Everything about puppies, kittens, and other baby animals is adorable.

Sure, but here’s the qualifier: “until you get them home”.

Admit it — Whatever reasons you had for bringing home a puppy or kitten, not everything about pet ownership has been sunshine and flowers. Why? Because puppies and kittens seem to have a way of eating two ounces of puppy or kitten chow and turning into two pounds of… Well, you know the rest and the “rest” doesn’t quite bring flowers to mind.

As to sunshine, if there had been more of it when you got out of bed this morning, you might have been able to see the “rest” before stepping in it. But step in it, you did.

Welcome to Day One

It won’t necessarily keep Day Two from being as eventful, but a few words about how to manage these “events’ might help.

When you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have some insight as to how to remove dog/cat urine, stains, and odor from hardwood floors.

Remove Urine Quickly

It’s best to remove urine before it’s had a chance to sit. As contact with water or a watery substance becomes prolonged, the more at risk your hardwood floor becomes. It doesn’t take long for urine, especially, to eat away at a floor’s finish.

Once this happens, the wood is apt to absorb water and become swollen. The pieces no longer fit neatly into the space they were collectively intended for. If the floorboards were installed with glue, prolonged contact with water can cause loss of adhesion. If not, your hardwood floor could still be left with an ugly stain.

It’s important to remove any type of liquid from your floor as soon as it’s discovered. This is especially important if the liquid is urine. If you can only smell urine, but don’t see any, you’ll need to hunt it down. The sooner it’s found, the better.

It helps to use a blacklight to detect urine. You can buy one of these at most pet supply retailers for about $10.

WARNING; before using any product or solution on your floor, be sure to test it first in an inconspicuous area. The following suggestions assume the urine hasn’t penetrated your hardwood floor’s finish or seal.

Remove Dog Urine and Urine Smell

  • A pair of disposable latex or vinyl gloves are recommended.
  • Bring a roll of paper towels and a plastic bag (a supermarket shopping bag will work) to the location of the first puddle.
  • Lay as many paper towels over it as necessary for the urine to be completely absorbed.
  • Gather the paper towels in a single wad so that it fits easily into the plastic bag.
  • Use more paper towels as necessary to wipe off any residual moisture. These go in the plastic bag as well.
  • Move on to the next puddle and repeat the process.
  • Set the plastic bag in a garbage receptacle located outside your home.
  • Apply a no-rinse floor cleaner that contains a disinfectant.
  • Follow the directions/recommendations of the floor cleaner’s manufacturer.

To Be Sure There’s No Lingering Urine Smell

To be sure there’s no lingering odor or that your pet doesn’t smell any ammonia that would cause it to instinctively leave a fresh calling card,

  • Sprinkle some baking soda over the area.
  • Use a broom to work some of the baking soda into the seams of the hardwood floor.
  • Allow the baking soda to remain for eight hours before sweeping it into a dustpan

Instead Of Baking Soda, Apply An Enzymatic Cleaning Solution

Enzymes consume the problem, whereas baking soda works by neutralizing it. 

However, a solution that can seep into the cracks between the boards of a hardwood floor can deliver enzymes to these places. The enzymes will work to clean any hidden urine. Thus, the cause of urine smell is eliminated.

So while enzymatic cleaning solutions are more costly than baking soda, they’re also far more effective in eliminating hidden urine and its associated smell.  

When the facts are weighed, enzymatic cleaning solutions are the best way to eliminate lingering odor and prevent stains that could form later.

Remove Cat Urine and Urine Smell

Cat on Wood Floor

Removing cat urine presents more of a challenge compared to dog urine.

Cats tend to be more private than dogs when eliminating urine. Because of this, finding a puddle isn’t always easy, despite the much stronger smell of cat urine.

If you do find one, then as with dog urine or any spill, it’s important to remove it right away.

The same process for removing fresh dog urine can also be applied in the case of cat urine.

As with dog urine, to prevent lingering smell, an enzymatic cleaning solution is your best bet.

Remove The Pet Urine Stains From The Raw Wood

If your hardwood floors have urine stains on them, it means urine has penetrated the floor’s finish or seal.

Whether it’s dog or cat urine, these stains are usually indicated by areas of the hardwood floor that have turned a color ranging from light gray to black, depending on the type of wood your floor is made of.

When uric acid comes into contact with the tannins in the wood, the chemical reaction is a sort of burning of the tannins. Hence, when wood has characteristic stains, this indicates that it has come into contact with urine.

Because a hardwood floor’s finish doesn’t contain tannins or tannic acid, we can assume that the characteristics of these urine stains mean that the urine has penetrated the hardwood floor’s finish.

Given that the floor’s finish has been compromised anyway, you might as well sand the floor down to the raw wood.

To Remove Pet Urine Stains And Odor

We know that urine odor is present whenever and wherever urine is also present. The same is true of stains. Although a urine stain won’t leave when the urine does, it’s important to eliminate all traces of uric acid to eliminate odor and to keep stains from returning.

Firstly, now is as good a time as any to dispel a myth

Somehow, there’s one myth in particular that has all but attained urban legend status. Call it a social climbing myth. For pragmatists, it still rates no better than folklore.

As with most myths, this one probably started innocently enough even if we don’t know the specifics surrounding its beginnings, but no doubt we’ve all heard the one about vinegar.

Here’s the reality; there is nothing that vinegar in combination with something else or on its own, can do so effectively or uniquely that it could possibly outweigh the potential for negative consequences associated with its application on hardwood floors. 

Don’t believe it? That’s your right. There’s no reason or rule that requires anyone to stop believing something doesn’t work until there’s proof that it doesn’t …er …right. 

Okay. So according to the wisdom of the ages, if you mix some water with vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap, you’ve got yourself a bottle of (wait for it) water, vinegar, baking soda and dish soap. THAT’S ALL. . 

Granted, the disinfecting properties of vinegar are indisputable. Vinegar is acidic and as such it’s very good at killing germs, bacteria, and even some types of mold. 

As for baking soda, it’s alkaline properties make it an effective odor eliminator.

However, alkalis and acids neutralize one another. When this happens, salt and water are the result. What purpose do these serve? It’s not like water doesn’t already have a starring role in this concoction.  

This leaves the dish soap. Dish soap is a surfactant. As such, it breaks up water’s surface tension so that the water is better able to penetrate whatever it’s applied to.

So, basically, surfactants make water wetter.  

Scientifically, this business of combining vinegar and baking soda doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why so many people swear by it is anyone’s guess, but if this recipe does work, the soap and water should take the credit.    

Besides, soap and water won’t leave your entire house smelling like you’ve spent the last few days preparing nothing but Caesar salad.

The recipe is said to be equally effective for eliminating cat urine stains and odor. 

All things being equal, the recipe could also be said to be equally ineffective.

The Best Way To Get Dog And Cat Urine Stains And Smell Out Of Hardwood Floors  

Since you’ve sanded your floor down to the raw wood, there’s no harm in sanding a little more to see if the stain is just a shallow one. If lighter colored wood begins to appear with just a few strokes of sandpaper, you’re on the right track. You won’t need to apply the following method.

Sanding Wood Floors

If the stain is too deep for a few strokes of sandpaper to take care of, this method is for you:

Hydrogen Peroxide Is The Answer

Note: This method will lighten the color of the wood surrounding the stained part and it will also cloud the finish. So work in small sections for optimum results.

If any stains are located near a wall, remove the base shoe to be sure the floor underneath isn’t also stained. Check the base shoe as well.

Once you’ve sanded your hardwood floor down to the raw wood:

  • Saturate a heavy cloth, such as felt, terry cloth or several layers of paper towels with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Place the saturated cloth over the affected area.
  • Place some clear plastic wrap over the cloth. Use something weighty to keep the wrap in place, e.g., a sealed jug of water.
  • Look underneath the cloth every hour or so to check on the stain’s progress. If the cloth becomes saturated with the dark color of the stain, replace it with freshly soaked, clean one and lay plastic over this as well.
  • Repeat this process if necessary.
  • Allow the covered, saturated cloth to sit over the stain for about eight hours. Longer if necessary.
  • Soak up any excess and be sure to dry the area as completely as possible.

This method takes time, but it does work.

There’s just one solution left to apply. Spray it onto the floor you’ve just dried.

It’s possible for urine to be located in places on your hardwood floor or nearby that you don’t know about or can’t see. Male dogs and cats lift their legs when they urinate. By the time you see a puddle, the urine on the wall could be dry. This doesn’t mean it isn’t doing damage and it doesn’t mean the smell is going anywhere. Any urine that might have made its way behind the base shoe or under the floor boards will also be troublesome later.

Given this, an enzymatic cleaning solution should be applied to these areas.

Here’s some science without all the nerdy stuff

We understand that what digestive systems eliminate isn’t truly digested or it would hardly present itself. So the trick is in causing a kind of further digestion.

Because digestion requires enzymes and bacteria, these become key ingredients in eliminating what a digestive system doesn’t fully eliminate before giving it the old heave ho.

When an enzymatic solution is applied to organic compounds, the digestive process continues. That’s right. The solution doesn’t merely neutralize or combat urine, it eats it. It continues to do this until nothing is left.

When Enzymes Are Delivered In A Water-Based Solution, They Can Eliminate Urine In Places We Can’t See 

When the urine is gone, the source of urine smell is also gone.

Enzymatic cleaning solutions are used in a variety of applications. Garbage chutes, dumpsters, grease traps, and dog kennels. They are so well-proven that standard equipment on the next vacuum you buy could very well be and enzyme-treated HEPA-Filter.[1]

Enzymatic Cleaning Solutions Eliminate Dog And Cat Urine. 

It’s really just that simple.

Enzymatic cleaning solutions also eliminate other stains and smells. Examples are vomit, feces, sweat, blood, grease, mustard, ketchup, and wine.  

Cat Urine Smells So Much Stronger Than Dog Urine — Isn’t Cat Urine Harder To Get Rid Of?

The reason cat urine smells stronger than dog urine is because it is stronger. 

That doesn’t mean it’s harder to get rid of. Cat urine is more concentrated, but cats don’t produce as much urine as dogs and they don’t urinate as frequently. With cat urine the area to be cleaned is smaller, but the process might need to be repeated several times.

Dog urine is more dilute than cat urine. But because dogs produce more urine by volume and they urinate more frequently, the area to be cleaned is significantly larger.

There’s really no difference between cleaning a very large area once, or a very small area a few times. It’s a half-dozen of one and six of the other.

Best Enzymatic Cleaners For Cleaning Pet Urine

…and don’t worry. You got this!