Here’s How to Clean Dog Pee from the Carpet (and How to Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again)

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Everyone knows dogs are a human’s best friend…but when they start peeing all over your carpet, it doesn’t exactly feel that way, does it? Fortunately, we put together an expert-approved guide on how to clean dog pee from carpets and tapped a dog trainer for advice on how you can prevent such accidents from happening in the future. Read on for the full scoop.

Meet the Experts:

How to Clean Dog Pee from Your Carpet

The fresher the pee, the easier it is to remove, which is why the cleaning expert tells us that the most important thing is to act quickly. Here’s what to do:

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper towel (optional)
  • Clean white cloth (two should do the trick, if you use paper towels for the first step.)
  • Pet-safe detergent (optional)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Fan (optional)


1. Use paper towels or a clean white cloth to gently blot (not rub!) the affected area. Rubbing or scrubbing at this stage will only spread the stain and push the urine deeper into your carpet, so it’s important to use a light touch to pick up the pee. Also, Lee tells us that “using a white cloth is crucial to prevent any potential color transfer that could damage the carpet.”

2. Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing warm water with a pet-safe cleaner of your choice. Alternatively, you can mix up a DIY solution by mixing 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, with 1 teaspoon dish soap and ½ cup of water. (Note: This is one of few instances in which vinegar is not recommended for cleaning, as Lee says that it can damage certain types of carpet fibers and its strong chemical odor can, in some cases, encourage your dog to mark the spot again.)

3. Perform a patch test by applying the cleaning solution to a small, inconspicuous area of your carpet. Once you know it won’t do any harm, proceed to the next step.

4. Lightly pour the cleaning solution onto the stained area, making sure to saturate the urine spot without soaking the carpet.

5. Grab another clean white cloth or a wad of paper towel and start blotting again—pressing down firmly to thoroughly absorb both the cleaning solution and the urine.

6. Dampen a cloth with clean water and blot the area again to remove any detergent residue. Continue blotting until you have absorbed as much liquid as possible.

7. Open the windows or set up a fan to help the carpet dry as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Then, you’re done!

How to Clean Dried Pee Stains from Your Carpet

Dried pee stains tend to be harder to remove than fresh ones, but the cleaning process is very similar. There are, however, a few minor differences and additional steps as outlined below.

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper towel (optional)
  • White cleaning cloth (two or three, depending on whether you use paper towel for the first step.)
  • Pet-safe detergent (optional)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Fan (optional)


1. Pour or spray a modest amount of water onto the affected area to rehydrate the stain. (Look, now it’s almost fresh!)

2. Gently blot the rehydrated stain using paper towels or a clean, white cloth to lift the moisture and urine.

3. Mix warm water and a pet-safe detergent of your choice to make a cleaning solution; or go the DIY route by combining hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and water.

4. Perform a patch test: As with fresh urine stains (or any carpet stain, for that matter) it’s advised you test the cleaning solution in a small, inconspicuous area before you proceed.

5. Lightly pour or spray the cleaning solution over the entire stained area. You should use enough cleaning product to ensure that it reaches the underlying carpet fibers, as opposed to just sitting on the surface.

6. Lightly blot the stained area with a clean cloth; then, grab a soft-bristled brush and gently scrub the stain in circular motions. (Do not use too much elbow grease when scrubbing or you will damage the carpet.)

7. Rinse the area by dampening a clean cloth with fresh water and blotting the area once again.

8. Open the windows or hook up a fan to promote fast and thorough drying.

cute dog lying on carpet
Westend61/Getty Images

How to Prevent Further Accidents

Now that you’ve tackled the annoying job of removing dog pee from your carpet, you’re probably wondering what you can do to avoid the hassle in the future. Per Russell, “it is crucial to ensure that any potential medical issues are ruled out as the cause of potty accidents, especially if the dog is already housetrained.” Once you have ruled out any medical issues or addressed the ones that are present, the dog training expert says the following tips will nip the problem behavior in the bud. 

1. Understand Substrate Preference

According to Russell, young puppies develop a substrate preference, which means they associate certain surfaces with the need to eliminate and those surfaces continue to stimulate them to go pee and poo as an adult. You needn’t resign yourself to cleaning dog pee from the carpet on the regular, though—just make sure you provide them with a similar surface to go on outside and they will be less likely to do their business indoors.

2. Take Regular Potty Breaks and Give Treats

Needless to say, if you’re not taking your dog out to pee and poop often enough, he will do what needs to be done on your carpet or anywhere else he sees fit. As such, Russell recommends finding a designated potty spot for your pup and accompanying them to it regularly (i.e., don’t just open the back door). The expert also suggests “rewarding them with high-value treats, such as small pieces of boiled chicken, immediately after they finish eliminating for a period of two to three weeks.” After all, if it worked for Pavlov, it should work for you, too.

3. Supervision Is Key

According to Russell, one of the most effective ways to prevent potty accidents is through close supervision. Of course, there will be times when you can’t keep such a watchful eye on your pup. Whenever that’s the case, Russell advises that you confine them in a crate, tether them to you or place them in a puppy-proof room (ideally one that doesn’t have carpet). Ultimately, Russell explains that “by minimizing their unsupervised time, you greatly reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring indoors and help them develop a strong preference for eliminating outdoors.” Roger that.

4. Avoid Punishment

It’s natural to be pissed off when your dog just peed all over the floor and left you with a yucky mess to clean up, but take some deep breaths and try to hold back: “Unless you catch them in the act, they will not understand why they are being punished, and it may lead to a fear of eliminating in front of people.” In other words, if you yell at or otherwise punish your dog for a pee incident you didn’t see, it will just confuse them into thinking the pee itself was the problem and encourage them to hold it in until you’re not looking, resulting in more accidents. As such, if your dog has an accident, just clean it up using the tips above (or a disinfectant cleaner, like SCJ Family Guard, for hard surfaces), and move on. 

9 Genius Tips for Potty Training a Puppy

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...