Our 15-year-old dog has decided she no longer wants to be house trained. As a result, we have several set-in dog urine spots in our carpet.

We have a consumer Hoover "steam" cleaner and have repeatedly gone over the affected areas on several occasions, but can't get rid of the odor. Is there any hope for getting rid of the smell? We don't want to replace the carpet yet, as it's likely she'll keep repeating the behavior.

Are there any ways to effectively remove the smell? How can I know if the smell is permanent and the carpet/padding need to be replaced?

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    It seems that an elderly dog has little actual "decision" in becoming incontinent. In any case, I've had good luck with unscented "Hydrocide" at removing pet urine odors - you need to really saturate the carpet and the backing. After saturation, I let it sit for 15 minutes, then suck it back up with a shop vac then let the damp carpet dry. Works better for me than Nature's Miracle and leaves no overpowering scent of its own behind. You might need to buy it from a professional carpet cleaning supply store.
    – Johnny
    Mar 17, 2014 at 2:02
  • @Johnny Our vet said that incontinence would occur in little dribbles as opposed to her squatting and peeing a bladder full, which is what's happening. Anyhow, you may want to post your comment as an answer. Thanks!
    – glenviewjeff
    Mar 17, 2014 at 3:10
  • I think it's too much of a personal anecdote to stand on its own as an answer, I figured someone else would have more concrete information, but I wanted to throw it out there as an option since Hydrocide isn't really a consumer oriented product, I heard about it from the guy that came out to clean our carpets.
    – Johnny
    Mar 17, 2014 at 3:28
  • Also anecdotal, but I've had the best success with Simple Solution. It works really well at getting out both the stain and the smell, and even works on older, set stains. (Though you may have to apply twice in those situations.)
    – Roger
    Mar 17, 2014 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


I actually like Nature's Miracle as far as pet stain and smell removers go. You can get it in different strengths. If You're finding that it's a tough stain, you might want to try the version made for cat urine. Cat urine generally sticks around more than dog's, so the kinds made to get rid of cat urine are stronger because of that.

Something else you can try is vinegar. It's actually really good at getting rid of carpet smells. Basically the vinegar smell replaces the smell of ammonia from the urine, and then you can easily dissipate the vinegar smell with an open window and a few minutes. Just makes sure to use a shop-vac or something to get all the moisture out of the carpet so it doesn't mold underneath.

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    It shouldn't. But if needed, baking soda can be put on it to scrub it out. Worst case scenario, vinegar and laundry detergent soaking overnight should take out stains.
    – Spidercat
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:25
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    And make sure you have the dog looked at...yes older dogs can loose bladder control but make sure it isn't a bladder infection or something that can be treated.
    – Beth Lang
    Mar 19, 2014 at 6:21
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    @glenviewjeff good deal, sorry I missed that. More I wanted to add the comment to make sure that if someone else hits this and sees it they too think to bring the dog to the vet to make sure it's ok.
    – Beth Lang
    Mar 22, 2014 at 6:40
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    I tried the Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer. It certainly helped much more than the other two products I've tried. I had tried both normal Bissel carpet shampoo and the Hoover Petplus 2x odor remover solution; neither of them did a thing for the odor. While those two left no perfume reside, at least some of the area still smells of a mixture of non-objectionable perfume mixed with urine smell. Apr 2, 2014 at 14:28
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    @glenviewjeff Good to hear something is working. Cleaning carpet is always a pain because you have to get into the carpet padding to get it really clean.
    – Spidercat
    Apr 2, 2014 at 14:35

Attempt 1: Bissel

I first tried normal Bissel carpet shampoo, thoroughly wetting, sucking up, and re-wetting the carpet many times in the same setting and it did nothing to remove the odor. Next I bought the Hoover Petplus 2x odor remover solution, which also did absolutely nothing to help the smell. They left virtually no odor masking perfume smell once the carpet fully dried, but didn't remove the urine odor either.

Attempt 2: Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer:

Next, I tried the Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer per the instructions on the bottle (not for the carpet cleaning machine). It initially helped much more than the other two products. This product definitely leaves behind a lasting perfume scent, if unobjectionable. After a few days the entire area still smells strongly of urine. I repeated and ended up using all of the roughly 1 to 2 quart bottle on the 4 sqft smelly area with no success whatsoever.

Attempt 3: Out! PetCare Stain & Odor Rmoever:

I bought this at Target for about $4.50, applied liberally with the sprayer--though I was tempted just to dump it on the carpet as my hand was getting sore. I was pretty skeptical but thought it would be worth a try. 24 hours after application, there's just a mild scent of detergent and virtually no smell of urine. It does say it contains bacteria and enzyme solution, which I believe might be the key. Neither of the other solutions I tried mention anything about enzymes or bacteria.

Attempt 4: Nature's Miracle Carpet Shampoo

I tried Nature's Miracle carpet shampoo with my carpet cleaning machine. I don't recall what the immediate effect was.

Preventive Strategies:

The salesperson at Petsmart gave me some good ideas once the odor problem is solved--to put down the dog training pads to cover the area where the odor was, in order to catch any follow-up urination in the same spot. Also, I'm considering putting my dog in dog diapers at night to make sure there aren't further accidents.


Well, we finally had to euthanize our dog for congestive heart failure about six months after the start of this urine issue. A month or so afterwards, the carpet odors were undetectable. I'm not sure which product did the "trick," or if it was just a matter of time for the smell to dissipate. It also could have been that somehow our dog was periodically urinating in the same spots without us noticing.

  • FYI - I am not finding it online, but I believe it says on the bottle of the Nature's Miracle, that if you use another cleaning product first it can lock in the odor, keeping the enzyme from working correctly. Kind of like trying to get a stain out of your clothes after running through the dryer. Jun 22, 2014 at 15:38
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    Thanks for the update. Sorry about the pup. I've tried the urine destroyer now with no luck. On to the Off! product now :)
    – dpollitt
    Mar 18, 2015 at 15:30

In case of accidents, we've used:

  • Vinegar
  • Steam
  • Biological washing powder (dilute, 1:4)
  • Vanish stain remover.

In particular, the thing you need to deal with - aside from hiding the smell from your nose, is hiding the smell from the dog's nose. Some detergents react, and will hide it from you but the dog will still know it's there, and may use that spot again.

Steam will kill bacteria, but not necessarily lift smells. Vinegar works well as a 'quick' fix to dilute it prior to mopping.

But the enzymes in biological powder are quite good at breaking down urine.


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