Old urine stains can be tough to clean – and unpleasant to smell! Here are four of the best carpet cleaners for old pet urine, plus tips for eliminating odors.
Dog accidents are easy to clean when still wet. But if it happens when you’re out of the house, or if your pet has a habit of toileting in hidden locations, urine has time to sink deep into carpet fibres.
This makes removing stains and eliminating odors much more difficult. Old pee also smells stronger as the evaporating fluid leaves behind a higher concentration.
Fortunately, the best carpet cleaners for old urine can tackle even the most stubborn stains. They can also eliminate odors, leaving your home smelling fresh once again.
Tip: For cleaning less stubborn odors, please read my guide to the best pet stain and odor cleaners.
Powerful enzymatic cleaner that's great for old and stubborn patches
If you need a urine cleaner for stubborn stains, Rocco and Roxie is my top pick. It’s a highly effective cleaner that uses enzymes and bacteria to eliminate the source of odors.
Ideally, pee accidents should be blotted up with paper towels and thoroughly rinsed while still wet. This prevents urine from drying and odorous bacteria from multiplying.
Instant cleaning isn’t always realistic though. Your dog may urinate while you’re at work or out for dinner. Even if you’re in the house, accidents on dark carpets might not be obvious.
Stains may also smell worse the longer they are left.
The acidity of dog urine rises as fluid evaporates, as there is less liquid to dilute it. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
Additionally, the longer fluid sits on carpet fibres, the deeper it can soak. Once the chemicals have become “set” into the fibres, cleaning is much more difficult – especially if urine has soaked through to the under-lining.
Note: Old stains don’t just create an unpleasant smell in the house. If your dog has an infection, urine could be potentially dangerous to humans. Also, if your pet’s urine smells strongly of ammonia, this could signal a health problem
There are many DIY carpet cleaners for pet stains. These can be useful for mild stains, but for old staining you need something stronger.
The best cleaners for old stains use enzymes or oxygen-activated compounds. They are specifically designed for pets, so are safe and effective to use on stubborn stains.
While these products can’t always eliminate an old pee smell, they’ll certainly reduce the odor intensity. Make sure to follow the instructions during clean up, and remember you might need several applications for best results.
As with all cleaning products for carpets, test a new solution on a hidden patch before using it on a large stain. While cleaners are safe to use on most carpets, they could cause discoloration in certain types of fibre.
When using enzymatic pet cleaners to remove old stains, you’ll usually need to saturate carpet fibres with plenty of solution (although check the instructions for your cleaner.) Then let it sit for at last 24 hours before drying. Most people either don’t use enough or fail to leave the solution for long enough.
It’s also best to buy “pour on” bottles when tackling old stains. Sprays are great for small patches, but it’s easier to soak a carpet using a poured solution.
The four carpet cleaners below can help freshen up your home and eliminate urine stains. They are strong, effective, and specifically designed for pets.
Note: Some carpet cleaners are designed to be used on their own, while others are best when added to a carpet cleaning machine. Make sure you check which you’re buying.
Urine that’s had time to soak into carpet fibres is always difficult to remove. Rocco & Roxie is an enzyme-activated cleaning solution, so it targets ammonia and other organic substances without damaging the carpet itself. This makes it much more effective at removing old urine than typical removers.
The Rocco & Roxie is also safe to use. It doesn’t contain dangerous propellants or chlorine, and is certified as safe for all carpets by the Carpet and Rug Institute.
Note: The Rocco and Roxie Stain & Odor Remover is also suitable for upholstery, tiles, laminate and many hardwood floors (although not all).
Nature’s Miracle is highly effective at removing all types of dog fluids, including vomit, feces and urine. You may need to repeat treatment several times and leave it to dry for up to 24 hours, however, for best results on severe stains.
This urine odor cleaner can be used on a range of surfaces, including carpet, tile, linoleum and upholstery. It’s even suitable for hardwood – although only if it’s treated wood.
Nature’s Miracle is available in several different types of bottle, including spray bottle, accushot and pour. For old stains, I recommend getting a pour bottle, as it’s much easier to saturate carpet fibres.
If you want an enzymatic pet cleaning formula to use in a carpet cleaner, the Hoover PetPlus is one of the best options. I like the clean linen smell – especially compared to the citrus scent of many cleaners – and it works great on stubborn stains.
The PetPlus is designed to be used on both upholstery and carpets. Make sure you test it for colorfastness on a small patch before removing stains on larger areas though.
You’ll need access to a carpet cleaner to use this solution properly. For manual application, go for the Rocco & Roxie or Nature’s Miracle.
With its enzymatic solution and pleasant smell, the Icky Poo Odor is one of the most popular pet stain removers on the market. Like other enzymatic solutions, it eliminates the root cause of the problem – it doesn’t just mask the smell with something else.
Make sure you test it on a small patch of carpet first. You’ll also need to heavily soak both the carpet and under padding to eliminate the most stubborn urine stains.
The carpet cleaners above are all effective at removing old pet urine, but here are some extra tips that may help:
It’s also important to understand why your dog is having accidents. There are medical and behavioural reasons why this could be happening, so you may want to consult a professional for help.
Old pet urine stains and odors can be difficult to remove. The average carpet cleaner probably isn’t up to the job, which is why you need to use enzymatic carpet cleaners that are designed specifically for pet stains.
My top pick for a carpet cleaner for old urine is the Rocco and Roxie Professional Strength Eliminator. It’s a highly effective cleaner that’s brilliant for removing stubborn stains.
I hope this article has helped you find the best carpet cleaner for old pet urine in your home. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below.