So you have a concrete floor, perhaps an area in your basement, garage, patio or under your carpet in your home that seems to be permanently stained with pet urine, a.k.a dog or cat pee.
You can smell or see pet urine stains that no matter how much you bleach or wash with vinegar don’t go away.
It’s as if you have to settle with the fact that once dog or cat urine has seeped into concrete, it’s there forever.
What’s worse is the area seems to give off a permanent urine odor, constantly releasing odorous and offensive fumes.
Let’s take a look at how we can remove dog and cat urine smells from concrete the right way to make sure you have clean smelling floors again.
Things to Know Before You Clean Urine Odors
Before we get to the real magic, here are some basic facts about concrete, liquid and well…pee.
This knowledge will help you understand why the remedy we cover below works so incredibly well to get cat pee out of concrete, especially.
Why Urine Is SO Bad for Concrete
As you already know, concrete is dry and hard as rock. Among concrete’s basic properties, it’s also a relatively porous material.
This means, that water and other liquids that comes into contact with bare (unsealed) concrete will saturate and seep down into it.
Usually this is harmless, but when it comes to pet urine it’s obviously not good.
Dog or cat urine has a way of seeping in and working its way down into concrete materials it’s own; and anyone who has had cats or dogs knows that an animal urine stain can be difficult to get rid of from your garage floor, basement flooring, patio and under carpet pads.
What’s worse is this potent stuff can lie dormant inside the concrete for years, only to keep releasing its odor when moisture gets back down into the concrete to rehydrate and activate the smell.
The fumes will find their way into anyone’s nose who is in the area. Yuck!
This is the problem you most likely face, but rest assured, there is a natural and scientific way to put an end to the root cause of this smelly issue.
Getting the Smell Out of Concrete
Here’s a quick summary of what you’ll do to rid your house of foul odors.
We’re going to cover two methods in this article:
The best way to remove pet urine odors is by using a process called positive ionization. Another option is to remove odors with enzymes. Don’t worry if this sounds like high school chemistry; these are both natural, off-the-shelf methods that really work.
With each approach, the first step is to locate specifically where your pets have peed in your garage, basement, patio or sub-floor.
Your pre-step is to use a black light to find and “light up” the culprit stains. Keep in mind that liquid can spread, so you’ll be treating even beyond the places you see.
For Positive-Ion treatments:
For new stains, soak up as much liquid that may still be present. Wet the affected area with water, then simply apply the ion-based product. This solution works instantly.
For older stains, follow a 3-step process to thoroughly break up dormant urine crystals, bring them to the surface and neutralize. Your floors will never be cleaner or smell better!
For enzymatic treatments:
First, clean spots with a two-to-one vinegar and water mixture, TSP or hydrogen peroxide and rinse off concrete. Next, apply and scrub in enzymatic cleaner to remove odor. Then, cover cement and let area sit and soak overnight for 12-24 hours. Dry and deodorize residual room urine smells with an ozone generator.
Two Ways to Remove Urine from Concrete
Natural-based chemists have figured out two very effective methods for getting the pet urine stink out of materials like concrete. As just mentioned, they involve using either ions or enzymes.
The first type uses positive ions to cancel out the negative ones that cause odor. Enzymatic treatments use live bacteria to literally eat and digest odor-causing molecules. Both types do their work at the molecular level.
Why won’t household cleaners work?
You’ve probably discovered you can’t just “clean” off pet urine with soap and water or whatever concrete cleaner you’re using.
It takes a few steps and some patience, coming together to help you rid the urine smell from concrete once and for all.
Since 2008, I’ve recommended on this page to first clean a urine odor spot on concrete using products like vinegar, TSP, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Then get at it with an enzyme cleaning product made for pet urine.
It’s true these remedies have been helping pet owners tame urine odors and stains for generations. They aren’t perfect, but they do help.
Enzymatic cleaners for pet urine became wildly popular in the last decade or so and have been shown to improve urine smells at times.
I’ve offered the enzymatic solution for years, and you’ll even see that all the other sites currently high on Google copied the exact process and steps directly from this page and have regurgitated this same information.
But is there a better way?
I’ve now discovered the most effective method for getting the pet urine stink out more quickly and easily than enzymes.
It uses positive-ions to work against the odor-causing uric acid molecules in pee stains. The ion-based cleanser not only works much faster, it will actually work better.
An odor remover with ion technology does the trick if you’ve already tried to “wash” away the urine smell first with another cleaner but have been unsuccessful in ridding the odor completely.
Also, I’ve found that with stubborn urine accidents (especially with cats), the enzyme process has to be repeated up to three times over many days.
Even then, the smell may only be 80%-90% gone, and over time of say several months or so, only then the remaining smell will seem to gradually dissipate.
Since the old process with enzymatic cleaners does help in a lot of cases, I’ll continue to provide those steps below.
Which Method Is Best for You?
So how do you decide between enzymatic and ionic if they both can be effective? Should it matter which one you use?
Well, it depends on a few factors. To keep it simple, follow these guidelines to help you decide what’s best:
Use an Ionic cleaner if:
- You’ve already cleaned with another product (household cleanser or enzymatic cleaner) but still detect a lingering urine smell, especially when wet.
- You want an instant remedy because you don’t have time to wait and check for days, and/or repeat the removal process. When ions re-balance in stains, it’s an instantaneous action, so the odor vanishes on contact.
- You don’t like fragrances that have the potential to temporarily cover up smells you might’ve missed. The ion-cleaner I recommend is odor free allowing you to truly smell (know) it’s actually worked
- You want a 100% safe solution (i.e. food grade!)
- You plan on keeping what you don’t use for some time and depend on a very long shelf-life (i.e. years vs enzymes, which loses it potency after 6 months or so)
Use an enzymatic cleaner if:
- You want to save some money. Most gallon-sized enzyme cleaners for pet urine cost between $25-$50. Ion-based cleaners of the same size are more expensive; however, if it takes 2 gallons of enzyme cleaner to get the same job done, the costs end up being similar.
- You’re fine with the cleaning process taking some extra effort on your part and more time to complete. With enzymes, you have to wait for the biological process of bacteria eating enzymes to work before the odor starts to go away. By it’s nature, you may have to reapply several times for odors to become more thoroughly “eaten” away.
Now, onto the steps!
3 Quick Steps to Get Urine Smell Out of Concrete:
Let’s start with the most important preparation tip here!
To really help you identify and pinpoint not just a stain but the entire affected area it’s important to use a black-light. It’s made just for pet urine detection and reveals any of the urine spots on your concrete.
Use the black light as a guide and plan to treat 50% beyond the identified area to get at uric acid crystals that have made their way further out, but under the concrete surface where you can’t see.
1. Prepare Concrete Surface
For Ionic Cleaners:
When using ion-based products for odor removal, it’s going to depend on if you’re in Situation 1 or Situation 2 as follows.
If you have a new spot that may have dried recently you can simply saturate the area with warm water and suction it up with either a carpet machine or wet-vac.
Then just apply the ion-cleaner and let dry.
Unfortunately though, most of us are dealing with the following scenario:
You have an old, dried spot that maybe you’ve tried to clean before with no success. The offending area has been there for a long time or was repeatedly urinated on.
(Now, it’s repeatedly annoying you!)
Don’t worry, with this case, you can use a 3-step odor removal kit. (Step 1 includes your preparation – see just below on Step 2 about using the kit!)
For Enzymatic Cleaners:
Thoroughly clean all concrete surfaces with one of the cleaning agents mentioned below. In each case, allow to sit for several minutes. Then let surfaces air-dry normally.
What you’re really doing here is preparing the concrete for Step 2, to maximize the effectiveness of the enzymatic treatment.
Vinegar: Vinegar is strong, so you can get by with two parts vinegar and one part hot water water mixture. This is a good neutralizer.
Trisodium Phosphate: Add in 1/2 cup of trisodium phosphate (tsp) crystals per one gallon of hot water. The TSP mixture is potent, so wear protection like rubber gloves and work into stained area. The solution and will break down bacteria in the stain as it sits.
Hydrogen Peroxide: A good first-pass cleaning solution; make your recipe and add two cups of hydrogen peroxide with two tsp of baking soda and two drops of dish soap. Once mixed, you can pour over affected areas and let soak.
In addition, the best method is to clean and plan to treat the entire surface of the concrete in question so you don’t miss any hidden spots.
Covering a broad area will also ensure the cleaning will be consistent across your flooring and make sure all unwanted odors will be gone.
Second, it’s time to apply the urine-removal solution to permanently dissolve and remove bacteria and stains like uric acid and odors from the top, and below the surface, of your concrete.
Here’s how to use an ionic-based cleaner for a Situation 2. For cleaning with enzymes, see below.
For Ionic cleaning, we really recommend Live Pee Free‘s 3-Step Pet Urine Kit:
Live Pee Free has established themselves as the leader of ionic-based odor cleaning. I love this company, because unlike Amazon in most cases, you can work directly with Live Pee Free product experts directly for specific questions or any issues you feel need addressing.
