Accidents happen – but when a pet or child has an accident on your sofa or clothes, it can be both smelly and difficult to deal with. The smell of urine can last for weeks if not treated quickly and effectively, making us embarrassed and uncomfortable in our own homes.
Have you ever had an accident and then had to deal with the smell of urine on your clothes? It can be a real challenge to get that smell out. But don’t worry, there are some things you can do to make it a little bit easier. Keep reading for some tips on how to get urine out of clothes.
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What Makes Urine Smell So Bad?
Why does urine always have to have such an unpleasant odor? That unmistakably sour smell is caused by the food and drink we consume, which are broken down in the liver and then excreted in our pee. When this liquid by-product sits around for a while it starts to decompose, releasing organic compounds like ammonia and urea that typically have intense odors.
So the longer the urine stands on the surface, the more likely its smell is going to become overwhelming – no matter how much you might prefer it otherwise! Other medical conditions can also cause a distinct smell, such as diabetes and bladder infections, so it’s important to check in with your doctor if you think something isn’t quite right.
In addition, unlike human urine which has little odor, pets excrete more ammonia through their bodies which further increases the intensity of the smell. Combined with other factors like temperature and humidity, it’s no wonder pet urine has earned its reputation as one of the worst smells imaginable!
But to sum it up: urine has such an unpleasant smell because of the waste matter in it that breaks down over time and forms some pretty nasty chemicals. And let’s face it: no one wants to tangle with those molecules of stench!
5 Proven Methods to Get Urine Smell Out of Clothes
Urine smell can be tricky to get out of clothes, however, there are five powerful cleaning agents that you can turn to:
- Baking soda
- Enzyme-based detergent
- Hydrogen peroxide
One of the most popular methods for tackling this unpleasant chore is using bleach to remove the urine smell from clothing. Chlorinated bleach can be used with white clothes to help get rid of the unsightly stain and unpleasant odor, but if you’re dealing with colored garments, don’t worry, because non-chlorine bleach will do the trick just as well.
Here is a step-by-step guide on tackling urine smell with bleach:
- It’s always recommended to wear rubber gloves when working with bleach to avoid any irritations.
- Start by pouring a quarter cup of chlorine bleach into one gallon of water in a large container or basin. If you’re dealing with colored clothes, use the same ratio, but switch out the chlorine bleach for non-chlorine instead.
- Give it a few stirs until the bleach is fully mixed and ready to go.
- Let your clothes soak for at least 3-4 hours or even overnight (it’s best to deep clean any stains and smells properly this way).
- Next, place your items in the washing machine, add 1 cup (240 mL) of detergent and 1 cup (240 mL) of bleach, then set the cycle to a normal spin speed with the water temperature of your choice (as always, double check labels first!).
- Allow the garments to air-dry or place them in the sun – this can help to get rid of any remaining odors.
- If you find that the smell persists, repeat this method as necessary until you achieve success.
2. Vinegar Method
Vinegar is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to get rid of the urine smell! Acidity is great for neutralizing even the worst odors, so all you need is some regular white vinegar and a laundry basket full of smelly clothes.
Here’s what you need to do:
- To start, fill a bucket or washtub with one cup of distilled white vinegar mixed with one gallon of water.
- Place the clothing into the bucket and let it soak for several hours or even 12-24 hours for tough odors.
- Place the affected garments in the washing machine and pour one cup (240 mL) of white vinegar instead of detergent. It’s best to only wash items that need deodorizing – you don’t want your entire load smelling vinegary!
- Next, set the wash cycle to a normal spin speed and wash your clothes with hot water.
- After that, wait for the clothing to air dry for a day, and if you still detect traces of urine odor repeat the process as needed.
3. Baking Soda Method
Baking soda is composed of tiny granules which can absorb the odor-causing compounds in the urine. Not only does it remove the smell itself, but it also deodorizes any lingering scents that often accompany these accidents.
But how to use it?
- To start, blot the stain with a damp cloth and then sprinkle it generously with baking soda.
- Use a scrub brush or an old toothbrush to work the baking soda into the clothing fibers, making sure to cover the entire surface area of the stain.
- Depending on how large the stain is, let it sit for several hours or overnight.
- Once finished, rinse off all of the baking soda residues with cold water. Wash the clothing as usual in hot water with detergent.
- To get an extra potent freshness kick, sprinkle some baking soda directly into the washer drum along with your clothes.
- Afterward, hang your clothes outside and let nature take its course.
