How to eliminate set-in dog urine smell from carpet?

If there’s something that all dog owner’s hate, it’s the smell of dog urine.

And if you’ve had it coming from your carpet before, you can probably relate to the panic.

But there are ways you can get rid of that revolting odour.

So how do you get rid of set-in dog urine smell from your carpet? Probably the best ways would be to soak up the urine as soon as possible. And then, using vinegar, water and baking soda solution to completely eliminate the odour from your carpet.

Sadly, this doesn’t work all the time. But still, there are other methods you can try.

Want to find out what those other methods are? Read on below to find the answer.

Soak Up All The Liquid

Probably the most effective technique out of all is getting rid of all the urine as soon as possible. Because if you leave the urine to rest, not only will it sit in the top layer of your carpet, but the bottom layers will also soak it up which will make it more difficult to get rid of later on.

So whenever your dog pees on the carpet, immediately follow these steps:

1. Soak up as much liquid as possible: Whenever your dog pees on the carpet, your first instinct should be to soak up as much liquid as possible. Put some paper towels, tissue papers, piece of cloth or any other absorbent material directly over the patch of urine.

Gently blot the urine without smearing or rubbing it over your carpet, as it can soak even the dry patches and make it even more difficult to get rid of.

2. Spray some water over the patch: When you think the towels have soaked up enough liquid, spray the patch with water so that the carpet is slightly wet again. You could also choose to pour a few drops of liquid detergent after spraying water. Repeat the drying process with more towels and apply some pressure on the area so that it becomes as dry as possible.

If you’re quick with soaking up most of the urine, it’ll be easier to get rid of the smell later on. Water and detergent both help break up the concentration of the urine and prevents it from completely setting inside the carpet.

However, if you’re a little late and notice the patch of urine a few hours later, you should still try to get rid of as much liquid as possible with the aid of water. After that, you can apply the below-mentioned techniques and methods to remove the set-in urine smell and stains from your carpet.

How To Get Rid Of Set-in Smell And Stains

Find The Dried Patch of Urine

A urine stain that has dried will typically vanish on any carpet, however, it will remain spreading odour until it’s completely removed. But before you apply any of the methods, you need to find the patch of urine first.

To do this, get a UV light and shine it over the place where you think your dog peed. You can find a UV light or blacklight at a hardware store near your place. When you shine the light over your carpet, the patch will immediately become visible and after which you can attempt to clean it with any of the methods below.

The Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

The vinegar and baking soda method of removing urine smell and stains from carpets is a very well-known and effective home remedy that has been used for decades.

The reason why this is so effective is that vinegar is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial cleaner. Vinegar has a very acidic nature and it naturally kills any bacteria that not only cause illnesses but also contributes to the smell. Similarly, Baking soda also has deodorizing properties as it helps in bringing odour molecules from an acidic to a neutral state.

You can apply this method in two ways. Either you can make a solution of these, or you can use separately. It really depends on your own preference, though both are equally effective.

Here’s the solution method:

1. Mix one-part water and vinegar: Take a clean spray bottle and mix one-part water with one part distilled white vinegar. Shake the bottle so that both the liquids get mixed properly. You could also mix more of the solution and keep it as it will come handy from time to time.

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2. Spray the area with the solution: The next step is to spray the patch where your dog peed with this solution. Spray a generous amount so that the carpet is slightly soaking. Leave the solution to sit for 15-30 mins so it can soak into the carpet properly and remove all of the odour.

3. Soak up the extra solution: Use paper towels or some cloth to clean up any excess solution. Blot the area gently without smearing it. Wear gloves while doing this to prevent getting any liquid from getting on your hands.

4. Sprinkle some baking soda on the patch: Once you’ve soaked up any excess solution, sprinkle baking soda over the entire patch that you sprayed over. Ideally, you should apply enough baking soda that the patch becomes completely white. Gently press the powder into the carpet and leave it to rest overnight so that it can absorb the maximum amount of moisture.

5. Finish it off by vacuuming the area: Once the baking soda has dried up, it will turn into white powder-like crystals. Remove all of the baking soda by vacuuming the area, preferably with a brush attachment on your vacuum to remove the soda from deep within the carpet.

Second Variation

If you do not have a vacuum cleaner or want a faster way to remove the smell, you can apply the second variation of this technique. However, you might need to repeat it a few times depending on how long the urine has sat in the carpet. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Make a solution of water, vinegar and baking soda: Like we made a solution in the first variation, mix one cup water and one cup vinegar together in a spray bottle. But this time, add two full tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture too. Shake it all together so it turns into a solution.

2. Spray and soak the solution: Spray this solution on the patch of urine in generous amounts so that the carpet is damp. Let this solution sit on the carpet for 15-30 minutes while it does it’s magic and removes the odour. After the time has passed, soak up all of the solution with a paper towel or cloth by repeatedly blotting the patch so it becomes close to dry.

You can apply this solution multiple times and let it sit for even longer if the smell doesn’t go away in the first try.

