Whether you’re housetraining a new puppy or dealing with an elderly dog, at some point every dog owner will find themselves cleaning up urinary messes. If your dog has an accident on a hard surface, the clean-up is relatively simple. But in many cases, your dog will urinate on a soft item like carpet or a blanket. In these instances, the major problem isn’t physically removing the urine itself but getting the smell out.
While your first thought might be to just toss a urine-soaked blanket in the wash, chances are you’ll still detect a scent even when it’s technically clean. This is especially true if you’re dealing with an old, persistent urine smell rather than a fresh accident. Before you give up and trash the item entirely, try one of these five methods we uncovered to get dog urine smells out of blankets.
What Causes The Dog Urine Smell And Why It Matters
The reason it’s so hard to get the smell of dog urine out of your blankets comes down to what is causing the odor in the first place.
Mammals like dogs and humans have urine primarily made up of water, along with various chemical waste products. Dog urine also contains pheromones, which dogs use to communicate, and often bacteria as well. The waste products, pheromones, and bacteria all contribute to the smell of the urine you can’t seem to get out of your blankets.
To remove the smell, you need to not only wash the blankets but break down the actual odor-causing components of the urine, which aren’t all destroyed by water alone.
Before You Get Started…
Before you get started removing the urine smell from your blankets, try to physically remove as much urine as possible. Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you’re dealing with an old urine smell. However, if the accident just happened, try to soak and blot up as much actual urine as you can.
The less urine there is to deal with the better chance you have of permanently removing the smell. Once you’ve accomplished this task, you can try one (or all!) of the following methods to get urine odor out of the blanket.
1. Soak The Blanket Overnight
One method you can try to remove the urine smell is soaking the blanket overnight in a mixture of cool water and vinegar. Vinegar works to break down the enzymes and proteins in the urine at a chemical level. The goal here is to weaken the smell-causing chemicals enough to allow a good washing to do the rest of the job.
For a vinegar soak, mix 2 cups of white vinegar into a gallon of water. Completely immerse the blanket into the vinegar and water mixture and leave it overnight. Remove the blanket and wash it in the washing machine. You can add vinegar to the washer too, about 1 cup per load.
For older urine stains and smells, you may need to repeat this method more than once.
2. Wash With Baking Soda
To help remove the dog urine smell, try adding baking soda to the washing machine when you wash the blanket. Like vinegar, baking soda helps neutralize the odors as the blanket is cleaned. Try using about 2 cups of baking soda along with your regular laundry detergent to help get rid of the stubborn urine smell.
Again, for more set-in odors, you might need to wash the blanket more than once.
3. Use An Enzymatic Cleaner
If baking soda and vinegar aren’t doing the trick, you may need to try using a commercial, enzymatic cleaner. These products are designed to destroy the waste products and pheromones causing the urine smell in the blanket. Enzymatic cleaners can be used to pre-soak the blanket or choose a laundry detergent with enzyme cleaning power.
The downside of using a commercial enzyme cleaner, especially for soaking the blanket, is cost. Depending on the size of the blanket, it may take a large volume of enzymatic cleaner to adequately submerge the blanket, which will overall cost more than either vinegar or baking soda solution.
However, especially for older and more stubborn urine odors, the enzyme cleaner may be more effective than a homemade option. Use all cleaners as directed on the label to have the best chance at success.
4. Dry The Blanket In The Sun
Rather than drying the freshly washed blanket in the dryer, try spreading it outside and allowing the sun to dry it naturally. Sunlight can help destroy bacteria, which may be contributing to the urine smell of the blanket. The blanket must dry completely in the sun to get the most benefit possible from this method.
5. Call The Professionals
If none of the previous methods work to get the dog urine smell out of a blanket, it’s time to call the professionals. Commercial cleaners or dry cleaners may succeed where you have come up short thanks to their expertise and professional-grade cleaning products. Before you give up entirely on getting your blanket odor-free, let the professionals do their jobs.
Should You Worry About Your Dog Urinating On Blankets?
Now that we’ve learned five methods to get dog urine smell out of your blankets, let’s talk about how it ended up there in the first place.
Obviously, accidents will happen while a puppy is learning the ropes of housetraining. But what if your fully house trained adult dog suddenly starts urinating in inappropriate spots like their blankets? Is that a cause for concern?
Dogs may start urinating inappropriately due to several medical or behavioral reasons. These can range from separation anxiety to urinary infection to old age-related brain changes.
You may notice changes to your dog’s urine like a strong odor or even the presence of blood. If anxiety is to blame, you may see other signs as well, such as chewing or other destructive behavior.
If you suspect there may be an underlying cause to your dog urinating on blankets or in other locations, make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you diagnose and treat both medical and behavioral causes of inappropriate urination.
And if you’re having trouble house training your puppy, your vet or their staff are an excellent resource as well!
No one would argue that the smell of dog urine is anything but pleasant. Along with drool and dog hair, urine messes are one of those things dog owners know they need to deal with as a trade-off for the love and companionship of their canine friends. Being prepared with one of the methods we discussed will allow you to deal with urine smell in your blankets when and if it happens to you.
Featured Image Credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay