal treatment using a carpet flood extractor

Advanced Pet Urine Treatment – Carpet Flooding

In recent years, someone in the carpet cleaning industry discovered an effective way to rinse both the carpet and the pad. This technique is called “flooding”. The idea is to apply a whole lot of neutralizing solution to the affected urine area. Sometimes this could be up to a half gallon or a gallon of solution.

This solution saturates the pet urine stain, breaking down the urea and urine salts in the carpet and the carpet pad to allow for extraction. The pad is particularly important because it’s basically a big foam sponge and it holds liquid (hint: dog urine).

Allow it Time to Work

Once the solution has been applied, it needs to sit for 30 minutes or so. This allows it time to do its thing and break everything down. Once the time is up, a flood extractor is used to suck up all the solution from through the pad, through the carpet and then out to the truck for eventual disposal. The area is then thoroughly rinsed and a post treatment is applied.

The vast majority of time, flooding works great. After the urine spot dries, typically you can put your nose right down next to it and you won’t be able to detect a urine odor.

Replacing carpet pad in an area affected by dog urine

Carpet Pad Replacement

We recommend carpet pad replacement as a final step or when pet urine damage is so widespread that it would end up costing more to flood many spots than to just replace the carpet pad in the room. A good carpet cleaning company should have a pretty good feel for when this is going to be necessary. We’ve done more than enough of these jobs to know before we even begin the work what we should recommend to our customers.

How to Replace the Damaged Carpet Pad

Replacing carpet pad is a bit of a headache. All the furniture must be removed, then the carpet must be taken off the pad and set aside. The old carpet pad is thrown out. If the subfloor is damaged by urine, we strongly recommend sealing the subfloor with Kilz or an odor blocking oil-based paint. There is a fire and water restoration paint that also works amazingly, though it’s costlier and not necessary. New pad is then installed as well as new tack strip in any areas where the tack strip has been compromised by the dog urine.

We’ve actually been to jobs where the subfloor has been so saturated with urine that it has rotted, and we’ve had to call in a carpenter to repair the area before we could do our carpet cleaning work.

New pad is installed and then the carpet needs to be cleaned, both on the front of the carpet as well as the backing of the carpet. Once all of this has been completed, the carpet can be stretched back in and reinstalled after it’s dried out.


What Can I Do Myself?

We understand that our customers probably don’t have a stack of $100 bills in the closet and that sometimes people like to DIY whatever they can. Some things can be DIY and some really can’t. As you may have already experienced, home products and rented machines just don’t cut it. Nothing beats a powerful truck mounted machine, like the ones we use. Our equipment generates far more suction, pressure and heat than anything not purpose-built, and it’s necessary to remove dog urine from carpet properly.

We’re Happy to Save you Money

But, if you want to save some money, we’re happy to help you do that. When it comes to pad replacement, we’re happy to let you move furniture, pull back the carpet, remove and dispose of the pad, rip up damaged tack strips and paint the subfloor yourself. These are all easy tasks that we don’t need to charge you labor to do. Of course, we’re happy to do it for you as well, but if you’re trying to save some money, we’re happy to work with you.

Is This Approach to Removing Dog Urine from Carpet Foolproof?

The only method for removing dog urine from carpet that’s truly foolproof is going to be a carpet pad replacement and floor sealing service. With that said, we do many, many dog urine carpet cleaning jobs each week and have very rarely ever been called back on any carpet flooding work. We always recommend flooding treatment if you can afford it because of its effectiveness. Topical dog urine treatment is even generally effective when done in the right circumstances for minor pet urine issues, it just doesn’t do quite as good of a job since the pad isn’t fully saturated and rinsed.

We Hope This Helped!

We know that removing pet urine odors and stains from carpet is not an easy task. Hopefully this information has been helpful for you, whether you live in the Denver area and would like to hire us to help you with your carpet dog urine woes, or if you live elsewhere and can use this information to find a reputable carpet cleaning company in your area that knows what they are doing with removing dog urine from carpeting. If you do live along the Colorado Front Range and need out help, feel free to either schedule online or give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.

Or Call: 1-720-233-0761