How to Get Pee Smell Out of a Couch: Tested & Proven Solutions

Accidents happen, but it stinks when it's urine on your couch... literally. No sweat. We have the tips you need to make it like it never happened.

Published June 3, 2024
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Untreated urine smells are one of the fastest ways to ruin a piece of furniture — or at least make your couch one that nobody ever sits on, even when it's not in the only-for-guests formal living room. Whether it's from cats, dogs, or kids, urine can wreck your couch — unless you have cleaning mojo. Lucky for you, we have all the details on how to get pee smell out of your couch so everyone can enjoy sitting on it once again.

How to Get Pee Smells Out of a Couch

Urine odor has staying powder because the proteins, ammonia, and bacteria in the pee can burrow deeply into the fabric and filling. And the longer it sits, the deeper it goes and the riper the aroma from the urine becomes. So to deal with pee smell in the couch, the very first thing you need to do is act fast. As soon as you notice the telltale wet spot and aroma, it's time to fly into action before the urine has more chance to absorb and the odor has time to do whatever the opposite of mellow is. 

Blot Away Any Excess Moisture

Our first and most important piece of advice is this: Blot. Never rub. Blotting lifts. Rubbing pushes it further into the fabric. So grab some super-absorbent paper towels, fold them into squares and blot gently at the excess liquid. Continue replacing paper towels and blotting until you have soaked up as much of the urine as humanly possible. 

Fast Fact

It turns out that not all advertising is a big fat lie. According to multiple consumer testing sources, including USA Today Reviewed and Tech Gear Lab, among others, Bounty paper towels win the day as being the most absorbent paper towels. 

Use an Enzyme Cleaner

As a household that once had four dogs and a cat, we quickly discovered what a freakin' miracle enzyme cleaner is on any dog/cat (or even people) bodily fluid — especially the stinky ones. The enzymes break down the urine, which helps to eliminate the odor. The trick is to leave it in contact with the stain for a full 15 minutes (or longer), in which time the odors should start to dissipate.

At our house, we use Nature's Miracle for this. They have multiple formulas, including for dog stains and for cat stains (both of which also work on people stains), and choosing the right formula for your pet can help to fully eliminate the pee odor.

Spray it on the stain, fully saturating it. Then, leave it alone for 15-20 minutes to do its thing. Blot with paper towels to pull up all the liquid.

Need to Know

If you have pets or tiny kids who could pee on the couch, we recommend having some Nature's Miracle or another enzyme cleaner at the ready so you can spring into action as soon as you spot the stain. When you purchase it, test it in inconspicuous areas on the spots where you might use it (upholstery furniture, carpets) to make sure it's color-safe with your stuff. 

Wash Couch Cushion Covers

If you have removable cushion covers that can be laundered, once you've treated them with the enzyme cleaner, toss them in the wash and launder as directed on the tag. You can use an enzyme laundry booster to hedge your bets and make sure you get all the odor out of those cushion covers. 

Quick Tip

If cushion covers aren't removable or washable and you're still concerned, consult with a professional for your next steps.

Treat the Bare Cushions Underneath With Enzyme Spray

Use the same enzyme spray and treatment from above with the bare cushions without the covers. Spray, soak, blot. 

Extra Credit: Use a Steam Cleaner

If you think the urine has penetrated deeply, you can also use a steam cleaner. I love the Bissel Little Green Machine with the Urine Eliminator shampoo to ensure I suck up every last bit of lingering odor bombs. 

Let Everything Dry

Finally, before reassembling the cushions and sitting on your couch again, let everything dry thoroughly. Once it does, you're good to go.

Related: How to Get Pee Smell out of Your Clothes (& Save Your Wardrobe)

How Get Set-in Urine Smells Out of the Couch

shampoo vacuum suction clean sofa

The great news is that the above products will work to remove set-in pee smells, too. 

  1. Saturate the stain with the enzyme cleaner.
  2. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes. 
  3. Blot.
  4. Saturate a second time if the odor lingers. Sit for another 15-20 minutes and blot.
  5. As long as your paper towel comes up with yellow stains in blotting, there's still some urine that needs to come out, so keep at it until the stains aren't yellow anymore.
  6. Once you have the stain out, remove the cushion covers, launder them if you can, and treat the cushion underneath.
  7. Use a steam cleaner on bare cushions, too.

DIY Methods to Get Pee Smells Out of a Couch

Spotted a fresh puddle of urine and don't have any enzyme spray on hand? There are some DIY methods you can try. But first, blot. 

Use Baking Soda

If you have removable couch cushions or cushion covers, take those off and throw them in the washer as soon as possible. Add a cup of baking soda to the load to fight the odors. For the remainder of the couch, you need baking soda and white vinegar.

  1. Use the paper towel to blot up as much pee as possible.
  2. Create a mixture of 2:1 water to white vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake well to mix.
  3. Spray the area.
  4. Let it soak for 15 minutes and blot.
  5. Repeat until you feel the pee is completely gone from the area. 
  6. Put about a cup of baking soda over the area.
  7. Let it sit for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best.
  8. Vacuum up the baking soda.

Use Peroxide 

If you have a white or very light-colored couch, hydrogen peroxide can help. You'll also need Dawn dish soap and baking soda.

  1. Mix a cup of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a tablespoon of Dawn in a container.
  2. Use a paper towel to blot up as much of the stain as possible.
  3. Apply the mixture to the stained smelly area.
  4. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Use a cloth to rub the area.
  6. Wipe with a damp cloth to rinse.
  7. Allow the cushion or couch to dry near an open window or outside, if possible.
Need to Know

Peroxide is bleach and will lighten fabrics. Test peroxide mix first on an inconspicuous area, and only use this on a light-colored couch.

Get Rid of Pee Smell With Listerine

You know Listerine kills the germs in your mouth, but did you know it can get rid of those pee smells too? Plus, it leaves a minty fresh scent.

  1. Blot up as much pee as possible. Press hard to remove the liquid.
  2. Add ½ cup of dye-free Listerine to a spray bottle.
  3. Fill it with water and shake to mix.
  4. Spray and blot with a dry cloth.
  5. Repeat until all the stain is gone.
  6. Allow the couch to dry in fresh air or sun if possible.

Use Fresh Air to Get Rid of Urine Odors

Even with the best cleaning method, you might still have some pee smell that lingers. If you can, drag your couch or cushions outside. Allow them to sit in the fresh air for a day or so. For white or durable fabrics, you might also allow them to sit in the sun to help kill any remaining bacteria. This is not recommended for delicate or colored fabrics, since it might lighten them.

How to Get Pee Smell Out of a Leather Couch

So what if your pet pees on your leather couch? Leather is a bit more difficult to treat, but you can still remove the urine odors. 

  1. Absorb any standing liquid.
  2. Add a few drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid to a bowl of warm water.
  3. Agitate to create lots of suds.
  4. Pick up the suds on the cloth and scrub the area.
  5. Create a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar to water.
  6. Dip a cloth in the mixture.
  7. Wring it out well.
  8. Wipe down the area.
  9. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  10. Wipe with a damp cloth.
  11. Put coffee grounds in a bowl and let it sit near the stain overnight to soak up any remaining stench.

When to Call a Professional

The faster you get to a pee stain, the better your chances are of getting it out of your couch. However, if the couch is made of some particularly delicate fabric, is dry-clean only, or you've done your best and the smell lingers, it's time to call in the pros. 

Tips to Avoid Pee Smells on Furniture

The best defense is a good offense, so prevention is key in keeping your couch from becoming a repository for your pets' pee.

  1. Don't allow pets on furniture.
  2. Use diapers on pets with incontinence issues.
  3. Utilize stain guards on your fabrics to avoid mishaps.
  4. Use plastic couch covers or pads.
  5. Clean up accidents immediately.
  6. Watch for signs of marking or spraying in pets.

How to Get Pee Out of a Couch

We're betting your couch was an investment, and you'd like to keep it around for a while. But if you have pets or small children who have occasional accidents and you want to be able to have the best naps in the world without breathing in the odor of urine, you'll probably want to be prepared to remove urine stains if something happens. With these methods, you'll be back to odor-free napping in no time. 

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How to Get Pee Smell Out of a Couch: Tested & Proven Solutions