Odor Removal for Urine Soaked Sofa

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Dear Home-Ec 101:

Help, our dog peed on the couch!

We did check our warranty info and contacted the manufacturer, who suggested that we spot clean the urine-stained area with diluted dish soap. The soap got out the visible pee stain, but we can still smell urine.

I’ve also unsuccessfully tried some pet cleaner and multiple soakings with Febreze, but it just won’t go away!

Any suggestions? Needless to say, the next time we purchase furniture, we will pay extra to have it Scotchgarded!

I don’t know if you need to know, but the sofa is microfiber.
You May Want to Sit Over There. No, Really, I Insist

Urine odor on the couch? That’s no fun, I’m sorry. It doesn’t matter how the pee got on the couch. It could have been a pet or a human. All that matters is that we get the pee out, pronto.

First, check the care tag on your couch and make sure that it has a W or W/S on the tag.

Second, always remember to test any cleaning solution you choose to use on an inconspicuous portion of the upholstery (the underside of a cushion or the back of the couch, if it faces a wall, are both excellent options).

I guess you did not immediately discover your darling dog had peed on the couch. I’m not picking on you. Why should you expect your pet to use the couch when the floor is ever so much more convenient?

How to remove dried urine from a couch

If you didn’t notice the urine right away, the pee probably soaked further into the couch than just blotting and spot removal would fix.

In this case, I would use the upholstery attachment of a carpet cleaner and use an enzymatic cleaner. Using white vinegar and water in a 50:50 ratio is also an option in a pinch.

Your goals are to:

  1. Make sure the cleaning solution penetrates as far as the urine.
  2. Give the cleaner time to work.
  3. Fully extract all of the liquid.
  4. Ensure that the fabric AND padding are fully dry.

When the couch is dry, the microfiber may feel a little stiff. Use a brush, like a soft nail brush, to gently brush the material until the fibers feel as they should.

What if the urine smell remains after cleaning the couch?

Another possibility is that the urine dribbled down through a seam and soaked into the wood frame.

I hope this is not the case, as it would be challenging to remove without some disassembly, sanding and reassembly. If you believe this to be the case, contact a professional through the helpline you first used to avoid voiding your warranty.

furniture care guide
Click the picture for more tips!

Did you find all the urine?

How to find urine after it has dried on a couch or sofa.

It is possible that your pet used the furniture more than once.

Did you know that urine glows under a blacklight? If you’re still having trouble with a urine smell, borrow a blacklight from a friend who never left the ’60s.

Oh, come on, if you aren’t friends with someone like that, you’re probably related to someone who is. When the room is as dark as possible—by that, I mean at night with all the lights off—turn on the blacklight and make sure no other areas of the couch or the carpeting show up under the blacklight.

If anything shows with the blacklight, mark those areas with chalk so you can find them when the lights are on. It looks like ACE Hardware has blacklight flashlights, as does Amazon.

Prevent future urine odors.

I’m assuming this happened while you weren’t there when the incident occurred. Reusable pads can protect your couch cushions from future accidents. Place these pads on the couch before you leave, and when your dog expresses (heh) their displeasure at your departure, at least you only have a waterproof pad to wash.

As a bonus, these waterproof pads are versatile and worth having around if you have toddlers who aren’t yet potty trained or are a person with a uterus that loves the element of surprise. They are, of course, handy if anyone in the house has to manage any sort of incontinence issues.

Good luck!

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21 thoughts on “Odor Removal for Urine Soaked Sofa”

  1. If all else fails and the configuration of the sofa will allow try placing a couple of cans of that gel
    odor remover (Ican't remember the name…..a dry cleaners should be able to give you the name or a commercial cleaning service) under the sofa…….or try puting a couple of open boxes of
    baking soda under it.

  2. I had a cat urine odor problem in my basement. Yes, I know that concrete isn't the same thing as upholstery, but the solution might be a good last resort. The mixture really worked. Now to deal with the cats…
    Mix 1 quart of Hydrogen peroxide with 1/3 cup of Baking Soda and a dash of dish detergent. Apply to smelly area and let dry.
    The peroxide might have a bleaching effect on your sofa, but like I said, a good last resort. Now to deal with the dog…

  3. Ooh, I'm going to try the black light trick – every once in a while I'm sure I get a whiff of cat urine in one of our rooms, but it's not all the time and I've never been able to find it. Possible downside: I live in an older house and I'm kind of scared of what I might see. 🙂

  4. Get a carpet scubber with an upholstry attachment and use it with Nature's Miracle in the washing thing-ee instead of cleaning solution.

