TL;DR: The Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator and Bissell Professional Pet Urine Eliminator + Oxy Carpet Cleaning Formula both made it to our top picks for the best pet urine stain removers.
This article will be covering several different products to find the best pet urine stain remover:
- Best overall pet urine stain remover for carpet cleaner machines: Bissell Professional Pet Urine Eliminator + Oxy Carpet Cleaning Formula
- Best budget pet urine stain remover for carpet cleaner machines: Rug Doctor Triple Action Pet Deep Carpet Cleaner
- Best budget pet urine stain remover for spot cleaning/ treatment: Resolve Urine Destroyer Spray Stain & Odor Remover
- Best pet urine stain remover for spot cleaning/treatment: Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator
- Best pet urine stain remover for dogs: Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator for Dogs (Cat Variant: Just for Cats Orange Oxy Stain and Odor Remover)
Pet urine has a very different chemical composition from human urine. But some of the common compounds are urea, creatinine, uric acid, and sodium. Many tend to confuse urea and uric acid, and they are in fact very different chemical compounds.
Urea is “colourless, odourless, highly soluble in water and practically non-toxic.” The body uses it in many processes, and nitrogen excretion is one of them. And because urea is water soluble, it can be cleaned with general household cleaning products.
Uric acid, on the other hand, is produced by the body from the breakdown of cells and consumption of food. Most of the uric acid that our bodies produced is removed in the form of urine.
Urine smells because of the breakdown of uric acid and urea that gives off ammonia.
Uric acid contains salt crystals that are left behind after the urine (and cleaning solution) dries off. This is the challenge that we’re facing. The salt crystals are not visible to the naked eye but will get reactivated (and start to smell) when there’s moisture present.
It also attracts dirt and that’s how it appears dirty. When left untreated for a long time, uric acid can permanently damage the surface. It discolors fabrics and carpet, and “can even ‘burn’ the tannins in wood, causing black stains around the affected areas.” [source]
Cleaning solution ingredients explained
In most commercial cleaning solutions targeted at urine stain or odor removal, a few key ingredients are often present. Let’s take a closer look at them and see how they work.
Oxy for stain removal
Oxy, or oxygen bleaches, “are materials that release oxygen for cleaning and bleaching of stains and dirt upon addition to water.”
Oxy more or less describes the chemical process of the cleaning. And this process can be achieved by different chemical compounds.
The most common oxygen bleachers in commercial cleaning products are “hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate and sodium perborate”.
The very famous OxiClean uses sodium percarbonate. Sodium percarbonate breaks down into sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. These powdered oxygen bleachers release stored oxygen when dissolved in water.
One of the main advantages of sodium percarbonate is how environmentally friendly, pet and kid friendly it is.
The reason is because “it breaks down into elements naturally occurring in nature.” Let’s first understand how it is made. It is produced by “treating natural soda ash or natural borax with hydrogen peroxide.”
These compounds can absorb and hold on to oxygen when remaining in solid (powered) form. And once sodium percarbonate dissolves in water, during cleaning, it breaks down into soda ash and hydrogen peroxide, both of which are very environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
While hydrogen peroxide is also an oxygen bleacher itself, it is in liquid form, which is less stable and has a shorter shelf life. That’s why you’ll always find hydrogen peroxide stored in UV-sensitive packaging to be protected from sunlight.
The oxygen-releasing chemical process is effective in removing stains, especially organic compounds. This makes it ideal for bodily fluid stains such as urine, feces, vomit and blood.
Enzyme for smell and stain removal
Enzyme-based cleaning solutions are “safe and effective soil and odor removers, especially for organic types of soil”. These formulas “use non-pathogenic, “good” bacteria to digest wastes, soils, stains and malodors”.
The bacteria do so by producing enzymes that break down complex molecules into simple molecules, so that the bacteria can more easily consume the molecules. The product of this reaction is carbon dioxide and water.
The most common types of enzymes in cleaning solutions are proteases, lipases and amylases. Each of these enzymes target different soils.
Proteases target proteins such as urine, blood or vomit.
Lipases target fat molecules (oil and grease), and amylases break down starch.
Cellulases soften fabric and restore color.
Oftentimes, a formula is a blend of these different types of enzymes. It is important to note that enzymes work on a “lock and key” mechanism. The specific enzyme needs to match the specific molecule, and only under the right conditions, will the chemical reaction occur.
This is the reason why it is advisable to not use enzyme-based cleaning solutions alongside other cleaning solutions. You might run the risk of deactivating the reaction process.
Which pet urine stain remover is right for you: things to look out for
There are generally two main categories of stain removers on the market: concentrated vs. ready-to-use.
Concentrated solutions are usually used in carpet cleaners, flooring cleaning solutions or laundry pre-treatments. These cleaning solutions need to be diluted according to the label before use.
Ready-to-use solutions are diluted to the correct concentration, and can be used out of the bottle. They usually come in spray or aerosol bottles. Here are some things to note when looking for the best pet urine stain remover.
Solution-to-water dilution ratio
Different brands and variants ask for different dilution ratios. This is because the concentration of the solution is different.
