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The Most Effective Way to Deal with Dog Urine on Hardwood Floors

The Most Effective Way to Deal with Dog Urine on Hardwood Floors

Your beloved dog is taking a leak on your gorgeous hardwood floors — this is what nightmares are made of! Unfortunately, dog owners face this reality, even with the most trained dogs. Maybe you were late to get home, or you have an older dog — either way, mishaps are bound to happen.

Dog urine is typically acidic that can break down the finish on the hardwood flooring surface. It can leave a stain and cause permanent damage if the urine is allowed to dry up. On an unsealed hardwood floor, dog urine can penetrate deeper into the wood and leave a persistent unpleasant odor.

The most important part of dealing with dog urine on hardwood floors is to remove them quickly and thoroughly. It is also crucial to protect your hardwood floors from dog urine. This article will teach you exactly how to do that — let’s get into it.

How Does Dog Urine Affect Hardwood Floors?

How Does Dog Urine Affect Hardwood Floors?

Dog urine is typically acidic. The low pH breaks down the finish on the hardwood flooring surface, which protects the wooden layers underneath. Once the wood is exposed, it can rot, crack and warp, or even grow molds if left untreated for too long. If the urine dries on the hardwood, it can also leave a stain. And, of course, it will leave a strong unpleasant odor on the floor.

Hardwood is a sophisticated flooring material that cannot tolerate cleaning with harsh chemicals or even excess water. Even scrubbing can peel off the seal and chip away the actual wooden layers. The superficial layers can be repaired by sanding and refinishing. But if the liquid seeps in and damages the deeper layer, you have no choice but to replace the affected planks altogether.

When your dog has an accident on hardwood, the urine leaks through very quickly because no seal is absolutely impenetrable. Then it sits in a puddle underneath the surface, which is nearly impossible to clean. The urine can also leak in between the planks and reach the subfloor.

The trapped liquid can result in –

  • Rotting
  • Mold growth
  • Staining
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Cracking
  • Warping

7 Steps to Remove Dog Urine from Hardwood Floors

7 Steps to Remove Dog Urine from Hardwood Floors

The most effective way to remove dog urine from hardwood floors is to act fast. The longer the urine sits on the floor, the more challenging it will be to deal with it. Dried-up dog urine can leave stains and a pungent, distinctive smell, which requires methods that can damage the hardwood (we will discuss later in this article).

Step 1: Soak up the urine on the floor

Grab paper towels or cleaning towels and soak up the urine as soon as possible. This is the most crucial step. Keep sopping up the towels until the spot is completely dry. You can also use a blow dryer on cool settings to dry the floor.

Step 2: Apply hydrogen peroxide and dish soap

As we have mentioned before, dog urine is acidic. So, you need a basic solution with high pH to neutralize it. Fill a small bowl with 3% hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of dish soap. Gently wipe down the area with the solution using a rag.

Step 3: Dry the spot

Excessive moisture can warp and crack hardwood floors. After a few minutes of wiping, dry the area with a clean towel. You can also use a blow dryer at this step.

Step 4: Sprinkle baking soda on the spot

You might notice some lingering odor even after cleaning the urine thoroughly. Sprinkle some baking soda on the spot and leave it overnight. Bicarbonate soda works amazingly at removing odor without causing any damage. Vacuum up the baking soda the next day and check if the odor persists. If the unpleasant smell remains, reapply the baking soda and leave it overnight.

Step 5: Clean the spot with diluted vinegar

Vinegar is another household item that effectively removes cat and dog urine. Mix a cap full of vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a bucket of warm water. Mop the affected area using the solution and dry thoroughly. You can also use this solution to deep clean your hardwood floors.

Step 6: Use an enzyme cleaner

If the DIY items fail to eradicate the odor and stains, you must resort to enzyme cleaners. Enzyme cleaners contain beneficial bacteria that multiply fast when sprayed to emit enzymes that can break down molecules found in organic material like urine, feces, and food. Once they are broken down, the bacteria consume them — leaving behind a clean surface.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove dog urine using the enzyme cleaner.

Step 7: Refinish the hardwood floor

Dog urine and the cleaners will likely break down your hardwood floor finish. After you have removed dog urine from hardwood floors thoroughly, you should refinish the particular spot to protect it in the future. 

How to Remove Pet Urine Stains from Hardwood Floors

How to Remove Pet Urine Stains from Hardwood Floors

If you notice the pet urine on hardwood floors right away, consider yourself lucky because cleaning dried-up dog urine is a whole different story. But don’t worry — there is a lot you can do before you need to resort to replacing hardwood planks.

How to Remove Pet Urine Stains from Hardwood Floors

Use hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is sometimes more effective at removing pet urine stains than store-bought cleaners. Start by cleaning the area using a damp cloth. Put some paper towels on the stain and pour 3% hydrogen peroxide solution on the paper towels. Leave overnight and repeat until the stain fades.

Once the stain starts to fade, apply the hydrogen peroxide precisely to the leftover stains only to avoid damaging the other areas. You can use a dropper for precise application. Depending on how bad it is, this method can take up to 14 days to remove pet urine stains. However, we recommend letting the floor completely dry before you reapply to check exactly how much of the stain you have left. After treating it with hydrogen peroxide, you can also sand the wood to remove the remaining stain, if any.

After you have removed the stain and are happy with the result, refinish the area to finish off.

Disclaimer: Pet urine stains are not always removable. If your hardwood floors have started to rot, consult a professional. In stubborn cases, you might need to resort to replacements. 

4 Ways to Protect Hardwood Floors from Dog Urine

4 Ways to Protect Hardwood Floors from Dog Urine

“The best offense is a good defense.” This quote applies here, too — you need to take measures to protect hardwood floors from dog urine.

Here are four ways you can prepare your hardwood floors to put up a good fight against your furry friends –

Apply polish

A proper polish protects your hardwood floors from damage, including scratches, spills, urine, etc. It creates a protective layer against pretty much everything. Polishes also make the wood water resistant to a certain degree. Good quality polishes won’t leave any residue or contain harmful toxins. Clean the floors well before using a mop or a vacuum cleaner, and ensure no debris is left before applying the polish.

Use rug pads

When your dog has a mishap on the rug, it’s extremely difficult to notice. The urine sits on the floor unnoticed for days and stains the hardwood. In the worst case, the trapped urine can rot the hardwood to the point where you have no other options but to replace it.

If you have pets and rugs in your home, use a waterproof rug pad to protect your hardwood. A waterproof rug pad creates a water repellent barrier between the floor and your rug. It prevents any water on the floor from seeping through the rug. Besides, it keeps the floor under the carpet clean as debris, dirt, and pet hair cannot get stuck between the floor and the carpet.

Dog proof your hardwood floors

Dogs damage hardwood floors in two main ways — either by having a little mishap on the floor or scratching the surface with their nails. Hence, you need to dog-proof your hardwood floors to save your gorgeous (and expensive) hardwood.

The most critical part of dog-proofing hardwood floors is picking the right hardwood and the right finish. Training your dog not to damage the hardwood and keeping their nails trimmed can also help protect the floors. You can also utilize tools like rugs, dog gates, or even touch-up kits to minimize your pet’s impact on the hardwood floor.

Treat the hardwood

Wood treatments help prevent many conditions that cause the degradation and disintegration of wood over time. They also protect the wood from insects, mold, algae, and fungi that mainly cause it to rot. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to wood treatments and preservers. Other than potency, you also need to ensure the solution is non-toxic and safe for household purposes.

Your dog will urinate on the floors, and it’s completely natural. Take the necessary steps to clean dog urine from hardwood floors to avoid permanent damage. Also, prepare your hardwood floors and dog-proof them to protect them from future mishaps.

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