Dog urine is something that all dog owners will need to deal with at some point in their pets’ lives. As frustrating as it is, it’s even more so when the pee smell lingers long after cleaning. Cleaning urine out of carpets is one thing, but cleaning it off concrete is much easier. That said, pee smell tends to linger on concrete long after cleaning, especially when your dog decides to urinate in the same place again and again. Once the pee smell is there, your dog may view the spot as their personal urinal!
Luckily, there are a few relatively simple ways to remove the pee smell from these surfaces. In this article, we look at five proven methods of removing pee smell from your concrete surfaces and garage. Let’s get started!
Why Does Urine Smell Stay on Concrete?
Normal cleaning methods do not easily get rid of urine smell on concrete, no matter how many times you clean it. The reason for this is that concrete is actually porous, so liquid (like urine) can easily seep into these tiny holes and become trapped. You can mop the area until it’s seemingly clean, but the ammonia or uric acid in urine remains trapped in these tiny holes, resulting in a potent smell that just won’t go away.
Uric acid will bind to the concrete, and since it is not water-soluble, it will not bind with regular soap and will stay attached to the concrete, no matter how many times you clean it.
Steps for Removing Urine From Concrete
No matter the method you use to clean your garage, basement, or any other concrete floor, there are certain steps to follow that will make the process much easier and far more likely to succeed.
1. Identify the exact spot
Unless you have caught your dog quickly after they have urinated, their pee has likely already dried up, and all that’s left is a pungent, acrid smell letting you know what they’ve done. Unfortunately, the smell is not enough to accurately pinpoint exactly where they have urinated. One method is to clean the entire surface of the concrete, which will work but can be time-consuming. The other, far more efficient method is to locate the spot with a UV light or blacklight. Turn off all the lights, and scan the area that you suspect your dog has peed, and this will help you find the exact area that you need to clean.
2. Clean the affected area
Even if the pee has dried up, clean the affected area thoroughly before treatment. If the concrete is dry, make sure to sweep the area with a broom first to get rid of any small stones or sand. Then, wash thoroughly with a mild soap and water solution. Make sure to rinse with clean, hot water, and then let the area dry completely before moving on to the next step.
3. Odor and stain removal (five methods)
For new urine stains, the odor will be much easier to remove, but you’ll still need to dry the area thoroughly first. For older stains and odors, the process may take a bit more time because you’ll need to break up the dormant uric acid crystals and bring them to the surface. Either way, the products that you’ll need are inexpensive and easy to find.
For best results, you’ll need to use either an enzyme-based cleaner, which uses live bacteria to eat and digest the smelly molecules, or an ion-based cleaner, which uses positive ions to cancel out the negative, odor-causing molecules. There are other products that also work well for cleaning stubborn odors, albeit not as effectively:
- Vinegar and baking soda. This is the tried-and-tested home remedy for cleaning bad odors and works surprisingly well on concrete — most of the time. First, you soak up any remaining liquid by sprinkling baking soda over the affected area, then pour vinegar over the baking soda. The acid in the vinegar helps neutralize the odor, but for older stains, this may not be enough.
- Trisodium Phosphate (TSP). TSP has long been the go-to product for general garage and concrete cleaning for stubborn stains like oil. It can work well for dog pee too, removing the stain and odor with ease. The only issue with TSP is that it is not good for the environment, and it is not healthy to breathe in or touch.
- Hydrogen peroxide. Also an acid, hydrogen peroxide is a popular and great method for removing odors. It can disinfect and sanitize the affected area, but it will not be as potent as some other solutions.
The best solution for removing odors, especially if you’ve tried these methods to no avail, are either enzymatic or ionized cleaners. The most effective method, especially for tough stains and lingering odors, would be to use a combination of vinegar and baking soda first, and if that is not enough, use the stronger cleaners afterward.
4. Leave overnight and clean
For best results, you’ll want to leave the cleaning solution on the concrete for at least 4 hours or preferably, overnight. Make sure the area is adequately protected so your children or pets cannot get into the area. Leaving the solution overnight will help the product absorb the last of the uric acid crystals and help it seep deep into the porous concrete.
After 4–8 hours, you can clean the area again with warm water, and then let it dry. The smell should be completely gone, but in the unlikely case that some remnants are still present, you may need to repeat the process.
The fifth and final step is to prevent your floor from being stained or stuck with pee odor for good. This is not entirely necessary but highly recommended, as it will help prevent odor issues well into the future. To keep your concrete floor scent-free, it’s a great idea to lay a concrete sealer. This places a protective coating over the floor to prevent uric crystals from getting into the porous parts of the concrete. A simple garage floor sealer is inexpensive and easy to apply and will protect your floor from nasty urine stains and odors.
Be sure not to use acrylic coating, though, as this is breathable, which will enable odor crystals to pass through.
While prevention is better than the cure, mistakes can happen, and your dog may have been peeing on your garage or other concrete floors without you noticing it. Luckily, this is easy to fix, and if you follow these outlined steps, you should have no problem ridding your floor of the pungent smell of urine. If you choose to apply a sealer, the problem will be gone for good!
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Featured Image Credit: Kwan Kajornsiri, Shutterstock