How to get the smell of dog urine out of clothes?
August 13, 2014 7:10 PM   Subscribe

My dog is getting older and starting to play fast and loose with the whole "housebroken" thing. Peed on my laundry. Now my laundry smells like pee, even after being laundered. How do I get it out? Also, I don't have a lot of clothes to begin with so I don't want to throw them out. First google result has THIRTY steps, I'm not doing that shit.
posted by mrbigmuscles to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have found adding white vinegar to the laundry does wonders - for 'doggy' items, I'll usually add a fairly liberal amount to the load as it goes in, and then fill up the thingy in the middle (there for fabric softener I think) so it gets another shot. My washer also has an 'extra rinse' option, which I've found useful for smelly stuff.
posted by PlantGoddess at 7:21 PM on August 13, 2014 [5 favorites]

Speaking of softener, don't use it until you get the smell out. Fabric softener will just coat the fibers and lock in the stink. Vinegar is good, but I think spraying Bac-Out on everything works better.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:32 PM on August 13, 2014

I think the answer to almost all animal urine questions is Nature's Miracle. It has enzymes that remove stains and odors, and it is safe to use on clothing.

[Please consider taking your pup into the vet about the incontinence; while it can be a simple consequence of old age, it might also be a symptom of a treatable medical condition.]
posted by girl flaneur at 7:32 PM on August 13, 2014 [7 favorites]

White vinegar and Borax in the wash. Do not dry the clothes until whatever you try has worked.
posted by jaguar at 7:33 PM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

girl flaneur, I almost included a disclaimer about that. She just hit the age where she's "geriatric" so she had a full blood panel recently and everything is good. All up to date on shots, no other symptoms of illness. Weight is good, high energy, cold nose, attentive, etc. It's just that basically if I am 10 minutes late for walkies, she craps in the basement. I think she has just finally figured out that she can do it with impunity, as I don't do negative reinforcement/punishment. That being said, I might call the vet and ask just to be sure.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 7:36 PM on August 13, 2014

Do not dry the clothes until whatever you try has worked.

too late :(
posted by mrbigmuscles at 7:38 PM on August 13, 2014

This is a job for Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer. It was the only thing that worked when we had a four-cat pee-apocalypse here. Good luck.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:44 PM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the clarification--I hope you will be blessed with many more years of dog pee! Well, I would suggest buying a small bottle of the Nature's Miracle and giving it a shot. It really does work and may even save the clothes that have been sent through the dryer.
posted by girl flaneur at 7:45 PM on August 13, 2014

Don't just rinse in vinegar, let it soak in dilulted vinegar overnight. My mom's dog made a mess here while I was dogsitting. I did the wash and rinse with vinegar thing to no effect at all. I was ready to throw the blanket out it smelled so terrible. Soaking overnight before washing again fixed it (I had dried too). I threw out the big plastic bowls that I soaked in. They were cheap and it wasn't worth trying to clean them.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:57 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try cleaning your washer first with a hot water wash and bleach. On pet-soiled items, white vinegar usually works for me, but when I have lots of smells, I used Biokleen Bac Out Stain & Odor Eliminator.
posted by Agatha at 7:57 PM on August 13, 2014

Definitely use an enzyme-based cleaner (which Jolie Kerr said is good for stains/smells made by bodily fluids). White vinegar, Oxiclean, Nature's Miracle, etc. Agree that soaking it overnight is a good idea.
posted by radioamy at 7:59 PM on August 13, 2014

too late :(

Heh, I figured that was the case, but just use it as guiding advice going forward. Baking bad smells into the clothes is going to keep making it worse.
posted by jaguar at 8:00 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nature's Miracle, just spray that shit everywhere like a firehose out of control.
posted by elizardbits at 8:09 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Incontinence can be a result of a drop in estrogen levels, which wouldn't be picked up by a standard panel. Its easily treatable with a cheap pill. In the meantime Nature's Miracle is your new best friend.
posted by HotToddy at 8:52 PM on August 13, 2014

Hi there, I'm a vet and you would not believe the fluids and odors on my clothes. Seriously, its nasty.

The best enzymatic cleaner I have found is called Anti-Icky Poo. Ug, the name is ridiculous, but this stuff works so much better than Nature's Miracle. Leaving the clothing out in the sunshine is also helpful.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 8:54 PM on August 13, 2014 [16 favorites]

A long soak in an enzyme based laundry liquid, at least over night. wash as normal with white vinegar in rinse cycle. Dry in the sun as UV helps sanitize. Fabric softener and tumble drying will make it worse.
posted by wwax at 9:09 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

You might want to have a look at this GardenWeb thread about getting urine smell out of laundry; several good ideas there.

About the problem of "she has just finally figured out that she can do it with impunity, as I don't do negative reinforcement/punishment," something that might be worth a try is to reward her when she does her business in the normal way (on walks / outside) in a way that makes it clear what is being rewarded. I started doing a sing-songy "GOOD GIRL go peepee!" and half a biscuit treat when my dog goes outside at night before bed, and now I can just say the phrase and she will DASH to the door to go outside to pee. Or she asks to go out before I suggest it.

I started doing this after she began peeing inside overnight. I think she just doesn't like going out in the dark, so she'd refuse to go out, or she'd go out and stand there for a moment and run right back in (and had no compunction about, and all the time in the world for out-stubborning us, if we took her out on the leash and just waited... and waited, and waited for her to pee – and, like you, we don't use negative conditioning). But now she's SUPER SUPER READY WOWEE to go out and do potty business and then get her treat. I know your situation is different with your older dog, but if she gets a reward when she waits to go outside, and never when she goes inside, it might help separate the true accidents from the "oh, what the hell, why not?" :)
posted by taz at 2:32 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had some cat-pee-smell brand new linen crop pants that I soaked in apple cider vinegar for eight hours (duration is important). I found the apple-cider specific recommendation on some household forum, or maybe a pet forum.

Then I washed in cold water with more apple cider vinegar and hung the pants to dry.

I wear them all of the time now with no problem.
posted by jgirl at 4:14 AM on August 14, 2014

taz I guess that's what I will have to do, re-train her. She's about 7 or 8 and I've had her since she was 2, never an accident in the house before.

I'll look into her estrogen levels too since her bloodwork didn't catch that.

So it looks like my options are 1) vinegar, 2) nature's miracle, 3) anti-icky poo. Thanks everyone. Now, I have a plan...
posted by mrbigmuscles at 5:59 AM on August 14, 2014

Nature's Miracle comes in different formulations - for cats only, for ferrets(!) - etc. Not really sure if there's science or marketing hype behind this, but there you go.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:51 AM on August 14, 2014

UPDATE! I was in the pet store so I picked up some Nature's Miracle and ran a few loads with it. Well, it didn't really do shit - clothes still smelled vaguely of urine.

So vinegar it was, I soaked some clothes for a half hour and then ran them through the wash and dried 'em like normal. Now, they don't smell like animal urine any more... but they DO smell like vinegar. Still, better than piss, so I'll take it!
posted by mrbigmuscles at 3:24 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

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