They also offer a 100% money-back guarantee, so you really have nothing to lose. Honestly though, you won’t need it because their stuff just works!
Again, while this type of formula costs more than enzyme products, you have to remember you’re saving time on the treatment and upping the odds that your concrete will be free of odors after the first use.
Every little bit helps, so be sure and use the coupon code above for an instant 20% off checkout!
How to apply?
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Simply follow their three simple steps to complete the process.
Now, I’ll share some details from my own experiences using the product:
First, pour or spray on heavily the solution from the bottle “Step 1 – Odor Eliminator Liquid” to the problem area.
You want to allow this liquid to soak in down into the stain and completely dry. It’s best to wait about 8 hours for this.
What’s happening here is the old, dried urine salt crystals are getting broken up and pulled apart throughout the entire stain, deep beneath the surface. You need this to happen first!
TIP: You can cover the area with towels or plastic for a few hours to slow evaporation and allow the liquid to further reach down into the porous concrete.
Next, you’ll sprinkle on the granules from the bottle marked “Step 2 – Odor Block Granules”. Do so thoroughly over all the spots no matter how big or small.
Let this sit right on the surface for at least 4 hours, then vacuum or sweep up.
What happens here is the granules continue pulling apart the old crystals and are now drawing them up and out of the concrete.
As this happens, you may see some yellowish blotches appear on the granules as well as smell an even stronger urine odor coming back up.
This is called “Odor Bloom”, and it just means you had A LOT of old crystals in there from the pee accident(s). The tiny urine crystals that formed after the accident essentially freeze-dried the hyper-concentrated ammonia smell down inside your concrete. The resident crystals just continue to release the foul odor with any amount of rehydrating moisture from the air or your “other” cleaning efforts and just live on. Now, you’re finally tearing them apart and drawing them out the right way!
Lastly, sprinkle on the powder from the bottle “Step 3 – Instant Knock Out Powder”. Allow to dry for several hours, then vacuum or sweep up.
These very fine granules extract any remaining odor causing remnants and absorb moisture as the finishing touch.
TIP: Pour a little extra over any yellowish patches that come up from Step 2. You want maximum strength on those parts!
For new (fresh) stains in a small area:
If you have a spot that is fresh or is a very small area, say around a cat box, you can use a small spray bottle from Live Pee Free: Buy here – Again, this solution is best for new stains that have occurred in the last few days max. Don’t forget the 20% off coupon code!
Not sure if you’re in Situation 1 or Situation 2?
No problem. The great thing about the LPF company is if you try one of their “wet and apply” products, and it doesn’t work, they’ll be happy to give you your money back.
But in reality, if this happens to you, you’ll just need the 3-step kit outlined above!
They have no problem giving you a credit for your already purchased product toward a 3-step kit. You can’t lose!
In larger areas for the above steps, you can purchase kits made for your needed treatment size. The kits were initially made for commercial customers so they have whatever you need.
In these cases you can disperse the formulas in each step with a push brush. You just want to make sure the majority contacts where you know the accident(s) occurred and the smell is coming from.
The solution is harmless and non-toxic to pets, kids, and plant life.
That’s it! Let me know any questions in the comments.
For enzymatic cleaning, we recommend:
This is an enzymatic cleaner that vets recommend because it’s safe to use in your home around your family and pets: Get it here for both cats AND dogs.
They also stand by their guarantee that if the smell isn’t removed, you can get a full refund. You can’t beat that!
It works great on any concrete stain from dogs, and especially cats that have peed or sprayed (accidents or from marking territory) on hard, porous surfaces. Enzyme treatments have worked wonderfully for homeowners, vets and kennels.
Even if the pet accident occurred years ago, this stuff would and will always be a great odor eliminator.
It can also be applied to furniture upholstery, curtains, blankets, mattresses, clothing, carpet and carpet pads.
How to apply?
The best way to use this for getting rid of pet urine on concrete is to make sure to spray it on heavily all across the cement surface.
You can also pour it out and spread it around evenly using a deck scrub brush like this one.
The idea is to get the top surface soaking with this enzyme cleaning solution.
As a note…
There is no need to dilute with water. Use at full strength.
The key is to allow it time to sit. Don’t just give a few minutes, give it a day.
You want it to really work its way down into the concrete and not evaporate too quickly into the air as it starts to dry. A day or even longer is absolutely ideal.
The more time the stain eating enzymes have to digest the odor causing molecules, the more effective this process will be.
To control the evaporation, make sure to lay a large plastic tarp or liner over the sprayed area. This will allow the solution to better penetrate into the urine stained concrete.
Allow to dry for as long as it takes, or at least 24 hours.
You can rinse the surface with water and use a wet-vac to vacuum up but this isn’t necessary since the nitrogenous wastes causing the stench have been chemically altered and no longer smell.
By the way, this type of cleaner comes in smaller (cheaper) sizes too for cats and dogs. should you not need to treat large areas or multiple rooms. These work on multiple surfaces including concrete.
And of course there are many other great products that work well for cat urine stains too.
3. Seal and Protect
When you’re sure you’ve cleaned and sanitized the top portions of your concrete areas as outlined above, and you’ve let everything sit and dry completely, you have the option of using a concrete sealer.
This will encapsulate and essentially seal your concrete flooring against moisture that can get inside and release what may be left of any missed urine stains.
It goes without saying that sealing will lock in any missed stain and keep odors from coming up again.
Sealing will also make for a great general protection for your floors for future accidents, as well as look a whole lot nicer. This will be better than paint.
The best sealer product?
Be sure to use concrete sealer with a good, anti-slip rating. A low-sheen is best as it allows for easy cleaning. Kilz makes a concrete sealer that is ideal for this kind of application.
The best part is you can choose a new color for your garage or concrete basement floor to get your floor looking just how you want, then seal it.
Okay, maybe the best part is your flooring will actually smell the way you want (not like urine), as you’ve now cleaned and sealed your concrete floor.
You can also sand the concrete as needed first, then paint on your sealers. In fact if you want to see a video of the whole process, this one is highly informative (done by a pet owner!), and covers all the steps:
You’ve now gotten rid of pet urine stains and smells from your concrete in the best way possible and have protected the area with a sealer for years to come.
BONUS: Get Rid of Residual Urine Odors Beyond Concrete
At this point in the process, you’ve cleaned and dissolved away as much of the smelly uric acid-containing crystals and stains as possible.
You may have even decided to seal your concrete as an extra measure against any future reactivation of odor and to protect for the future.
But is the smell gone in the room? Think you still smell something?
You may still smell urine depending on the specific areas and other physical elements within your house.
As with smoke, pet odors like urine can permeate into areas you can’t imagine and leave a prolonged residual, yucky scent.
What to do?
If you want to go the extra mile here and eliminate any possible left over urine odor in the room or house at large, it’s worth using an ozone generator.
These products are great; a small machine designed to deodorize the air along with any contaminated surfaces.
Just like enzymatic surface cleaners, it will neutralize and destroy odors at the molecular level AND do it 100% naturally free of harsh chemicals or odor masking scents.
If you’re at all sensitive to irritants that may be left over in the air, you’ll love this thing. Enerzen sells a good portable model at a decent price.
This truly will leave your home and living areas smelling pleasant again as it gets rid of any other smelly culprits as well such as mustiness or smoke that has penetrated nearby carpets or wall paint. Odors are just plain gone.
For Cats: Treat Symptoms to Stop Cats from Peeing
If you have a cat that frequently “misses” the litter box and leaves a wet or poop stain behind you can actually address this behavior. There are methods available to try and help solve problems such as your cat peeing on carpets.
One popular system developed by vet, Sarah Richards, is called “Cat Spraying No More™“. Click here to check out her page, and see how it can help you and your furry loved one. A lot of people have had success with it. Thanks, Sarah!
*Note: If you click through to her checkout page, then attempt to go to another page you’ll get a special discount offer. Definitely worth it!
Dog or Cat Pee in Carpet?
If you have pet urine odor or stains in carpet and have tried using the typical cleaning products (like trisodium phosphate, bleach solution, vinegar, ammonia, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda or others), then you should definitely try the enzymatic approach here too — just like with a smelly pee stain on concrete.
And as with concrete, you need something that will get in and penetrate the fabric (in the case of pet stained carpet), and break down the odor-causing elements of the stain.
Bubba’s makes a wonderful enzymatic carpet shampoo solution that is as safe as water…for you, your pets and your rugs.
It works well to get dried cat urine out of carpet!
Using these products is a very small investment to pay for removing pet odors and urine stains! Plus, your nose will thank you.
Neutralize Pet Urine Smells on Concrete Once and for All
This article was first published in 2009, and its information has helped thousands of pet owners solve this very common, stinky problem!
Learning how to get dog or cat urine off concrete requires a few steps if you want to be thorough and do it correctly.
Follow the guidance above and you too will be set for life…at least when it comes to smelly dog or cat urine stains!