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Removing Urine Odors

Removing Urine Odors

Removing Urine Odors at Home

If you are a caregiver for a person with incontinence, then you may have encountered that smell of urine in their home, their clothing, or furniture. Lots of caregivers are frustrated and embarrassed by that scent, but find that the elderly patient does not even smell it. Caregivers need to realize that the ability to smell odors diminishes with age, and is often affected by medications too. Don’t assume that if you can smell the odor of urine, then your loved one also does.

Though normal human urine does have an odor, that odor should not be penetrating and awful. If your loved one constantly has really smelly urine and unusually frequent urination, that’s usually a sign of a urinary infection. See the doctor immediately to see if an infection has caused these problems and find out about treatment.

Keeping urine odors and wet spots off clothing, bedding, and other fabric furniture should be a regular routine of housekeeping in the homes of patients. Removing urine odors does not need to become a major incident or disaster when an accident does occur.

Around the House

  • Make it a practice to routinely remove urine saturated items immediately. If the patient uses a portable toilet in the bedroom, it should be emptied and cleaned after each use to prevent the odor spreading through the house. Dispose of soaked disposable absorbent underwear in a trash bag that closes or in a diaper hamper with a deodorizer cake inside.
  • Ventilate the rooms by opening windows, or by running fans and air conditioners. Use a HEPA air filter machine to clean the air in the rooms. Use deodorizing spray in the bathroom and other rooms.
  • For household furniture and carpet, use products like Odoban, or Nature’s Miracle Original Stain and Odors Blocker, or Urine KLEEN. Follow the directions on the product. Carpet and upholstery can be cleaned with Odoban Odor Eliminator spray. Nature’s Miracle Pet odor eliminator can be used on carpets, hard surfaces and furniture, and it is non-toxic for children and pets. Incontinent KLEEN is used to neutralize urine, bowel and vomit odors when sprayed directly on surface. Urine KLEEN comes in a spray container and neutralizes specifically urine odor.
  • These products are available online and at many hardware or variety stores.

To Clean Clothing or Fabric Items

  • Wash fabrics and clothing with regular laundry soap and rinse them in white vinegar. Laundry experts say that the acidic properties of white vinegar will remove the urine odor. The common recommendation is to add ½ cup of white vinegar to each load as a rinse. Add it in the rinse cycle where you would put in fabric softener in your front loader or top loader washer. There should not be a noticeable vinegar odor left behind.
  • You can also let clothing soak overnight in a five gallon bucket of hot water with 2 cups of white vinegar. By morning, your clothes will be noticeably fresher and ready to be washed in the washer, laundry experts say.

Read about Laundry and Chemo Patients.

Preventing Leakage on Fabric-Covered Furniture

  • Cover the bed, couch or any upholstered chair that the patient uses with a protective waterproof pad. There are vinyl mattress covers which completely wrap the mattress and prevent leakage from wetting the mattress. There are flannel-backed plastic sheets, often used for children who wet the bed, which you can purchase to use on the bed. You can buy a waterproof pad for a mattress of any size, then you can cut a cover to fit smaller upholstered chairs.
  • On a couch, cover the waterproof pad with a throw blanket or couch cover. For the bed, place it under the sheets, to protect the mattress.

Of course, one key component to removing urine odors at home lies in preventing leakage of urine, and that is why wearing suitable, disposable, absorbent underwear is so essential.

Our next blog will be about considerations when choosing the kind that is best for your loved one with incontinence.

Read “Incontinence Protection.”

7 thoughts on “Removing Urine Odors

  1. I thank you for your suggestions. They were very helpful. I live with an elderly couple and one has MS. The caregiver leaves urine soaked clothes in washer for days. I wasn’t aware of how the smell was in my clothing until a friend mention it to me that I smelled like urine. The clothes I had on had been recently washed.

  2. Sounds like a great idea.
    Thanks Amy!

  3. I found this website last night while doing research to wash my friends laundry that reeked of urine. I wanted to share what worked. I washed with a half of cup baking soda and tide oxi clean detergent and I put about 1/2 cup of vinegar through the rinse cycle. I did run them twice with the baking soda, detergent and vinegar and they smell so fresh! I cannot smell anything other than the detergent. If you can not use tide maybe some type of oxi boost? I hope this helps!

  4. I use Persil laundry soap and cold water to remove urine from bedding and clothes.

  5. Dianna,
    I have not used All Free Clear Odor Relief myself, but I have read that it is effective at removing odors and it is good for sensitive skin too. Maybe you could occasionally wash first with a strong detergent and re-wash with the All Free.

    You may improve the urinary leak protection by using a thick, absorbent type of disposable underwear. We have Attends underwear here at

    You might also cover her bedding with a disposable sheet protector also.

    Some medications are particularly known for causing smelly urine; you might read about the side effects of her medications or contact the doctor about the urine odor. Maybe something could be done, such as drinking more water during the day, or making a change in diet, that would improve the urine’s odor.

    And, she might need an extra visit to the toilet before bedtime, or even during the night, to prevent wetting her pajamas. You might get some ideas from our blog about incontinence protection.

    Hope these ideas might be helpful.

  6. I have tried the vinegar and it does not work. I cannot get the smell out of my mother’s PJ’s. She is 92 and diabetic. I am at my whit’s end. I can not use Tide products. I use All Free.

  7. My dear sister has cancer and many problems with it. I wash her clothes and my God they reek.

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