Removing Urine Stains and Odor From Clothing

March 24, 2013

To remove the smell of urine from clothes I washed them in a load with half a gallon of vinegar and then washed as normal.


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8 Questions

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December 28, 2020

Please help! I have a senior female dog that is incontinent. Because of this, I am now laundering a load of towels daily that line her dog crate and that have urine on them. To get rid of the urine odor, I have been laundering the washer load of towels with one cup of Biz, which works great, but is expensive.

I'm going through boxes of Biz like crazy. Does anyone out there have a suggestion to add to the washing machine to get rid of the urine odor in the towels that would be less expensive? Please provide quantities with suggested additive. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


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December 28, 20201 found this helpful
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I can suggest white vinegar, but the one-part-water:one-part-vinegar ratio is for a presoak or spray cleaning. Nevertheless, at less than $3/gallon you might want to try adding 2-3 cups to a hot wash.


Alternatively, The Humane Society recommends:
"Add a one pound box of baking soda to your regular detergent and wash as usual, air drying if possible."

Good luck! I'm glad your dog is in such kind hands.


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December 28, 20200 found this helpful
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Pet enzyme products are great for small jobs, especially cleaning a sofa or rug area where pets have accidents but would be very expensive to have to use for thick towels on a daily basis.
I contacted a friend who had a very similar problem with an aging dog to see how she handled this problem. She said she contacted Consumer Reports to see if they had suggestions and the following is some of their suggestions.


Each night; load dirty towels in fresh water - use no more water than necessary (if your washer has water settings) - clothes will need to move freely and run one rinse cycle to just rinse out urine - just use water only.
Second; reload the same amount of water but add 4-6 cups of white vinegar (more or less according to the amount of water - too much is better than too little). You can also add 1 cup of baking soda if desired. It will 'foam' with the vinegar but that is okay as they both work well together and you may need both right now but after a few washes you may be able to do this part with just one of these products.
Run machine for a few minutes to mix it well and leave clothes to soak overnight.
Run this load through a rinse and then laundry in hot water and a strong detergent (they recommended Tide).

You can also add a cup or so of white vinegar to the wash or rinse water.
Drying: Air dry as much as possible (sunshine) but dryer is okay but try not to use the hottest setting.
Note: They also mentioned using mint Listerine but that is a lot more expensive than white vinegar or baking soda.

This may seem like a lot of extra work but she said it worked for her and it was easier doing this than having the problems she had had in the past.
She also added that she wiped over everything around her dog (especially the bottom of her crate) with 1/1 white vinegar and water and this helped also.

Another suggestion: she purchased cloth (reusable) doggie diapers for her dog to wear when she was not in her crate. I did not think to ask where she found these but I feel sure they are available online or pet stores.


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December 28, 20200 found this helpful
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We are in a similar situation and wash smaller loads of towels with hot water, bleach and the detergent from Dollar General--Sun triple clean. It is a purple bottle. We get the detergent when it goes on sale for 2 to 4 cents an ounce--usually 3-4 dollars for 188 ounces. I get my bleach at the dollar store when they have the 64 ounce size for 1.00.


If they have the lemon scent, that works the best, but the regular is OK too.

They come out fine and have no urine odor.

In the summer I dry the towels outside and that helps too. I don't have a dryer, but I do know that if you use a dryer it sets the smells (at least I always thought it did) so line dry (inside or out if you can.

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May 20, 2010

My mom is in a nursing home and she is incontinent. I launder her clothes. At times, she has urinated through her slacks. When I retrieve her laundry, her slacks smell badly. Regular laundering does not remove the odor, it exists faintly. I thought I heard vinegar is a neutralizer?

By Modesta from New Bedord, MA


May 20, 20101 found this helpful

I used to take care of my mom and she was incontinent also. I would add Febreze to the wash and it worked real well for the urine and other smells. I now have a cat that has accidents and I use white vinegar for that smell plus I use it as a fabric softener as well.


My mom is now in a nursing home and they do her laundry there. You might want to ask if they have a laundry service. There might be a slight fee for it but in the long run it could be worth the price.

May 20, 20102 found this helpful

It works for me. Try putting at least a cup of vinegar in the final rinse. vinegar works great as a fabric softener too.


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May 21, 20101 found this helpful

You could try vinegar. It removes lots of odors, but I know that an enzyme based pet cleaner would work for sure, as would peroxide, but it might get costly. I would add Oxiclean to your wash and hang her things out in the hot sunshine so the fresh air and the UV rays can do their work.

I would add Oxiclean (or a generic Oxiclean) to the wash and half a cup of vinegar to the rinse. Maybe mixed in with Downy in a fabric softener dispenser then hang outside in the sun to dry. For stubborn odors, use Febreze and/or enzyme-based pet cleaner and odor remover. I like a brand called "OUT!" sold for $4.79 at Walmart in the pet area.

* In any area where you still smell urine after washing, just spray the enzyme cleaner on to the fabric and saturate the area. Let them sit for several hours or overnight while the enzymes do their work. It helps to put the clothes into a plastic bag so the enzyme cleaner doesn't dry out because it only works while it's wet.


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May 21, 20102 found this helpful

When my son was young and had accidents, I used to wash his clothing with a little ammonia added to the load, but I realize that it isn't as green as vinegar.


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May 21, 20104 found this helpful

Another option, 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry booster powder. Great for eliminating odors. Thank you for taking such good care of your mom. God bless you!


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May 21, 20101 found this helpful

Use vinegar AND Borax.

May 21, 20100 found this helpful

What about Dreft baby detergent, I used that for my sons diapers.

May 22, 20100 found this helpful

There is a product called Mother's miracle that take pet accident odors out, maybe that would help? Also, I use Gain detergent. it has such a fresh smell and may work for this.

May 23, 20103 found this helpful

What works very well for me is vinegar and baking soda in the washer along with reg. detergent. But, you must let it soak for a while before washing. The vinegar and baking soda are very economical and work better than anything I've tried. Hope this helps you.

September 9, 20101 found this helpful

Add Borox to the detergent.

January 10, 20151 found this helpful

I use a pet enzyme, sometimes it helps. Vinegar doesn't even touch it. I can't use perfumes as I am allergic to the smell. I have them outside right not, but that's not really practical. I even soaked it in the pet enzyme first, no luck. Baking soda isn't the answer either. I am open for ideas.

January 11, 20150 found this helpful

I think using a pet-accident enzyme formula would be better than anything else. This is specially formulated for urine.

May 28, 20163 found this helpful

I hope this helps anyone out there with this issue. I tried all of the things that were suggested online. None of them worked very good. Still had that lingering odor. The thing I found that does work is go to a sporting goods store (Cabellas, etc) and buy a product that hunters use to remove the scent from their clothing. I bought Scent Killer. You put a capful in the washer and put through 2 rinses. After that I always rewash with my regular detergent and fabric softener. Takes more time but so worth it to have my mothers clothes not smell of urine. Hop

October 25, 20161 found this helpful

There is a product called Odoban you can get at Home Depot. I soak soiled clothes in hot water with Borox and a cup or so of odoban. Then I drain and put through a full wash with a splash more of the odoban. It's a miracle worker and we are talking about severely soiled clothes. I use it on everything!

November 20, 20160 found this helpful

Shout works the best to remove urine smell. Work it in before washing and add to load.

December 15, 20161 found this helpful

I use a pleasant smelling shampoo. Rub it on the smell and throw it in the dirty cloths, after washing it smells good again. I use white rain ocean mist from dollar tree, such a lovely fragrance.

October 15, 20172 found this helpful

Vinegar is an acid, baking soda is a base, when mixed they have a chemical reaction and cancel out one another, so you end up not benefiting from either one. If you want to use both still, I suggest putting baking soda in the wash cycle, then letting it go through one rinse cycle normally. After the first round of wash and rinse, you should repeat the rinse cycle adding the vinegar into the second time you run the rinse cycle. I learned this after yrs of wasting products, money, and time, at the expense of my poor washer and clothes! Lol Hope I've saved you the pain of finding out yrs later too.

October 12, 20180 found this helpful

I have not found Febreze to work at all for urine smells.

January 16, 20190 found this helpful

I don't recommend anyone to use fabreeze. It like putting perfume on a filthy body. You must clean and disinfect first.

February 10, 20190 found this helpful

This is good to know, i already use this on my towels to get keep the soured smell out of them of them. They don't smell like vinegar either. Thanks for all the good tips, this is something my sister and i are just starting to experience.

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March 15, 2006

My 2 year old son occasionally urinates through his diaper and the urine gets on his onesie and pajamas. What I've begun to notice is that even though I wash these items, the urine smell remains. Is there anything I can add to the wash load to help with the smell. I've tried Oxiclean but that hasn't worked.

Thank you so much in advance.
keligator from Bensalem, PA


March 15, 20060 found this helpful

Use white vinegar. My son sometimes wets his bed and I read on here to use vinegar in the wash. I can't really tell you how much to use, I just dump some in with his bedding. I have a front loading washer and would guess I use between 1/2 a cup per or a cup per load. I would say just experiment until it seems to work. The best thing is vinegar is cheap.

