How to Get Urine Smell Out of Your Wood Floor
November 9, 2015  |  Home & Living

Strange Smells: The Bane of Every Floor

Sad Dog Lying on FloorFloors were made for use in houses and houses were made to be lived in. So it follows that floors, even those made of hardwood, get their fair share of wear, tear and the occasional abuse.

Policing the members of our households in order to protect our hardwood floors is sometimes an exercise in futility, especially when it comes to pets and children.

So as we keep at enforcing the rules, we should become experts at damage control when our four-legged housemates make messes on the floor. Vacuuming your hardwood floor of dust and dirt is not enough. A basic skill that every hardwood floor owner should have is how to deal with stains and smells caused by urine.

A Stitch in Time Goes a Long Way

Depending on the finish of the floor, urine can seep deep into the wood and complicate the cleaning process. The absorption of urine is faster on an untreated floor than on a floor that is surface sealed. Whatever the finish, the faster the urine is detected and dried, the better the final outcome. Wooden floors that have had prolonged exposure to urine have unsightly black stains and lingering odors.

Dealing With Fresh Urine

Once detected, urine should be dried immediately to prevent it from seeping into the wood. Next, the affected area should be sponged with a soapy disinfectant cleaner that is compatible with the floor’s finish. The cleaner should be mild to avoid further damage to the finish. The area should then be dried immediately after sponging.

There are several kinds of cleaners that are used to remove odors. Commercial enzymatic cleaners are the most effective of these because they have enzymes as the active ingredient. These enzymes break down the molecules that cause the smells and the stains. Enzymatic cleaners come in liquid or powder form.

Before buying a commercial cleaner, we should make sure that it will not damage our floors. Using enzymatic cleaners to remove odors only takes a few simple steps:

  1. If necessary, mix the cleaner with the appropriate solvent (usually water), as directed by the manufacturer.
  2. Using a spray bottle, apply the cleaner to the perimeter of the stain and work inwards until the affected area is covered. The larger the spill, the more cleaner the affected area needs.
  3. Cover the wet area with plastic sheets to slow evaporation and let it sit for thirty minutes. The thirty minutes gives the cleaner time to act on molecules of uric acid that may have seeped into the wood.
  4. Remove the plastic sheet and dry the cleaner from the floor.
  5. If the floor’s finish has been eroded by the cleaner, apply finish to the affected area after the area has dried completely.

For those who prefer a home-made solution, a fairly effective cleaning solution can be made with some common household items.

  1. Get a hold of some hydrogen peroxide, some baking soda, a spray bottle, some paper towels and some plastic sheets.
  2. Put the hydrogen peroxide in the spray bottle. Cover the stain with the dry paper towels and spray the towels with the hydrogen peroxide until they become wet.
  3. Cover the paper towels with a plastic sheet to control the rate of evaporation and let the peroxide sit for an hour or two.
  4. After the time has elapsed, remove the plastic and paper towels and add baking soda to the wet area. Baking soda serves to absorb the moisture from the peroxide and removes the odor.
  5. After the baking soda absorbs the moisture, remove it from the floor and allow the area to dry.

Dealing With Old, Stubborn Urine Stains

Old urine stains turn the floor black as the uric acid eats at the wood’s tannin. They also seep further into the wood towards the sub-floor. The most effective solution for old stains is commercial enzymatic cleaners. The cleaner is applied in the same way as was the case with fresh urine stains. However, it is left to sit the stain for up to eight hours so it can act on the uric acid throughout the thickness of the wood. For extremely stubborn stains, after the odor has been removed form the wood, sanding may be done to remove the stain and finish applied to reseal the floor.

Odors Can Become a Distant Memory

Urine stains can leave the home owner stressed and reluctant to have guests visit, but there is little need to fret. With the right cleaner, some time and a bit of elbow grease, persistent odors can become a thing of the past.


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