Asked on Dec 26, 2014

Removing dog urine stains from hardwood floors

Jaime McBrady
by Jaime McBrady
I've already used a stripper to remove the old varnish. The floor was black in a large area. After the stripper and scraping off the surface, I had a white residue that looked hopeful so I lightly rubbed some Scott's Liquid Gold on it to protect it until we have the floors refinished. That turned them black again. Next, I sprayed a bleach cleaner on the stain and that lifted some of the black to a grey color. Here's the real question: assuming all looks well after the sanding, will the black stain rise up when we apply the stain and/or varnish to the newly sanded floors? Help!
This is how it currently looks. I haven't washed it or oiled it.
  27 answers
  • Pet urine destroys wood floors. The floor is ruined and if the area was black you will want to check the subfloor as well. I had a neighbor who rented their house out to a woman with dogs who ruined the floors and they had to pay thousands to have all flooring removed and areas where the floor was black the subfloor was rotted and had to be removed and replaced. (that is a worse case scenario) There is no easy fix for this. You could try and sand with a floor sander (that is a lot of work) but from experience if the hardwood floor was blackened by urine, it is ruined. I would weigh out all options of replacing the pieces and then sanding the entire floor and then refinish, hire someone, or replace the hardwood flooring with another flooring option (as long as the subfloor is not rotting underneath). Good luck.
    • See 2 previous
    • Shawn Brown Shawn Brown on Jan 19, 2015
      Thank you, I am facing a similar situation in my home and this helped, this whole post has helped!
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Dec 28, 2014
    It has eaten through the poly and reached the wood. Several things you can try to fix it first. There is a wood bleach that works depending on how bad the stain is, also sanding can remove a lot of it. But if your looking for a simple fix there is no simple fix. If this were a smaller spot I would tell you to sand and re-apply stain and sealer. We redid our hardwoods and they were also stained by animal urine (before we moved in they had carpeting down) I rented a sander sanded down my floors, used wood bleach in some areas. It removed most of the stain, but not all of it. If this is rotten in anyway you need to pop out the wood and replace it with a new piece. I had to on several spots. I also had renters who animals ruined wood flooring and it was so bad we-replaced a lot of the wood because it wasn't fixable, and spandex and sealed the rest. Hope this helps.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sherrie Sherrie on Dec 30, 2014
      I have a cleaning business and we have a lot of rentals. On one rental the stained over the problem with a walnut stain. It made the spots darker and I could see it on the floor. I would go to a commerical wood comapny and ask them how to fix this. We redid our floors we went to Classic Hardwood Floors that sale stain, poly and talk to them before hand. They gave us steps to try before hand. We followed their steps and my floors look nice because of their advice, 3 days of labor and no furniture but it was worth it. Now I want walnut stain on them...this summer. ; )
  • Carole Carole on Dec 28, 2014
    Whatever you do, if you test on a small area that is perhaps not so noticeable first that might be better than doing the whole thing and having to rethink it if it does not work and the black still comes through. The more stuff you throw at this problem, the harder it will be I think. Replacing the damaged areas with new wood could be the way to go as Sherrie mentioned. Is the dog yours? Is it male or female? Males tend to cock their leg up things in the home if they are not desexed. Some females will also urine mark. If you don't get rid of the scent (remember a dogs nose is a hundred times more sensitive than a human nose) the problem is that the dog may use that spot again. Hope you find a solution.
  • Hot Shot Hot Shot on Dec 28, 2014
    Might have to stain the floor a dark color...
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Dec 29, 2014
    @Jaime McBrady I think your best option is to rent a commercial sander and sand the entire floor. Not sure if you watch 'rehab junkie ' but she has had several houses with this problem and always sands them and then to sand them sometimes mixes several shades of stain. The outcome is always very good. May be some "character" spots but very appealing to the eye.
    • Jaime McBrady Jaime McBrady on Dec 30, 2014
      Hey, thanks for a long shot for hope with this floor. I'm ok with character. Now to the site...
  • LTorrans LTorrans on Dec 29, 2014
    Even if you saNd the floor you may find it haS leached to the subfloor. Not only will you haVe to saNd but you will haVe to restain the entire floor after bleaching the entire floor aNd even then there maY be discoloration. THis floor is absolutely ruined.
  • Lola Lola on Dec 29, 2014
    Don't bother sanding, see if you can find wood to match and patch it in. You will never get rid of the urine stain and if you continue sanding your floors will really be uneven. There is no way but to take it up and replace. Don't waste your money on other solutions.
  • Jaime McBrady Jaime McBrady on Dec 30, 2014
    Thanks for your advice, Lola and LTorrans, dismal though it may be. I have little left in my budget so I'm hoping I can salvage wood, if that's even an option. By the time I'm finished spending on the replacement boards, sanding and refinishing, do you think it would be cheaper to lay new flooring over it? My older male dog was recently traumatized and has never before had an accident in the house. We're working on it. Omg, it's so much worse than I ever imagined!
    • Lola Lola on Dec 31, 2014
