How to Remove Pet Urine Stains from Wood Floors

Jan 16, 2024

Pets bring joy into our homes, but they can also create some frustrating messes from time to time. Cat or dog urine stains on beautiful wood floors are one of the most unpleasant issues pet owners have to deal with. The good news is that with the right methods and products, you can safely and effectively remove pet urine odors and stains from wood floors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step process for tackling pet urine stains, from preparation to finishing touches. We’ll also provide tips on how to help prevent future accidents on your floors. Follow along and you’ll have fresh, clean wood floors again in no time.

Why You Need To Remove Pet Urine Stains

It’s important to thoroughly remove pet urine stains instead of just masking them or letting them be. The urine can soak deep into wood floors, both staining and damaging the floorboards if left unchecked. Acids in the urine erode finishes and react with components in the wood itself over time, leading to permanent warping, discoloration and stench if not properly remedied.

Additionally, any lingering odor signals to pets that it’s an approved spot to relieve themselves. Failing to fully remove all traces of pet urine will likely encourage ongoing bathroom habits in the same areas inside your home.

Why You Need To Remove Pet Urine Stains

Step-by-Step Removal Process of Pet Urine Stains (Works on Both Dog & Cat Stains)

What You’ll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic wrap
  • Terry cloth towels
  • 40 volume developer cream
  • Toothbrush or stiff brush
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain (if needed to match color)

Step 1: Blot Up Excess Urine

Blot Up Excess Urine

The first step whenever there’s a fresh accident is to soak up as much of the urine as possible. Immediately blot the area with paper towels to absorb surface liquid. Avoid rubbing the area, which can spread the urine deeper into the wood grain.

Blot slowly and gently, exchanging paper towels frequently. Continue until no more liquid transfers onto the towels. Proper soaking at this initial stage makes the rest of the process much simpler.

Step 2: Create a Vinegar Solution

Create a Vinegar Solution

Once excess urine is removed, it’s time to create a cleaning solution. White vinegar is a natural deodorizer and has acidic properties that help break down pet urine crystals. Create a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar solution liberally over the affected area of wood flooring and allow it to soak for 5-10 minutes.

Vinegar helps neutralize odors and prepares the wood for drawing out remaining urine that has soaked deeper into the grain.

Step 3: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Sprinkle Baking Soda

After allowing the vinegar solution to soak in for a few minutes, sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda over the same area. Baking soda will react with the vinegar, breaking down and dissolving the urine crystals.

Let the baking soda mixture sit for at least 15 minutes. The longer it has to work, the better. Baking soda will continue to pull urine stains from the wood over time.

Step 4: Scrub with Hydrogen Peroxide

Scrub with Hydrogen Peroxide

The next step is to lightly scrub the area to lift staining and deodorize further. Create a 50/50 hydrogen peroxide solution with warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected area lightly and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Use a soft bristle toothbrush or other stiff brush to gently scrub the area.

Take care not to scrub too vigorously, which could damage wood fibers. Scrub lightly in the direction of the wood grain.

The hydrogen peroxide solution will bubble up as it draws out remaining urine from the wood. Reapply and scrub in 2-3 minute intervals as needed.

Step 5: Rinse Clean

Rinse Clean

Once the area has been sufficiently scrubbed with hydrogen peroxide, it’s important to rinse away all cleaning solutions from the floor. Mix warm water and a small amount of dish soap in a spray bottle. Liberally spray the floor and use clean paper towels to blot dry.

Proper rinsing helps remove cleaning solution residues that could interfere with the next sealing step. Rinse and blot dry 2-3 times to make sure all soap and cleaning solutions are removed.

Step 6: Seal with Plastic Wrap

At this point, the wood floor should be free from excess urine and drying quickly. To help draw out any remaining deep stains, it’s a good idea to seal the area with plastic wrap. Lay sheets of plastic wrap completely over the affected area, sealing the edges with painter’s tape if needed.

The plastic will slow evaporation and keep the wood damp. This dampness allows deeper capillary action that pulls up any leftover urine from below the surface.

Step 7: Apply Developer and Heat

For particularly stubborn urine stains, stronger chemical treatments are likely needed. Hair developer cream, also called 40 volume developer, acts to bleach wood fibers and draw out deep stains.

