You’ll embrace your furry friends once you learn how to remove pet stains from hardwood floors. My methods guarantee success every time!
If you are a proud pet owner, you have probably used to unpleasant surprises in your home. Training a young puppy or kitten also can result in having stinky pet urine stains on your floors.
Hardwood floors are beautiful but can be tricky to maintain, especially if you own pets. The claws can scratch the floor easily, but it is nothing compared to old urine stains on the hardwood floors. Sometimes puppies find the sweet spot behind the sofa, and it can be awhile until you find their hidden bathroom.
Or my worst nightmare – you’ve moved into the place with beautiful hardwood floors just to move the carpet and discover disgusting pet stains under the carpet. And don’t forget, our lovely furry friends can pee out of excitement when you finally get home from work. Unfortunately, whatever the reason is, it doesn’t make stain removal any simpler.
In this article, you will learn how to remove tough, old stains without damaging your precious hardwood floor. Also, I will share some tips on cleaning the pet mess as soon as it happens.
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Why Does Pet Urine Stain Hardwood Floor?
The largest compound of urine is water, from 91 to 96 percent. The rest are salts, proteins, hormones, metabolites, etc. When the urine gets in touch with wood fibers, it soaks them and causes dark discolorations and unpleasant smells. If you don’t clean immediately, the chances are that the stain will stick.
The more time passes between peeing and cleaning, the harder it is to remove the stain.
Which Cleaning Chemicals Can Damage Hardwood Floor?
During an emergency, you might reach out for strong chemicals to clean the floor. But, I strongly advise you against using harsh chemicals such as ammonia-based cleaning products.
It might not show the negative effects on the floor after cleaning, but eventually, blotches of discoloration and damaged finish will appear.
Additionally, alkaline cleaning products and abrasives are harmful to hardwood floors.
Vinegar is tricky. When used properly and in the right proportion with water, it can help the floors to shine. But, if you overuse it or make a too strong mixture, you will damage the hardwood floor finish.
Lastly, if you have hardwood floors, avoid using store-bought cleaning products that aren’t labeled for use on hardwood floors. Most of them contain a complex set of chemicals that can damage the floor.
Things to Prepare for Cleaning Pet Urine Stains from Hardwood Floor
The process is relatively simple when you have the right products.
Here are the things to prepare:
- Cleaning solution: white vinegar/hydrogen peroxide/wood bleach
- Bucket with warm water
- Soft cloth
- Grapefruit oil (optional)
- Baking soda (optional)
- Spray bottle
- Paper towel
How to Clean Pet Stains From Hardwood Floors?
There are some home remedies you can make at home that will effectively clean the pet urine stain from hardwood floors. Additionally, there are wood bleach products you find in specialized stores.
When removing the stains, you should be careful and not scrub vigorously.
White Vinegar Method
There are two ways you can use white vinegar to remove the pet stains from hardwood floors. However, be careful when mixing the solution, because adding too much vinegar can damage the floor.
Mix one cup of white vinegar in a bucket of warm water. One standard bucket contains around 2.5 gallons. Add a standard 2 DCL cup of white vinegar.
White vinegar is a natural disinfectant that has a deodorizing effect, too.
Soak the sponge in the solution and rub it over the stain. If the stain isn’t too old, you will notice as the dark color slowly fades as you rub. Once you reach the satisfying shade, you can use a soft cloth to dry the area you treated.
Additionally, it can add several drops of grapefruit oil or other essential oil to remove the unpleasant odors.
Cleaning Pet Stains with White Vinegar and Baking Soda
You can also make a paste by using white vinegar and baking soda. The amount you’ll need depends on the area you want to cover. I recommend mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a small amount of white vinegar. Continue to add vinegar and baking soda until your paste gets the right consistency. Apply the paste over the stain and let it dry completely.
Then, soak the cloth in water and wipe the paste clean. Don’t forget to dry the spot.
Hydrogen Peroxide Method
The hardwood floor finish is fragile and doesn’t do well with plenty of cleaning solvents. Permanently darkened wood is difficult to treat, but if pet urine is the reason behind discoloration, you can try it with hydrogen peroxide.
It serves as effective, but mild and safe wood bleach when used properly.
How to Mix Hydrogen Peroxide for Cleaning Pet Urine Stains?
You can make a general floor cleaning solution if you mix 1 cup of cleaning grade hydrogen peroxide – 35% with one gallon of water.
The alternative is to use one tablespoon of sodium percarbonate in one gallon of water. Sodium percarbonate is a suitable alternative because, when mixed with water, it releases hydrogen peroxide.
That way, you can create an even more concentrated hydrogen peroxide formula.
If you want to clean the entire floor, and not only the area with the stain with this solution, make sure to wring the mop vigorously to remove excess water. I recommend using an appropriate mop for hardwood floors and staying away from abrasive brushes. The cleaning solution is powerful, and an abrasive brush can cause irreparable damage to the floor.
Cleaning Tough Stains with Hydrogen Peroxide
Dark pet urine stains are challenging to remove and cannot be magically erased. I recommend the following procedure for darkest stains.
Use the 3% hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spritz it over a paper towel. Then place the paper towel over the stain and let it sit for several hours.
