Why Does My Carpet Still Reek of Dog Pee After Shampooing?


You’ve likely experienced the frustration of shampooing your carpet, only to find that the lingering urine odor of your furry friend still remains. No matter how much effort you put into cleaning, that unpleasant, ammonia-like smell just won’t go away.

Unfortunately, this is a common scenario that many pet owners face. Dog urine can be tricky to fully remove from carpet fibers and padding. If not properly eliminated, the bacteria and acids present in urine can leave behind stubborn odors. With the right techniques though, it is possible to thoroughly clean carpets and erase those stubborn smells for good.

This guide will outline the reasons urine odors may linger after cleaning, mistakes to avoid, and tips to finally get rid of that smell for good. We’ll also provide recommendations on products, home remedies, professional services, and preventative measures. Follow these proven methods, and you can have fresh, odor-free carpets again.

How Dog Urine Damages Carpets

When a dog urinates on a carpet, the urine breaks down into ammonia over time, which can permeate through the carpet fibers and into the padding and backing below (carpet-rug.org/technical-bulletin-pet-urine-and-carpet/). This ammonia acts as a harsh chemical that damages and deteriorates carpet fibers. In addition, the warm, moist environment provided by carpet fibers allows bacteria in the urine to grow rapidly. These bacteria feed on the ammonia and organic matter, producing even more unpleasant odors (cleanasawhistlehouston.com/urine-damage/). The longer the urine sits in the carpet, the worse the odor becomes as more bacteria accumulate.

dog urine breaks down into ammonia over time which damages carpet fibers and causes odor.

Common Cleaning Mistakes

Many people make common mistakes when trying to clean pet urine stains that prevent them from fully eliminating the odor. One of the biggest mistakes is using the wrong cleaning products that don’t properly neutralize the urine smell. According to Tiger Paw Carpets,household cleaners like vinegar, ammonia and soap actually leave behind a residue that attracts dirt. Instead, an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed to break down pet urine is required to completely remove stains and odor.

Another common mistake is not fully extracting all liquid from the carpet padding underneath. Urine can soak deep into the padding and continue to wick back up and release odors, even after the surface is cleaned. Using a carpet cleaning machine to thoroughly extract all moisture is key. Letting the padding fully dry after extraction is also important. According to Pro Surface Restore, any lingering moisture left in the padding can allow bacteria to continue creating unpleasant odors.

Tips for Thorough Cleaning

One of the most important tips for removing dog urine smell from carpet is to use an enzyme cleaner specifically formulated to break down pet stains. Enzyme cleaners contain bacteria that “eat” the urine molecules that produce the odor.

using the wrong cleaners or failing to fully extract urine from padding causes odors to linger after shampooing.

Look for enzyme cleaners made for pet messes, as they will be strongest and most effective. Some popular brands include Nature’s Miracle, Bissell Pet Stain & Odor Remover, and Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator.

It’s crucial to fully saturate the stained area and let the enzyme cleaner soak in for 5-10 minutes. Then, use a carpet cleaning machine or professional steam cleaner to thoroughly extract all of the liquid from the carpet fibers.

Simply using a rag or towel will not remove enough of the cleaner. Extraction is key for lifting stains, odors, and residue from deep down in the carpet padding.

You may need to apply the enzyme treatment and extract multiple times for old or stubborn stains. Be patient and allow the enzymes time to work at breaking down the urine molecules.

Dealing with Old or Set-In Stains

Old or set-in dog urine stains and odors can be challenging to eliminate. The longer the urine sits in the carpet, the deeper it can sink in and adhere to fibers and padding. But there are some effective cleaning methods to try:

Enzymatic cleaners contain helpful bacteria and enzymes that break down the uric acid crystals in dog urine. For old stains and smells, repeated applications of enzymatic cleaner are often needed. Saturate the stain, allow it to soak for 5-10 minutes, then blot thoroughly with clean towels.

Replace the padding under the carpet in severely soaked areas. Urine can soak down to the flooring underneath, and the padding may hold odors even after the carpet is cleaned. Cut out the affected padding and replace it with new padding before re-installing the carpet.

Use a carpet cleaner machine to rinse and extract as much of the urine as possible from the fibers. Then go back over with an enzyme cleaner.

After cleaning, sprinkle baking soda on the area and let it sit for several hours before vacuuming up. The baking soda will help absorb any lingering odors.

Try an oxygen bleach product. Check for carpet colorfastness first. Let it soak into the stain for 10-15 minutes before blotting up.