After taping down plastic wrap and allowing the area to remain damp for a few hours, apply a thick layer of 40 volume developer cream. Use a clean paint brush or plastic applicator. Spread the developer evenly and completely over stained areas under the plastic wrap.

Next, place a folded hand towel over the plastic wrap. Using an iron or steamer on a mid-level heat setting, apply heat over the towel in 30 second intervals. Carefully lift the towel between applications to check that the developer remains moist and active. Reapply heat in 30 second spurts until the developer dries and stops bubbling, typically 5-10 minutes.

The combination of chemical developer and heat will actively pull urine stains from below the wood surface. Reapply for 2-3 cycles if any staining remains visible underneath.

Step 8: Rinse and Dry Floors

Once developer treatment is complete, the floors need thorough cleaning and drying. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and towels. Using the dish soap spray solution from step 5, liberally rinse the floor and blot dry with clean paper towels. Rinse and dry 2-3 times until all residue is removed.

It’s crucial to remove all developer cream and let floors completely dry before the next stages. Thorough drying can take 24 hours or more before sanding and refinishing. Position fans to accelerate if needed.

Step 9: Sand Away Stains

Minimize Dust When Sanding Floors

With the wood floor now clean, dried and bleached from urine stains, the next step is to lightly sand away any remaining discoloration. Use 100-150 grit sandpaper attached to a random orbital sander or sanding block. Carefully sand affected areas, continuing until you’ve removed visible stain residue.

Always sand in the direction of the wood grain starting with very light pressure. Check frequently to gauge progress removing stains. Take care not to over sand or create irregular depressions.

Vacuum thoroughly after sanding to remove all dust before finishing the floor.

Step 10: Stain and Seal Floors

If necessary due to uneven sanding or color differences where stains were removed, apply new wood stain for an even appearance. Use a small foam brush, applying thin coats of oil-based stain matching old color as closely as possible. If staining, let fully dry 24 hours before the final protective sealant layer.

The last step is applying a final coat of high quality water-based or oil-based polyurethane sealant over the affected area and entire floor. Two thin applications are recommended for maximum protection, drying 24 hours between coats.

The sealant locks out future moisture and contains UV blockers to prevent sun damage. Follow manufacturer application instructions, applying using a paint pad applicator or specialized floor coating tools.

Thorough drying and curing for 5-7 days is crucial before regular foot traffic or replacing furniture. Exercise extra care to prevent abrasions or imprints on freshly refinished areas.

Tips for Preventing Future Pet Urine Accidents

While not always possible, there are steps you can take to help avoid ongoing issues with pets urinating inside on wood floors:

  • Restrict access to previously soiled areas until house training improves or health issues are resolved. Close doors or use baby gates to limit access.
  • Clean pet bedding frequently and use enzymatic cleaners on any accidents in beds or fabrics to remove odors. Lingering smells can encourage repeats.
  • Note times of frequent urination, such as overnight or when owners are away. Adjust routines so more opportunities are available for outside bathroom breaks.
  • Praise and give treats for proper bathroom habits outdoors. Take pets out more frequently to reaffirm good elimination habits.
  • Consider restricting access to drinking water a few hours before bed to reduce middle of the night accidents.
  • See your veterinarian if accidents increase suddenly despite previous training. Pets can develop age related urinary conditions or illnesses requiring treatment. Medical issues may contribute to indoor accidents.

While frustrating, pet urine stains don’t have to be permanent or ruin floors beyond repair. With some work and the right techniques, you can successfully rescue your wood floors. Just follow these steps to clean, treat and refinish surfaces for a fresh start. And be patient with extra training reinforcement and veterinary care if needed to get your furry friend back on track.


Dealing with pet urine accidents is part of being a pet owner, but it doesn’t need to permanently ruin your beautiful wood floors. With the right supplies and techniques, you can fully remove stains and odors for a fresh start. Getting your floors back in shape takes some work, but it’s worthwhile.

If you need help with any stages of the urine stain removal or refinishing process on your wood floors, the professionals at Floorsanding Co. are here to help. Claim your free quote on renewing wood floors damaged by pet stains. Revive the natural beauty of your wood today!