How to Get Urine Smell Out of Clothes

Laundry day can be exhausting, especially if you have a lot of clothes and linen to deal with. Throw in some urine-stained items, and your task gets a little harder. While you can run most of your clothes and linen through regular cycles on your washing machine, you cannot do the same with urine-stained items. Not if you want to enjoy a urine free environment again.

Pet and human urine carry a strong odor that you are only too happy to get rid of. But how do you do that?

For one thing, urine, if allowed to set in the fabric paint, will remain permanently. The distinctive smell is hard to avoid. It is also quite embarrassing to have urine odors lingering around your home.

Thankfully, there is a way to rid your clothing and linen of embarrassing urine odors for good.

These steps will permanently rid every fabric of urine smells.

To get going, you will need a few items, including:

  • Paper towels
  • Oxygen bleach
  • White vinegar
  • Enzyme detergent
  • Baking soda (if required)

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Pre-treat the items

It is very important to start by pretreating the clothes or linen that are stained with urine. Do not place with other garments in the same wash load.

By first Pretreating the stained clothes you make the removal of the urine stain and odor much easier.

So, to pretreat your items, here are the few steps.

  1. Use clean and cool water to rinse the urine spot in the clothes or linen. Use the paper towels to blot the area dry. Avoid scrubbing the area. Doing so will drive the urine stain deeper into the material. By rinsing and blotting the urine stain, you will remove as much of the stain as possible.
  2. Next, fill a container or sink with water. Pour half of a cup of oxygen bleach into the water. Note that the bleach used must be oxygen and not chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach will discolor and create weak patches in your clothes. Thoroughly mix the oxygen bleach in the water before putting the urine-stained clothing in. Allow the clothes to soak in the water for one to four hours (depending on the fabric and the stain).

You will need to be careful to avoid any odor removing product that contains ammonia. Cats, in particular, may mistake the distinctive scent of ammonia for urine and continue to pee in the same location. There are other, more effective odor removing mixes that you can use during the pretreatment stage.

Wash with vinegar

Now that you have pretreated the garments, it is time to wash them with vinegar.

To do that, follow these steps.

  1. Pour one cup of white vinegar into a container along with three cups of water. You may use cider vinegar as well but use only white vinegar for white clothing so as not to stain or discolor it. Mix well. Apply a coat of this solution to the urine stain. Allow the mixture to sit/soak for a few minutes.
  2. Next, apply some baking soda to the stained area. This step is optional, depending on the severity of the stain. Baking soda will absorb and neutralize the odor along with the vinegar mix.
  3. Place the clothes in the washing machine, set it to lukewarm or cold water, and run the cycle. At this stage, do not add laundry detergent. Also, ensure that the water used is not warm or hot (hot or warm water will only set the odor and stain in your fabric, which you must avoid doing.)
  4. Hang the clothes outside to air-dry. If you do not have space outside, you may hang them indoors, but allow at least 24 hours for the items to dry thoroughly. Avoid using the clothes dryer, although it appears more convenient. The heat from the dryer will permanently set the odor (you don’t want that!)

Final Laundering

The final step is laundering. By this stage, you should have gotten rid of most of the stain and odor. If not, you may have to repeat the earlier steps. With most of the urine stain and odor removed, the clothes are ready for direct laundering.

To do so, here are the steps.

  1. Place your clothes in the washing machine and set to cool water. Add an enzyme-based detergent. It is essential to use this type of detergent rather than the traditional, non-enzyme detergent. The enzymes in the detergent act against the urine stain and odors by breaking them down and separating them from the fabric. Read the detergent label carefully to determine whether it contains enzymes.
  2. Finally, hang the clothes out to air dry as you did before. After the clothes are dried thoroughly, do a sniff test for any lingering urine odor. By now, this should have completely disappeared, and no stain should remain. If you find any hint of a urine odor, you may need to do the last laundering step again.


So, there they are. The steps you need to take to remove even the most stubborn urine stain and odor have been outlined in easy to follow guide. You will need to ensure that you have the items necessary to get started. You also need to avoid placing the urine-stained clothing with other laundry.

These steps for removing urine odors and stains will work with any urine, whether from your pet, child, or incontinent parent. Take the time to follow the steps carefully, and you will have the best results in removing urine smell from any item of clothing or linen. Once you have completed these steps, your home should be fresh and free of the annoying and embarrassing smell of urine for good.

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