How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

If you have a very young child or a pet, you are probably very familiar with clothing that smells of urine.

Somehow, urine became part of daily life. It always ends up getting on clothing, because accidents happen!

Luckily, there are ways to deal with both urine staining and the odor. Of course, there will be differences, like whether it’s from a child or a pet, but it can all be dealt with! 

Many people aren’t sure where to start when it comes to getting urine out of clothing. Do you use hot water? Cool water? Is icy cold water the way to go?

Forget about the water – what products can you even use to get rid of it? Believe it or not, you can get rid of the smell or urine by using a couple of different household items!

This includes baking soda and even white vinegar. Not sure how these would work? Stick around and find out.

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

Some Info On Urine

It’s always good to get an understanding of what you’re dealing with before jumping in head first. For those of you who don’t know, urine is produced in bodies as waste.

In urine, you can find uric acid, water, and a few other things in urine. If urine gets on fabrics, it can cause a protein-based stain. This can cause unpleasant discoloration as well as bad odors. 

Why It Smells

Urine smells because of bacteria that live inside bodies. When we pee, bacteria break down urea (a compound found in urine) into ammonia.

Ammonia is why urine has such a strong odor. The bacteria also release other chemicals that create a natural scent for us.

Because this process happens naturally, we can’t really control it. However, if you want to remove urine stains, we’ll take a look at some options.

Staining Is Easy To Get Rid Of

To get rid of urine staining, you can simply put a freshly stained material in the washer. Put it on a full wash cycle with cold water, and add a cup of distilled white vinegar.

Make sure to NOT add detergent. The vinegar will break from the uric acid and get rid of the stain. 

Vinegar can also be used to get rid of the odor. But we will go through that in a section below.

After the fabric has been washed with the cold water and vinegar, you can wash it as you typically would. This time, you can add detergent, and use the hottest temperature the fabric type can handle. 

For fabrics that have been stained for some time, you might need to soak it overnight.

You can soak it in a solution of cold water and vinegar, followed by the regular one. Be sure to soak the fabric until the stain is no longer visible.

The Lingering Smell

Even if you manage to get rid of the urine stain, you might still be faced with the lingering odor. Don’t worry, though!

There are seven great methods you can try that will definitely get rid of that smell. Just hang in there.   

The Best Ways To Get Rid Of The Urine Smell

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

Since you’re handling urine, you might want to wear rubber gloves. You’re trying to get the smell out of clothes, so try not to get yourself smelling of it in the process!

Okay, it’s worth noting that all these methods will certainly not work well with colored clothes.

Most, however, are great for getting rid of these foul smells from both colored and white clothing.

Don’t worry – every method will clearly state if it’s suitable for all your favorite colored garments. 

Method 1 – Allow The Clothing To Air Dry

Suitable for colors – YES

This one is really simple. It works best for clothes that have recently come into contact with urine and have been washed.

All you need to do is allow the fabric to air-dry outside. A sunny spot is great, but don’t let the sun bleach the fabric! 

Doing this will help get rid of any lingering odors that are stuck in the fabric. Only once it is fully dry will you know whether the odor has completely disappeared or not.

If you notice that there are still unpleasant or pungent smells, you can use one of the methods outlined below. 

Method 2 – Use Vinegar

Suitable for colors – YES 

Vinegar has a reputation for being a cleaner’s best friend. It can be used for so much around the house, including getting rid of both urine stains and smells.

This will work on any kind of urine, so whether you have a pet or a child, it doesn’t matter. The method for using this is incredibly easy, too, so you don’t have to stress about it too much.

Bear in mind that the effectiveness can depend on how old the urine stains are.

As we briefly mentioned before, if the stains are odors are older, they will require some pre-treatment in the form of an overnight soak. Once you have done this, you can proceed as normal.

You can follow the steps outlined below to use vinegar to get rid of urine smells from fabrics:

1) Find a suitable place to do the cleaning. This can be a bucket, sink, or anything similar.

2) Get one cup of white vinegar (distilled), and one gallon, or 16 cups of water. Mix the two with your hand.

3) Add the fabrics with the urine odor to the solution. Leave it to soak overnight if you can. If not, allow at least a few hours of soaking to happen before doing the next step.

4) If you want, you can add some baking soda to the solution. Doing this will help more odors be absorbed.

5) Once the fabric has soaked enough, you can wash it. Simply add it to your washer and add a cup of vinegar rather than detergent.

6) Use the hottest temperature that your clothes recommend. Do not use temperatures that are too hot, or else the fabric can be damaged.

Method 3 – Try Baking Soda

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

Suitable for colors – YES

Baking soda is another household winner for cleaning. This odor neutralizer works exceptionally well for a lot of things, including urine smells!

