How to Clean Pet Urine from Wood Floors

Over the past few decades, homeowners have traded in their shag and high-pile for hardwoods and laminates. While often more expensive to install, wood flooring reduces allergens in the home, is more durable, can accommodate more traffic, requires less intensive maintenance, and, for many, simply looks better. Wood has a lot of advantages – but preventing or deterring pet accidents is not among them! Some people maintain that pets prefer to urinate on softer, loftier surfaces, like carpet. The truth is, if they have to go, they will go on wood, on cement, on your favorite pair of shoes. Any surface will do. So, how do you remove pet urine from your floors?

While not as porous as upholstery or carpet, wood floors still absorb pet urine like a thirsty sponge. With the right care, though, you can keep your floors looking great, no matter what life throws at them!

  • Choose a waterbased product. You need a mild product that will not affect your wood finish. Avoid acidic cleaners, which can eat away at most commercial finishes. pH neutral solutions are best. Apply with a clean cloth or paper towel, and use a blotting or dabbing motion, rather than rubbing and scrubbing.
  • Make sure “ordenon” and “enzymes” appear in the list of ingredients. Ordenon essentially puts a bubble around malodors, trapping them, and enzymes work to break them down completely.
  • Treat the spot as soon as possible. If you notice your pet actually urinating on the floor, you can take the opportunity to train him in proper “bathroom” etiquette – and get at that spot before it can penetrate and spread. When you’re fortunate enough to catch a spot early, trade in the mop-bucket for a spray bottle and lightly mist the area with your cleaning product. Mop, and repeat.
  • Saturate! Often, we cannot attack a pet accident because we’ve been at work all day. Or, worse, we come back from vacation, and find a puddle that has been sitting – and seeping – for a week. Urine alone can damage the floor, so remember, taking action as soon as possible in critical! Saturate the spot with your cleaning product and let sit. Be careful not to over-saturate.
  • Don’t let it sit too long. Let the cleaner work for about a half-hour and then wipe up the excess. With upholstery or carpet, you can leave the cleaning solution on for hours to soak into the fibers. Wood is trickier. If your flooring absorbs too much water, it can expand and warp.
  • Repeat. Because you have to be diligent about not over-saturating or allowing excess liquid to pool, you may have to treat the floor two or more times to completely remove the odor.

Hardwood floors are much more absorbent than they seem. While they’re very resilient when accidents first happen, cleaning soaked-in messes can be difficult. The trick is to deal with stains as soon as possible.  Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be able to keep your hardwood floors at their most radiant for longer!