Urine mishaps on a sofa can leave behind a potent, lingering odor that seems impossibly stubborn to remove. To fully banish that unpleasant pee smell from your couch, you need the right combination of cleaning solutions and techniques specially formulated to destroy urine odors at the source. Certain homemade and commercial products contain properties capable of breaking down the ammonia and other aromatic compounds embedded in dried urine stains and fabrics. With the proper odor-fighting ingredients and steps, you can successfully tackle even set-in urine smells in upholstered furniture.
Use an Enzyme Cleaner Made for Pet Odors
Enzyme cleaners designed specifically for eliminating pet urine odors contain live organisms that break down the chemical components in dried urine that cause lingering smells. Once dried urine is reactivated with moisture, the enzymes can go to work digesting the odor compounds. Thoroughly spray or blot enzyme cleaner directly on any urine-affected areas, making sure the product fully penetrates and soaks into the cushions and fabric rather than just sitting on the surface.
Try White Vinegar to Neutralize Ammonia Odors
White vinegar is a mild acetic acid that helps neutralize the harsh ammonia smell of urine, making it one of the most effective DIY solutions for removing odors rather than just masking them. Mix one part white vinegar with two parts water and liberally apply the solution using a trigger spray bottle. Let the vinegar solution soak in briefly before blotting away any excess liquid.
Sprinkle Baking Soda and Let Sit Overnight to Absorb Odors
Baking soda absorbs and traps odors through a process called adsorption, where odor molecules become trapped in the baking soda’s porous surface rather than covering up smells with perfumes. Lightly sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda completely coating the affected cushion area. Allow it to sit for several hours or ideally overnight. The baking soda will draw out lingering odors from the fabric over time. Finally, vacuum away the next day.
Lightly Spritz Hydrogen Peroxide and Let Bubble Before Blotting
Hydrogen peroxide’s natural oxidizing and whitening effect helps lift stale urine stains and smells. Lightly spritz a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution over the soiled area just until damp. You’ll see bubbling on the fabric as the peroxide activates. Allow it to bubble for 5 minutes before blotting thoroughly with clean absorbent towels. Be careful not to saturate the cushions.
Sprinkle on Meat Tenderizer, Which Contains Enzyme Actives
The powdered concentrated version of meat tenderizer contains protease enzymes that help break down proteins in meats. These enzymes also work similarly to laundry pre-treatments, breaking down urea compounds in dried urine that cause lingering odors. Lightly sprinkle unseasoned meat tenderizer powder over the affected areas of the sofa. Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before blotting away and thoroughly vacuuming up the powder.
Rent an Upholstery Steam Cleaner to Sanitize and Deodorize
Using a specialized upholstery steam cleaning unit will sanitize and deodorize sofa fabrics by killing odor-causing bacteria with extremely hot vapor. The steam helps release trapped odors in fabric fibers. Carefully run the steam cleaner over affected areas, taking care not to over-wet cushions. Let upholstery dry completely before using.
Make a DIY Vinegar-Water Blotting Solution
For quick urine odor removal, mix together a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts cool water. Dip a clean microfiber cloth or towel in this solution and gently blot the affected area to neutralize stubborn ammonia smells without over-saturating the fabric.
Absorb Odors Using Unscented Clay Cat Litter
The clay in unscented, non-clumping cat litter acts as a natural absorbent material perfect for soaking up liquid and odor compounds from fabrics. Spread cat litter lightly over the entire surface of the affected cushion. Let sit for 1-2 hours to allow sufficient time for the clay to absorb odors deeply. Then vacuum up the litter thoroughly.
Rinse With Plain Water and Blot Dry
Once you’ve treated the urine smell using your choice of solutions, place dry towels beneath the couch cushions and rinse the areas with plain cool water to remove any solution residue. Blot immediately to soak up all moisture. Let air dry fully before using.
With the right combination of commercial odor removers, DIY ingredients, absorbent applications and thorough rinsing, you can successfully banish even set-in urine smells from your upholstered sofa. Act quickly as soon as you detect any whiff for the best chance at odor removal.