You smell ammonia, and it's coming from your laundry room. Unless you spilled some cleaner, that distinct odor typically means you have pee in your clothes, and Fido probably hit his mark. While urine odors are easier to treat when they're fresh, you can still get them out if you catch them later on. It's just going to take patience and a bit of cleaning know-how to navigate how to get urine smell out of your clothes.
Methods for Getting Pee Smell Out of Clothes
Many know the frustration of regularly dealing with urine-marked clothing from pets. Others are always searching for the source of a pee smell in the home they share with a toddler. Regardless of the why, the urine stench finds its way into our clothing. So, you've got to get that pungent ammonia smell out fast.
Fortunately, there are quite a few methods that work to remove urine smells. The one you choose might depend on what materials you have on hand, so take a glance and find the best method for you.
- Baking soda soak method: Uses cold water and baking soda.
- Bleach method: Uses oxygen bleach (like OxiClean)
- White vinegar method: Uses white vinegar, laundry detergent, and a bit of baking soda.
- Enzyme cleaner method: Uses a spray-on enzyme cleaner for clothing.
- Borax & washing soda method: Uses Borax, washing soda, and water.
Baking Soda Soak for Removing Urine Smells
When it comes to odors, baking soda is your go-to. From putting it in a stinky room to keeping your fridge fresh, baking soda sucks up those odors like nobody's business. So reach for your baking soda when you have some pee stink to vanquish.
- Fill a sink or bathtub with cold water.
- Pour a cup of baking soda evenly across the water.
- Stir to mix it up.
- Add your stinky clothes.
- Agitate them in the solution.
- Allow them to sit in the mixture for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Rinse away the baking soda mixture.
- Wash as normal.
- Hang to dry.
Resist the urge to throw your now-clean clothes in the dryer. If any of that smelly urine lingers, the dryer will only bake it in.
Remove Pee Smells With the Bleach Method
You cleaned up a bit of puppy pee with a towel and forgot about it. Now, the smell is making your eyes water. Baking soda might not be enough for this tough of a job. So, you need to reach for something stronger.
Oxygen bleach, like OxiClean, is going to be your bestie here. Why? Because it's color safe and good at knocking out stubborn odors. Plus, you can usually find it in your favorite grocery store and even in some dollar stores.
- Rinse the urine stain with cold water for several minutes to try to dilute it, or longer for especially pungent odors.
- Fill your tub with cold water.
- Add ½ cup of oxygen bleach.
- Agitate to mix.
- Add your clothes.
- Agitate them in the mixture for a few minutes.
- Allow them to soak for three hours.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Wash with oxygen bleach and laundry detergent.
- Allow to air dry.
Whenever you're using a strong chemical like bleach, protection is a must. Wear rubber gloves and use a wooden spoon to agitate the mixture.
How to Remove Urine Smells With White Vinegar
Not a fan of bleach? Go a more natural route by using white vinegar to break down that powerful pee smell. This method works well for stains you can see and know exactly where they are.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups distilled vinegar
- 1 cup laundry detergent (a high-quality detergent, like Tide, is best)
- Spray bottle
- Mix 2 cups of water, 2 cups of distilled vinegar, and a cup of detergent in a spray bottle. (Use high-quality laundry detergent, like Tide, to make this a more powerful odor killer.)
- Shake to mix.
- Soak the area well with the mixture.
- Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the stain.
- Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Wash the clothes alone in cold water with an extra rinse, adding a cup of white vinegar to the wash as a laundry detergent.
- Allow the clothes to air dry.
Get Rid of Urine Smells With the Enzyme Cleaner Method
You don't have time to fill the tub. You need a solution now. In this case, you might want to have an enzyme cleaner ready, especially if you have a wayward dog or accident-prone toddler. While you can buy enzyme laundry detergents, a spray-on enzyme cleaner for clothes adds a little more punch.
- Enzyme spray cleaner
- Enzyme-based detergent (Tide or OxiClean work well)
- Check the label to make sure it's okay for your clothes.
- Spray the stain according to the instructions.
- Wash with an enzyme detergent for added smell-eliminating power.
- Repeat as needed until the smell is gone.
- Air dry.
Use Borax and Washing Soda for Tough Urine Stains
Your towels smell downright rancid. You've tried everything, and the stink is just not coming out. They aren't destined for the trash just yet. You can give borax and washing soda a try. You might even add a little white vinegar for good measure.
- ½ cup Borax, divided
- ¼ cup washing soda
- ½ cup white vinegar
- Fill your tub with cold water.
- Sprinkle in the Borax, washing soda, and white vinegar.
- Add the towels to the concoction.
- Thoroughly submerge them.
- Let them sit for several hours in the mixture.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Add ¼ cup of borax to the wash before adding any clothes. Wash as normal.
- Allow to air dry.
How to Remove Urine Smell From Clothing Without Washing
You can't always wash every item when an accident happens. Sometimes, there's just no time. But we're guessing you're not fond of the idea of walking around smelling like pee. Thankfully, you can make an effective odor eliminator at home with the right ingredients.
- 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide
- 3 tablespoons of baking soda
- Several drops of dish soap (Dawn recommended)
- Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle.
- Shake well.
- Spray over the stinky area.
- Scrub the area with your fingers.
- Allow it to sit for 20 minutes or so.
