Resources for parents to get through the challenges.

  1. Home
  2. Mom

How To Get Urine Smell Out Of Clothes

Urine can have a strong smell enough to overpower the entire room. Granted, baby pee might not be as bad as cat pee when it comes to smell, but it can still make everyone in the room wrinkle their nose.

The longer it sits, the worse the odor gets. It’s important to get the smell out as soon as possible, but throwing everything in the wash might not be enough.

These tips will guarantee that you get the urine smell out of any clothing, no matter how bad it is. 

Use Vinegar To Get Rid Of Urine Smell

Vinegar is acidic and known for being awesome at removing tough odors. There are a couple of different ways you can use vinegar to help remove the urine smell from clothing. 

Soaking Clothing In Vinegar To Get Rid Of Urine

To do this, simply pour vinegar and water in a bowl. You should use one cup of vinegar to one-gallon water. It might be tempting to make it stronger but don’t.

You can repeat this process as many times as you need to. Soak clothing in this solution for up to one hour before washing it. 

Use Vinegar In The Washing Machine

When the washer begins to fill up with water, pour one cup of vinegar in the washing machine. This will let the clothing soak in vinegar before they’re being washed and during the wash.

When the vinegar is added to the washing machine, it’s more likely to soak into the clothing when they are soaking. It’s important that you add laundry soap like you normally would. This will help get your clothes cleaner.

The combination of vinegar and laundry soap might have the power you need to get rid of that nasty urine smell too. Usually, vinegar will do the trick. If that’s not an option for you, there are plenty of other ways to remove urine odor!

Pre-Treat The Smell

Before you wash clothing with a stain or odor, it’s important to pretreat the stain. There are several different methods to do this that can help you get urine odor out of clothing.

woman loading a washing machine

Stain Remover

Some stain removers are a great option for removing odors as well as stains. I personally use Shout for everything, including urine stains when my baby used to pee the bed and refused to wear overnight diapers. If washed immediately, it works great. 

Soak Them In Baking Soda And Water

If the odor is particularly bad, soaking them in baking soda and water can work wonders. Put enough water to soak the clothing and a cup of baking soda in a large bowl or plastic tub.

As a general rule of thumb, the stronger the odor is the longer you should soak them. 

Use Warm Or Hot Water

Hot water helps to lift the odor out of the clothes, just like it does with stains. Use the hottest water possible to soak the stain in to help lift the odor out of the clothing before throwing it in the washer. 

Most people use a combination of hot water with baking soda or vinegar for this job. After soaking it, give it a spritz with stain remover. This is the complete pre-treat method you’ll need to use to get rid of urine smells. 

Wash Them To Remove Stains And Odor

how to get pee smell out of clothes

There is no normal when it comes to washing to get rid of a urine odor. We all have our own methods, and most of them work. If they don’t work the first time around, they at least help.

These are some of the most popular methods to get rid of urine odor. 

Adding Scent Boosting And Odor Neutralizers To The Washing Machine

If you can barely see a stain but the smell is unbearably strong, adding extras into the wash can help eliminate the odor. Sometimes, using a combination of methods is a great idea.

These can all be safely added to your washing machine: 

  • Scent boosters
  • Baking soda as an odor neutralizer
  • White vinegar

These are the most common things that people add to their washing machine to get rid of odor. As a bonus, they often help clean out your washing machine too!

If you have a mildew smell coming from the washer, it will be gone once you use these!

Febreze In-Wash Odor Remover

Febreze made a name for itself by removing odors. There is spray available to eliminate odor on fabrics that cannot be washed, like carpet.

This particular product is designed to work on your clothing in the washer. It can easily eliminate a strong urine odor in as little as one wash.

Tough Laundry Detergents

Some laundry detergents have a bit more elbow grease in them than others. One of my favorites for getting rid of odor, from body odor to urine smells, is Arm and Hammer Power Pacs.

I have a teenage boy, and this works wonders on his clothing. When I had a smaller child that peed the bed, it also worked wonders. I also like Gain, but it doesn’t seem to have the same power behind it as Arm and Hammer Power Pacs do. 

Wash Clothing In The Hottest Water Possible To Eliminate Odor

Urine odor is caused by the smell and urine being stuck in the fibers of your clothing. Because of this, you should treat it as you would a tough stain.

This means washing it in the hottest water possible without messing up your clothing. If it’s not possible to wash your clothing in hot water, don’t chance it. Stick with cold water, and try the other methods listed. 

The Stain Should Be On The Outside

If the stain is on the outside of the clothing, leave them right side out. When the stain is on the inside of the clothing, like when a little one has an accident, turn the clothing inside out.

Exposing the area of the stain or odor will work better. This is because the water and stain treatment doesn’t have to go through clothing to get to the odor. 

Do Not Overload The Washer

Avoid placing too many clothes in the washer. When you do this, the water, soap, and other laundry treatments might not reach the piece of clothing with the odor on it.

If they do manage to, they won’t work as well. Instead, wash a partial load when items are stained. 

Only Wash Clothes With A Urine Odor With Others With A Urine Odor

This one is very important. If you wash urine-soaked clothes, or any clothing with an odor, with other clothing you can accidentally make them smell.

The odor will get in the water, which will make the other clothing smell. Because of this, don’t wash clothing with an odor with other clothing. 

Make Sure To Dry Them Properly 

air dry clothing to get rid of urine odor

Just like stains can set in the dryer, so can odors. The second you dry your clothing in the dryer, it’ll be harder to get the urine odor out if it is still there when the dryer buzzes. Instead, avoid drying clothes in the dryer until you’re sure the odor is gone. 

Dry Clothing With Sunlight To Remove Urine Odor

Sunlight is known for neutralizing odors. This is why so many people put their diaper pails in direct sunlight. Instead of putting clothing in the dryer after a wash, let it dry in the sunlight.

This is a great way to eliminate the existing odor. If the clothing has a stain on it, you’ll need to air dry it to make sure the stain is gone before placing it in the dryer anyway!

The Dryer Can Bring The Smell Out Again

If you air-dry your clothing, you might not notice the smell. Then, you can smell it again once your clothing comes out of the dryer. This is because the dryer seems to bring out the smell.

It’s not because there is something wrong with the dryer. Instead, it’s because the odor was not completely eliminated. 

If you’re going through this, it just means you need to work on removing the smell a little bit longer. Try the pre-treating methods and washing methods listed above again. It may take more than once, but you’ll get there!

Use A Combination Of Methods To Eliminate Odor Faster

To make your clothing smell fresh again, make sure to use a combination of methods. First, pre-treat the stain. After pre-treating the stain, wash the clothing in the hottest water possible.

Make sure to wash it by itself. Then, let it dry in the sunlight. Next, wash and dry it as you normally would to make sure that the odor is gone for good!

In Conclusion

Urine can easily be one of the toughest odors to get rid of. It’s strong, and the more time goes on the stronger it gets. Instead of tossing out clothing that has a urine stain on it, use the above methods to make it smell fresh and clean once again.