It is common to have 2 different dilution ratios stated on the instruction, one for normal soilness and the other is for tough stains.
You should always follow the dilution ratio guideline because exceeding the concentration recommended may pose harm to pets and young children.
Instead of upping the concentration when you feel like the stain needs more cleaning power, go for higher saturation instead. Saturate the spot with equal or even twice the amount of stain.
How many gallons of soapy water can you make? Is the cost per gallon amount worth it for the cleaning performance it brings?
Because different brands/variants have different dilution ratios, you can’t calculate cost based on cost per volume of solution.
Does the soapy solution produce a lot of froth? If you’re using the stain remover in a carpet cleaner, having too much froth is not a good idea.
The rinsing and agitation process will froth up the soap solution further. And when the dirty water enters the dump-tank, the forth will take up a lot of the space.
This means that you’ll need to empty the dump-tank more often than usual. So stay away from solutions that froth up too much.
Specialized vs. general products
According to this article on cleaning enzymes, “[t]here are more than 40,000 bacteria one can use in a formula”.
It refers to the bacteria present in enzyme-based cleaning solutions. The bacteria breaks down and ”eats” the protein or fat stains, and in our case, the salt crystals in uric acid.
Considering the sheer number of bacteria, figuring out which bacteria would produce the most effective bio-reaction for cleaning is a science. And that also means that more general formulas are not as effective as specialized products.
Specialized products match the right bacteria up with the right application/ soil. And for tough dried pet urine stains, don’t waste your time on general-use products.
Now that we know a few key things about stain removers, let’s look at some of the best pet urine stain remover.
Best overall pet urine stain remover for carpet cleaner machines
The Bissell Professional Pet Urine Eliminator + Oxy Formula is one of the strongest contenders in the search for the best pet urine stain remover.
This formula handles pet urine well, even stinky cat urine. Bissell has a product line made for cleaning pet messes on carpets.
The products in this line each target different problems we all face as pet parents – odor control, urine odor or stains, vomit stains or dirt stains. This formula targets urine odor and stains, and it does both very well.
Manufacturers usually list different solution-to-water ratio options for different levels of soilness. All levels of soilness should always be cleaned with hot water to get better results.
Bissell is listing this as 2.5 fl oz to a gallon of water for lightly soiled situations, and 5 fl oz for heavily soiled situations. And if you want the full effect, it recommends pre-treating the spots with diluted formula.
For pre-treatment, let the solution sit for at least 10 minutes before running the carpet cleaner over it. With this full strength treatment (hot water, pre-treatment and heavily soiled option), even years-old urine stains can be lifted off the carpet. But you shouldn’t wait years to get a pet stain if possible, cleaning it up as soon as possible is still your bet.
This formula is not heavily scented, it just smells… clean. This is great for homes with pets or young children who might be sensitive to fragrances.
The formula also contains scotchgard, which repels liquid and protects the fabrics from stains. The liquid mess, urine, will not be able to penetrate the fabric fibers as quickly as it would otherwise.
This is particularly useful if your pet tends to go potty on the couch or your upholstered furniture. However, it is not foolproof, you’ll still need to do your due diligence to keep pet urine off the carpet.
Best budget pet urine stain remover for carpet cleaner machines
This formula targets 3 pet cleaning problems: pet stains, odor control and prevents future occurrence. It uses enzyme-based ingredients to breakdown pet stains including urine, feces, drool, vomit, and blood.
Enzymes break down the protein in the urine into smaller, more manageable parts. It makes it easier to remove from the fabric fibers. This breakdown and elimination will rid the carpet/fabric of the odor-causing bacteria.
This formula has added fragrances to help mask any residue smell. It leaves a light fresh scent that’s not too overwhelming.
Like the Bissell, the Rug Doctor also uses liquid-repelling technology to keep the fabric clean for longer. The Rug Doctor Triple Action Pet uses the SpotBlok anti-stain formula to block off new liquid from seeping into the fabric fibers and staining it.
For best results, you should always use hot water to mix together your soapy solution. This solution does foam up quite a bit, especially during the rinse process. The dirty water tank is able to hold less amount due to the foam.
The Rug Rug Doctor Triple Action Pet Deep formula needs 4 fl oz of solution to a gallon of water. Compared to the Bissell Professional Pet Urine Eliminator + Oxy solution, the Rug Doctor is a more budget-friendly option. It costs almost half the price of the Bissell.
But unlike the Bissell, this formula is not fussy and seems to work well on all types of carpet cleaners, upright or portable or canister. And like the Bissell, the Rug Doctor manufacturer does not recommend using this formula on natural fibers such as wool or silk.
Bissell has a product range for wool upholstery and carpet, but we can’t find any in the Rug Doctor range during the time of writing.
Although the Bissell is pricier, it delivers a more superior result. The cleaning is more effective and pet urine stains are removed more thoroughly.
Best pet urine stain remover for spot cleaning/treatment
The much-hyped and very popular pet stain remover really does live up to its hype. It works on all kinds of pet stains, especially pet urine stains.
Like many other stain removers, Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator uses an enzyme-based formula. The enzyme bacteria breaks down the ammonia particles and other pet mess organic particles.
This urine stain remover really pulls out every last particle from the soiled surface. Shine a black light on the spot after cleaning it with this remover, and you can’t even detect the spot.
This stain and odor remover has different uses and works on multiple surfaces. Think of it like a pre-treatment for everything. You can clean all types of flooring with it: tile, hardwood, laminate and of course carpet and rugs.
Spray it on your furniture or upholstery. You can even add the solution to your soiled laundry. This formula also works wonders on eliminating pet urine odor in the potty area. This includes both the cat litter box as well as dog potty solutions such as artificial grass.
It is safe for pets and babies but always stick to the recommended amount and usage guideline. Use it as a pre-treatment, but it is not a leave-in product.
For absorbent surfaces such as carpets or rugs, you can treat the spot with the amount of product equal to the urine amount. The manufacturer recommends different wait time for different surfaces as well as different soilness. But a wait time of up to 30 minutes is quite typical, especially for absorbent surfaces.
After soaking the spot, dab the surface with a cloth to remove the product. Remember, resist the urge to scrub and rub carpets or rugs as that will damage the fabric fibers.
For extra absorbent surfaces, place another dry cloth over the spot and weigh it down with something heavy. Leave it overnight.
As the Rocco & Roxie solution is only a pre-treatment, you should finish up with a carpet cleaner on rinse mode to really flush out the solution.
For laundry uses, use the formula to pre-treat the spot before washing the laundry as you normally would. This is a fantastic formula to have on hand for all pet owners.
Best budget pet urine stain remover for spot cleaning/ treatment
If Rocco and Roxie Pet Stain and Odor Eliminator is too pricey for your budget, give the Resolve Urine Destroyer Spray Stain & Odor Remover a try. It costs less than half of the price, and comes in a spray bottle as well for spot cleaning.
This formula targets urine stain as well as odor. It works on most types of flooring (carpet, hardwood, title, vinyl), upholstery and even bedding. It uses a bio-based formula and contains oxy to remove stains.
Like all stain removers, soaking and pre-treating the spot is key. The manufacturer suggests saturating the spot with twice the amount of urine in it.
But if you’re using a good amount of cleaning solution, it is important to properly remove it from the carpet or fabric. The solution is not a leave-in product, and improper use may be harmful to pets and kids.
It is recommended that you dab the spot dry about leaving it soak for a maximum of 5 minutes. You would need to dab and blot quite a bit to get the spot completely dry. Try using an old rag because you’ll be needing a lot of paper towels to do the job.
This formula is developed for urine, both animals and humans. But it is also effective for other pet mess such as feces, dirt and vomit.
Typically, a formula that is less targeted and has a more general usage is less effective on any specific problem. Pet urine differs from human urine in terms of their chemical composition.
Cat urine in particular is more concentrated. So this would not be a great option if you’re looking to clean up after your cat spraying in the living room. It also works best immediately, before the urine sinks into the carpet fibers and dries up.
Best pet urine stain remover for dogs
Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator Dog is your best bet for dog urine stains. It is great for heavy soils and even old stains.
If you’re house-training your new puppy, then you’ll need one of these sprays handy. And for particularly timid dogs who have submissive urination or dogs with separation anxiety, indoor urination is common. This calls for a quick fix like the stain and odor eliminator.
It works on most floor types. The ease of using a spray bottle allows you to quickly pre-treat the urine spot on the carpet before you have time to bust out the carpet cleaner.
This advanced formula is meant for the toughest stains. It uses an enzyme-based formulation, which is supposed to cut through the smell by breaking down the uric acid salt crystals. But the formula does contain a fair amount of fragrance.
The chemical smell can linger even after you’ve dab the carpet dry. You’ll need to wait a few days before the fragrance completely disappears. Although this may deter your pet from urinating on that spot, some may find the scent tad bit too strong.
The cat equivalent of this formula is their Just for Cats Orange Oxy Stain and Odor Remover. As we’ve seen, the chemical composition of dog urine differs from cat urine.
Cat urine is more concentrated and smells worse than dog urine. And using the specialized formula will make the cleaning process much more effective.
Now onto our picks.
The Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator is our pick for the best pet urine stain remover for spot cleaning. This enzyme-based formula lived up to its hype, and it is very effective in removing tough pet urine stains, old or new.
The solution comes in a spray bottle and you can dispense right onto the stain spot. Like all of these solutions, soaking is necessary. The cost per use is on the higher end, but the effectiveness of this solution is well worth the price.
We recommend you saving this for tough spots, and get a more economical remover for day-to-day odor control. The formula is pet and kid friend, but remember to follow the manufacturer’s guideline on dabbing away excess solution. This solution works on most floor types.
The Bissell Professional Pet Urine Eliminator + Oxy Carpet Cleaning Formula is simply the best overall pet urine stain remover for carpet cleaner machines. Use this formula to work on your carpets with a carpet cleaner. You’ll see amazing results especially around high traffic areas.
This solution uses oxygen bleacher (oxy) and enzyme to remove both stain and odor. The cost per gallon of soapy water is relatively affordable. The solution does not suds up too badly, and it is not heavily scented.