  5. I love Kids n' Pets cleaner, you can buy it at Walmart. Squirt it on and let it soak into all the areas the urine could have soaked into. Dogs pee a lot so don't be afraid to use a lot! Repeat but this time, blot it out with a white rag.

  6. With 2 Beagles and 2 cats, I've been down this road many times.
    The best cleaner that's available at any pet store: NATURE'S MIRACLE
    It works every time and is safe for pets.

    • spot test it first, I love nature's miracle but it made the colors in my mom's oriental rug run when she used it. Apparently it doesn't react well with natural dyes.

  7. We had the same issue with our cat. Both the cat and the sofa are now gone but I discovered that there are fiber (paper) supports inside the upholstry to stiffen the seams. Even after all the cleaning, the fabric was clean but the fiber supports still held the smell. You may need some assistance in removing and replacing those pieces. Let me just say that regardless of the actions we took, once the pet started this behavior, nothing would stop it.

  8. We had the same issue with our cat. Both the cat and the sofa are now gone but I discovered that there are fiber (paper) supports inside the upholstry to stiffen the seams. Even after all the cleaning, the fabric was clean but the fiber supports still held the smell. You may need some assistance in removing and replacing those pieces. Let me just say that regardless of the actions we took, once the pet started this behavior, nothing would stop it.

  9. Heather's advice is very sound. I second the recommendation to make sure you look at the tag on the couch before you apply any stain removal or odor removal products, because otherwise you may discolor or ruin the upholstery. If you have lost or removed the tag (until I understood the importance of these tags I always did) you should test, in an inconspicuous place, whatever solution you decide to apply to make sure it will not harm the upholstery. I also, like Heather, would suggest vinegar since it is a deodorizer, but does not harm most (notice I don't say all) upholstery fabric.

    • Actually I tried the strongest Nature’s Miracle product and it didn’t take out the smell on a portion of my couch. I also used the Bissell Little Green Proheat vaccuum with pet cleaner and still doesn’t work. It’s looking as though vinegar and baking soda with water is my best bet? I don’t know the different between Genesis 950 and Spot Shot but both of them have been suggested to me as well. Hoping that one of these solutions works!

  10. I have used the water/vinegar solution on our couch and think it has fixed the problem but now we have a vinegar smell on the couch, is it possibly because the cushion is not completely dry?

    • Did your vinegar smell ever go away? I used the same method and the urine smell is gone. Two weeks later my cushions are definitely dry but still smell like vinegar! I know the smell is coming from the cushion inside because my couch is synthetic leather and the urine had to have gotten in at the zipper or stitching. I removed the cushions from the casings to do the treatment.
      Any help would be great, but vinegar is much more tolerable than urine!

  11. Smell wet very difficultly to deduce from furniture. In this case I recommend to make repair of your sofa and to change the spoiled upholstery on new. In my practice it was necessary to collide with such situations and the best way to eliminate a smell to replace a fabric on a sofa. I wish you successes.

  12. I really looked for good advice and decided to give this a try. So far, I have high hopes! My story is that my elderly dog who is intermittently incontinent snuck up on my brand new West Elm couch. Her pee went through a down throw and into the seat which didn;t have loose pillows or a removable cover! The smell from this older girl is quite strong and stinky! I combined methods I found on youtube and this is what I did:

    I used a natural rosemary dish soap by the brand “Meyer’s Clean Day” diluted with some water for 50%, and vinegar for 50%. I used a bottle with a squirt cap and squirted the solution into the upholstery, hoping that it would saturate into the foam somewhat. Then I used my husband’s wet/dry vac to suck it back out. It is still drying but when I sniff, I smell a much BETTER scent of rosemary soap and vinegar – a huge improvement over what was there. My couch would’ve been unusable! The tweedy gray fabric was not affected. I have had success with Nature’s miracle in the past and did treat the couch with it first, but this urine was too nasty! Other people have suggested using a rental carpet cleaner, but this seemed to work out ok. I’m confident that the vinegar will fade over time and is a better alternative to urine settling in. Good luck!

    • Please can I ask the wet dry vac you used was it a hand held one, I’m looking to purchase a hand held vac for this very reason my little dog has a bad habit of wearing in my new swivel chair and need to purchase a small lightweight handheld vac that is quick and easy to use

      • My little dog does that too, I went to the pet store and bought him a male wrap, goes comfortably around his waist and over his wee, now if he pees I just throw it in the was and replace with a new one for when I’m not watching him or not home, I highly recommend them!

  13. I use kids and pets from Walmart!!! This is a great product for anything smelly!!! I used it in my car because of smoke and my daughters mattress because room mate smoked!!! No more smell!!! Also had new kitten who decided to use carpet instead of liter box and no more smell!! Great product!!!!


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