      @Jaime McBrady Yes I do, since you're on a tight budget you might want to go with a sheet of vinyl or peel and stick tiles. However, if you go that way I would not sand the stains I would put a couple of coats of Kilz on the floor before covering it. This should help eliminate any odors. You might want to see if you have a recycle home center close to you, you can buy new or used tiles, flooring etc. that has been donated, Also, check Craig's List under materials. Good Luck
  • Sandy Sandy on Dec 31, 2014
    buy a nice rug
  • Kelly Schubert Kelly Schubert on Dec 31, 2014
    Put down Dark Stain
  • Shawn Brown Shawn Brown on Jan 19, 2015
    Very helpful post! I am looking at redoing 110 year old hardwood floors, long leaf Yellow pine with some pet area stains over the years. Very helpful, thanks everyone!
  • Cynthia Lee Wells Cynthia Lee Wells on Jan 20, 2015
    This has been so helpful, I just moved into a rental and when I did the walk through it smelled so bad my friend and I held our breath. I asked the landlord to have it cleaned, he said he would. When it came to move in day I walked in and it still smelled terrible. So I have bern wearing facemasks in hope it helps me stay healthy. I asked the landlord about it he said he had " Chem- Dry clean the floor. Well we all agreed it needed to be done better and felt they did a very crappy job. So the landlord rented a "Rug Doctor" with shampoo and urine stains chemical to spray down with it. My friend cleaned each room 4 times and it was blackish brown each time. "Can you say yuck". Needless to say it still stinks terrible, so I will begin to remove it today, oh what fun. Yesterday I went to the hospital was told I have bronchitis acute and the urine in the carpet can make it worse. I am not going to wait for my health to get worse. I don't have money to move into another place right away, so wish me luck. What a way to spend my birthday. Any advice is helpful and appreciated
    • See 1 previous
    • Becky Becky on Feb 04, 2015
      @Cynthia Lee Wells I had dog urine through the carpet, padding, and down into the subfloor. I used Nature's Miracle and a lot of it. I soaked everything down to the subfloor and covered it with plastic. I left it on for a week. The enzymes broke down the urine and it did smell pretty bad during the process, but the smell was truly gone at the end of the time. I had nothing to lose by trying. I probably used 2 or 3 gallons for a 16 by 14 room. I didn't use it over the entire room either. Just the areas that had been soaked. It really worked.
  • Cynthia Lee Wells Cynthia Lee Wells on Jan 20, 2015
    Thanks the landlord said he won't be able to do anything for 3 weeks or more.
  • Camille Carlin Camille Carlin on Feb 08, 2015
    Cynthia Lee Wells You might want to contact Idaho Legal Aid Services. Check out this website: It seems to me that your landlord has a definite responsibility to correct any situation that is affecting your health and safety. Best of luck.
  • Glenda Blankenship Glenda Blankenship on Oct 23, 2015
    i just had my 63 year old floors re done.they looked just like yours. we had to replace the worst hardwood .the hall was not as bad so they sanded and finished them .there are dark spots .not black just dark.
  • Kathie M Kathie M on Nov 03, 2015
    Use Hydrogen Peroxide. Soak a paper towel (small spots) or a rag/towel. Place on stain. Weight down with something heavy. Let sit. It will bleach out the stain. Might have to repeat several times. Worked on my black spots on hardwood floor.
    • Gia Gia on Jan 20, 2016
      @Kathie M How old were these stains? I just moved into a house and when I pulled up the carpet, the dining room floor is badly damaged.
  • Gail Hall Gail Hall on Jan 28, 2016
    Hydrogen peroxide does the trick as per Kathy M but I covered with plastic wrap
  • Amy Amy on May 19, 2016
    I like to cover stains with furniture 😬
  • MD MD on Jun 18, 2016 Harvard Chemical Pet Stain Off, I had 30+ year old dog urine stains to the point that the capet pad was full of mold and stuck to the floor, a friend that had a cleaning company told me about this site as the place he purchased all of his supplies. The prev owners did not clean for the 30yrs they owned the house, and they put new carpet over the filth. I dont like carpet and given the house was built in 1908 I knew dispite the agent telling us there was no hardwood, there was original hardwood but in really bad shape and this is the only thing that worked.
  • Vickie Weakley Vickie Weakley on Aug 15, 2016
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Aug 15, 2016
    Several ways to fix it each aren't that easy. Strip that area. Use wood bleach, not laundry bleach. Stain and re seal. Replace the wood stain, and seal.
  • Amy Amy on Oct 14, 2016
    Yup... like... couch goes there. lol it's how I rearrange sometimes. :)
  • Julia Angleworm Julia Angleworm on Oct 14, 2016
    The answer to that depends on one thing."How Deep the Urine(liquid) sank in. I've been in wood floors off and on for many years. What ever tips you try will blacken up and just be a darker place. Except paint. Sorry.
  • Kat4317366 Kat4317366 on Nov 09, 2016
    I have some dark strips that are urine stains. I usually clean it up as soon as it happen with vinegar. I read to soak a cloth with peroxide & let it sit for 20 min.
  • Debbie Gartner Debbie Gartner on Apr 13, 2017

    Most likely, these boards are permanently damaged and you either need to replace them or use a dark stain to camouflage them. You can read more about it in this article.

  • Dick Phillips Dick Phillips on Nov 15, 2018

    Okay. Here is what I did and it has worked on Black Dog urine spots. I started out using a paste of white vinegar mixed with baking soda. I saw this on line but it did not do that much, still black. Then I went to spraying regular hydrogen peroxide on the stains. I worked that in a little with a scotch brite pad, resprayed to make it wet and then coated it with a generous coating of baking soda. I put a fan on it and let it dry completely for 24 hours. You can see that the baking soda changes color a little as it seems to suck out the pee. SO the question is will it get it to pristine? Still working the project. I'll come back and let you know, but the black spots are completely gone. Now slight gray shadowing.