How to Clean Pet Stains on Floors (Most Effective Methods)

We’re about to teach you some stain-disappearing tricks.

We’re pet lovers ourselves, so if you’re suffering with pet stains on floors, we feel your pain! Whether your pet is trained or not, accidents happen. Still, few things are as frustrating as that moment when you get a whiff of pet pee.

But it gets worse. Especially when you notice that your beloved pet has left a stain — on your beloved floor, no less.

But there is hope! With the help of our guide on how to clean pet stains on floors, you’ll be armed with some solutions. No doubt, you’ll feel more at ease in the future.

How to Clean Pet Stains on Floors

If you’re beginning to notice discoloration and that pungent pet odor in your hardwood floor, you’re too late. But, before you start to freak out, we’ll show you what to do.

There are many different methods of removing stains and odors. These are some of our favorites:

1. White Vinegar and Grapefruit Oil

Vinegar is a highly acidic product, but in a good way because it’s entirely natural. White vinegar can be used for various purposes, such as cooking and cleaning. Vinegar is also a natural deodorizer and is highly effective at removing pungent odors such as urine (1).


Although vinegar has a place for pet stains, it also comes with controversy, especially on hardwood flooring.

Grapefruit oil has highly potent antibacterial properties (2). Due to its natural citrus scent, it’s a perfect match to the sourness of vinegar.

Many people avoid vinegar due to the sharp scent. However, when you add grapefruit oil, it takes the edge off of the sourness. The combined solution creates that signature citrus-clean smell we all link to a clean home.

How to Use

Fill a bucket of warm water and add one cup of white vinegar and a few drops of grapefruit oil. Give it a quick mix and start cleaning. Tough stains will require some scrubbing.

Safe to Use On

Vinegar is especially effective at bringing the shine back to hard surfaces.

When using on hardwood floors, however, it’s crucial to be careful. You should never use a lot of water since it can quickly damage the sensitive surface. Instead, you could fill a spray bottle with the solution and then immediately wipe it off once done.

2. White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Baking soda is another universal product famous for being tough on stains — and heavenly in cupcakes. In contrast to vinegar, baking soda is highly alkaline (the opposite of acidic) (3). It is considered a mild abrasive cleaner.

So when you combine baking soda and white vinegar, you’re creating a super-cleaner. White vinegar will help to dissolve stains and remove odors, while baking soda will eliminate spots and soak up excess fluids.

How to Use

There are primarily two ways to this method. However, they’re quite similar.

1. Direct Application

Start by sprinkling baking soda directly onto the stain. The baking soda will quickly begin to absorb the stain and possible fluids. Use a soft brush or sponge to rub the area gently; don’t scrub, it could scratch the surface.

Add pure white vinegar to a spray bottle and give the area a few spritzes. If you’re into chemistry, you’ll love to watch this. The mixture will quickly begin to foam and bubble. You can now wipe it using a damp cloth.

2. Creating a Paste

The second method is by creating a paste using vinegar and baking soda. Apply the paste to the affected area and leave it to dry. Once it’s dry, scrape off the excess paste and vacuum the area.

You can also do this using baking soda and water instead of vinegar (4).

Safe to Use On

This method is highly recommended for older stains on laminate floors. It can be used on hardwood floors as well. However, be careful when applying baking soda on hardwood flooring.

Don’t Wait

We don’t recommend that you leave the mixture to soak for long. Instead, apply the solution and gently rub straight away. Then remove and repeat as needed.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide. With its formula being H2O2, this compound is just slightly more viscous than water (H2O).

Some people often confuse hydrogen peroxide with other bleaching agents such as chlorine. However, hydrogen peroxide is considered a “safe” bleach that’s mild and can be used on colored surfaces as well (5).


Avoid contact with the skin when using hydrogen peroxide. Although you won’t be using pure hydrogen peroxide, it should still be used with caution.

How to Use

Purchase a 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide solution, and mix it half and half with water. Wet a cloth or sponge in the solution and gently scrub the stains. Leave the area to dry and then check whether the blemish and odor are gone.

