None of us is strange to occasional human and pet accidents as they’re bound to happen all the time. Whether it’s a little one who is fond of peeing on cloths or a pet that has chosen to substitute a litter box for a basket of laundry, there’s one major thing that’s most upsetting – the consequential odor. Dried-on and set-in urine stains leave marks and odors that are nearly impossible to remove from garments.
The good news is that you can get your clothes smelling new and fresh again thanks to plenty of natural and chemical cleaners available. Urine stains and odors are nothing but a wee trouble as long as you act soon enough and treat the area using the right products. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to get pee smell out of clothes.
Recommended Cleaning Supplies:
- Paper towels or white cloths
- Rubber gloves
- Water faucet
- Soaking basin
- Distilled white vinegar
- Oxygen bleach
- Enzyme detergent
- Baking soda (optional)
- Vacuum Cleaner
How to Get Pee Smell Out of Clothes – Soaking With Bleach Method
Flush With Cool Water
Begin your cleanup process by rinsing out the urine spot with cold water. Run a water faucet and hold the unaffected area of the fabric, allowing the full force of the water to rinse the urine stains out of the fabric. Let the faucet run continuously for 3-4 minutes while still holding the wrong side of the garment.
After 3-4 minutes, grab your paper towels or white cloths and blot the area dry. Be careful not to scrub the stain, because you could end up driving it further into the material. Flushing out the clothes with a constant flow of water for a few minutes will help to remove as much of the urine stain as possible from the fabric.
Soak With Chlorinated Bleach (Oxygen Bleach for Colored Garments)
Put your rubber gloves on before touching the bleach, and then fill a sink or large basin with clean water. Pour ½ a cup of chlorinated bleach into the water and stir it until the bleach is completely mixed into the water. For colored clothing, use the non-chlorine bleach (or oxygen bleach) to prevent your garments from fading or discoloring.
Caution: Be careful not to use odor removing products containing ammonia. Cats tend to mistake the distinctive ammonia scent for urine and will continue peeing on the same spot over and over again.
Allow the Clothes to Soak In Bleach Solution
After submerging your smelly clothing into the bleach solution in the basin or sink, allow it to soak in for 3-4 hours depending on the size of the stain and the fabric material. As a rule of thumb, colored clothing should rest in the bleach solution for at least 3 hours before being removed from the mixture. On the other hand, white garments should be left soaked in the solution overnight.
Caution: Store the bleach solution out of reach of pets or small children.
Wash Your Clothes with Bleach and Laundry Detergent
Launder your garments as usual using lukewarm water and the recommended laundry detergent. Measure 1 cup of bleach and add it to 1 cup of laundry detergent. Put your soaked garments into the washing machine and set the cycle to a standard spin speed. Now, allow the bleach to disintegrate the stain molecules and to eliminate the odor.
Hang Your Clothes Outside to Air-dry Naturally and Vacuum
After the cycle is complete, remove your clean garments from the washing machine and hang them outside to air-dry in the sun. Make sure each piece of the clothing is placed in an open space where there is unobstructed flow of air. You might want to hang your clothes inside but this will take at least 24 hours to fully dry. Finally, vacuum your garments and arrange them in the closet.
Caution: Do not dry out your clothes using the clothes dryer. The heat from the dryer could permanently drive the odor deep into the fabric making it harder to remove. Also, exercise caution when hanging brightly colored clothing as the colors are likely to fade away in direct sunlight.
How to Get Pee Smell Out of Clothes – Washing With Vinegar Method
Put Your Urine-stained Cloths in the Wash with Distilled White Vinegar
Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to 3 cups of water and pour the solution into the detergent compartment of the washing machine. For old urine stain and overly strong odor, it’s advisable to use a mixture of 2 cups of white distilled vinegar and 1 gallon of cool water. Vinegar naturally blasts away any lingering uric acid that creates a foul smell in the fabric.
Note: For older dried-on stains and stubborn odor, soak the clothes in the solution of white vinegar and water and allow them to stay overnight.
Apply Baking Soda
You can omit this step if the stain is light and easy to remove. Only apply baking soda to the affected area of the garment if the stain is severe. Spread some baking soda over the stain and allow it to work with vinegar. Baking soda works hand in hand with the vinegar to absorb and reduce the effect of the foul smell.
Wash the Stained Garments in the Washing Machine
Place your urine-stained clothes in the washing machine and set it to cold or lukewarm water before running the cycle. Make sure the water is neither warm nor hot, because hot or warm water will probably set the stain and odor deep in the fabric. Similarly, avoid using any laundry detergent at this stage.
Hang Your Clothing Outside to Air-dry
Finally, take your clothes outside to dry out in the sun as you did before. Once your clothes have dried out completely, do a sniff test to determine whether there are any lingering odors. If you happen to detect any faint urine odor, it’ll be necessary to repeat the laundering process once again until the smell has completely disappeared.
How to Get Pee Smell Out of Clothes – Enzyme-Based Method
Get an Enzymatic Detergent
Our last method involves the use of an enzymatic detergent specially formulated for cleaning protein-based stains. Enzyme-based detergents are found in the cleaning section of most grocery stores. Make sure to purchase the product that works on such protein-based stains as urine, fecal matter and blood.
Place the Enzymatic Detergent in the Right Compartment
Depending on the instructions on the detergent label, measure the recommended amount of the enzymatic detergent and pour it into the right compartment of your washing machine. Whether it’s a powder or liquid detergent, make sure it’s designed for use in the washing machine. Enzymatic detergents are specially formulated to neutralize old smells.
Wash Your Smelly Garments in the Washing Machine
Set the water in your washing machine to the recommended temperature, and run the machine at a normal spin speed. Read your garment’s care label in advance to ensure that the selected water settings are aligned with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Garments labeled “for cold water only” means that they should be washed with cold water. Repeat the process a few times until the smell is gone.
Hang Your Garments in an Open Space
Finally, hang up your wet garments in an open section of your home to air dry naturally in the sun. You can also hang them in your laundry room but the dry time will be prolonged. Do a sniff test to determine whether the pee smell has vanished. And repeat the process if necessary.
Accidents are difficult to dodge and will always happen at the least expected time. Consequently, it’s important to take some time to learn how to get pee smell out of clothes in order to avoid the embarrassing urine odor once and for all. We’ve tested our three methods above and you can rest assured that you’ll get the best results in eliminating the foul urine odor from any clothing or linen.