Fresh urine smells and stains are ideal, but when combined with other methods, baking soda is unstoppable.

If you have pesky urine stains that have been there a while, this probably isn’t the best option, but will definitely help with smells.

To get rid of urine odors with baking soda, all you need to do is:

1) Blot the affected urine-stained area first. 

2) Once blotted, sprinkle some baking soda over the wet fabric. You can do this liberally, don’t be shy!

3) Get an old toothbrush or a scrub brush and get to work! Gently work the baking soda into the fibers of the fabric.

4) Allow the baking soda to sit on the affected fabric overnight if you can. If you only have a few hours, that’s fine! It should still work well.

5) After the allotted time has passed, you can dust off all the baking soda.

6) Add the clothing to the washer to be washed

7) If you want, you can add a little baking soda to the washer to help more odors get absorbed. 

8) Make sure all the stains are gone when you take it out of the washer. If not, you will have to repeat the process.  

Method 4 – Bleach It

Suitable for colors – YES and NO

We all know how wicked and wonderful bleach can be. While bleach can get rid of just about any unpleasant odor, including cat pee odor, it does pose a risk, too.

Those embarrassing urine odors will be done in no time, but be careful what you use this on.

You don’t have to be a cleaning expert to know that bleach will probably work best on white garments.

However, this depends on the type of bleach you get. This is the case with many chemical cleaners, since many do contain levels of bleach that could be harmful. 

Before diving in, you will need to figure out if you need to get chlorine or non-chlorine bleach.

Non-chlorine bleach is referred to as oxygen bleach, and can be used with colored clothing.

If you have urine odors on dark clothing, you should be using non-chlorine bleach for this. If you only need to clean white garments, chlorine bleach should be fine.

Be especially careful when handling any kind of bleach, as it can cause an unpleasant health issue, such as chemical burns.

Grab some rubber gloves before getting to work to protect yourself! Below, we will go through how to get rid of the urine odor with a bleach solution:  

1) Get your bleach cleaning product and read the label. Instruction labels should tell you everything you need to know about the product before using it.

Safety recommendations need to be followed closely. Reading the label will also let you know what kind of bleach you’re working with. 

2) Get your rubber gloves on. You don’t want to get a chemical burn from handling bleach.

3) Find a suitable sink or bucket to use. Add a gallon of water and 1/4 cup of bleach. The type of bleach you use will depend on the type of garment you have.

Remember – white garments = chlorine bleach, colored garments = non-chlorine bleach.

4) Add your clothing to the solution. Allow it to soak for at least three hours.

5) Once the three hours have passed, you can remove the clothing from the water. Add the clothing to your washer to be washed.

This will get rid of any stain that has been left behind. If you want, you can add a little more bleach to the washer, but be sure to read the product label to see how much you should be adding.

Method 5 – How About Hydrogen Peroxide?

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

Suitable for colors – YES

Hydrogen peroxide is another common household cleaner that can be used to get rid of urine smells.

It’s often recommended by people who have tried every other method before turning to hydrogen peroxide.

Like bleach, hydrogen peroxide is very powerful, so make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle. With that being said, it is considered to be a safe alternative to bleach, so there’s that!

To get rid of urine smells using hydrogen peroxide, follow the steps outlined below:

1) Get a spray bottle.

2) Add 10 fluid ounces of hydrogen peroxide, along with a few drops of dish soap and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Mix.

3) Before using it on colored fabrics, test for any discoloration on an area that is not noticeable. If there is no discoloration, move on with the process.

4) Find the stained area and spray the hydrogen peroxide mixture onto it.

5) Allow the mixture to sit on the stained area of clothing for around an hour.

6) After an hour has passed, wash the clothing. You can add one cup of white vinegar to the washer if you feel like it is necessary. Doing this will help ensure that any lingering smells disappear.

Method 6 – Enzyme Laundry Detergent

Suitable for colors – YES

Any enzymatic detergent work wonders on protein-based stains like urine and blood.

This is because the detergent has strong enzymes that have the ability to break up and eat the stains away – literally.

In the process, they can also get rid of odors. You can typically find enzymatic detergents, or enzyme cleaners, in the regular laundry aisle.

To use an enzyme-based cleaner on urine odors, all you need to do is:

1) Pre-treat the stain with one of the methods mentioned on this list. You can use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or baking soda to do this.

Ensure that the stain itself is gone, then wash the item of clothing.

2) Add your clothes to your washer and use the setting you usually would. Instead of adding your regular detergent, use the enzyme one. You should check the label to see how much you should use.

3) Use a hot or warm wash on the clothing if you are able to. This will make the enzyme detergent as effective as it can be.

Cool water is fine for clothes that cannot handle the heat, but warm or lukewarm water is always preferred if possible.

