Imagine discovering a fresh pet stain on your cherished hardwood flooring—the dismay, the rush to fix things! Pet accidents are a common domestic hiccup, and how you address them can affect both the lifespan of your hardwood and the harmony of your home environment.

This article navigates the distressing yet inevitable journey of removing pet stains from hardwood flooring, transforming an accident zone into an almost indistinguishable part of your elegant floor.

Here, you’ll grasp methods ranging from simple DIY stain removal techniques using household products to considering professional floor cleaning services for more stubborn cases.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to not only tackle pet stains effectively but also preserve and protect your flooring for years to come.

What you’ll learn:

  • DIY Methods: Quick fixes with vinegar solutions and baking soda.
  • Deep Clean Techniques: Using more potent cleaners like hydrogen peroxide.
  • Preventive Measures: Tips for protecting your floors against future accidents.

Dive into a guide tailored to maintain your home’s allure despite the occasional paws and claws challenge!

How to remove pet stains from hardwood flooring

For Fresh Stains

  • Blot up as much of the urine as possible using paper towels or clean cloths. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain into the wood.
  • Use a diluted mixture of mild dish soap and water to clean the area. This is often sufficient for surface stains on sealed hardwood floors.

For Set-In Stains

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stain and let it sit for an hour. The baking soda will help absorb moisture and deodorize. Vacuum up the baking soda afterwards.
  • Mix one cup of white vinegar with warm water and add a few drops of grapefruit oil. Apply this natural disinfectant and deodorizing solution to the stain.
  • Soak the stain with hydrogen peroxide and scrub with peroxide-soaked rags or cloths. Cover with baking soda after and vacuum up after an hour. This can help bleach deeper stains, but results may vary.

For Deeply Penetrated Stains

  • If the urine has soaked deeply into the wood, the affected boards may need to be replaced entirely. Removing and replacing the stained boards is often the best option to completely eliminate the stain and odor.
  • Staining the floor a dark color like DuraSeal Jacobean, Ebony, or True Black can help cover up pet stains that have penetrated the wood. However, this may not work as well as water damage stains.

Tips for removing pet stains from hardwood flooring

Homemade pet urine stain removers

There is a slight chemical difference in cat’s and dog’s urine. This is why there are some differences in preparing the stain removers. Dogs leave stains that are easier to clean, unlike cats.

Removing the dog urine

  • First, put 1cup of water in a clean spray bottle.
  • Then add 1/3 of distilled white vinegar or 1/4 cup of baking soda. Do this above the sink, because the chemical reaction may happen and it can start to frizz.
  • Add 1/4 cup of mild dish soap. The proportions do not have to be exact.
  • Shake the bottle to mix all the ingredients.

You have to test the mixture first to see how it reacts with your type of wood floor. Spray a bit of this liquid on some not-so-visible area, rub it in a let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, wipe it with a damp cloth. If the color of the floor didn’t change, you can use this mixture for cleaning the dog’s stains. The good thing is, these are all-natural ingredients.

Cat stain remover

We have bad news for the cat owners – cat urine stains are more difficult to remove than stains made by dogs. There is a slight difference in how to remove pet stains from hardwood flooring because cat’s and dog’s pee have different chemicals.

Sometimes, the previously explained method can do some work, but sometimes – you may need something stronger.

  • Before you do the actual cleaning, test the mixture as we mentioned already.
  • Apply some hydrogen peroxide to the stain.
  • Soak a clean piece of cloth into more hydrogen peroxide and lay it on the same spot.
  • Use plastic cling wrap or waxed paper to cover the cloth. Also, put something have on the top to keep it in place (a stack of books for example).
  • Let it rest for at least 8 hours. If the floor didn’t change color, use it to clean the stain.

White vinegar and grapefruit oil

One of the old ways to clean unwanted urine pet stains is with white vinegar. It can also serve as a natural disinfectant and deodorant.

If you want to use it as a cleanser, follow these simple instructions:

  • Pour one cup of vinegar into a bucket of water,
  • Add a couple of grapefruit oil drops to deal with the stench.
  • Scrub the floor with this mixture.
  • The stains should fade away in no time.

Commercial pet urine stain removers

This type of cleanser is called “enzymatic”. They are specifically made to deal with the problematic enzymes in the pet urine which cause the bad smell. You can purchase this in pet shops, home improvement stores, supermarkets and even online.

As well as with the homemade cleansers, test this one too. It is better to be safe than sorry. Go through the manufacturer’s instructions about how to remove pet stains from hardwood flooring with that particular product.

If you were lucky to catch your pet just as they made the mess, you can clean the spot with a piece of cloth dampened with baby detergent. The diaper sope is specially formulated to break down the organic stains.

Hydrogen peroxide

If the stain is too deep, you will have to soak that spot with hydrogen peroxide.

Before doing so, scrub the stains a bit. After they dry and stains and odor is still there, place a paper towel dampen with hydrogen peroxide.

It should sit for a couple of hours, but check from time to time to see if the stain coming off. Unfortunately, this method of cleaning will cause a minor color change, but it will get the job done.

Baking soda

After you finish the cleaning with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, it is good to treat the damp area with some baking soda. It will absorb any moisture or residue and ensure odor removal.

Spread a thick coat of baking soda all over the area. Leave it there for an hour or two and then vacuum it. If the spot is still wet, re-do the procedure.

For even better results, mix the white vinegar with the baking soda.

Enzymatic cleaner

If you are looking for a non-toxic cleanser safe for your pets, search for so-called enzymatic cleansers. They are very effective in getting rid of the unpleasant pet foul smell. These cleansers contain natural enzymes that neutralize the pet urine entirely. Of course, before using it, read the instructions

Keep in mind that no matter what method you decide to use, if the stains are too deep – you will have to repeat the process several times. Also, don’t forget that it might affect the wood floor. In case it does, it will need a minor sanding and a touch-up.

A paste

With the use of the same ingredients – baking soda and vinegar – you can make a cleaning paste. Smear the paste all over the stain and let it sit and dry. Vacuum the dry remains after a couple of hours. If you don’t have vinegar, you may also use water to make the paste. We recommend the paste treatment especially if you have laminate floors.


There is another method if you’re not patient to wait for a couple of hours. Make a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. It will work like a charm. This mixture, unlike hydrogen peroxide, doesn’t have to be left to soak the floor. It is a powerful cleanser that will surely help you in getting rid of pet stains and bad smells.

We also advise you to use some protective gloves while cleaning. Some of these ingredients might damage your skin. They might also cause burning sensations, especially if you have a cat and cat scratches are something usual for you.

FAQ On How To Remove Pet Stains From Hardwood Flooring

What is the best method to remove fresh pet stains from hardwood floors?

Act swiftly! Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. For fresh stains, apply a solution of vinegar and water, then wipe gently. This helps in preventing the stain from setting, preserving your hardwood’s integrity.

Can baking soda remove pet stains on hardwood?

Yes, baking soda can be effective. Sprinkle it liberally over the wet area to absorb moisture and neutralize odors. Leave it overnight, then vacuum it up. For enhanced cleaning, follow up with a damp mop using a mild detergent.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for hardwood floors when removing pet stains?

Hydrogen peroxide can be a potent cleaner but use it cautiously. Apply a 3% solution to the stain and let it bubble for a few minutes. This method can lighten the wood, so it’s best to test it in an inconspicuous spot first.

How can I protect my hardwood floors from pet stains?

Use preventive measures like placing pet mats near entry points and under food bowls. Regularly trim your pet’s nails to avoid scratches. For added protection, apply a high-quality polyurethane sealer which acts as a barrier against stains and damage.

What should I avoid using when cleaning pet stains from hardwood floors?

Avoid using ammonia or bleach-based cleaners as they can damage the wood’s finish. Steer clear of abrasive scrub pads and steel wool because they can scratch the surface, making the flooring more susceptible to future stains and damage.

How do I remove old or set-in pet stains from hardwood floors?

For older stains, you might need a stronger approach. Create a paste of baking soda and water, apply to the stain, and let it sit overnight. If the stain persists, you may need to sand the area lightly and refinish it.

Look for cleaners that are specifically formulated for hardwood floors. These products are generally pH-neutral and designed to safely clean without damaging the wood’s protective coating. Brands like Bona and Murphy’s Oil Soap are commonly recommended.

What’s the best way to neutralize pet urine odors on hardwood floors?

After cleaning the stain, use a urine odor eliminator specifically designed for hardwood floors. These products usually contain enzymes that break down the odor-causing bacteria. Regular maintenance and air circulation also help keep odors at bay.

Can professional floor cleaning services remove deep pet stains?

Yes, if DIY methods fail, professional floor cleaning services can be a worthwhile investment. They have specialized tools and solvents that can more effectively penetrate and remove deeper stains without harming your flooring.

Is refinishing my hardwood floor an option if pet stains can’t be removed?

Yes, refinishing is often a last resort for severe or widespread stains. This process involves sanding down the top layer of your wood and applying a new finish. It’s quite effective in restoring the floor’s appearance but should be handled by professionals for the best results.


Navigating the challenge of how to remove pet stains from hardwood flooring needn’t leave you feeling disheartened. With the right strategies—whether it’s opting for DIY methods like using baking soda and vinegar or turning to professional hardwood floor cleaners—your floors can be restored to their original luster.

If you take away anything, remember that quick action and preventive steps are your best defense. Maintain a stash of natural stain removal products and consider applying a protective sealant for long-term hardwood preservation. Remember, the longevity and beauty of your floors do not just rely on how you clean, but also how you care for them daily.

By understanding the needs of both your hardwood and your pets, you can ensure a clean, welcoming home environment that holds up to the joys and jumbles of pet ownership.

Categorized in: