The Ultimate Hacks for Tackling Urine Stains

Urine is one of those dreaded substances that no one wants to have to clean up. Not only does a urine stain from the pet or toddler happen at the most inopportune moments, but they also often end up soaking into prized furnishings and floorings and it usually requires time and expense to get them out. 

However, with a little research and the right techniques, you can clean these stains quickly and effectively. Read our handy guide to the ultimate hacks for cleaning urine and face the next little accident with confidence.

Know your target: the anatomy of a urine stain

To get innovative in your approach to cleaning a urine stain, you need to know what exactly you are dealing with. Our ultimate hacks are designed to tackle the different aspects of a urine stain for a more effective clean with long-lasting freshness. 

Composition of a urine stain

We all know that both human and animal pee comes from the filtration of waste products from metabolism by the kidneys. Urine is a solution of several substances including:

  • Water 
  • Urea 
  • Ammonia
  • Salts
  • Pigmented organic and inorganic breakdown products that pigment the urine.

If your body sees fit to get rid of these substances, they definitely are not going to do any good to your sectional.

What causes urine odor?

That stinky smell that is hard to get rid of is a complex of sulfur and nitrogen-containing chemicals. For urine to stink, the level of these substances has to breach a certain level, known as the odor threshold. This differs for each of the major chemical constituents of urine, but sulfur-containing compounds have a particularly low threshold.

Urea, which makes up more than half of urine, is a colorless and odorless compound, but its breakdown products do reek. Pungent Ammonia is a major contributor as is Trimethylamine, which has a rotten fish smell. 

The problem is that as your urine stain lingers, more and more, the urea breaks down into these stinky chemicals meaning that a urine stain only smells worse with time. That’s why it’s key that you get to work on them quickly with our tried and trusted cleaning techniques. 

What causes urine staining?

The acids and salts in the urine as well as pigmented compounds from the breakdown of blood, give urine its characteristic color and staining potential. Uric acid crystals in a dried urine stain are a key culprit and sit between fibers, having an erosive effect. 

Time will worsen a urine stain as these chemicals will affect the fibers that make up your upholstery, carpet, or bedding. The longer the stain remains in place, the greater the exposure and chemical reactions with the uric acid crystal that can leave burn marks on natural fibers. 

When dealing with urine act fast for the best results

As both smell and staining worsen with time, you want to get to grips with a urine stain as quickly as possible. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to get these odor and stain-causing chemicals out of your furnishings - ASAP! 

Have these ultimate cleaning hacks on hand to use quickly when a urine deposit occurs 

Though these substances have recognized performance at cleaning urine, the success of your clean-up will depend most on how much urine you can get out of the affected surface as quickly as possible. 

For this you will need absorbent materials which can soak up that puddle, wicking away the moisture and setting up your cleaning agents for success. Blot, blot and blot again, with kitchen towels or dishcloths. 

Before you try any of these cleaning hacks, make sure you test a discrete area of your surface to ensure that it won’t be damaged by your cleaning. 

1. Arm yourself with white vinegar to break down a urine stain.

White vinegar has considerable form as a cleaning agent. 

This strong-smelling mild acid is effective at breaking down the hold that uric acid crystals will have on your fabrics so the urine can be lifted out more easily.

After blotting the stain, spray or sponge down the area with diluted white vinegar until it is damp. Leave the vinegar to act for a few moments. Blot it off and keep repeating until the stain lifts. 

You can use the diluted white vinegar as a rinse for the other cleaning techniques shared. 

2. Baking soda is a trusted agent for tackling pee.

Bicarb is great as it will work for you on multiple fronts. Not only is baking soda super-absorbent, but it also weakens and disrupts the chemical hold of the uric acid crystals and deodorizes the affected area. 

After your efforts at blotting out the urine, liberally dust a layer of baking soda over the stain. If you are cleaning a carpet you may want to gently work the bicarb in with a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush. 

Take a look at how the pros use bicarb to clean a mattress with this helpful video:

Leave it to act for several hours or overnight. You can then vac it up and check for freshness. 

Bicarb also tags with white vinegar or 3% hydrogen peroxide for an added boost to your cleaning. If your stain is old, you can re-wet it with either of these substances so your bicarb can act. 

3. Borax packs a punch when it comes to odor control.

Borax is not for cleaning fresh stains. You use it to tackle the reblooming of an old stain as it is effective at tackling the uric acid crystals and deodorizing fabrics and surfaces.

To use borax on urine stains, clean the stain as much as possible using other methods. 

Prepare a borax solution made from a half cup of borax dissolved in 1 pint of hot water. Alternatively, you can use a quarter cup of borax with a quarter cup of vinegar and a quarter cup of salt. 

Apply this solution to the affected surface by sponging it in. 

Leave it to act for up to an hour. It then can be lifted out using warm water and blotting. Once finished vacuum the affected area. 

4. Shaving foam is great for getting stale urine odors and stains off bathroom surfaces.

This urine cleaning hack from Australia has become immensely popular due to the great results you get. 

If you have a smelly lavatory due to urine stains that persist despite cleaning, shaving foam is great at stripping surfaces of that lingering stale urine smell. It's thought that the shaving foam neutralizes the uric acid crystals.

This trick is easy. Simply lather the restroom area (floors and walls) in shaving foam and leave it to sit there for several hours. When you clean the suds off, the Aussies guarantee that the urine odor will be gone! 

Give these four cleaning hacks a try and wave that smelly stain “bye-bye”!

Each of these great cleaning agents can win a battle with urine, but it may take repeated cleaning attempts to win the war.

Rinse, repeat and combine your techniques and if you have one to hand consider using a wet/dry vacuum or carpet cleaner to lift out the moisture you may need to add.

Remember, don’t let that stain wait, get on and handle it with these great techniques!