By (Guest Post)
March 15, 20060 found this helpful

I still use borax if I have smelly laundry! You can find the 20-mule-team borax in the laundry aisle of the store.

March 15, 20060 found this helpful

I agree .. use white vinegar! It works wonder with smells of any sorts! I use it with my kids clothes in the Downy ball instead of softener. Good luck to you! My 2 year old is in the same boat as yours .. hopefully the leaky diapers will be a thing of the past soon!


March 15, 20060 found this helpful

if vinegar doesn't work, there is a concentrated cleaner i found at the dollar store called mean green. i think the label says a half a cap per load of laundry. you might try soaking it in that. i soak the hubbys work clothes in it, it has a nice 'clean' fragrance once washed.

March 16, 20060 found this helpful

To remove urine smell from clothing use about 1/2 cup of vinegar (white not apple cider) in the wash. Your clothes will be whiter and cleaner with no smell.
Karen in Pensacola

March 16, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks so much for the feedback. Hopefully the inexpensive white vinegar does the trick!!!


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March 22, 20060 found this helpful

If vinegar doesn't work, try 1/2 cup pine-sol. It disinfects and deoderizes. Happened to me when the borax wasn't enough!

By Shannon from Boise, ID (Guest Post)
March 25, 20060 found this helpful

You can buy fabreeze under private labels at the dollars store. Spray well, let set, wash, spritz again. This has helped even when the cat confuses the hamper with the litter box, and cat urine is way stronger than human.

By Ginny Buchanan (Guest Post)
May 29, 20060 found this helpful

I was looking for info. on urine smell remaining in clothes. My mom is 85 and has Alzheimers and I do her laundry. After a while, even the vinegar doesn't work. I will try the mean green. Thanks


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May 29, 20060 found this helpful

OH! I forgot to need to double rinse the pine-sol, just to be safe!

November 6, 20150 found this helpful

Pinsol is what works the best from what I have found. I tried vinegar, and soaking for 24 hours and washed etc and there was still a faint smell, then after drying it was pretty noticeable again. When I tried pinesol, I started laundry as normal, detergent, oxi clean, put a small amount of dawn dishsoap in, and then put 1 to two cups pinesol in and wash as normal with extra rinse cycle. I also added 12cup mouth wash, as I heard this works well too, and figured maybe I'd get twice the odor eliminator power. I didn't soak or anything and they came out smelling not like urine. Even after drying they were okay. I ran them through one more load though with just my normal washing detergent and scenty booster.washed and dryer fine and didn't smell like urine. I am potty training my son so I've even done this with his sheets and his pj's.

June 20, 20190 found this helpful

Just put some baking soda in with your regular laundry detergent. My wife is incontinent and it completely takes the smell out. Not really sure how much I use, probably 1/2 cup to a cup. It really works great !

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April 21, 2014

I have a prom dress that needs to be cleaned due to a cat urine smell that won't come out. How do I get rid of that smell in the dress without ruining the dress?

By Corbi N.


February 12, 20190 found this helpful

Apple cider vinegar takes out cat urine smell.
I have tried commercial products, and white vinegar, but neither of them took the odor out like apple cider vinegar. I add abut 1 cup of ACV to a load of wash.

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June 15, 2013

I have found many rodent urine stains on non-bleachable clothing, sheets, and more. How can I remove these?

By Mary Lynn from NC


March 2, 20190 found this helpful

Surprisingly: iodine. As in the stuff you put on wounds. I found a single comment on a thread with this tip and I couldn't believe how much better it worked than vinegar.
I use one tablespoon per medium load and 2 per large. You'll need to wait until the drum is full of water before you put in whatever needs laundering, but the water dilutes the iodine so much that it won't discolor your fabric. I wouldn't use this method more than a couple of times on lighter fabric, but otherwise it's that easy!
If you wash it with detergent and add some scent booster, it really isn't necessary to wash a second time

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April 24, 2013

Our cat got in my daughter's room and peed on all her prom dresses. This year's is a polyester chiffon, but other year's have tulle. What can I do to get the stain and smell out?

By Amelia P

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August 22, 2022

Does anyone know how to get mouse/rat urine stains from clothing? I had my off-season clothing hung in my spare bedroom closet but found evidence of droppings and yellow urine stains on the shoulders of the hanging items. I tried regular laundering but the urine stains remained. Didn't want to try anything else until I consulted my friends. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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