If you’re unsure of what your fabric can handle, check the tag to see what the instructions say.

4) Wash the clothes. When it’s done, check to ensure that there is no lingering odor. If you can still notice a smell, repeat the process and wash the clothes using the enzyme-based cleaner.

Method 7 – Borax It

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

Suitable for colors – YES

Borax is especially helpful if you have urine odor stains from cats. We all know how unpleasant a dirty litter box can smell, and you definitely do not want that litter box smell on fabrics.

You can use Borax for clothes as well as upholstery, so this is a must-have product for pet owners!

To eliminate urine odors from fabrics using Borax, follow these steps:

1) Get a container or bowl you can use to mix your cleaning potion in.

2) Add a pint of water, 1/4 cup of Borax, vinegar, and salt, and mix. 

3) Use a sponge or rag and dip it in the solution, then wring it. With the wrung sponge, wipe over the area that has a stain or smell.

4) Allow the mixture to sit there for up to 45 minutes. This will be the same whether you are working on upholstery or clothing.

5) If you are working on upholstery, simply wipe away the Borax mix, then vacuum the area.

6) If you are working on clothes, add the clothes to the washer and wash it. Adding vinegar can be done at this point to help get rid of every last whiff of odor.

Odor-Removing Efficiency

Best Method Of Odor-Removal

To get the best results, you should try to wash the urine off immediately. The sooner you act, the less the fabric has a chance to soak everything in, and the fibers won’t be able to keep the odor.

You can follow the below steps to get the best results you can wish for:

1) Blot the urine stain

2) Get baking soda and sprinkle it onto the affected patch. Let it absorb as much odor as it can.

3) Rinse the baking soda from the fabric

4) Mix a water and vinegar solution

5) Add the clothing to the solution. Let it soak overnight is possible

6) Add the soaked clothing to the washer. Wash with an enzyme laundry detergent

7) Allow the clothing to air dry once washed

Which Laundry Detergent Is Best For This?

Enzyme-based laundry detergents are best for removing urine smells. This is because enzymes break down the proteins that cause most of the odor.

Enzymes are also very safe for your health. They are also better than bleach, which can damage some fabrics.

This type of detergent can also be used for blood, vomit, and any other kind of protein-based stain and odor.

However, some detergents are produced specifically for urine, or another issue. Always check the label to make sure that you are buying the correct detergent for your specific needs.

Dealing Dog And Cat Pee On Clothing

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

You can use the same methods to get rid of human urine odors for your pet ones. With that being said, the Borax method is the one that would be recommended for pet odors.

While the other methods should still work well, Borax might be the best way to go. It’s cheaper to buy than some other products out there, and it provides a great outcome.

It’s important to note that Borax should be combined with a few other things, like the method mentioned.

If you combine the borax method on freshly stained fabrics, it should work a treat. Either way, it’s always worth a try. There’s a very good chance that it will work extremely well.

Carpets, Couches, And Mattresses

You might think that getting rid of urine smells in things like carpets, couches, and mattresses is really difficult, but it isn’t!

Although finding bad smells on these things is typically a little more annoying than anywhere else, they can still be dealt with easily.

Obviously you cannot sit these things in a washer, but no washer, no problem! Like with normal stains, fresh ones are the easiest to remove, but nothing is impossible.

The hydrogen peroxide and Borax methods will work great for these kinds of things, especially if the urine has already dried. Fresh urine can be handled by:

1) Dabbing the affected area to soak up as much urine as you can. You can use a microfiber cloth or a paper towel to do this. Blot the area until nothing else is soaked up.

2) Create a water and vinegar solution and spray it on the affected area. This will help neutralize and deodorize the smell.

3) Sprinkle baking soda onto the area once you finish spraying. Allow the baking soda to sit on the fabric for a couple of hours.

This allows the baking soda to absorb the urine smell as well as the vinegar.

4) After a few hours, the smell should be absorbed. You can now vacuum over the area, sucking up the baking soda.

5) If you notice that there is still a bad smell, you can repeat the process. 

6) When the smell is completely gone, you can let the area dry out naturally.

And If Everything Still Stinks?

It is possible for bad smells to return over time. This will typically happen because of moisture issues.

The first thing you need to do is stop using all detergents and cleaning solutions. Wait a few days before trying anything again.

Next, you want to make sure you have enough ventilation in your home. This means opening windows whenever it’s hot outside.

Also, ensure that your home doesn’t have a lot of mold growth. Mold loves damp areas, so having mold around your home makes it easier for bad smells to come back.

Finally, consider having your carpet professionally cleaned. A professional cleaner will know how to deal with any odor problems, and will also be able to clean the carpet thoroughly. 

