Many pet parents think the solution to occasional accidents is no carpets or rugs. Sticking to hardwood flooring indeed makes clean-up a little simpler.
However, it’s not fool-proof:
A wood floor isn’t necessarily the answer to pet accidents – and there are some cleaning steps to take beyond mopping them up with paper towels.
Dog urine on hardwood floors, including bamboo flooring, can be very damaging to them, so it is important to learn how to protect wood floors from dog urine.
What can you do?
The trick is to weed through the sea of cleaning products and find the safest, most effective one to do the job.
In this article, I’ve narrowed down some options that are all of those things and more.
In addition to explaining the why behind your four-legged friends peeing inside also gives some advice on how to get dog urine smell out of hardwood floors and how to get dog urine stains out of hardwood floors.
A Little Background about Hardwood and Pets
In a best-case scenario, you would clean up a puddle from a hardwood floor as soon as the accident occurred.
However, we can’t always catch our pets in the act. Puppies, I’m looking at you.
As a pet parent, I’ve come across the scene of the crime hours after it happened.
My work is cut out for me in this situation – it’ll take more than a simple DIY solution to save the floor.
If you’ve run into this issue, don’t draw a chalk outline around that area of the floor just yet. Yes, pee can ruin a hardwood floor, but it’ll take more than one accident to make it a lost cause.
When urine soaks into the wood, it becomes much more difficult to soak up than in fabric or carpet.
Unlike area rugs, pillows, and blankets, you can’t just toss it into the washing machine.
You also can’t apply pressure to the floor and expect much to be soaked into an old towel. It takes a little more than just physical labor to get urine out of wood once it has had a chance to soak in.
Pee on hardwood floors can cause the wood to warp and even rot. You might also notice a visible stain left behind.
It will cling to the wood, so cleaning is a must, even if there is no obvious stain.
Some dogs will be attracted back to a spot they previously peed in.
Puppies, in particular, can have a rough time with house training if they smell a place indoors where they have already urinated.
You probably don’t need to be convinced to clean up a pet pee spot from a hardwood floor – but how do you tackle a challenging task?
Not to worry. I’ve been there and done that, and I’ll cover in-depth how it worked for me.
Dog Urine Soaked Into Hardwood Floor? Follow These 3 Steps
If you find a puddle right away, cleaning up is a little quicker and easier. Even if you don’t, with the help of some enzymatic cleaners, it can be a simple process.
Found a fresh puddle?
The first and most important step is to soak it up.
It’s time to break out old rags or paper towels. Absorb as much as you can until there’s no visible liquid on your towel when you wipe.
Here’s a tip:
If you want to ensure you’ve gotten as much urine as possible from the surface, you can sprinkle baking soda on the area. It will help soak up some of the moisture that the towels can’t.
Step two is to let the baking soda sit for around ten minutes. Then use a vacuum to remove it from the spot.
Old urine stains probably won’t benefit from using baking soda.
In general, any puddle that’s been left for under 24 hours should have baking soda used to draw out as much liquid as possible.
2. Core Cleanup
Now, here’s how to get a dog urine smell out of hardwood floors.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the bulk of the mess, you can treat your floor with an enzyme cleaner.
In recent accidents, you can use DIY methods like white vinegar diluted with warm water. You can even use essential oils to help with the smell.
Citrus-based scents are the best for combating the smell of pee.
These may or may not work. In most cases, they only knock the edge off…but the smell still lurks!
If it’s a large puddle or it sat on the floor for a long period, it’s time to call in the cavalry. By that, I mean an enzyme cleaner specifically designed for urine stains on hardwood floors.
Why enzyme cleaners?
They’re the best type of pet urine remover as they can eliminate odors that have soaked into wood floors.
Enzymatic bacteria in these cleaners naturally take down the ammonia and organic substances that cause the smells deep within hardwood in the first place. They may be microscopic, but they literally tear through the odors. We’re talking Discovery Channel style at the molecular level!
Speaking of ammonia – don’t bother using it to clean a urine stain.
It can remind your dog of their pee – and draw them back to the same spot where they might re-offend.
It’s also not safe for pets or humans to breathe in, and it’s certainly not safe for wood floors. Besides, there’s some concern already about how harmful dog urine is to humans.
Stick to enzyme cleaners with natural ingredients. They’re more effective, and they’re non-toxic. I highly recommend a spray such as Angry Orange Enzyme Stain Cleaner and Pet Odor Eliminator.
What if the stain has had a chance to set – how to get dog urine stains out of hardwood floors?
You’re in luck – the substances in enzyme cleaners also help to lift the things that discolor your floor.
An important note:
The two brands covered in this article are labeled as safe for most hardwood floors. Doing a small spot test before you use it on a larger area is always advisable.
You’re not likely to run into any serious issues with natural enzyme cleaners. The biggest risk is using too much cleaning spray or liquid, which can cause the wood to swell.
Fortunately, a little goes a long way with these types of cleaners. It might be tempting to overpour the affected area, but it’s unnecessary.
Be sure to spray enough to cover the affected area, which will do the trick. Coat it with a layer of spray – it might not look like a lot, but the enzymes are already doing their duty once they make contact with the floor.
If you have a large bottle of cleaner, I definitely recommend moving some into a spray bottle.