If you still notice signs of the stain, wet-cloth or wipe in the solution and place it over the blemish. Leave it for a couple of hours — checking on it every hour. When the stain is gone, remove the cloth and leave the area to dry.

Tougher stains will require longer soaking time and repeated treatments.

Safe to Use On

This method was initially intended for hardwood floors. But, it’s perfectly safe to use on other hard floors such as tiles and laminate.

Be Prepared

Leaving the hydrogen peroxide for several hours can cause some discoloration on hardwood flooring. You should be ready to do some sanding and refinishing in the area afterward.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda and Dish Soap

If you want to use hydrogen peroxide, but don’t want to wait several hours, you need to add a few ingredients. To make a more effective solution, you can mix hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap.

This powerful blend works effectively at removing odors and dissolving blemishes. It doesn’t need to be left to soak, so it’s a quicker method than using hydrogen peroxide alone.

How to Use

Mix hydrogen peroxide in a bucket or small container with water. Add just a squirt of dish soap and a teaspoon of baking soda. Wipe the area using a cloth and dry the area.

Tougher stains might require more scrubbing or repeated treatment.

Safe to Use On

You can use this method on all types of hard floors. However, you should be careful about hardwood flooring. Use just a small amount of dish soap and dry the area quickly afterward.

5. Enzymatic Cleaner

One of the most effective methods of removing pet stains is using an enzymatic cleaner. These are enzyme-based solutions that introduce healthy bacteria to get rid of the mess.

The bacteria will feed on the various biological molecules until there’s nothing left, and then they die. Enzymatic cleaners are also top-rated when removing pet mess from carpets.

These solutions can be bought at supply stores and online from sites such as Amazon and Home Depot. There are different types; some use only a small amount of enzymes, while others are concentrates.

How to Use

When using enzymatic cleaners, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some require a longer soaking time than others. But generally, you apply the cleaner and leave it to soak up the stain.

Safe to Use On

Enzymatic cleaners are natural and safe to use on all types of hard floors — including hardwood.

What to Do When You Notice Pet Stains

Finding pet stains on your floor can be discouraging. However, taking quick action can reduce damage.

The first thing you should do is to remove any excess fluid or material. Blot the area using a cloth or paper towel — always starting from the edges and working your way in. Beginning in the center of the stain could spread it, causing damage to a larger area.

Once you’ve gotten rid of most of the mess, it’s time to tackle the stain and potentially unpleasant odor. Use one of the methods we showed above — all are natural and safe to be used in family homes.

Can Pet Urine Damage Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors are susceptible, and even if yours are sealed, urine can still cause damage. If your pet caused staining in an area where you haven’t noticed, the fluids might have soaked into the wood.

In many cases, the hardwood flooring may require sanding and refinishing. However, this will only work if the stain is rather shallow. You might have to replace the wood entirely if the stain is deep.

How to Prevent Pet Stains

The best way to clean stains is to prevent them in the first place. If you have young pets that may not be adequately trained yet, keeping it clean can be difficult. But we’ve found these tips useful:

  • Training: Take your time training your pet and stay patient. Consistently training your pet to go outside will pay off in the long run.
  • Preparation: Be aware that there may be a mess to clean up, and keep a spray bottle ready with an effective solution.
  • Clean litter: Keep the litter box clean for your cat so they won’t look for alternative places. Use a mat to prevent any messes from being dragged onto the floor.
  • Regular schedule: If you have a dog, make sure you’re taking it out often. Perhaps think about a regular walking schedule. You can also purchase a dog litter box if you live in an apartment or if it’s difficult to take the dog out.

Keep It Clean

Dealing with pet stains can be difficult and frustrating. It often leaves a mess of discoloration and odors.

The methods we recommend are natural and safe to use around your family and pets. When thinking about which method to try, make sure that you’re prepared and have everything you need on hand. We have first-hand experience of how hard it is to clean pet stains on floors without the necessary products. It’s no fun!

Do you have any experience in using the above methods? Share your experience in the comment section below or ask us any questions you need answering.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy is a stay-at-home-mom, seasoned writer, and a home cleaning and organization aficionado. Amy enjoys having an absolutely spotless home and has worked hard to develop strategies to keep it that way, despite having 2 kids and 3 dogs!