House-training pets can feel like an uphill battle, especially since pets are drawn to the scene of an old accident as a toilet spot. Effectively getting rid of urine smells from carpets and furniture can help reduce the likelihood of repeat performances.
Soak it up. If you’re aware of the accident while it’s still wet, soak up as much of the liquid as possible right away. Use paper towels, and dab until the puddle is gone. If you can lift the carpet or open the coverings on your soft furniture, slip a thick wad of paper towels under the spill. Put another wad on top of the spill, cover with newspaper if you have any and then stand on the wet patch for a minute or two as the paper absorbs the liquid. Repeat this process if necessary until the fabric is barely damp. Aid your retraining efforts by leaving the urine-soaked paper towels where you want your pet to “go.”
Rinse it out. If you have a wet vac, use it on the area with plain water. Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners as they may mask the urine smell from you, but your pet will still smell it. The Michigan Humane Society says that you should also avoid the heat of steam cleaners, as this will bind the proteins in the urine to man-made fibers, setting the stain.
Dry it. Once you have removed as much of the liquid as possible, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the area. The powder will absorb more of the liquid, and the alkali in bicarbonate of soda will neutralize uric acid in the urine. Leave the powder to absorb overnight, and then vacuum.
Neutralize it. Although the baking soda will neutralize acids, pet urine naturally loses its acidity and becomes alkaline as it dries, so finally you need to neutralize the alkali also. One of the cheapest, most environmentally friendly ways to do this is with distilled white vinegar. Do a spot test to ensure the colorfastness of the fabric first. If the fabric can take it, dab neat vinegar onto the affected area and rub it in. Leave to dry and then vacuum again. If not, mix 1 or 2 cups of vinegar in a gallon bucket, and flush the area, using a wet vac or paper towels to dry the area again.
You may need to repeat the process, alternating between baking soda and vinegar two or three times with particularly nasty odors or old, dried-in stains. Alternatively, use a commercial pet odor neutralizer available from pet stores.