Pets. We love them for the comfort and joy that they bring into our lives. We will do anything for our pets, including cleaning up their “messes”. It’s an important skill to know how to clean an area rug that has fresh pet urine to protect our homes from smells and stains that come with being a pet owner.

Whether you’re in the process of potty training or a puppy or you simply have a pet that’s taken a liking to your rug for whatever reason, we all understand the urgency that comes along with cleaning up the accident.

No matter how much you scrub or how many times you clean, pet urine smell tends to remain behind. Why is it so hard to clean up and get the smell out? We will cover that a bit more later. First, we’re here to discuss how to clean an area rug with pet urine.

There’s no need to torment your home or your nose with the awful smell left behind from your pet’s urine. There are many tips and tricks you can follow to soak up the urine and the remaining smell.

How to Clean an Area Rug with Pet Urine – A Complete Guide

Removing pet urine from carpets and area rugs has always been a daunting task. But we’re here to walk you through the guidelines of how to clean up an area rug with pet urine and get rid of the stain and the smell for good.

It’s always easiest to clean up the urine when it is still wet. However, we all know that doesn’t always happen. It could be hours before you even discover the spot. There are different methods you can use for cleaning up both wet and dry urine.

Additionally, you can make a cleaning concoction at home or you can purchase various pet urine cleaners that are designed to remove the stains and pull the odor out of the space.

Don’t let those urine spots get you down, there are options. Don’t give up. We know it might seem like your efforts are fruitless but if you want to remove the pet urine and urine smell, you’re going to have to keep up the hard work.

The thing about cleaning an area rug with pet urine is that you must be careful not to ruin the rug in your cleaning process. We strongly encourage you to never use bleach. For starters, bleach doesn’t solve all problems but more importantly, you’re likely to cause problems with the fabrics and colors in the rug.

Removing Wet Pet Urine from an Area Rug

Removing Wet Pet Urine from an Area Rug

You will find that the process is slightly different when removing wet pet urine or dry pet urine from your area rug. Why? Well, as the urine dries, the pH levels significantly increase. It goes from an acidic level of about 5 to an alkaline level of 10-12. Once it reaches the alkaline level, it’s much harder to remove the stain and the odor.

The issue is not usually cleaning up the urine but rather removing the odor from the area. Once the odor is there, it calls your pet back to the same space over and over again.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to use a pet stain remover that works to not only clean the urine and stain from your area rug but also neutralize the accompanying odor. If you purchase a product (we will share our favorites shortly) be sure to have rags or cleaning brushes on hand to work with.

Pet odor and stain cleaning products typically have specific instructions for the best ways to use them on the label.

Here are some simple steps for cleaning up wet pet urine.

  1. Use paper towels or another similar material to soak up as much of the wet urine as you can. You should blot the area until you are no longer soaking up pet urine.
  2. Choose your cleaner or make a cleaner at home.
  3. Saturate the urine area with cleaner, scrubbing it into the spot. You want to get the cleaner under the top surface of the area rug.
  4. Again soak up the moisture in the area, blotting it with paper towels. Try to remove as much of your solution as possible.
  5. Use an anti-odor mixture (or your dual-action cleaner a second time). Scrub the area again. Rinse the area with water.
  6. Allow the spot to dry after cleaning.

You can take an additional step here and sprinkle baking soda over the clean spot once it has completely dried. Leave the baking soda for several hours and then vacuum it up. It freshens the spot and works more to neutralize the odor.

One important thing to know here. Never clean a pet urine spot on your area rug (or anywhere) using a cleaner that contains ammonia. This actually worsens the issue.

Removing Dry Urine from an Area Rug

Once the urine on your area rug has dried it can be a bit harder to remove the stain and odor. The good news is that it is not impossible. Unfortunately, it may take some extra effort and you will probably have to clean the area more than once to really get the odor out.

The challenge of removing a dry area of pet urine is that you have to find a specific location. You can’t just clean at random and hope to get it. You can best pinpoint the spot with a UV flashlight if you have one.

When it comes to working with a dry urine stain, it may help to use a carpet cleaner on the spot after you have completed the initial cleaning process. You can also flip the routine and use a carpet cleaner and then come back and thoroughly clean and scrub the spot.

Be careful if you use a cleaning tool, you don’t want to use steam. We often think steam is a cure-all for tough cleaning but in this case, steam actually sets the stain and the odor, making it nearly impossible to clean up.

Here is a simple process for working on dry pet urine on an area rug. Most of the steps will be similar to what you saw for wet spots.

  1. You first need to saturate the stained area. You can use a carpet cleaner or water for this part. Once it’s saturated, go through the process of using paper towels and blotting the area, soaking up any urine and water.
  2. Use your dual-action cleaner and odor neutralizer, or a homemade odor neutralizer, and apply it to the spot as the instructions tell you to.
  3. Scrub the area and blot up again.
  4. Cover the spot with the odor neutralizer again and let it completely dry.

