A clean white underwear on the top of a laundry basket

How to Get Urine Smell Out of Fabrics

Accidents happen, whether it was your three year old who wet the bed or your dog who temporarily forgot about his housetraining lessons.

Urine stains are not only unsightly, but they can also have a really bad smell. That’s why it’s important to be prepared when they happen, so you can get rid of them before they set in the fabrics and cause even more unpleasantness.

Why Does Urine Smell Bad?

Urine contains uric acid, which smells like ammonia. The smell may be more pronounced when the urine is more concentrated, as it is in people who are dehydrated. Medical conditions such as a urinary tract infection and eating certain foods can also affect the smell of urine.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Pee Smell Out of Clothes

With these tips, you can efficiently remove urine smells, and say hello to fresh sheets and clothes! It’s important to know that the uric acid that gives urine it’s ammonia-like smell is harder to dissolve in colder water at a lower pH, like that provided by vinegar, but is easier to dissolve in warmer water at a higher pH like that provided by baking soda. So, if you think your detergent needs an extra boost, pre-soaking in asolution of baking soda and warm water is the way to go.

Step 1

Soak in baking soda

Before washing your urine-stained clothing item with a laundry detergent, you can try soaking it in a sink or tub with a mixture of baking soda and warm water—although, in most cases just washing it with a high-quality detergent like Tide will suffice. In a large sink or bathtub, make a solution of baking soda and warm water, agitate to make sure the baking soda is evenly dispersed, add your stinky items—making sure the stained items are submerged and leave them there for 15 minutes to give the baking soda solution enough time to break down the uric acid present in the urine. Rinse thoroughly to prevent the high pH of the baking powder from interfering with the effectiveness of the laundry detergent. Then wash immediately.

How to use baking soda and vinegar in the wash

If you want to know more about the application of simple household products in your laundry routine, read our comprehensive guide on washing clothes with baking soda and vinegar.

Step 2

Add detergent

For tough stain and odor removal, add a pac of Tide PODS® Ultra OXI 4in1 Laundry Detergent to your washing machine before adding your urine-stained items. For those with sensitive skin who want a hypoallergenic edge, use Tide PODS® Free and Gentle. For larger loads add 2 pacs of Tide PODS® Ultra OXI or Tide PODS Free and Gentle. For extra-large loads add 3 pacs.

Tide’s Tip:

Thanks to its powerful, but gentle, hypoallergenic formula, Tide PODS® Free and Gentle is perfect for washing your baby’s clothes! It’s also Recognized by the National Eczema Association (NEA) and the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) to be gentle on sensitive skin.

Step 3

Wash

Wash the urine-stained clothes or bed sheets on the normal cycle, at the warmest wash temperature indicated on the fabric care label. Always check the instructions on the garment's care label before washing to avoid damaging items. If urine stains and odors persist, repeat steps above before drying as hot temperatures can set-in stains.

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Select the wash cycle and water temperature on your washing machine
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Step 4

Dry completely

Follow the care label instructions for drying. If machine drying, add Bounce Free & Gentle dryer sheets for added softness and to prevent static. If air drying, hang or lay flat to dry. Dry completely before storing to prevent musty and mildew smells.

For a comprehensive look at cleaning pee-stained clothing, read our guide on how to remove urine stains.

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Hang to dry
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