3 Natural Homemade Cleaners to Remove Pet Stains & Odors

I foster dogs in addition to owning two of my own, so I have a lot of pups going through my house. Since they’re rescues and often times come from places where they haven’t even started on potty training, I have a lot of accidents in my house. And I do mean a lot. Pretty much everything you could imagine that could come out of either end of dog has probably ended up on my carpet at some point or another. Come spring time my backyard also turns into a mud pit, and I have dogs tearing in from the backyard tracking who knows what all over the place. In short, stain removers are a must at my house, and not only do they have to get the stain, but the smell as well. Unfortunately, it took me awhile to catch on to the fact that I could make my own and that they would work just as well as the dozen or so other expensive cleaners I’d tried before. Mud, blood, number 1 or number 2, here are 3 natural DIY solutions to keeping up on pet stains and odors.

3 Natural Homemade Cleaners- to remove pet stains & odors.

Note: Test for color-fastness on an inconspicuous area before use, and remember-this is a process, make sure to always blot up as much excess liquid before treating, and be patient. No shortcuts!

1. Vinegar-Baking Soda Spray

It doesn’t get much easier than this spray. Most of the time, this is the one I choose to use. It’s simple, inexpensive, and works a treat on blood and urine stains in particular. White vinegar is a miraculous substance that will get rid of even the old accident stains that might have been missed if a dog did a “ninja-pee” behind the bookshelves or something. Baking soda is nature’s odor remover, and teamed up with vinegar, does a great job at getting rid of odors!

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You will need…

-2 cups white distilled vinegar
-2 cups of lukewarm water
-4 generous tablespoons of baking soda
-Spray bottle (optional)

Directions #1

Thoroughly blot up as much of whatever it is you’re cleaning up. I can’t emphasize the importance of this step enough. Fold up a rag over it, place a heavy book on it, and stand on the book to make sure you really get it all out (sounds extreme, but it does a good job!) Mix 2 cups of white distilled vinegar with 2 cups of lukewarm water in a large bowl. Add in 4 heaping tablespoons of baking soda, adding it in smaller amounts if it threatens to fizz over (and it really does fizz!) Pour into a spray bottle and thoroughly spray the area. Let sit for 5 minutes, then gently rub and blot up with a soft cloth. You can also simply pour some straight from the bowl over the stain if you don’t have a spray bottle.

vinegar spray

Directions #2

*To clarify these numbers do not refer to “number 1” or “number 2”-they both work for either!

As with the first step, blot or clean up as much as possible. Mix 2 cups of lukewarm water with 2 cups of white distilled vinegar. Instead of adding the baking soda to the liquid, sprinkle it dry liberally over the area where the accident occurred. Let it break down and deodorize for about 5 minutes, then vacuum. Apply the water/vinegar solution as in the first set of directions.

blotting the stain

Directions #3

Mix up your water and vinegar solution. After blotting up any excess fluid, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the soiled area. Pour the water and vinegar solution directly onto the baking soda to create a mini cleaning volcano that will actively eat away at the stain. Blot and rub gently dry with a soft cloth after letting it sit for 5 minutes.

vinegar and baking soda odor eliminator

2. Hydrogen-peroxide/baking soda mixture

Hydrogen peroxide is another great substance when it comes to breaking down the “crystals” of urine and pulling out stains. Combine it with naturally deodorizing baking soda, and you have another great solution for cleaning up stains.

pee stain revenge

You will need…

-Paper towels or rags
-A cup or so of baking soda
-1/2 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
-1 teaspoon eco-friendly dish liquid
-A bowl

Directions

Cover the stain with paper towels or rags and walk lightly over or place something heavy on top to soak up any excess liquid. Sprinkle a generous handful of baking soda over the stain when no more liquid can be pulled up, and mix together ½ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of dish liquid. Slowly pour the solution over the stain and baking soda. Gently scrub the mixture into the carpet fibers with a scrub-brush or cloth, and then let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Vacuum the area thoroughly. For tough stains, repeat the above steps.

hydrogen peroxide and baking soda

3. Citrus-enzyme cleaner

Popular stain removal products often have lengthy labels telling about how they use “enzymes” to digest and break down stains and odors on a molecular level. It sounds mighty fancy, but with a little time and patience you can easily make your own.