4. Enzyme-Based Detergent Method
An enzyme-based detergent is an effective way of cleaning urine smell from clothing because it has properties to break down and digest any organic material. This method works best for older smells, but it works for fresh smells as well.
Here’s what to do:
- The key to removing the urine smell lies in buying an enzymatic detergent specifically designed for removing protein-based stains. You can find these kinds of enzymatic detergents at most grocery stores or online.
- When it comes to choosing a liquid or powder detergent, the choice is all yours. As long as it’s appropriate for your machine and contains enzymes, you’re good to go!
- Measure the recommended amount of enzyme-based detergent in your washing machine, since too high a dose may damage more delicate fabrics. Check the label on the product to determine how much to use.
- Set your washing machine to run at normal spin speed and the water temperature should be set to hot.
- To ensure all smell has been completely removed, hang your clothes in an open area and let them air dry and sundry naturally.
- If you still detect an unwanted scent for some reason, just repeat this same process.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide Method
The oxidizing power of hydrogen peroxide works to neutralize the bacteria that is the source of urine odor. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen in a foamy form of fine bubbles which helps speed up the deodorization process. Plus, it’s safe for colored fabrics as well as natural or synthetic fibers so you don’t need to worry about ruining your clothes.
- To create a safe and effective spray, mix 10 fluid ounces of hydrogen peroxide with three tablespoons of baking soda (You can add a few drops of dish soap for extra cleansing power).
- Give it a good shake and spot-test your clothes first to make sure there won’t be any discoloration or other unintended side effects.
- Then just spray the stain with the mixture and let it sit for about an hour before washing as normal in your washing machine. If necessary, you can add 1 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle to help remove any stubborn residual odors.
- After washing, air dry and sundry naturally for a day.
6 Extra Tips About Getting Urine Smell Out of Your Clothes
Taking care of urine stains can be a real hassle. Even if it’s just a small incident that isn’t visible right away, there are still some key things you should keep in mind:
- As soon as it happens, get out whatever materials you can use to clean it up right away – paper towels or a clean cloth (try not to use anything too rough that could damage the fabric) and blot the surface while it’s still wet.
- Try to avoid using incredibly hot water when laundering the garment afterward since this can set any remaining stains even deeper.
- Make sure you thoroughly rinse out the area and completely dry the garment after doing so. This is especially true when dealing with items that may require special washing instructions, like fine fabrics or delicate synthetics.
- Be cautious while hanging brightly colored clothing outdoors as direct sunshine may cause them to fade. Try air-drying clothes in the shade, or if possible indoors.
- You should also consider deep cleaning your washing machine as an extra precaution – although this isn’t always. It never hurts to be extra cautious; plus, there’s nothing worse than having a smelly washing machine!
- Always treat all stained items individually – putting different garments into one washer load can lead to spreading the odor, making it even harder to remove.
By following these tips and tricks, you’ll have freshly laundered clothes without any trace of pesky urine smells.
Pee happens. And let’s be honest, sometimes it winds up in places it shouldn’t – like on your clothes! With the right combination of products and methods, you can easily remove any foul odors in no time.
Bleach is an age-old solution that works both efficiently and effectively, while vinegar, baking soda, enzyme-based detergent, and hydrogen peroxide are all alternative solutions that will break down uric acid and eliminate the odor with great results. With these solutions at hand, you can confidently conquer even the toughest cases of urine odors. Good luck!
How to treat old or dried urine stains?
Unfortunately, if the urine is dried onto the material there may be further steps needed for proper cleaning. The best way to clean older or dried urine stains is by using a professional dry cleaner who has experience treating this type of issue. It’s important to alert them to the presence of urine so they can use specialized products that will break down any lingering smells and deodorize soaked-in material.
What to do if clothes smell like urine after washing?
If your clothes still smell like urine even after washing, try repeating the washing process but with a higher water temperature and more detergent. Sometimes a longer spin cycle at the end can help beat any lingering odors, too. But if that fails, don’t be afraid to try out different cleaning methods.
What enzyme removes urine odor?
When it comes to urine odor in particular, proteases will break down any proteins present in the urine, thus eliminating any odors. Furthermore, proteases bond with particulate matter such as dust particles, so they not only make a stink disappear but also help keep surfaces looking pristine.
How do I prevent urine stains on clothes?
If you’re dealing with urine stains on your clothes, you’ll want to take action quickly. It’s much easier to remove a fresh stain than an old one. The first thing you should do is to flush the area with cold water from the backside of the garment (this helps to protect the fibers from damage). After removing as much of the stain as possible, follow one of the methods above.