When your whole house smells like dog urine (and let's face it, when you have a dog, that happens sometimes), the first thing you'll want to do is clean. Surprisingly, pee and bleach are not a good combination. The chemical composition of bleach and urine makes a toxic gas when they are mixed.
Mixing bleach and urine
Most people know that cleaners should not be mixed because the ingredients can clash, but sometimes, you have to think about what you're cleaning also. Although bleach is mostly water, it can still be irritating on its own because of the strong smell. The sodium hypochlorite that is the main ingredient in bleach reacts when it is mixed with either ammonia cleaners or urine.
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The Missouri Poison Center explains that when ammonia and bleach are mixed, the mixture creates chloramine gas. Chlorine gas is released when bleach is mixed with acidic cleansers such as vinegar. Mixing bleach and urine also releases chlorine gas. So, even though your whole house smells like dog urine, you don't want to try to clean pet urine stains with this mixture.
Mixing bleach and urine results in an irritating gas with a strong smell. This gas can cause watering of the eyes, runny nose and coughing. If you do accidentally mix pee and bleach or ammonia and bleach, open a window and leave the area so you can get some fresh air.
Cleaning up dog pee
If you see a puddle of pee, clean it right away. First, use some towels to blot up as much as you can. It's easy if your dog pees on a hard floor, but on carpet, put some pressure on the towels to soak up as much as you can. According to the American Kennel Club, getting rid of the smell of dog pee is the hardest part.
In this battle, enlist a common household item: baking soda. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda across the pee spot. Let it sit overnight so the baking soda absorbs the liquid and the odors and then vacuum it up. This can be repeated a few times if necessary.
Another cleaning ally is vinegar. Combine 1 cup of plain white vinegar along with 1 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Shake it in a spray bottle and spray that on the stain. Use clean towels to soak up the spray.
Enzymatic cleaner for dog urine
There are a lot of commercially available products that say they are enzymatic cleaners. According to the Chicago Tribune, enzymatic cleaners are cleaners that contain enzymes, which are biological molecules that break down compounds like fats, oils, and proteins.
Enzymatic cleaners can break down odors like pet urine and can help get rid of stains. You can also use them to remove stains from carpet, such as mud. There are several types of enzymatic cleaners that are advertised for use on laundry stains, upholstery, and the like, so choose a type based on the area you need to clean. While you can't mix pee and bleach, there is a way to deal with it when your whole house smells like dog urine.
Prevent future messes
The Humane Society of the United States recommends keeping an area your pet has inappropriately used as a restroom off limits. If it's not possible to keep the area off limits, make it unattractive with a deterrent spray that makes him not want to be there. It's too tempting for pets to return to "the scene of the crime" if they can still smell their scent there.
The Humane Society also recommends getting your pet checked for a medical reason for the inappropriate potty behavior. As long as a medical cause is ruled out, use positive reinforcement to encourage your pet to go potty in the right place.
- The Humane Society of the United States: How to Remove Pet Stains and Odors
- Chicago Tribune: What Are Enzymatic Cleaners and Why Is Everyone with Pets Talking About Them?
- American Kennel Club: Uh Oh! My Dog Peed on the Floor! How to Get Rid of the Smell of Dog Urine
- Missouri Poison Center: Some Things Just Don’t Mix: Poison Control Tips for Chemicals
- Mayo Clinic: Urine Odor