You will need…

-7 tablespoons of brown sugar
-1 ½ cups of lemon and orange peels/scraps
-1 liter of water
-a bottle or clear container large enough to hold the liquid and peels/scraps

Directions

Funnel 7 tablespoons of brown sugar into your container, and add the fruit. Next, add the water, and tightly screw on the cap, giving everything a good shake to mix it around. Loosen the cap and leave it on halfway to release the gases and ensure your bottle doesn’t explode due to the build-up. After 3 months, you’re natural enzymatic cleaner will be ready to use!

citrus enzyme carpet cleaner

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We love our four-legged friends dearly…but not so much the stains and messes they leave behind. We can’t blame them really-they don’t come into the world knowing they have to go outdoors or in the litter box every time they have to go potty! There’s no way to avoid the mess, no matter how well trained your friend is, but by making your own cleaners you can avoid lasting stains and extra money spent on store-bought stain removers.

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By Claire Goodall

Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→

      

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:

50 Comments

  1. Ramona Bishop says:

    Doesn’t the peroxide discolor the carpet ?

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      It shouldn’t- the kind you get at the stores is usually 3% dilute. Professional carpet cleaners usually use it at around 10%. Just make sure to always test for color fastness no matter what you decide to try :)

  2. martha says:

    What about pet odors any suggestions

    • Patti says:

      Did you ever get a response? This is what I need because my cat peed on our couch and I can’t get rid of the odor.

      • Karen says:

        i cant get cat pee out of couch what do i use?

      • Deani says:

        I’ve used the vinegar/water cleaner, followed by hydrogen peroxide/baking soda procedure for the last several years. We have three labs, and had two cats (one of whom is no longer with us). The process worked well for stains AND odor. Actually, doing the carpet AGAIN as we speak!

        • JD says:

          Thanks. Works well on clothing. Dealing with incontinence issues and very pleased to get smell out of clothing. Talk about building up self confidence! Not cool when you are in public. Thanks again

    • Jeanie says:

      My daughter had a cat that had pretty thoroughly repeatedly saturated one corner in her basement. What worked for her was a strong (natural) solution of Melaleuca’s Solumel mixed with Melaleuca’s Tough and Tender and did this a two to three times which took out all stain AND odor. Cat urine is a tough one, so I’d try this if I were you!

      • Sarah says:

        Before buying from Melaleuca, I would check out the reviews on them and the BBB. Many people are complaining of being sent unwanted merchandise, having their CC billed even though they have ordered nothing, and of being harassed and threatened when they attempt to close their memberships. Personally, it would not be worth it for me to deal with a company like that no matter how well their products work, but I’ll leave it to you to judge that for yourself.

        I have found hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dishsoap to work so well that the cats don’t go back to the same place twice, or sniff at places they’ve peed after treatment: a cat’s nose is the gold standard for judging whether cat pee smell is gone or not. Getting it to smell clean to a human nose is only half the battle if you don’t want repeat toilet visits to your carpet or furniture.

    • Claire Goodall says:

      A baking soda paste with some essential oils (baking soda, a few drops of essential oil, enough water to form a paste) gently spread/rubbed over the surface and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, wiped up, and then followed by a vinegar spritz, is useful if none of the above work for you (all the above can be used on old or fresh stains/odors.)

  3. Ady says:

    Hi. If it’s an old smell from previous accidents, do we wet the spot first with water before we use any of these procedures?

  4. Eza b. says:

    Seems harmless and easy enough:) thank you for sharing! Will be tryin g these approaches soon.

    love & light

  5. Jess says:

    How long do you keep the water-vinegar-baking soda mixture? Is it stable for an extended period of time or does it need to be a fresh mixture each time?
    Thanks

  6. Katy says:

    What about hard floors like lanolium?

    • Claire Goodall says:

      I haven’t had an issue, but everyone’s floors are a little different, so I’d suggest trying a small inconspicuous area just to be sure :) Honestly, if it’s a smooth, hard, surface, I usually just mop up and liquids/pick up any solids and then use vinegar with some essential oil in it to clean.

  7. Tasha says:

    I adopted a puppy and he decided to pee on the top of my plush couch, I have tried and tried to get the pee and smell out. But nothing seems to be working and I don’t know what else to do, I have tried Pirey multi purpose cleaner and I have tried Woolite pet urine eliminator. Aside from trying warm soap and water to try and clean it, I am getting married in September and would really like to get this taken care of before then. I don’t want my guests coming over to my home with a couch, that smells like my dog has made it his personal potty and I haven’t tried to fix it. I don’t know what else to do about the issue so if, anyone has anything that will do the job please help me.

  8. Yuvanah says:

    Can I use these tips on marble flooring?

  9. carlene says:

    very good idea’s I have 4 dogs and sometime it is a mess especialy in the winter.

    • Claire Goodall says:

      Ah yes, winter is always a challenge! Can’t exactly blame them for not wanting to go freeze their tootsies off outside ;)

  10. Kev says:

    Claire (Everyday Roots), You Rock. Kev

  11. Debbie says:

    I never have problems with pee. My problem is with a cat that throws up. How do you get those stains out. My brand new carpet is stained so bad it needs replacing again. Cat food is made of brightly colored
    morsels that stains immediately. I’ve tried everything. Please help!

    • Claire Goodall says:

      Yikes! I once had a foster that someone had fed a very bright red biscuit to…needless to say, I feel your pain. You can try just making a plain baking soda paste with some warm water, gently rubbing it into the stain (after any solids are gone and all traces liquid soaked up) and letting it sit for 15 minutes or longer, then follow with the vinegar rinse. If you haven’t try the above methods as well. I have found with throw up that it’s easy to overlook the fluid part and not soak it all up, which can really contribute to the stain, so I do whatever I have to to absorb it all before doing anything. Is it possible to switch your cats food at all? Are they throwing up directly after meals? If it’s right after meals, kitty may be gulping their food. They could also have issues with hairballs that cause vomiting. Well there’s quite a few reason they throw up really, but either way, I hope this helped some.

    • April says:

      Debbie,

      Sounds like your kitty may need a new cat food. I have a lot of experience with cats, and most of the hairballs and vomiting stopped for us when we switched to a more natural food. We feed Diamond indoor formula, but any cat food whose main ingredients are meat rather than corn and wheat is likely to win you a reprieve from the constant vomiting. Just make sure you swap foods over the course of time rather than abruptly, to save on stomach upset. Yes, it’s more expensive, but the cat’s lack of vomiting (and the food’s lack of staining, if the cat does vomit) are worth a little extra. :)

    • erin says:

      To relate to the throwing up issue my cat apparently has a sensitive stomach. I’ve tried high end brands purchased at the vet’s office to low cost foods. He doesn’t throw up if he eats soft canned food or people food. Something in the cat food itself is causing it. So in case this is your issue- I found Hill’s Healthy Balance. I’ve found it at our local Fleet Farm. I assume you can find it wherever. My cat is 12 years old and has always been fairly skinny. I didn’t know what else to do for the poor thing. However, since finding this food he has nearly stopped vomiting all together. He may throw up once in a blue moon now. He also clearly has gained about 1 to 1.5 pounds and looks healthy. The food is fairly expensive but he is so much healthier and he goes through less food/uses litterbox less. So you save money in the end!

    • Yinlin says:

      Start off with feeding a good brand of food from a pet store,and not a commercially advertised cheap product from grocery stores(cheap ones are brightly colored and high in cheap fillers which are dangerous for your pet and could, lead to health problems one day), or feed raw (best solution) after that all of the things listed in this will work for smell/stain remover. I have used it for both three cats and three dogs ad works wonders.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Our cat throws up….a LOT. we’re in a rental and moving at the end of August. I was thinking we’d lose our deposit because of these stains, but now I’m thinking maybe not!! Claire, thank you! I’m trying this right now!
    What about coffee drips on carpets? Same thing or could you help save our deposit with a recipe for coffee stains on carpet too? Looking forward to your answer! :)

    • Claire Goodall says:

      Ah so glad you’re giving it a try! For coffee stains you can try the ones above, or you can try gently rubbing a bit of soap (not detergent, which is often sold as soap, but true soap, such as castile) into the coffee stain. Lightly dampen the spot with water first. For any of them test a very teensy area first to make sure doesn’t discolor your carpet. Let me know how it works or if you have any questions-paws crossed that it gets the job done ;)

  13. Sarah says:

    I have a cat who peed on his bed, and secretly in both carriers – everything comes apart so I have been running them through the washing machine but with no success smell-wise. Is there a way to turn one of these mixes into a soak or add to the laundry machine?

  14. Bridgette says:

    Any recommendations on how to eliminate smells from the rocks in my backyard?

  15. Quintine says:

    Good question! We have 3 male Mastiffs and our backyard reeks of urine. In addition, we also have rocks. Help us……please…..

  16. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for the pet stain and odor remover. I have 3 dogs, 2 are seniors and are prone to accidents now. I have a questions for you. Do you know of anything that helps toe nail fungal infections. I has caused my nails to thicken and are very uncomfortable.

    • Rita says:

      Had fungus on my left thum nail which was brittle and splitting and right big toe nail … doctor prescribed Penlac it’s like nail polish … apply to and under nails … Back to normal in about 3 to 4 months

  17. mona says:

    Claire, thanks for the helpful recipes for these natural carpet cleaner/deserters. I just used the vinegar water baking soda concoction in my carpet cleaner and it worked really well. Keep email comin!

  18. marissa says:

    will any of these discolor my carpet? Cause my carpet is a maroon color. Like will the vinegar or peroxide? Plz reply!

  19. Hotel Carpet says:

    I also make use of the baking soda and vinegar to remove the stains from carpets.. It works for me very well..

  20. elizabeth says:

    As promised. Here is the uses of the products all made naturally.

  21. Katheryn says:

    Love this thanks.. however what is the ratios for using it in the carpet cleaner?? I have three dogs and the youngest one who isnt so young anymore likes to go where ever she wants so now the others are following suit!!

    I need to carpet clean the entire area as opposed to small spots..
    HELP!!!!

    Thanks In Advance and keep up the good work love this!! :)

  22. Hope Gomez says:

    Ok I have a 7 year old female dog and she never urinated in the house but now is doing it and pooping too!! My dinning room area smells the urine, that’s her favorite spot. Will this ursine truly help get rid of smell and bigger question will it stop her from going back to those spots to pee?

  23. Rory says:

    Can any of these methods be used for removing the odour from concrete please?

  24. Lizzie Beth says:

    Do these remedies work on hard wood floors also??

  25. Laurentino says:

    Hi there !

    I just wanted to say ” thank you :) “. . I tried the recipe for stain pet and odor remover in the carpet of a car that I just got. The car was so smelly :( . few days ago I tried a remover that I bought in a retail store and nothing , the strong odor was still there :( . now , the odor is gone :) , I used the recipe # 1 , I love it , it is easy to prepare ;) .

    Thanks again

    Laurentino

  26. Tammy says:

    We are trying to remove cat pee smell from a couple of rooms in a house – what would you suggest to use a general cleaner – for tile floors and wiping down furnitures items (that are not cloth or carpet)… Should I spray a solution on the lower part of the walls or if I kilz the walls would that help? My son kept a couple of cats for a family member and they sprayed everywhere – we are gutting the room but have to treat the tile floor and walls and some of the furniture that we want to keep… Thanks so much !

  27. michelle says:

    Can the baking soda and vinegar mixture be used in a rug cleaner? I have dog smell on an area rug 8×10 size and need to clean the entire carpet
    Thanks for the help!!

  28. vivian says:

    What would you recommend for the lingering puppy smell?
    My daughter brought home a puppy for her birthday (a friend on her school bus surprised *her*), and we are *trying* to train him to go outside, but, more often than not, catch him going on throw rugs, or the laminate right after he’s been out. I use a diy mix to clean his messes, that has evolved since he got here, of vinegar, water, a little dish soap, now with added (just a little) bleach and Lysol.
    The whole house has a faint kennel smell, even the morning after I wash all the throw rugs and mop all the floors (he’s too small to be marking furniture yet, so that’s not it) and her room positively reeks, but I can see no signs of missed accidents. His pen is made from old pallets, but it is just a two sided frame, and he is only in it when we are gone, so even if he has managed to pee on it, it shouldn’t smell THAT strongly, should it? If it could, can I fix it, or do I need to rebuild it with new, painted or varnished wood? What can I do?! I love cats, but won’t have them inside because I simply can’t stand that smell, so this is driving me crazy, like, no matter what I do, my house seems dirty! Help!!

    • Claire Goodall says:

      Ah how I can relate to this scenario! After almost 30 foster dogs coming through my house (most not housebroken to start with) I know the battle with lingering odor well-and the frustration of having the dog go outside only to come in and find a blanket or rug to go on. And that feeling of never having your house clean! If none of the above cleaners work for you, you can always try a commercial product (of course natural is best!)-if you go that route I would recommend Biokleen Bac-out. I wish I had a magic solution, but cleaners aside, maybe I can offer some advice that can help.

      First, elbow grease. Really try the heavy book trick-you’d be surprised how much comes up. It’s easy to leave some of the urine behind and then pour a cleaner on it and not have it work. You can try leaving the cleaner on for longer periods of time, and blotting not rubbing it up.

      I have a term for some of my fosters-”ninja pee-er.” These are the pups that somehow manage to sneak off and go potty in a hidden corner and I have a lovely surprise several days later when the stain has set! Even though you haven’t seen any signs of missed accidents, I would suggest checking *meticulously* over any rugs/carpeting for spots you may have missed that set in. Even in corners, behind bookcases, and under beds (or on them!) Where the ninja pee-er strikes, they will strike again, and everything can just compound if you’re missing it.

      I would personally not use the wood pen. If it was the source of the odor, you’d probably know pretty quick by giving it a sniff. Even if it’s not, any scent that sinks into will encourage him to go there again. I recommend a commercial puppy pen (plastic or metal) or the use of a kennel/crate-at least until he’s learned he can’t potty everywhere. Much easier to clean as well. I don’t know how old he is, but if he’s quite young, he truly cannot physically control it past a certain point, so if you have to leave for long periods during the day I place a blanket or towel on one side of the pen and a potty pad on the other so they can differentiate where they potty from where they hang out. I know-people say if the area is small enough they won’t go potty where they sleep. This is not true. Plenty will, and then they traipse in it! So potty pads come in handy for keeping them out of the mess and tracking it around as well.

      This sounds supremely silly, but is the kennel smell more dog smell then urine smell? If so, he may just need a good bath to help stop the furniture smelling too “doggy” ;) If his urine is really overpowering, I would make sure he’s drinking enough water. It would be highly unlikely for a young male dog to have a UTI of any sort, but something to think about if the smell is sickly strong.

      Obviously the best long-term solution is to get the little guy going potty outside. I am not sure what your process is, but adding the use of a crate/kennel (or in your case pen) to the regime can be helpful, in addition to positive re-enforcement. It’s a total pain, but it really cuts down on the accidents and is worth it in the long run. So for example as soon as the puppy wakes up, take him outside to go potty. If he goes throw a party and have a little play session. If he doesn’t go within 5 minutes or so, bring him back inside and place him in his pen-there isn’t any fun time until his business is done. Anywhere from 5-15 minutes later repeat the above process. When he does go, he gets let out to play run around etc. etc. but not before. Again it’s a hassle, but it really cuts down on missing any accidents in hidden places, and they pick up quick on the positive re-enforcement and learn to hurry up and potty so they can play!

      Having a set potty spot helps them catch on faster as well-if he pees in one spot outside, always bring him back to it to encourage him to go again. Keeping a tight schedule is good too!

      Whew sorry for that novel-I really could go on about potty-training. I hope at least some part of it proves useful. Stick with it and he’ll figure it out! Feel free to ask anymore questions you have-hopefully I didn’t just confuse you more! :D

  29. pat says:

    i am looking for something to get urine stains out of a concrete floor please

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