Hardwood flooring is a heavily sought-after feature in many homes. As a homeowner, ripping up old carpets only to find a beautiful hardwood floor can be really exciting. However, hardwood floors can be high maintenance and have to be cared for properly in order to stay looking pristine.
Pet urine is one of the most common causes of staining on hardwood floors. Any liquid that is left to sit for a long time will cause damage to the flooring. Because of the absorbent nature of the wood, any moisture will seep into the material and can cause staining, rotting, and even buckling of the floor panels.
Stains left behind from pet urine are not only difficult to treat and remove but will also leave a terribly unpleasant odor lingering in your home.
Here, we are going to take you through the best methods of how to remove urine stains from hardwood floors, tackling not only the stain itself but also the stubborn odor that has seeped into the floor panels.
Each of the methods listed in this article can be completed without the use of any synthetic chemical cleaners. The chemicals often found in mainstream cleaning products typically contain countless toxins that are harmful to you and the environment, but could also be extremely harmful to your hardwood flooring. By using natural ingredients you avoid any chemical burns, bleaching, or further staining of the floor.
Related: The Best Floor Buffer for Home Use
The Best Methods to Remove Urine Stains from Hardwood Floors
Removing tough urine stains is going to take a bit of elbow grease and some basic household ingredients. Listed here are some great, cost-effective methods you could use to remove the urine stains from your flooring.
Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors
The most important thing you can do when it comes to maintaining and cleaning your hardwood floors is to make sure any spills are mopped up thoroughly as soon as possible. The longer the urine is left to sit on the floor, the worse the damage will be, and the more the odor will seep into the porous wood making it challenging to remove urine stains from hardwood floors.
Use a towel or dry mop to soak up any liquid that is sitting on the floor. Try to get into any crevices or cracks to get as much liquid off the surface of the flooring as possible.
- High-quality microfiber
- Clean with just water
Our favorite microfiber cloths for use around the home are the general purpose clothes from E-Cloth. Whether you're wiping down the kitchen table, countertops, or scrubbing just about any other surface in your house, these clothes are effective, durable, and affordable. Over the course of a year, you'll save a huge amount of money on paper towels and cleaning solutions, plus you can keep the chemicals out of your home.
If you can get to the spill quick enough and remove it efficiently, you should be able to prevent any staining or damage.
However, often pets can have accidents while they’re home alone, or perhaps it happened while you were asleep. Or, you might have just bought the home and are desperate to salvage the beautiful hardwood floors but are tasked with removing stubborn urine stains that have been left for a long time. If this is the case, you’re going to need to follow the steps listed below.
DIY Stain Removal Solution
To make this tried and tested DIY stain remover for your hardwood floors, you’re going to need four things:
- A clean spray bottle
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
Mix one part baking soda with one part white vinegar and four parts lukewarm water. Add these to the spray bottle, give it a quick shake, and this is your homemade, all-natural stain remover spray!
Simply spray the solution onto the affected area, then taking a dry, clean cloth, rub the area so that no liquid is pooling on the surface of the flooring. Leave this to sit for around 10 to 15 minutes and then take a slightly damp cloth and wipe away the solution.
Baking soda and white vinegar both have anti-bacterial properties and are also odor neutralizers, so these are great ingredients to use when treating pet urine stains. This combination should lift the stain considerably.
You can also add some non-toxic dish soap to the solution, which may help to increase its effectiveness and the speed at which the stain lifts. Be sure to use a natural dish soap that doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or toxins.
Examples of great all-natural dish soaps include Better Life’s Sulfate-free dish soap and Seventh Generation’s Liquid Dish Soap. Both are free from any toxins or synthetic ingredients. Incorporating dish soap into the solution can also aid the removal of any lingering odors.
|Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)|
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|Eco Me Dish Soap|
|Check Price on Amazon|
|Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)|
|Check Price on Amazon|
If the stain remains after treating it with the DIY solution, you might need to look at other options to remove urine stains from hardwood floors.