As a last resort for stubborn old stains, speak to a professional carpet cleaner about more aggressive treatment options.

With persistence and repeated enzyme cleaner applications, even old set-in stains can be eliminated.

Preventing Future Accidents

The best way to prevent future accidents is to make it as easy as possible for your dog to relieve themselves outdoors. Be sure your dog has easy access to get outside, either through a doggy door or by keeping doors unlocked during times they may need to go out. Take your dog on regular walks and potty breaks to encourage going to the bathroom outside.

making it easy for dogs to relieve themselves outdoors helps prevent future accidents and urine stains inside.

You can also attract your dog to pee and poop in a designated spot in the yard. Place a potty pad or artificial grass in the area. When you take your dog outside, lead them to the designated spot and use a command like “go potty.” Reward them with treats and praise when they use the correct area. You can also try placing their poop in that spot to signal that’s where they should go. The smell will encourage them to keep returning.

Cite: https://luxeweavers.com/blogs/articles/how-to-prevent-your-dog-from-peeing-on-rugs

Temporary Masking Options

While the smell of dog urine in carpet is unpleasant, you may want to temporarily reduce the odor before being able to do a deep clean. There are some common household products that can help absorb foul odors in the short term:

While these options can temporarily absorb odors, they don’t remove the urine from the carpet padding or thoroughly clean the carpet fibers. For complete urine odor removal, deeper cleaning is required.

When to Call a Professional

For set-in stains that have soaked deep into the carpet padding or subfloor, a professional carpet cleaner’s expertise and equipment may be necessary. Professional cleaners have access to truck-mounted steam cleaning units that can inject hot water and cleaning agents deep into the carpet and padding to lift old, stubborn stains. They also use high-powered vacuum extractors that can thoroughly rinse away cleaning agents and dried urine. In contrast, rented units and at-home carpet cleaners often don’t have enough extraction power to completely remove all moisture and residues.

for old, set-in stains, a professional carpet cleaner's equipment and expertise may be needed to fully eliminate odors.

If you’ve made multiple attempts at removing a urine stain yourself using a rented cleaner or DIY methods like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, enzymatic cleaners, etc. and the odor persists, it’s a good idea to call in a professional. Professionals have experience dealing with old pet stains and can use methods and products not readily available to homeowners. Their powerful equipment and expertise give them the best chance of permanently removing urine odors from your carpets.

For challenging pet urine stains or odors that you simply cannot eliminate on your own, don’t hesitate to call a professional carpet cleaning service. Look for cleaners experienced in pet stain removal and odor elimination. Be sure to point out problem areas during a pre-inspection so they can focus on them during cleaning. With their commercial-grade equipment, cleaning agents, and expertise, the pros have the best shot at finally getting rid of those stubborn urine stains and smells for good.

Carpet Replacement

If the dog urine odor persists even after thorough cleaning and deodorizing, replacing the carpet may be your only option. Carpet replacement should be considered a last resort if stains and smells simply won’t come out no matter what you try.

However, there are some tips for choosing a new pet-friendly carpet if replacement does become necessary:

  • Opt for low, dense pile carpets, which are easier to clean and don’t absorb urine as much as high pile plush carpets.
  • Stain resistant carpeting with synthetic fibers like nylon or olefin are good choices that won’t absorb odors.
  • Avoid wool carpeting, which can be difficult to clean urine from.
  • Select a dark, patterned carpet to hide future stains better.
  • Install a quality carpet pad underneath to absorb moisture and odors.
  • Use removable, washable area rugs in high traffic areas for pets.

Replacing carpet due to pet urine damage can be expensive, but purchasing one with durable, urine-resistant fibers will save you headaches down the road. With the right carpeting choice, you can minimize odors and the need for replacement in the future.


Dog urine is one of the hardest stains and odors to remove from carpet. However, with persistence and the right techniques, you can get rid of the smell.

As outlined in this article, the main reasons urine odor lingers are:

  • Urine soaks deep into carpet padding and backing where it’s hard to clean
  • Cleaning only the surface doesn’t remove urine salts and bacteria deep down
  • Using the wrong cleaners can set the stain rather than lifting it
  • Not fully removing all traces of urine allows odor to return

By following the thorough cleaning methods described here using enzymatic cleaners to break down urine and neutralize odors, you can fully restore your carpet. Prevent future accidents by addressing why your dog keeps urinating indoors. With patience and the right techniques, you can rid your home of the unpleasant urine smell.

Don’t give up hope! With repeated deep cleaning focus on areas your dog frequents, you can get your carpet fresh and odor-free again.

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