Hardwood floors are very expensive to install. Although they’re hailed for their outstanding characteristics when matched with your indoor acoustics, hardwood floors require a high level of maintenance to keep them glossy and long-lasting. Now, if you have a canine friend around, it’s likely that you’ll focus on protecting your floor against scratches and food stains. But wait. There’s one more thing you need to be worried about; dog urine. Since this is an inevitable situation, the first thing you’ll need to learn immediately you install a new floor is how to remove dog urine from hardwood floors.
You see, your dog is part of your family and much like your toddlers; they can also cause messes that can happen unintentionally. Even after potty training your dog for a long time, accidents can occur inevitably due to old age, sickness, anxiety, or if your dog was left inside for too long. Since you can’t just fold your hands and cry over spilled milk, cleaning the mess as soon as possible is the very first step you need to consider. Thankfully, this guide has gathered inspiration from experts to discuss how exactly you’re supposed to remove dog urine from your expensive hardwood floor.
How to Remove Dog Urine from Hardwood Floors: Step by Step Guide
What Should You Do Immediately You Notice Dog Stains?
Pet stains and pet odor are some of the things that can create black marks that can warrant a quick acknowledgment on your hardwood floor. However, since we love our dogs so dearly, the first step you should take immediately you notice it is to clean the mess as soon as possible. At least by taking quick action, you’ll manage to tackle the urine before it can get soaked into the wood.
So, to remove the urine, you need to pick a cloth or a paper towel then blot the urine starting with the edges then working your way to the center. At least by doing this, you’ll remove much of the urine without allowing it to spread further which could damage a larger area.
Once you’ve removed much of the urine, the next step is to use any of the five methods we’ll be discussing just below to tackle the stain and the potential unpleasant smell from your hardwood floor.
Do Dog Urine Affect Hardwood Floors?
Most pet parents with hardwood floorings in their homes usually keep asking this question over and over again. To give you a simple answer, hardwood floors, whether laminated or not, are highly susceptible to dog urine. This, in fact, can get worse if your dog urinates in an area you haven’t noticed forcing the fluid to soak into the wood. With that said, this section will discuss at least four ways that dog urine can affect your hardwood floor.
Staining and Discoloration:
Have you ever realized that dogs tend to pee on the same spot repeatedly? If your dog tends to pee on the same spot in your backyard, you’ll slowly start to realize that grass around that area will turn from the usual green color to yellowish. Since urine contains powerful chemicals such as uric acid, the same will happen to your hardwood floor where the acid in the urine will act as a bleach to stain and discolor your floor.
Unless you use the right cleaning procedure, cleaning your hardwood floor using the usual water and rug will only make things worse as the chemicals will remain on your floor and continue forming noticeable spots.
If you fail to clean your hardwood floor using the recommended procedures, the urine will slowly start to eat your floor causing corrosion. Just as we’ve mentioned, dog urine contains a mixture of uric acid and ammonia.
Uric acid starts by eating the protective layer on top of your floor. Once your floor is exposed, ammonia takes over by activating bacteria that slowly penetrates the wood’s grains to cause further damage. What happens eventually is that your floor will get corroded from the first plank to the neighboring planks. In the end, the only remedy will be replacing the entire floor.
Unlike cats, dogs’ urine is much worse as it contains a mix of uric acid and ammonia. Failure to clean your hardwood floor paves way for the urine to soak into the wood’s grain causing it to perforate. As the wooden planks perforate, ammonia penetrates deep inside causing your floor to release a noticeable odor.
Although hardwood floors are protected with polish or a layer of lamination to prevent fluids from penetrating, this is usually not the case with dog urine. Due to the harsh chemicals contained in the urine, bleaching can occur which can damage the protective layer on top to allow urine to penetrate through.
When urine penetrates deep into the grains, your floor is likely to swell over time making the damage irreversible. Over time, this will force you to completely replace your floor which is both annoying and expensive.
How Do You Remove Urine From Your Hardwood Floor?
Now that we’ve discussed a few pointers related to dog urine, this guide will now get into the main topic to discuss a detailed step-by-step procedure on how you’re supposed to remove dog urine from your expensive hardwood floor.
Part One: Potty Train Your Dog
The first step of preserving your floor against the harsh effects of your dog’s urine is by teaching them how to use the litter box. In most cases, puppies use the litter box at least every 30 minutes while adult dogs take longer. Always praise your dog whenever it uses the litter box and avoid scolding them whatsoever. Lastly, always have a rug put in place to clean any mess during the training stages.
Part Two: Use Hydrogen Peroxide
- Step One:
If you have already potty trained your dog then you notice it has messed up on your floor, the next possible step is to clean the mess immediately. So, the first step you should take when removing your dog’s urine from the floor is to use an absorbent cloth to blot the wetness.
This is a very important procedure that allows you to soak the urine by confining it in a small area rather than smearing it across the floor. At least by reducing the area of contamination, you’ll have an easy time cleaning a small area rather than a large spot.
- Step Two:
Once you’ve removed much of the urine by blotting it with a cloth or several paper towels, the next step is to use an effective chemical cleaner that will remove the urine stain and the odor completely. In this case, it would be best to start with hydrogen peroxide as it’s a home-made cleaning solution that contains two molecules of oxygen that makes it an oxidizer.
- Step Three:
To start, mix equal measures of hydrogen peroxide and water then pour it inside a spray bottle.
- Step Four:
With the help of a sponge, pour the hydrogen peroxide mixture directly on the affected area and scrub gently.
- Step Five: If you notice the stain or blemish is too tough to get off easily, you can switch to the next step which is leaving the affected area covered with a cloth or a paper towel soaked with hydrogen peroxide.
Note: Although hydrogen peroxide has some bleaching properties, they’re mild and are usually considered as safe when used on hardwood floors. Although the affected area will be easily noticeable, you can easily mask the area by sanding the floor and reapplying the wood finish.
Part Three: Using Baking Soda
Another DIY option you can consider to remove a dog’s urine from your hardwood floor is by using baking soda. As you all know, baking soda is hailed for its alkaline characteristics that allow it to neutralize the acidic content found in your dog’s urine. So, by using baking soda, you’ll generally be neutralizing the uric acid and masking the tangy stink of ammonia. To use baking soda, here are a few steps you can follow.
- Step One: Just as you did it in the previous method, the first step is to soak as much urine as possible from the floor using paper towels.
- Step Two: Once you’re sure most of the urine has been blotted and removed, proceed to sprinkle baking soda on the affected area.
- Step Three: Next, cover the area with another paper cloth and leave it to rest overnight. At least by leaving it overnight, you’ll give the baking soda enough time to soak the wetness of the urine and prevent ammonia from penetrating deep into the wood’s grain.
- Step Four: Once all the urine has been soaked, remove the paper towel and vacuum the area to clear the residual baking soda. In case there are some noticeable spots, you can consider repeating this procedure a few times until you’re confident your hardwood floor has been restored to its prime.
Part Four: White Vinegar and Grapefruit Oil
Another natural solution you can consider when removing your dog’s urine from your precious hardwood floor is by using a combination of white vinegar and grapefruit. Now, one advantage of using this method is the fact that both of these ingredients are readily available in your modern kitchen.
Secondly, vinegar has mild bleaching properties and has a sharp natural deodorizing agent. Thankfully, to mask the harsh sparks of vinegar, you need to add a few drops of grapefruit oil which has a natural citrus smell and highly potent antimicrobial properties. So, to clean your floor here’s a procedure you can follow.
- Step One: As usual, start by using several paper towels to soak the urine to prevent it from spreading to neighboring planks.
- Step Two: Once the floor is dry, mix the white vinegar with a few drops of grapefruit oil. Since the surface of your floor can be damaged by excess water, add the mixture of the vinegar plus grapefruit oil inside a spray bottle to use it instead of pouring water on the floor.
- Step Three: Once everything is set, spray the solution on your floor focusing more on the most prominent areas. Use a sponge or a cloth to scrub the spots until the entire floor is clean.
Part Five: Using Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, and Dish Soap
When using either baking soda or hydrogen peroxide, you have to wait for long hours to give the treatment time to soak. Now, if you’re not in a position to wait for such long hours, then you can consider using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. In some cases, the hydrogen peroxide is switched with distilled vinegar to do the same.
- Step One: While the previous methods were specifically meant to clean fresh urine, this last method is intended to clean urine that has already dried up. Since the urine is already dry and tough, you’ll first have to mix these ingredients to form a tough cleaning solution.
- Step Two: Pick a bowl and mix the hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid-dishwashing liquid. Sometimes you can substitute the hydrogen peroxide with distilled vinegar depending on what’s available.
- Step Three: Next, pour some mixture on the affected area and use a dry cloth to scrub the area gently. Allow some of the solution to seep through the affected area into the wood’s grain to help neutralize the ammonia and the uric acid that has already penetrated through.
- Step Four: If you have enough time, you can leave the solution on your wood for a few hours to allow it to remove the stench and stain that has already penetrated. After an hour or so, you can finalize your cleaning ritual by using a microfiber mop to clean the affected areas thoroughly.
Other than the methods I’ve highlighted here, other options you can consider when removing urine from your hardwood floor is by using a white vinegar plus baking soda solution or using an enzymatic cleaner. Using enzymatic cleaners is one of the most sure-fire ways of removing urine from your floor.
By spraying the solution on the affected area, the enzymes in the cleaner, which have various biological molecules, dissolve into the urine to break down ammonia and uric acid to destroy their toxicity.
As you can see, removing your dog’s urine from your precious hardwood floor can be quite frustrating as it can always leave stains, discoloration, and odor in your indoor environment. Thankfully, with the five methods I’ve discussed above, cleaning around your floor will be safe, fast, and easy as each of these methods is natural and safe when used around your pets, kids, and the rest of the family.