Carpet Smells Of Urine After Cleaning? Here’s Why

It can happen to the best of us. We find that carpet has a lingering urine smell despite thorough cleaning. Not to worry, as we have researched more about this phenomenon and how to get rid of unwanted odors from carpet.

There are more than a few reasons why a carpet may still smell like urine after cleaning. Here are a few reasons why foul odors may still be lingering.

  1. The padding under the carpet holds onto urine, bacteria, mildew, and other odor triggers.
  2. A steam cleaning was applied to the carpet, and heat may have set the odors into the flooring.
  3. There was nothing added to the carpet to neutralize any odors like urine that may be present.
  4. Old urine stains and any remnants left in the carpet become reactivated by water or heat.

If you discover that your carpet smells rank and unpleasant because of urine, read on to learn how to remedy this issue.

A worker cleaning the gray carpet using a disk cleaner, Carpet Smells Of Urine After Cleaning? Here's Why

Lingering Smells Trapped In Carpet

Especially if you live in a home with pets, children, or even elderly adults, unfortunate accidents can lead to urine settling into the carpet. However, there are some helpful ways to eradicate the lingering smell of urine successfully you can use.

Cleaning a dirty cream colored carpet using a vacuum

Why Is Urine Smell Hard To Remove From Carpet?

One of the reasons that it is so hard to remove the smell of urine is because of how this natural body fluid is composed and the construction of most carpets. Over time, urine breaks down and leaves behind residue deep in carpet fibers.

Additionally, even after cleaning carpet at the surface level, ammonia and bacteria can sink to the lowest levels of a carpet's fibers and even sink into any padding underneath.

It is not uncommon to smell urine after shampooing, steaming, or water makes contact with the carpet. Moisture can easily reactivate the odor of urine, make the flooring smell musty, or cause odor-causing bacteria to proliferate.

How To Remove Urine Smell Explained

Urine is typically acidic, so it is wise to use alkaline agents to neutralize this substance. Many people choose to reach for vinegar or baking soda to penetrate the carpet fibers and find their way to any urine left behind.

When possible, try to treat urine stains and odors as soon as they happen. Older stains may eventually lose their power over time but can be reactivated when there is contact with wet commercial cleaning agents, water, tea, or coffee.

Moving quickly to remove urine and bacteria can reduce the chance of incurring foul odors from your carpet and padding in the future. However, you can use baking soda, vinegar, enzyme cleaners, or deodorizers for old problems.

Choose from the following to help lift urine from carpet and foul-smelling odors.

White Vinegar

Apply a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar to the affected area of your carpet. Saturate the fibers of the carpet and agitate the flooring a bit. Allow the carpet to fully dry before resuming normal use.

If necessary, add two tablespoons of baking soda to your diluted solution of vinegar and water for increased cleaning power.

Baking Soda

Liberally douse your carpet and padding underneath with baking soda and allow to sit overnight or longer before removing with a vacuum cleaner. Be careful with baking soda, as the residue left behind could cause unwanted problems.

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Replace The Padding

When all else fails to neutralize and eradicate the urine smell from the carpet, try replacing the padding underneath. Ensure that there is no moisture left behind the underside of the carpet before replacing the padding. Dry everything.

If you can pull the carpet back and don't mind replacing it, try applying baking soda to the padding to neutralize odors. Add a bit of cornstarch to absorb any moisture, and use vinegar to treat potential mold and bacterial growth.

If you discover a lingering smell of mildew or a musty odor still coming from your carpet and padding, try running an air purifier. An air purifier may help freshen the air and reduce the presence of undesirable particulates.

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What Is The Best Product To Remove Dog Urine Smell From Carpet?

A woman cleaning the carpet using a vacuum

If your beloved pet has had an accident on your carpet, one of the best products to use to eradicate odors is OxiClean. OxiClean has a specific product for handling pet stains and odors on carpeted flooring.

You can also use OxiClean to tackle the removal of vomit, feces, and other debris and stains caused by animals with much success. After using a wet cleaner, make sure to allow the carpet and padding underneath to dry completely.

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How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Carpet After Cleaning?

A woman cleaning the white carpet using a vacuum

Get rid of troublesome smells trapped in a carpet using a variety of solutions. If applying a liberal amount of baking soda isn't strong enough to overcome powerful lingering odors, try using an enzyme cleaner or a commercial product.

You may have to apply a wet deodorizing agent using a carpet cleaner or use a product to settle into the carpet fibers and dissipate gradually. Additionally, you can try sprinkling deodorizing powders or concentrated cleaners.

If all else fails, you may have to remove the padding underneath the carpet to put a stop to any bad smells coming from your flooring. In some cases, hiring professional carpet cleaners may do the trick in severe cases.

After a carpet is cleaned, put on air purifiers, dehumidifiers, box fans, and open windows to promote air circulation and dry your carpet. Often, odors are caused by carpets and padding that haven't thoroughly dried before resuming use.

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Does Steam Cleaning Remove Odors From Carpet?

Steam cleaning requires hiring professionals to remove odors from carpet, but it may be well worth the investment. Using hot water extraction, most deep-set odors and stains are easily lifted away from carpet, leaving it fresh and clean.

However, take care when treating pet urine stains. Sometimes, steam cleaning can set-in odors and bond particulates from urine and other agents to synthetic fibers of a carpet.  Pets may also want to remark their territory.

Some may find that odors still linger after steam cleaning because the carpet or underside is still holding water. Make sure to find ways to help dry your carpet and padding underneath to reduce bacteria and odors.

It can take between 6 to 12 hours before a carpet fully dries. However, it is wise to use fans and dehumidifiers to speed up drying. Also, be careful, as warm air holds onto moisture and can prolong the process.

Read More: Does A Floor Steamer Clean Carpets?

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Is It OK To Sprinkle Baking Soda On Carpet?

Cleaning a blue carpet using a disk machine

Baking soda is safe and effective when applied to carpet to keep it fresh and remove stains and odors. The baking soda particles can travel deep under carpet fibers, so vacuum thoroughly after using it to prevent damage to the underfloor.

Many people trust using baking soda to clean and neutralize stains and odors because it can be applied dry or added to solutions like vinegar and water. You can comfortably use a liberal amount of baking soda without harming carpet.

When using a cleaner on carpet, it is critical to remove all moisture when finished. Moisture left behind can increase the chance of mildew, bacteria, or mold taking hold, leading to possible damage to fibers and padding, as well as odors.


A worker cleaning the gray carpet using a disk cleaner

We hope the next time you encounter unpleasant odors emanating from your carpet, you feel confident about tackling the problem. If you choose to deep clean your carpet to remove urine and odors, make sure it dries thoroughly.

Because pets, children, or unforeseen events cause urine to stain and settle into a carpet, it is essential to have some solutions up your sleeve. Make an effort to neutralize the smell of urine before and cleaning a carpet for best results.

Before you go, don't skip out on reading the following articles of interest.

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