Whether Fido just piddled on the floor or Fluffy has been hitting outside her litter box for some time, it’s possible to get both the stain and the smell of pet urine off your laminate floors.
Accidents happen, so it’s good to know how to clean pet stains on laminate floors. Fresh stains are the easiest to clean, but with a bit of elbow grease and some common household ingredients, you can get old pet stains and odors out of laminate flooring.
Unfortunately, pet accidents aren’t always apparent. If you’re using a throw rug in front of your door, you’ve probably found stained laminate from times you couldn’t get Fido out the door fast enough. Or if your older cat suddenly finds climbing painful, he may start peeing outside the litterbox, but you won’t know until you clean the litter box and see a stained floor.
How to Clean Fresh Pet Stains on Laminate Floors
Pet urine and feces can etch laminate flooring, so cleaning them up is crucial. The good news is that this type of flooring holds up well against most non-abrasive cleaners.
To clean pet urine or feces on the floor, throw a few paper towels on top, wait for them to absorb the liquids, slip on your rubber gloves, or put your hand through a plastic bag to pick up the mess. Then wipe the area with a disinfecting cloth until it’s fully saturated and repeat, allowing the spot to air dry. Or use this homemade floor cleaner which also disinfects.
How to Clean Old Pet Stains and Odors on Laminate
Cleaning older stains requires a few steps. In addition to cleaning the spot, you also need to eliminate the lingering scent of urine to keep your pet from continuing to soil the area and to prevent the smell from taking over your house. Assuming the laminate hasn’t developed cracks or lost its protective coating, you can treat the area easily with ingredients you’ll find in your kitchen.
Step 1. Clean with Soapy Water
Put on your rubber gloves and use some paper towels dipped in warm, soapy water to clean the area and remove surface stains. Grab some clean paper towels and blot to dry.
Step 2. Use Baking Soda
Sprinkle the area with baking soda and use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to clean any hardened mess in the space between planks. Do not scrub — you don’t want to rub off the protective coating. Let that sit for a few minutes to soak up any possible moisture. (Here’s how to clean your brush while you wait.)
Step 3. Spray with Vinegar
Spray the area lightly with warm vinegar and watch it foam. The same acid-base reaction that makes baking soda and vinegar great at cleaning drains also helps dissolve pet stains and lift them from the subfloor. Meanwhile, the vinegar neutralizes the scent that draws pets back to the spot.
Step 4. Spray Again
Wipe the area with a dry paper towel, then spray it with vinegar again to activate any remaining baking soda. Once you’re sure the baking soda is gone, wipe the area again with warm, soapy water. Do not skip this rinsing step since vinegar can also etch your laminate.
Step 5. Dry
Aim a hairdryer on low heat at the area to ensure the subfloor dries. Keep it in motion and dry the spot for about 5 minutes. The heat will also let you know if there’s any urine remaining — you’ll smell it if you didn’t get all the pee out. If you still smell urine, wait a day to let the subfloor completely dry, then repeat steps 1-4. Saturating the subfloor will cause your laminate to warp!
Step 6. Refinish if Needed
Urine is surprisingly acidic and can ruin your laminate’s protective coating over time. Fortunately, most manufacturers sell an easily-applied refinishing kit. Find your flooring manufacturer’s website to learn which refinishing kit they recommend for your floor’s finish, then follow the directions on the package.
How to Protect Laminate Floors from Pet Urine
Sometimes you can’t be there to take your pet out as soon as they need it, or an emergency comes up that keeps you away from your pet longer than planned. These things are inevitable for every pet owner, so protecting your floor is important.
For dogs, one solution is to buy a rubber-backed entry mat to place in front of the door and inspect it frequently for dampness. If you leave your pets confined while you’re at work, a disposable pet pad will protect your floor while letting your furry friend do their business when they must.
Cat owners should consider putting the litter box on top of a shallow tray that can catch urine. A boot tray works perfectly for this purpose and has the added benefit of reducing litter-tracking.
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