The lingering smell of urine -- however faint -- can encourage both dogs and cats to continue soiling in inappropriate locations. Vinegar can be an effective urine odor neutralizer when used correctly.
Scent Removal Benefits
Both dogs and cats are highly territorial animals. Males in particular are likely to continue marking the same area they've previously soiled, and thus a faint urine odor can prove disastrous for house- and litter-training. Even if you can't smell it, your pet probably can, so it's important not only to clean up the stain but also to neutralize the odor.
How Vinegar Works
Most of the smell in urine is due to ammonia, a highly alkaline substance. Vinegar is acidic and helps to neutralize this scent. Vinegar is less effective at eliminating bad smells from feces and vomit, but can supplement other odor removers.
Simply applying vinegar directly to a soiled area is ineffective for removing both the stain and the odor. Instead, you must thoroughly clean the area. Start by sopping up all of the stain using an absorbent towel. Then try an enzyme or oxygen-based stain remover and apply according to the package instructions. Don't add vinegar until you've removed the stain remover.
To treat the soiled area, mix 1 part white vinegar to 6 parts water in a spray bottle, then spray to thoroughly saturate the stain. Use a toothbrush or carpet brush to rub into the stain, and leave the solution on for five to 10 minutes. Then completely remove the vinegar with an absorbent towel, and clean the stain again with a stain remover to remove any excess vinegar.
- How to Clean and Care for Practically Anything; Editors of Consumer Reports
- Handy Household Hints from Heloise; Heloise
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.