If all else fails, you can try using enzymatic detergents for washing clothing and upholstery. Combine this with vinegar, and the smell should be as good as gone.

Alternatively, you can buy odor neutralizers to help get rid of the odors. These usually come in spray bottles, which makes them incredibly easy to use.

Simply spray the neutralizer on the affected areas and allow it to do its work. This is a great option if you don’t have the time to be rewashing clothing.

Looking for a great odor neutralizer? Why not check out the Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator?

It’s a powerful enzymatic spray that is carefully designed to deal with pet odors. It is perfect for upholstery, carpets, and clothing. You’ll never even know. 

Avoiding The Pee Smell Altogether

The best way to avoid pee smells from happening at all is to prevent accidents from happening.

Of course, accidents can happen, but try to reduce the risk of it from happening in the first place. Keep clothing out of contact with urine, and always wash clothes after wearing them.

Things like pants are more likely to smell like urine, partly because there are usually warmer and more moist conditions while wearing them.

Always wash them, and if there is any sign that suggests there could be urine on them, wash them immediately. Acting quickly is the best thing you can do to get the best results. 

Check bedsheets regularly, too. There are many places where you might find traces of urine, such as under the mattress.

Check those spots often, and change sheets when necessary. If someone in the house does have an accident, then take care of it right away.

Wash the clothes as soon as possible, and wait until they’re dry before putting them into storage or washing them again. Doing this will give you the best chance of getting rid of the smell.

Final Thoughts

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

Urine odors are common in some households, especially those with puppies or young children.

It’s important to always have patience when it comes to dealing with these things, because accidents can happen! The truth is, there is a solution, and therefore you can keep your cool.

All you need to do is take the right steps to deal with the issue, and soon enough, you’ll forget it ever happened. 

Using the right method is really essential. No matter where the smell is coming from, or what caused it, the right method will deal with it.

If you aren’t sure of what to do about the urine smell in your home, take a look at all the methods outlined farther up.

Hopefully, by reading through each of them, you will figure out which one will work best for you. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Urine Stains Hard To Get Rid Of?

Yes and no. Sometimes urine stains are very difficult to remove completely. However, most people can easily eliminate them.

The main reason why it may be hard to remove urine stains is because they tend to stick around longer than other types of stains.

Once a stain has been set in place, it becomes much harder to clean.

Therefore, it is recommended to treat urine stains immediately. In addition, removing urine stains is easier when done early. .

Should You Use Hot Water Or Cold Water To Get Rid Of Urine Stains?

You should use warm (not hot) water to remove urine stains. This type of stain is typically found on carpeted areas, so using warm water makes sense.

Hot water can actually damage certain fabrics, and cause them to shrink more. Cold water can also be used to remove urine stains, but it won’t work nearly as well.

You should only use cold water to clean surfaces that don’t react well to heat.

Does Cat Pee Smell?

Yes, cat pee has a strong smell. It has a distinctive odor. Fortunately, you can neutralize it with baking soda and vinegar, or Borax.

Put 1/4 cup of baking soda inside a bowl filled with 2 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap to the mixture. Mix everything together thoroughly.

What Is An Enzyme-Based Detergent?

Enzyme-based detergents help break down grease and oil stains. They come in both liquid and powder form, and you can add them directly into your laundry machine.

Some people prefer the convenience of pre-measuring their laundry detergent, and adding it to the machine.

Enzymes are usually added during the rinse cycle, after the wash is over. This helps prevent the enzymes from being washed away with the rest of the load.

Is The Smell Of Urine Hard To Get Rid Of?

The smell of urine isn’t easy to get rid of. There are many ways to try to eliminate this problem, but none of them seem to be 100% effective.

Many people recommend trying a combination of two products: hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice.

How Does An Enzyme Detergent Work?

An enzyme detergent works by breaking down stains.

When you put an enzyme detergent into your washing machine, it breaks down any dirt or debris that might remain stuck to your clothes.

This prevents bacteria from growing on the fabric.

Can You Get Pet Odor Out Of Colored Clothing?

Yes, you can.

What Is The Easiest Way To Deal With Urine-Stained Clothing?

To get urine stains out of clothing, try soaking the item in something like water and white vinegar. 

Are White Clothes Easy To Clean?

White clothes can be difficult to clean, but if you use the right method, it should be easy enough.

Can You Get Rid Of Urine Stains Easily In White Clothes?

Yes, you just need to know how to do it correctly. White clothes can be tricky for some people, especially if the urine was dark.

If you have dark urine, then soak the item in water and bleach. Bleach is one of the best things to use on urine stains, just be careful of chlorine and non-chlorine bleaches.

Should I Use Warm Water To Get Urine Smells Out Of Clothing?

Yes, when dealing with urine stains, you want to use warm water. 

Amanda Brown

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