Spraying the cleaner ensures it coats the spot evenly without overdoing it with a heavy pour.
Additional directions will vary depending on which brand you use. Generally, you can expect to spray and let it set.
How long should the cleaner sit?
Angry Orange suggests spaying the area evenly and allowing it to dry for several hours or overnight.
Once the time has passed, you can wipe up the excess spray. Old towels or mops do the trick nicely. Then, you can allow the floor to dry.
I also recommend airing out your home or directing a fan toward the affected area after it’s been treated to help it dry out.
3. Preventive Advice
A well-house-trained dog is the best protection against unwanted stains, but that’s not much of a comfort if you’re in the midst of potty training a new pet.
If you are training a young dog, I suggest taking out puppies every 2-3 hours because they have small bladders.
Remember to take them out as soon as they wake up in the morning or from a nap. Dogs can only hold their urine for so long!
In the meantime, restrict their access to areas where you value your floors. Supervise them constantly any time they have free roam of the house.
How to Protect Wood Floors from Dog Urine
If you have hardwood floors, having them protected with a polyurethane sealant can help repel liquids.
It does more than keep out urine – a tipped-over juice bottle or upended wine glass won’t destroy your floor.
Remember that sealants don’t make your wood floor impermeable. It just gives you extra time to clean up the mess before it soaks in.
Liquids can still stain if left too long. And especially dog pee – ask a dog who has ever suffered from urine scald!
Also, keep in mind that if you choose to have your floor sealed, you will need to keep pets away from it until it’s thoroughly dry. The fumes and wet lacquer are harmful to dogs.
If your fur babies have a bad habit of chewing loose floorboards?
Sealants are a no-no if there’s any risk your dog will chew the floor. Best keep them out of that area completely.
You can find plenty of eco-friendly, non-toxic floor waxes out there, too.
Avoid anything with formaldehyde, xylene, or cresol. There’s a laundry list of harmful ingredients in industrial floor wax that can harm both you and your pet.
Floor waxes made with natural resins, beeswax, and carnauba wax are much safer alternatives for everyone in the house.
Many pet parents consider robotic vacuums to lend a helping hand when accidents happen. I don’t recommend doing this, as it can cause much more harm than good.
Now, onto some products that can make your life easier when battling a urine stain on hardwood flooring.
Rocco and Roxie Professional Stain and Odor Eliminator
This one isn’t just for hard surfaces – you can also safely use it on urine-stained carpets. It was even awarded the Carpet and Rug Institute seal of approval for stain removal.
What makes it so powerful? Natural enzymes attack odors at their source without using any harsh chemicals.
It’s not just for urine messes, either. Vomit, feces, and organic spills can be cleaned with this product. It’s a multi-talented cleaner that guarantees a full refund if it doesn’t work for you.
TriNova Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover
Another enzyme powerhouse cleaner, this innocent-looking spray bottle packs a punch with all-natural, organic ingredients.
It can help deodorize litter boxes and kennels with concrete floors and is safe to use around pets.
The light minty fragrance is subtle and helps with any lingering smells – without irritating chemical fumes.
Extras Things to Keep on Hand
When cleaning a pet stain, it’s always good to have old rags or towels handy.
Paper towels work, too, although I find they’re not as absorbent. I’ve gone through nearly half a roll, trying to soak up a puddle thoroughly.
Distilled white vinegar is always good to keep around if you have pets. It’s very useful in cleaning up fresh stains on various surfaces.
The methods and materials listed in this article can work on carpeting, too. Most enzymatic cleaners are designed to be used on both hard floors and rugs.
Pet messes aren’t the only thing that can be solved by enzyme cleaners.
Have you ever left food in the fridge until it became an unrecognizable goo? Have you then spilled various juices on the floor or had them leak into your waste bin?
Enzyme cleaner could be your saving grace. Nasty fridge smells and dirty bathrooms can be restored back to their new state with natural enzymes.
I recommend any pet parent keep an enzyme cleaner in their house, but even homes without pets can reap the benefits.
Do These Methods Work on Cat Urine too?
Absolutely. Cat moms and dads know that strong, offensive smell that comes with cat urine. Enzyme cleaners are powerful enough to eliminate traces of the offensive odor.
Do Enzyme Cleaners Work on Old Stains?
If you’re renting a home with less than-responsible pet owners, you can try using these cleaners on old stains. Old stains can damage the overall structure of the floor, so consider that before you try removing the stains.
Can I Use Enzyme Cleaners in My Car?
Yes, you can. Carsick dogs and long car trips often result in a stain on our car seats. Enzyme cleaners can do the trick without requiring your car to be detailed by a professional.
Enzymes – A Superhero Under Your Sink
After reading this article, you’re now an expert on getting dog urine smell out of hardwood floors and getting dog urine stains out of hardwood floors. Way to go!
Dog urine on hardwood floors is generally simpler to clean than on carpet – but you should still take certain measures when fixing the mess.
With some absorbent cloths, baking soda, and a safe enzyme cleaner, you can beat the stench and stain on your floor because you know that’s how to protect wood floors from dog urine.
Sticking with natural and non-toxic cleaning materials is an easy choice to make when dealing with this type of mess. Eco-friendly products are an effective option for treating stains.