Most of these odor-neutralizer products do not require being cleaned up after use. They’re designed to be left on. You can also follow up this action with baking soda, much like we recommended when cleaning up wet urine. The process would be the same.

Again, do not use any strong chemicals or anything ammonia-based as these will make it worse and could potentially draw your pet to relieve themselves in the same area again.

The Best Product for Removing Pet Urine from an Area Rug
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The Best Product for Removing Pet Urine from an Area Rug

It’s only fair that if we’re going to tell you to use a cleaning product, we share with you the top products for the task. There are several products on the market and most of them work as advertised but the following are our true favorites.

1.   Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator

Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator for Strong Odor Enzyme-Powered Pet Odor Eliminator for Home Carpet Stain Remover for Cats and Dog Pee Enzymatic Cat Urine Destroyer - Carpet Cleaner Spray

This Rocco & Roxie Eliminator (on Amazon) is an enzyme-powered dual-action cleaner that is designed to eliminate stains and odors left behind by pets. It’s highly rated because it’s a reasonable price and it’s proven to work well.

This professional strength cleaner is pet and human-friendly and can be used on any type of surface, including your expensive area rug. It’s gentle and safe and won’t harm the color of your carpet.

  • Uses an enzymatic approach to removing stains and odors
  • Color-friendly to all types of surfaces
  • Reasonable price point
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Designed to work on even the toughest stains and odors

2.   Pet Stain & Odor Miracle Enzyme Cleaner

Pet Stain & Odor Miracle - Enzyme Cleaner for Dog Urine Cat Pee Feces Vomit, Enzymatic Solution Cleans Carpet Rug Car Upholstery Couch Mattress Furniture, Natural Eliminator

This Pet Stain & Odor Miracle Enzyme Cleaner is another formula that takes an enzymatic approach to stain and odor removal. It’s well-made and has a clean and natural scent. This brand is unique in that when you purchase it, 10% of their profits are donated back to support animals in need.

This product is made in the U.S.A. and it’s certified to be safe for all surfaces as well as safe for children, people, and all animals.

  • Donates a portion of profits to animals in need
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Safe for animals and humans
  • Will not ruin your area rug
  • Natural enzyme formula

3.   OUT! Orange Oxy Stain and Odor Remover

OUT! PetCare Orange Oxy Stain & Odor Remover Oxy Clean Pet Stain and Odor Eliminator

If you’re on a pretty stringent budget, this OUT! Orange Oxy Stain and Odor Remover might be the option for you. It’s budget-friendly but also well-rated and designed to truly work on odors and stains. This has a light orange scent and is designed to remove stains and odors as well as keep your pets from using the area again.

There are a few materials this cleaner cannot be used on but it’s versatile and safe for most surfaces.

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Safe for materials except for wool, silk, and leather
  • Designed with an oxidizing compound to remove stains and odors
  • Safe for pets and humans
  • Works on old and fresh pet urine spots

Home Remedies

There are mixtures you can make at home to clean pet urine on an area rug. Be advised that these mixtures work best on fresh urine spots and they may or may not pull out the odor. They also might not deter the pet from using that spot again.

Here are some of the home items you can use.

  • Vinegar and cold water
  • Hydrogen peroxide with liquid dish detergent
  • Baking soda

When using any one of these, you probably need them all. For example, you would initially clean with vinegar and cold water to remove the urine and clean any stains. Then you would follow with peroxide and detergent to again scrub the stain and pull out the odor. You would finish by letting baking soda rest on the dry area rug for some time to continue pulling out the odor.

This is a useful remedy and a convenient go-to if you have a spot you need to address right away. Just remember, you may need to follow up with a dual-action cleaner later on.


Pet urine is perhaps one of the most challenging cleaning feats that many of us will ever endure. Once pet urine has soaked into an area, it emits an awful odor and it attracts the pet back to the same spot.

It can be quite complicated to clean up the stain and effectively remove the odor. It can be even more complicated to keep the odor away and keep the pet from returning to that spot to use it again and again.

If you follow these tips, we’re confident that you will know how to clean an area rug with pet urine and that you can do it successfully. It does take some effort but it’s well worth it to keep your area rug fresh and clean.


How Can I Know the Cleaner Won’t Ruin my Area Rug?

Most cleaners tell you what surfaces they are or are not safe for. However, it’s always a good idea to test a small area. Choose somewhere that is hidden or not commonly visible and test the cleaner there first.

Should I Just Throw Out the Rug?

You spent your hard-earned money on that rug and you should be allowed to keep it! We would only toss it out as a last-ditch effort. Try these tips and see how they work. You may need to clean the area more than once for best results.

Why Does Pet Urine Smell So Bad?

Animals have uric acid in their urine. When it’s wet, it’s not as bad and it’s much easier to clean. When it dries, the smell intensifies because the pH levels change. The uric acid is also what makes it so hard to clean up.

Last update on 2024-04-03 at 05:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API