Removing Urine From Wool Rugs

by on August 11, 2010

in Cats, Dogs, More Pets & Animals

Your beautiful expensive wool area rug once your pride and joy now is an embarrassment because of the urine smell that you cannot get out. Why is it so difficult to get urine out of wool rugs and how do you eliminate that terrible odor?

Here are your answers.

I have been a professional carpet cleaner in Anchorage Alaska for over 30 years. Through experience we know that these tips will work.

Why is it so difficult to get the smell out?

Wool is of course a natural fiber and is very different from other synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester. If you were to look at a strand of wool under a microscope you would see why it holds onto the smell. The stalk of a strand of wool is covered with little pockets. These pockets get filled with soil and in the case of urine issues they get filled with urine crystals. It is very difficult to get the urine out of these pockets. Another problem is that what looks like a small amount of urine on the surface is actually a lot of urine because most of it is hidden in the pockets. Many people including less experienced carpet cleaners do not use enough cleaning solution because they are treating what they see.

Also it is pretty easy to turn a medium sized urine problem in a wool rug into a bigger urine problem if you spread the urine all over the carpet.

There are certain steps that need to be taken to remove the urine and the odor.

The steps . . . .

Remove the dirt first- Because of the pockets, wool rugs are always much dirtier than they appear. If you clean a wool rug full of dirt, you will make mud. It is much easier to remove the dry soil before you start the urine treatment.

Concentrate first on just urine spots- Using a rented portable steam cleaner flush and extract repeatedly the visible urine stains using urine pre-spotter purchased from your local carpet cleaning supply store or a ½ cup white vinegar to one quart of warm water solution.

The less sure way but less complicated way

From your local carpet cleaning supply store purchase at least a gallon of enzymes specifically for eliminating urine odor. Using a watering can saturate the area of urine with the enzymes, gently agitate, let sit for a couple of hours. Flush out the spot with fresh water, extract and then repeat the process until no more yellow urine or urine smell comes from the carpet. Using a cleaning solution obtained from your local carpet cleaning supply store gently clean the rest of the carpet. Hang the carpet up where it can dry quickly. Use air mover fans if possible. If wool carpets stay wet too long they will brown. If fringes on carpet are stained use a 50/50 mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide and clean the fringes. Be careful not to get this solution on the colored part of the rug.

The more certain and more complicated method

Remove dry soil from carpet, flush out as much of the urine as possible. Build a small pool with 2x4s and plastic sheeting. Fill with warm water. Lay the rug in this pool and add the bio enzymes. Gently agitate and let sit for eight hours. Remove water/ enzyme mixture from pool and then flush out the carpet with a lot of fresh water. If urine and urine odor are gone, extract as well as possible and then hang to dry using fans if possible. If you still detect urine or odor repeat the process.

Good luck.


The article above was provided courtesy of Power Clean Carpet Cleaning in Anchorage, Alaska. For more information on pet issues and carpet cleaning or simply carpet cleaning questions in general, be sure to visit http://www.akpowerclean.com. They’ve been cleaning carpets for over 30 years!

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Judi, Senior Editor at PetsBlogs
Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi spent her time working in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Corina August 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for all the really great info regarding removal of urine from a wool rug. You said you have over 30 years experience in Carpet cleaning, right? Well, my 7 year old lab doesn’t seem to be able to hold her urine as well as she used to and she has taken to urinating on the same area in the living room. It is unfortunate, but I have shag carpeting in that area. I have used all kind of enzymatic cleaners, but I can still smell urine. And I have spent hours cleaning this one area. But I never tried the watering can application, with repetitions. Do you think this would work for a nylon carpet also, or do you have other techniques that would work better for me and my poor carpet?

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2 Turn Your Pet Into A Well Behaved Family Member May 31, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I’ll definitely give these tricks a try. It’s certainly hard enough to find anything that does remove urine odors in rugs. Thanks for the tips.

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3 Donna September 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I have an Aubusson rug that may have a urine area on it (I can’t smell so checking for odor won’t work for me!) Immersion won’t hurt it?. It has other stains and I used a solution of 1 tsp white vinegar and 1 tsp detergent in 1 qt water to try and gently lift some of the stains out (which worked for most of them!!!!) But if you know of another trick to try, I sure would appreciate it. Thanks!!!!

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4 Janice February 29, 2012 at 8:38 am

The oriental rug cleaning service in my town has said you should NOT use those enzymes for taking the odor out on wool rugs as they can cause the colors to bleed! Do NOT use them on your expensive wool rugs. They are okay for synthetics.

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