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How to Remove Pet Stains from Hardwood Floors

Learn the best ways to remove pet stains from hardwood floors (and the common methods you should avoid)

How To Remove Pet Stains On Hardwood Floors Featured

Unless your dog or cat is housetrained, having them inside means you risk the possibility of walking into a puddle of urine. Nobody wants to see -or clean- pet urine or urine stains off their gleaming hardwood floors. You don’t want to smell the urine, either. But, how do you get rid of urine stain and odor?

How to remove pet stains from hardwood floors?

You can remove pet stains and odor from your floor and or another surface using cleaning solutions and methods such as hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, enzyme-based cleaners, and even blotting paper. Avoid vinegar and bleach as these may cause damage.

Hardwood floors are porous and contain many small holes that can hold moisture, making them easy to stain. The substances recommended below help to remove moisture from those spots and so clean the mess. Let’s take a closer look at what to use, and perhaps more importantly, what not to use to remove pet stains and odor.

4 Ways To Clean Pet Stains on Your Hardwood Flooring

Here are some great ways to remove pet stains-and odors from your wood without sanding or damaging your floor. 

1 – Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide prevents the wood of your floor from soaking up the urine, and subsequently controls the spread of any bacteria in the area surrounding the stain, effectively drying up pet urine. 

It also neutralizes the ammonia found in pet pee, which will get rid of any lingering odor. A small squirt of dish soap and a pinch of baking soda along with the peroxide solution would also work, but be mindful of the correct measurements.

Will hydrogen peroxide damage wood, you ask? No, it shouldn’t, provided you use the right concentration: most cleaning solutions are 3% hydrogen peroxide. Stronger solutions may have a bleaching effect.

Warning: never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar, another commonly recommended home cleaning solution.

2 – Baking Soda

Sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda over the stain and use a good scrub, steel wool or even a dry cloth to scrape it off your wood floor. Keep the area and the baking soda dry. The baking soda will absorb moisture and neutralize pet urine odor. It has been known to work on kid urine too, just saying.

When you use baking soda, and subsequently need to scrape it off your flooring, make sure to use the appropriate cloth, scrubs and cleaning utensils. If you are using steel wool, opt for a fine-grade one, and not the cheap one you usually find. Check with a professional if you aren’t certain which products are suitable.

3 – Enzyme-Based Cleaning Solutions

Most pet shops carry dog, cat and pet-friendly enzymatic cleaning liquids that every stain and odor fearing pet owner must have at home. These cleaners break down the uric acid found in pet urine, without affecting or degrading your hardwood floor. 

Most pets have a particular, favorite pee-spot where they keep coming back to ‘mark their territory’ by smelling lingering traces of their urine in the area. This cleaner will effectively stop your pet from coming back to his peeing place and save your hardwood from any deep or permanent damage.

4 – Blotting Paper

Having to get up close and personal with pet pee, and using elbow grease to scrub away the never ending stains on your hardwood floors is not fun. Blotting paper goes a long way to quickly soak up the urine, and controls the urine from spreading to other parts of the floor. If you clean the urine in time, this prevents staining in the first place

Besides, it is definitely a more feasible alternative to running out to your garden for some sand to soak your pets’ urine.

Two Substances You Should Never Use On Your Hardwood Floor

White Vinegar

You may think that using white vinegar, a rather popular, natural disinfectant might do the trick and remove that pesky urine stain. However, there are downsides to using a white vinegar and water based solution to clean pet stains off your hardwood floors. Being acidic in nature, the vinegar can strip away the finish of the wood and will stain and discolor your dark gleaming wood floor over time, just like bleach would. 


Using a bleach solution may seem like the best way to get rid of that awful odor. But the destruction that it may cause on not just the wooden boards of your floor, but also your carpet or any other surface would be irreparable. The acid would discolor and corrode wood floors. This discoloration would be instantaneous, and not over time, like with vinegar.

Before You Get Started

  • When using solutions like hydrogen peroxide, or any enzyme-based cleaners, make sure you are using only the right amount needed. Too much, or too little will do more harm than good to your wooden floors, and even less to remove any odors. Always check the back of the box. If you are concerned, check with a flooring professional.
  • Before you actually use any of those cleaning solutions for removing stains, first test them on a small patch of wood that is not blatantly visible. This is pretty much the same as you testing a cream on a small area of skin to check for allergies, before using it.
  • Always, always wear protective gloves while using any cleaning or disinfecting liquids.

How do you seal wood floors from animal urine and stains?

This might sound like a no-brainer, but your first step should be to house train your pets! But we recognize that even the most obliging and well trained pets may have the odd accident every now and then.

To completely protect your beautiful hardwood floors you’ll need to waterproof it by applying a finish such as a polyurethane sealant or another sealer.

Water-proofing your floors will protect them from all liquids, and make cleaning them on a daily basis all that easier. The process of water-proofing is not for novices, however, so you may prefer to have this done by a professional.

How can you remove old pet stains?

While some older pet stains might be particularly stubborn to get out of your floors, you can still use one of the methods we discussed above to remove them. If the stain is too ingrained or deep  you may need to get a professional to sand the surface of the floor down.

Can pet urine damage hardwood floors?

Yes! The longer you wait to clean it the harder it will be and the more likely you’ll have a long-term mark. Not to mention the smell… this article should tell you all you need to know about how to remove pet stains from hardwood floors.

Can you remove dog and cat stains by sanding a stain?

The objective of sanding is to remove any stain or mark on your wood, and even dents, gauges or bumps. Can sanding help remove pet stains? Yes. Depending on the quality, and the price, you can sand your wooden floor to look almost brand new. We recommend you contact a professional if you are considering removing a stain using this technique.