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.
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.