What to Use to Clean Dog Urine Out of Upholstery

Sharing furniture with your pet is not without risks.
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Cleaning urine from upholstered pieces is a two-step process. You first want to remove as much of the urine as possible, then remove all traces of the odor. Traditional upholstery cleaning will not do an effective job of removing urine from upholstered pieces. Fortunately, all it takes to get your furniture clean and odor free is a little time and the right products.

Remove Excess Moisture

The most important step in cleaning dog urine from upholstered pieces is to get as much of the urine out as possible while it is wet. Blot the area with towels, switching frequently to a fresh section of the towel, so the fabric is as dry as possible. Use light-colored towels or paper towels to blot up the urine, to prevent color transfer from your towels to the upholstery. Also, blotting rather than rubbing will remove the moisture more efficiently and minimize the risk of colors bleeding, as well as damage to fabric fibers. Once you are satisfied that you have removed as much moisture as possible, pour a little water over the area to dilute any remaining urine and soak up the moisture again.

Cleaning the Area

Dogs have a much more sensitive sense of smell than humans, and will return to the same spot over and over again unless you remove all trace of the urine odor. Also, just because the odor appears to be gone, doesn't mean you won't notice a bad smell return when the weather warms up or the humidity rises.

To remove any odor remaining, select a product labeled as an enzyme cleaner and odor neutralizer. If you prefer to use products you may have at home or aren't able to find an enzyme cleaner and odor remover, work some baking soda into the area. Allow it to sit for at least two hours, then vacuum thoroughly. Another homemade deodorizer is a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. Ammonia is not recommended, as the smell is similar to urine, and may encourage your dog to return to the spot.

Other Cleaning Methods

Steam cleaning, whether on your own or with a professional service, is not recommended for removing urine stains and odors. The steam process will not get rid of the urine odor, and will set the stain, potentially making it impossible to remove.

Wet extraction, on the other hand, is an effective method of cleaning. Whether you have your own water extraction or wet vac, rent one or use a professional service, use clear water with no added cleaners for best results.

If you decide to have a professional service do your cleaning, because it is more of a job than you want to deal with or because your unsure about the best way to deal with a particular type of upholstery fabric, be sure the service knows there are urine stains to clean up.


Although enzyme cleaners and odor neutralizers are generally mild, you should always do a spot check on a hidden part of your furniture. You just want to make sure the cleaning product will not cause the fabric to fade or bleed. If the upholstered piece is made of a particularly delicate fabric, such as silk, you may want to contact a professional cleaning company after you have soaked up the excess urine.