How Do I Get Pet Odors Out of My Couch?

The smell of cat urine is especially difficult to remove from furniture.

The smell of cat urine is especially difficult to remove from furniture.

Sitting down to relax and being overcome by stinky pet odor can ruin your night. It's even worse if you have company over. If the odor is due to your smelly pet snuggling on the sofa, you'll need to find her a new place to sleep. If an accident is to blame, there's hope for your couch.

Blot or wipe up any visible liquid and get rid of any solid waste or other sources of odor and discard. If you see nothing but you smell urine, use a black light to determine the source of the stench, the Humane Society of the United States advises.

Remove the affected cushions and throw pillows from your couch, if possible. Lay them out flat on your floor. If your entire couch is stinky, you'll need to remove everything.

Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum wand to get up as much loose hair and debris as possible. Vacuum all sides of every cushion and pillow, and then vacuum the couch. Pay attention to the cracks.

Unzip the fabric covering your cushions, if this option is available, and launder them in your washing machine to remove odors. Use regular bleach-free detergent and add 1 cup of white vinegar to each load. Use only cool water.

Air-dry pillows and cushion covers. Drying them in a machine may cause them to shrink or wrinkle.

Check for odor. If you can still smell pet odors on the laundered fabric, wash the items a second time and add an enzymatic cleaner per the manufacturer's instructions. A second wash is probably necessary to remove urine smell, but one wash may be enough for general odors.

Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar and mist your entire couch. The vinegar will help remove even the stinkiest of pet odors. Your couch will likely smell strongly of vinegar during treatment, but the scent will quickly fade.

Allow the vinegar to air dry. Directing a fan to blow on your couch will speed things up.

Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over your couch and uncovered, but fully dry, cushions. Make sure the vinegar is completely dry before adding the baking soda. Let the baking soda sit overnight, then vacuum.

Replace your cushion's covers. If some odor remains, try an odor neutralizing spray or place your cushions outside in the sun for several hours every day until the odor is gone. Be careful: Some colors and fabrics will fade in the sun.

Items you will need

  • Black light
  • White vinegar
  • Enzymatic odor remover
  • Spray bottle
  • Baking soda


  • Do not steam-clean your couch to remove urine odor. The heat from the steam cleaner will permanently set the urine smell and you'll never be able to remove it fully.

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About the Author

Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."

Photo Credits

  • Relaxed Cat image by Shaelene Thompson from