The Hydrogen Peroxide Method

If the vinegar and baking soda fail, you could try the more aggressive but effective hydrogen peroxide method. Although this method will rarely be necessary, sometimes just vinegar and baking soda won’t be enough to remove urine that has been sitting in for several weeks. In that case, you can try this method and see if it works for you. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Make a paste of peroxide, baking soda and detergent: A combination of these three works best to remove both odour and any stains that the urine might have left. Mix 1.5 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with a tablespoon of liquid detergent. Then, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture while stirring it. The paste might bubble up as the ingredients mix together so don’t worry.

Precautionary note: Before you apply the paste on your carpet, you should know that hydrogen peroxide has bleaching properties and can fade the colour of your carpet. Therefore, it’s necessary that you test a small amount on a corner or hidden piece of carpet before beginning to prevent the mixture from leaving a giant faded stain on your carpet!

2. Apply the paste to your carpet: Once you have tested the paste on a small piece of your carpet, you can begin applying it on the urinate stain. Spread the paste all over the patch with the help of a spoon and try to get it deep into the carpet. Leave this solution on for around 1-2 hours so the ingredients can react properly and pull out all the odour. The longer you leave it, the more effective the results will be.

3. Clean off the paste: Once the paste has sat for some time, clean it off the carpet with the help of a damp cloth. Try to blot the carpet instead of rubbing it, and rinse off the cloth and again clean the carpet till the whole paste has been removed. After this, dry the patch with some paper towels till it becomes dry.

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The Enzymatic Cleaner Method

If you haven’t got enough time or energy to try home remedies, you could try the more simple and effective enzymatic cleaner method. An enzymatic cleaner is a solution that contains proteins that break down the molecules in dog urine that cause bad odour and foul smell. These can be found in most pet stores at some reasonable prices. (Here is an excellent on amazon)

Not only this, but the application is also a very easy process. With most enzymatic cleaners, you just have to spray some directly onto the patch and let it work on its own. The solution will clean and dry on its own, usually with a day or two, and remove most of the odour and stains. Some cleaners might require you to also dab some of the solutions off, but that’s as far as it goes.

Most enzymatic cleaners work best when the stain is fresh. You should spray it on top of the solution right after drying up all of the liquid. You might have to apply the cleaner more than one time to get the desired effect and completely get rid of the odour.

Hiring Professional Carpet Cleaners

As a last resort when all of your efforts have failed, you need to hire professional carpet cleaners to get rid of the odour. Although this is a more expensive procedure, it’s your best option when your dog has urinated over your carpet several times and you haven’t taken any action.

When there are multiple urine patches over your carpet left to dry, they might soak deep into the carpet fibre and will usually be very difficult to remove. In this case, you can call a team of professional carpet cleaners who will give your whole carpet a deep-cleansing and remove any and every stain.

These cleaners have proper gear including UV lights to identify patches. They also use special solutions and machines that will speed up the break down of urine on your carpet without damaging it in any way. After it’s done, your carpet will be back to new and you can be more alert the next time your dog pees on your carpet.

How to stop your dog from peeing on the carpet

Although you can try different methods to remove dog urine odour, you should try and prevent them from peeing on the carpet in the first place. Now it’s okay if your dog accidentally pees on the carpet out of excitement or due to any other reason. But this should be very infrequent and constant peeing on the carpet can indicate a problem.

Here are other common reasons why your dog might be peeing on your carpet:

Marking Their Territory

Dogs have a very powerful sense of smell, almost 40 times stronger than humans. Therefore, they can immediately recognize a change in smell at any place. Because of this, your dog might accidentally assume that someone is taking over their territory if they sense a change in the smell of an area.

And to mark their territory, dogs tend to pee in that area. Thus, there might be a chance that your dog is peeing on your carpet to mark their territory. In this case, you need to train your dog and stop them whenever they return to pee on your carpet. Usually, a firm “No” will be enough to inform them that what they’re doing is unacceptable.

You can also use your dog’s sharp sense of smell to your advantage. Buy a special dog repellent spray from your local pet store. These sprays contain chemicals that prevent dogs from going near that area since it strikes their noses. However, be careful with these repellents and use them in very small quantities, as you do not want to harm your dog’s nose.

Check For Medical Issues

Sometimes, dogs peeing on the carpet could indicate a health problem. Medical issues like UTI’s can cause dogs to become dehydrated, or lose control over their bladder which can cause them to accidentally pee on the carpet before they can go to their litter.

If you notice any other symptoms in your dog like excessive thirst, low energy or dark/unclear urine, you might want to get them checked by a vet to rule out any possible medical conditions.


The smell of dog urine can be horrendous and very difficult to cover up. Thankfully, there are many different techniques you can try with ingredients that most people already have on their shelves to remove that bad odor. Still, it’s always better to be on the lookout for any wet patches on your carpet. Because the sooner you apply these techniques, the faster and more effective results you’ll get!

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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