How to Get Urine Out of Couch Cushions

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If you have pets or young children, at some point you may need to know how to get urine out of couch cushions. Accidents happen and not always in ideal locations. The couch is one less than wonderful place for pee since the cushions may absorb the liquid, making it even harder to remove. The sooner you respond to this aromatic issue, the better you'll be able to remove the urine smell from the couch.


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Before you start, however, it's important that you read the care label on your couch and understand what the directions are telling you. How to get urine out of a couch changes a bit from one fiber to another. Leather, microfiber, cotton, polyester and vinyl all have different cleaning requirements. Check the individual sofa cushions for a tag. If the cushions have no such tag, look for one on the back or bottom of the sofa. In some cases, the cushion covers may be machine washable. If so, wash them according to the instructions on the tag.


A "W" on a tag means you can wash the couch with water-based cleaners. An "S" means you must use a solvent without water, such as rubbing alcohol or a dry cleaning solution. This tag is common on microfiber sofas. An "S" and a "W" means you can use either water-based or non-water solvents. An "X" means you should only use a vacuum cleaner, so you may need to call in a pro for help.


How to Remove Fresh Urine Stains From Upholstery

It may not feel that way, but you're actually lucky if you catch your pet (or toddler) in the act. Fresh stains are easier to remove, especially if you get to them before they've had time to soak in. Removing fresh stains is easiest with dishwashing liquid and white vinegar. The vinegar will break down the uric acid and disinfect the affected area, and the dish detergent will help lift the urine.


This solution works best on upholstery labeled with a "W," such as cotton, linen and polyester. Avoid using this cleaning method on suede, however, which is highly sensitive to water.

  1. Grab a few paper towels and soak up as much of the urine as you can.
  2. Mix together 1 tablespoon of dish detergent, 2 cups of cold water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to form a cleaning solution.
  3. Check your cleanser on an inconspicuous area of your couch. If the material becomes discolored or fades, don't use this solution on your couch.
  4. Dip a clean, white and lint-free microfiber cloth into your cleaning solution and then dab it onto the soiled area, starting at the outside edge of the stain and working your way in. Repeat this process several times. Always blot the stain and never rub because it can spread the stain.
  5. Rinse away the cleaning solution by blotting the area with a damp cloth.
  6. Dry the area with a dry towel as well as you can. Allow the couch to completely air dry before you sit on it again.



When treating a leather couch, allow the leather to air dry after cleaning it. If the leather develops a water stain from the soiled area, wipe down the entire cushion with a damp cloth. This way, it will dry evenly, resulting in a consistent appearance. Once the cushion is completely dry, apply a leather-reconditioning product as recommended by the furniture manufacturer.

How to Remove Old Urine Stains

Maybe your pet had an accident right after you left for work, or perhaps you just flipped the cushion on your new-to-you couch from the thrift store and got an unpleasant surprise. Either way, you're left wondering how to get the urine smell out of the couch after it has dried. Dried stains do require a slightly different approach than fresh ones.


To tackle old stains, combine the cleaning powers of dish soap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Baking soda absorbs odors, and when it is combined with hydrogen peroxide, it creates a fizzing cleaning solution that can help lift tough stains while disinfecting the area. Again, this solution works best on fabrics labeled "W" on the care tag.


  1. Whip up your own urine stain remover by adding 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda and a few squirts of dish soap to a spray bottle. Shake the mixture until the baking soda has completely dissolved.
  2. Test the spray on an inconspicuous area, allowing it to dry before treating the urine stain.
  3. Spray the affected area liberally with the peroxide mixture, allowing it to sit for an hour or longer.
  4. Return to the couch and take a close look. If the stain is still present, spray your cleaning solution on it again and let it sit for another hour. If the stain is gone, blot the spot with a damp, lint-free cloth to help remove the peroxide and soap residues. Dried detergent attracts dirt and grime later, so make sure you do a thorough job.
  5. Blot the stain with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture.


How to Remove Pet Urine

Standard household stain removers that you can make yourself from items in your pantry generally work well for human and even dog urine. Cat urine, however, is a special kind of awful. The uric acid in cat pee doesn't dissolve in water, which means a water-based cleanup may not remove the stench completely from your couch.

If you have a cat, you'll likely need special cleaning products that contain certain enzymes capable of dissolving cat pee. Fortunately, enzymatic cleaners are readily available and easy to find. Although general cleaning guidelines apply, you'll have to read the label on your specific cleaner to determine the types of fabric on which you can use it and how to do so.

  1. Test the enzymatic cleaner on an inconspicuous area and allow it to dry. Proceed if the cleaning agent didn't cause any damage.
  2. Apply the cleaner to the soiled area and allow it to sit for 15 minutes or as recommended on the bottle.
  3. Blot the excess liquid with a lint-free white cloth.
  4. Allow the area to air dry, making sure no one sits on the couch or otherwise disturbs the area until it is completely dry. If necessary, cover the spot with an upside-down laundry basket or another deterrent to prevent pets and people from sitting in the treatment area. Note that enzymatic cleaners can take hours or days to dry depending on the amount of liquid present. It may also take several treatments to completely remove the odor.

How to Remove the Urine Smell

So you found some pee on your couch, and you got rid of it. You can't find a trace of urine anywhere, but you can't stop smelling it. Now, you're wondering how to get the urine smell out of the couch. The answer isn't to douse your couch in essential oils or other fragrant materials, as these will only cover the smell. To get rid of it, you'll need to use some baking soda to absorb and remove it.

You can use baking soda on any fabric except leather. If you have a leather couch, apply the baking soda to a cloth or towel rather than to the couch directly.

  1. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the couch cushion and allow it to sit for several hours.
  2. Vacuum the baking soda with a handheld vacuum or your vacuum cleaner's upholstery attachment.
    If you have a leather couch, lay a thin towel over the area and sprinkle the baking soda onto the towel. Carefully remove the towel after you've let the baking soda sit for a few hours. Quickly vacuum any baking soda that falls from the towel onto the couch.
  3. Repeat this process as necessary to eliminate the odor.

How to Clean Solvent-Only Couches

A couch with an "S" or solvent-only cleaning code on its tag doesn't mean a trip to the store for a special dry-cleaning solution. Instead, use regular rubbing alcohol as an alternative to potentially harmful chemicals to clean a couch. This solution works particularly well on microfiber furniture, as regular water-based cleaners tend to leave water rings or stains that make the piece look even worse after cleaning.

  1. Blot all the urine from the sofa with a lint-free white cloth as you would on any type of spill on any upholstery fabric.
  2. Pour a little rubbing alcohol or even flavor-free vodka into a spray bottle.
  3. Spritz the soiled area liberally with the alcohol, spraying a little beyond the affected area.
  4. Blot the spot with a clean, lint-free white cloth, working from the outer edges of the spot toward the center.
  5. Allow the area to dry and gently brush it with a clean nylon scrub brush. This helps revive the fibers so they feel less stiff and more like the rest of the fabric.