The next thing you can try is hydrogen peroxide.
Lots of people are intimidated by hydrogen peroxide, fearing that it is too harsh or potent to use safely within the home. This is not the case. As long as you’re careful, use gloves, and keep pets and children away from the treated area and the hydrogen peroxide itself, it’s actually a great cleaning agent and is derived entirely from nature. This means it’s not harmful to waterways or wildlife and won’t pollute the environment.
To use hydrogen peroxide to remove urine stains and odors from your hardwood floors, follow these steps.
Pour some hydrogen peroxide into a clean spray bottle and dilute with some water. Typically, you’ll use equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide; the more hydrogen peroxide you add, the more potent the mixture. Spray the mixture directly onto the stain and then cover with a cloth that has also been soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Leave this to sit for up to 24 hours.
Remove the cloth and give the floor a wipe with a slightly damp, clean cloth. The stain should have lifted completely and the odor should have disappeared.
There are some things to be aware of if using this method. Firstly, it is likely that using hydrogen peroxide on your hardwood flooring will lighten the floor. You may need to take additional steps to re-treat or stain the floor afterward to match the rest of your flooring, we will come on to this in just a second.
Secondly, you must always wear gloves when handling hydrogen peroxide. Despite it being a natural, non-toxic ingredient, it can be harmful to the skin and should never be ingested. So it really is vital that children and pets are kept out of the way if you’re going to use this method.
Re-treating the Floor
If, as a byproduct of removing the urine stains and odors from your hardwood flooring, you’ve been left with lightened or dulled floor panels, there are some additional steps you can take to restore your flooring to its former glory.
If you’ve been left with an area of flooring that is uneven and patchy, you could sand the affected area back to the natural grain before going in with a treatment that will match the finish of the rest of the floor. Sanding the area might not be totally necessary but by abrading the surface of the floor the treatment should take much better and give a better overall finish.
The match might not be perfect, but it’s likely to look and smell much better than it did, to begin with, and this is also a much cheaper alternative to replacing areas of the floor, or even the entire floor depending on the extent of the damage.
More Tips for Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors
When using any cleaning products on your hardwood floor, whether they are homemade or store-bought, it’s always a good idea to test them out on a less visible area first off.
This goes for both the DIY stain removal solution and the hydrogen peroxide methods listed above. Carry out a small patch test on an area of the floor that isn’t often seen, such as a hidden corner or under a piece of furniture or a rug. This will give you a better idea of how the flooring is likely to react to the treatment and let you know how effective it’s likely to be.
It’s also important to manage your expectations.
Hardwood flooring can be high maintenance. If you’re not able to clean up constantly every day, as most of us aren’t, there are likely to be spills and accidents that affect the overall finish of your floor. While this can be annoying or disheartening, remember that hardwood flooring is so in-demand because of the character and warmth it brings to a home, flaws and all.
The methods listed in this article might not restore it to looking as good as new, but they could do an excellent job of greatly improving the situation.
For more floor cleaning tips, please see:
- How to Unclog a Vacuum Hose
- My Shampooed Carpet Now Smells Musty. What Should I Do?
- Can You Use a Steam Mop on Linoleum Floors?
Final Thoughts on How to Remove Urine Stains from Hardwood Floors Without Chemical Cleaners
No matter what home they are in, hardwood floors typically always look great. They do, however, require a good amount of upkeep and maintenance to keep them in prime condition.
Pet urine is a common enemy of hardwood floors, soaking into the porous wood and leaving unsightly stains and lingering powerful odors. By using some of the methods listed in this article, you should be able to tackle these stains head-on and leave your hardwood floors stain-free and smelling fresh once again.
You might find that the best results are achieved by combining these methods on how to remove urine stains from hardwood floors; going in with the stain remover to lift surface level marks, and then applying the hydrogen peroxide to get rid of any lingering odors or marks. Whatever works for you, just be sure to carry out a patch test if possible, always wear gloves, and keep away from pets and children.