- Rinse and allow to air dry.
Hydrogen peroxide can have a bleaching quality. So, try it on a test patch anytime you're using it on a new material.
Tips for Removing Fresh Urine From Clothes
Pee odors are simple to handle if you catch them quickly. It isn't exactly the most fun thing you'll ever do, but using these urine-removing tips as soon as you spot the problem will help save your clothing.
- Use paper towels to blot out as much of a fresh accident as possible.
- Use a black light to help you find the source of the stain and treat it.
- Rinse the area to dilute the stain as much as possible.
- Wipe down the area with a sanitizing wipe to help remove germs until you can handle it.
- When out, seal clothes in a Ziploc container to keep them moist until you get home.
- Allow the clothing to air dry after washing to avoid baking in any lingering smell you missed. Plus, the sun is a natural deodorizer.
- Use natural deodorizing sprays made of essential oils to help remove odors on clothes.
- Keep an enzyme cleaner handy.
Products You Need for Removing Urine From Clothes
We've given you the methods. Now let's focus on the tested products we rely on when those smelly accidents happen. These are the urine-removing tools and products that you may want to keep on hand if you find yourself frequently fighting pee smells in your clothing.
- OxiClean Laundry Powder: OxiClean helps remove tons of stains and odors, and it's especially helpful for removing those pesky urine smells.
- Dirty Labs Enzyme Laundry Booster: For stains and odors, the enzyme-boosting power of Dirty Labs is a great option.
- OxiClean Spray: If you're attempting to attack those urine smells quickly or you need a fast cleaning method, you'll be thankful you have a powerful spray, like OxiClean, on hand.
- Tide Laundry Detergent: When it's time to wash the urine-soaked clothes, you want a powerful and reliable detergent like Tide.
- Borax Laundry Booster: This handy cleaning product does more than remove urine from your clothes. It's a trusted booster for regularly stripping your laundry of set-in stains and odors.
- Washing Soda: If you're trying the laundry stripping method, you'll also need a reliable and effective washing soda.
- Spray Bottles: Spray bottles are a must-have for your cleaning cabinet. Keep a few on hand for homemade cleaners and stain removers.
- White Vinegar: Even if you don't use vinegar in your kitchen adventures, it will still come in handy for cleaning.
- Clorox Bleach: Some stains and odors require a strong chemical. Bleach is a powerful part of your cleaning tool kit.
- Clorox Disinfecting Mist: Before you can launder the pee-soaked clothes, you might have to clean that same pee off of a surface in your home. Keep a trusted disinfecting cleaner on hand for such times.
Frequently Asked Questions for Urine Smell in Clothes
Do you wonder what makes pee smell so bad? Maybe you're just curious about washing it out. Find answers to common questions many people have about how to remove pee smells from your laundry.
What Temperature Should I Use to Wash Urine-Stained Clothes?
Always wash clothes with a pee smell in cold water. Hot water will only make your task more difficult. It will make the odor more pungent and harder to completely eliminate.
Why Do My Clothes Smell Like Urine After Washing?
There are several reasons your clothes might smell like pee after washing. Here are some common causes:
- It could be you didn't remove the stain completely.
- The stain may be buried deep in the fibers.
- You might have used the hot water setting.
Whatever the case, you'll want to bust out your black light and try to find the source of the stain. Then, treat it directly with an enzyme cleaner or the hydrogen peroxide mixture. Wash it as many times as necessary until the smell is completely gone.
Why Does Urine Smell so Bad?
Pee has a very distinct ammonia smell from the acid in the body's waste. This also makes it harmful for fabrics and hard to remove once it has dried into the fibers. That's why attacking the stain early by rinsing and adding baking soda is so important. The quicker you act, the easier it is to remove.
What Detergents and Cleaners Are Best for Pee Smell?
If you find yourself dealing with pee smells a lot, you might try grabbing a detergent or cleaner that breaks down enzymes. Peruse your laundry detergent or pet aisle for some of these cleaners. Any will do, so find the one or two that work best for you.
- Tide Hygienic Clean - With Tide's concentrated formula and strong odor-fighting power, all you need to do is follow the directions to get fresh-smelling laundry. This is great for an all-around laundry clean.
- Persil - You can't go wrong with Persil. It's gentle on clothes but tough on odors. Just wash clothing as normal to remove odors. It also has an active scent boost that freshens all your laundry.
- Nature's Miracle 3-in-1 Odor Destroyer - This stuff is a miracle in a bottle. Spray it on the urine area and wash as normal. No more pee smell. Use this for targeted pee smells. It's also versatile enough to use on the carpet and furniture.
- Biokleen - Safe for surfaces and fabrics, Biokleen uses live enzymes to get rid of the cause of the pee odor. Just add the recommended amount to the stain and enjoy the magic of freshness. This formula is great for a targeted area of your clothing.
- Zero Odor- Prevent and remove odors with this spray for surfaces around your home, including fabrics. Follow the instructions, and the patented formula easily removes the odors. It also has a tracer, so you can see where you sprayed it.
Yes, You Can Get the Pee Smell Out for Good
Hopefully, you've found success in removing the pee smell and have another go-to method for urine odor elimination from your laundry. Remember, start with the easiest method, baking soda, and work your way down. You can also try laundry stripping if you are struggling hard with pee smells.