Check the process occasionally and see if the stain is fading. Once the paper towel is dry, spritz it with hydrogen peroxide again and keep it wet until you’re satisfied with the results.
The process may last from two hours to overnight for the toughest stains.
When you are ready to remove the towels, you can sprinkle baking soda over the stain. It will absorb the excess liquids and help the floor dry completely.
The alternative is cat litter because it also absorbs liquids and smells.
When the baking soda dries, you can vacuum it. Don’t forget to use a vacuum cleaner for the hardwood floor to avoid scratching the floor.
If you still aren’t satisfied with the results, repeat the process for several days.
Check out this video to know how it works:
Can you Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Spot-Cleaning?
If you only want to treat the area with the stain, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide. You can get in drug stores. Because it isn’t as concentrated as cleaning grade peroxide, you don’t have to mix it with water.
One way to remove the pet urine stain is to pour hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and spray it over the stain.
If the stain is light, you can wipe it clean after several seconds and dry the area.
Can Hydrogen Peroxide Damage Hardwood Floor?
Hydrogen peroxide can be a risky method for cleaning the stains. It can damage the hardwood floor finish and sometimes, even the wood.
If you used hydrogen peroxide on hardwood floors and it removed the finish, you must sand the spot off and refinish it.
When to Reach for Wood Bleach?
Because wood bleach is a professional product, I first recommend the white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide methods. If those don’t work, which is highly unlikely, you can try the wood bleach.
Wood Bleach for Removing Pet Urine Stains
Wood bleach is a professional product and should be handled with care. It is created to lighten wood and can be extremely effective against dark pet stains on the hardwood floor.
There are different wood bleach products on the market, and you need to follow the instructions carefully. Wear protective gloves and ventilate the room as the smells might cause nausea.
Wood bleach can quickly lighten mild stains, but you will have the best results if you first sand the stained area. Therefore, the bleach can penetrate the wood deeper and extract the stain completely.
Watch this video to know more:
How to Clean Pet Mess to Prevent Stains?
Imagine coming home to a happy pet that pees on your floor just being excited to see you. You should clean the mess immediately, and that will hopefully prevent the stains.
First, use a paper towel to absorb the liquid.
You can spray the area with 3% hydrogen peroxide to prevent the urine from staining the floor and penetrating deeper into the wood. But, make sure to wipe it clean soon.
The alternative is using an enzymatic cleaner. These are great for quick pet urine messes and some of them are created to handle pet mess specifically. Still, you should follow the specific instructions on the bottle and test the small area first.
Enzyme cleaners are widely available in pet-shops but they are only suitable for the lighter mess.
If the enzyme cleaner doesn’t remove the odor, you can use the trick with baking soda. Sprinkle it over the soaked spot, and leave it overnight. Vacuum it tomorrow and that should do the trick of removing the urine smell.
If you clean the pee spot immediately, there are fewer chances that the discoloration marks will occur.
You can also use a steam mop for the hardwood floor to tackle the mess and kill the germs, but make sure it has customizable settings. I prefer the ones with a swivel head and lightweight.
How to Remove the Pet Stains by Sanding the Floor?
Sanding the floor can also solve pet stains. You can sand only the stain place. To prevent the spot from looking odd on the floor, you will have to sand the surrounding area to even things out.
If it’s been a while since you took care of the floor, you can remove the stains by sanding the entire floor.
You can do it yourself, or you can hire professionals.
Sanding the floor at home will save you some money, and you can rent the tools in a tool rental center. Make sure to buy appropriate products and follow the instructions for the best results.
Watch this video to know more:
Should you Refinish the Floor After Removing Stains?
Refinishing is the final touch to your hardwood floor that can restore its previous beauty. After you sand the whole floor or stain area, you can apply a hardwood floor finish to even the surface and highlight your pretty floor.
Sanding and refinishing the floor should be part of your floor maintenance. It is an excellent way to remove stains, scratches, and other damages on the floor.
If you have pets, I recommend applying a fresh layer of the coat to the floor every two years. That way, you will keep the beautiful look of the hardwood floors.
However, the urine smell can linger even after you refinished the floor. The chemicals in urine and finish coat mix and cause unpleasant odors.
It will take time to smell to disappear, but you can try baking soda as a smell absorber.
Watch this video to know more:
When Everything Else Fails
Unfortunately, some stains are irreparable. If you have tried the white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, wood bleach, sanding, and refinishing, and the stain is still there, it means that the wood is destroyed.
Small stains are simple to handle. You can cover them with furniture, put the plant over it, or cover it with the appropriate rug pad for hardwood floor.
However, severe stains are too deep and can be difficult to cover if they are large.
Then, the only solution is to replace the stained boards of the floor with new pieces. But, it is a more complex task, and I recommend hiring a professional to do it.
If you don’t do it well, the replaced boards can look like messy patchwork.
Watch this video to know more:
Keep the Pets and Have a Pretty Floor
Removing pet urine stains from the hardwood floor is no fun, but it can help you keep an authentic floor look. There are several methods to try out, such as white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and professional products, such as wood bleach.
For the next time when a mess happens, remember to clean it immediately to prevent dark stains on the floor, which are more difficult to remove as time passes.
However, it can be done!
How did you like my article? If you find your answers, make sure to like and share the article to spread useful information among pet keepers!