Asked on Jul 29, 2017

How can I get urine odor out of clothes?

My mom is in the nursing home. I have to wash her clothes twice to eliminate the odor. I've tried adding vinegar to the bleach cycle. Still takes 2 washings. I need help.

  22 answers
  • Tammy Tammy on Jul 29, 2017

    Make a scent booster with Epsom salt and essential oils your favorite kind I use gardenia and freesia. Add a half a cup to the wash along with a half a cup of baking soda. Wash on the highest temperature the closing will allow and do an extra rinse cycle. Good luck and God bless

  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Jul 29, 2017

    Have you tried 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry booster powder or Dreft. If not you might have to get a product called Urine Off for Seniors. You can get all of the above at Walmart.

  • Bonnie Merchant Bonnie Merchant on Jul 29, 2017

    That particular smell of urine comes from naturally occurring bacteria and uric acid crystals, or in other words crystallized urine residue. These crystals frequently get trapped in porous damp surfaces, like clothes, fabric, or carpets, and release a strong ammonia scent as bacteria feeds on the urine.

    Place all soiled items in washing machine. Do not mix your urine-stained or affected clothes with your regular laundry. It's best to keep them separate until the stain is removed. Add a one-pound box of baking soda. Add this to your regular detergent and machine wash as usual.

    Another alternative is Natures Miracle which is a urine remover/deodorizer that you can buy at pet stores. It is an enzyme cleaner. There are several different types and come in pourable and spray bottles. I figure if it works for dog and cat urine it probably would work for human urine... although I know they are all chemically different, esp cat's which has more proteins. Good luck!

  • Jody Jody on Jul 29, 2017

    Use Lemon Scent Pine Sol in your wash. It will clean and deodorize.

  • Denise Denise on Jul 29, 2017

    Spray hydrogen peroxide on the areas. Let sit for about an hour and then wash with a baby detergent like Dreft.

  • Michelle Stark Michelle Stark on Jul 29, 2017

    Vinegar will work if used correctly. Just adding it to a wash cycle doesn't give it enough time to break down the ammonia in urine. It's time consuming but once the urine is broken down and actually eliminated from the clothing you won't need this regimen again unless you leave soiled clothing for a long period of time. First, invest in 6 gallons of vinegar and a 1/2 gallon of cheap Vodka. Place 4-5 articles of clothing at a time in your washing machine and pour 1/2 gallon of undiluted vinegar on the clothing. Take a long stick and really saturate the clothing. Close the lid and let them sit for 12-24 hours. Repeat with another 6 items without removing the first set. (I would do this for 3 sets of 5-6 pieces of clothing or until you have a full load for your washer's capacity) After the time has elapsed run all of the clothing in a normal wash with a cup of baking soda, laundry detergent, fabric softener, and an extra rinse cycle. Tumble dry on a low heat until mostly dry. Then fill a clean spray bottle with Vodka. Take each piece out and spray them liberally with Vodka. (It kills all of the saturated fibers and elimates any vinegar smell remaining) If you can hang dry them in the sun that would be ideal, if not let them set for a couple of hours. Lastly, give the entire load a normal wash and rinse and tumble dry until completely dry. The urine smell will be completely gone. Good Luck!

  • Firefly Firefly on Jul 29, 2017

    Have you tried a product like Nature's Miracle? It is for pet stains, which are strong and stubborn, so it might work for your issue as well. I get mine from the pet food store.

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  • Bev Bev on Jul 29, 2017

    My Mom taught me to use warm/cold water with ammonia (lemon scented is more tolerable) and soak any clothing that has strong perspiration or urine odors for a while BEFORE washing it as usual. The ammonia negates the acidity of these organic fluids.

  • Cheryl Cheryl on Jul 29, 2017

    Add Borax to your wash.

  • Debby Fields Rosser Debby Fields Rosser on Jul 29, 2017

    Thanks for all of your quick responses! I may begin with the simplest and graduate up if needed. My washer is front loading and I don't collect her clothes daily. Again, thank you for your willingness to help! God bless all of you.

  • Shiela Shiela on Jul 29, 2017

    Try SCOE 10X , hopefully it'll work

  • Lsr27639303 Lsr27639303 on Jul 30, 2017

    Use hot water and use Oxyclean detergent.

  • Collin Collin on Jan 04, 2021

    This article is very useful, you can refer to this article

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on May 13, 2021

    Hi Debby, I realize this is an old question and I do hope your Mom is doing okay. My Mom is in a similar situation and we use a product called OdoBan. It has a eucalyptus pepperminty scent and the care home suggested we try it. I believe you can also get a citrus scent version and you can find it on Amazon.

  • I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. We had a similar situation. My mom was in a nursing home and then home with us and we had this issue. Many nursing homes use an enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle Laundry Boost additive. Also, it helps to wash them twice and always use cold water. Hot water tends to set stains and set smells. Never dry them until they come out of the wash odor free.

  • Deb K Deb K on May 13, 2021

    Hi Debby, hope this helps you out, 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.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 13, 2021

    Nursing home residents live in an environment that is not the best, they do not drink as much as they used to, making their urine concentrated. Also the GNA's (geriatric nursing assistants) that take care of your loved ones are poorly paid, so they are not the most motivated to tend to their needs. The more the residents drink to flush out their urinary tract, the more they wet and the staff has a difficult time keeping up with this. The old urine becomes alkaline, grows bacteria and crystals form. It is a perfect set up... warm, dark, and moist. Bacterial growth starts and they can go into a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can be life threatening.

    Of course the urine smells bad and strong.

    To take care of this on laundry day, using an enzyme cleaner is one way. Also a vinegar soak will neutralize the ammonia in the soiled clothes.

    Of course air dry.

    Best to you.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 13, 2021

    Do a soak of baking soda and warm water first. 1 cup:1 gallon Let it sit for at least 15 minutes then wash.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on May 15, 2021

    1. Lightly blot the urine stain with a microfiber cloth to remove excess urine. ...
    2. Mix 1 tablespoon of dish-washing liquid with 2 cups of cold water in a small bowl.
    3. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (to disinfect the area and break down the acid) to the solution and gently stir.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Aug 16, 2021

    this can be used for clothes too How to clean pee stains on clothing and bedding. Debra Johnson, a cleaning expert for Merry Maids, recommends running urine-soaked articles through a full-wash cycle using cold water and one cup of distilled white vinegar(without detergent at this point).

  • You could also try some of the specialized laundry detergents mentioned here: