How to get pee smell out of a couch — six steps to banish odors after those unfortunate accidents

Address urine stains quickly and effectively with our expert advice

A cat sleeping on a couch — for article on how to get pee smell out of a couch
(Image credit: Kseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty Images)

Knowing how to get pee smell out of a couch is key if you have pets or kids prone to accidents. 

There’s nothing worse than the smell of urine exactly where you want to relax in the evening or invite guests to sit. Luckily, our cleaning experts have six simple steps to oust pee odors from your couch and keep your living room fresh and inviting. 

As with removing urine smells and stains from around your home, the key is acting quickly and carefully, with the right products. 

The six pro steps to remove pee smell from a couch 

Accidents happen, especially when you have pets or young children, but whether cleaning a velvet couch, a leather couch, or upholstered seats, taking swift action and using the right products should have your couch back to its best in no time.

Our industry pros will walk you through the six straight-forward steps to sanitize your couch in the event of an accident. 

Where our experts have suggested products, we’ve sourced high-quality items from reliable retailers.

All prices were correct at the time of publication.

Step 1: Blot the pee stain

French bulldog on a couch

(Image credit: Edwin Tan/Getty Images)

The first thing you need to do is blot the stain as soon as possible. Use paper towels or a clean cloth to absorb as much urine as you can. 

Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning, says, “Gently blot the area to soak up as much liquid as possible. Press down firmly, but don't rub, as rubbing can spread the stain and push it deeper into the fabric. Think of it as giving your couch a gentle pat to say: it’s okay, we’ll fix this!"

This E-Cloth Microfiber Cleaning Cloth from Target come with a 100-wash promise, meaning you can expect decent use and durability from the reinforced stitching and the materials itself.

If the stain is fresh, wearing gloves can protect your hands from coming into contact with the urine. These Great Value Multipurpose Reusable Gloves from Walmart are skin-safe and durable.

Step 2: Spray vinegar on the pee stain

A tabby cat on a gray couch

(Image credit: Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images)

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, so it's no wonder there's so many household jobs vinegar can do, including tackling pee smells. 

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Generously spritz the affected area, making sure to saturate the fabric. The vinegar will help neutralize the odor and break down any lingering urine particles.

Wells Ye, founder of Fresh Tech Maid, says, “If the couch cover is removable, then fill a sink or bucket and soak it in the solution; if not, spraying the solution all over the area is fine.”

Let the vinegar solution sit for about 10-15 minutes. This gives it time to penetrate the fabric and start working on the odor.

Wells says, “Now use any porous cleaning tool like a sponge or microfiber cloth and rub it on the wet spot to remove the stain and absorb the moisture.”

Karina adds, “This second round of blotting is crucial to lift away moisture and absorb any remaining pee.”

Step 3: Sprinkle baking soda over the pee stain

Next, it’s time for the ultimate around-the-house cleaning must-have: baking soda. Baking soda has endless uses around the home and is excellent at absorbing odors such as urine from the couch fabric. 

The Good & Gather Baking Soda from Target comes with more than 1,000 five-star reviews, is perfect to cleaning, deodorizing, and can double up for cooking baked goods.

Karina says, “Baking soda is like fairy dust for odors. Sprinkle a generous amount over the area, making sure the entire stain is covered. Let it work its magic overnight, absorbing the unpleasantness.”

Letting the baking soda sit for several hours will often do the job, but aim for overnight if possible — the longer it sits, the better it will absorb the urine smell.

Step 4: Vacuum the baking soda

A curly-haired tan puppy sleeping on a black couch

(Image credit: Oscar Wong/Getty Images)

Once the baking soda has had time to work its magic, vacuum it up. 

Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to thoroughly remove all the baking soda. This step not only removes the baking soda but also any remaining dried urine particles that it has absorbed. 

Be sure to vacuum the entire area, including any crevices or seams, to ensure no baking soda is left behind.

Read our review of the Brigii Crevice Vacuum and how it gets into those tough spaces, or our review of the Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop & Vacuum, which cleans both wet and dry messes.

If you're looking for a new vacuum, the tried and tested recommendations in our best vacuums guide are a great place to start. If you have a furry pet at home, our guide on best vacuums for pet hair has many great buys, including our overall number one, Shark Stratos Cordless Pet Vacuum, which we gave five stars to in our review for function, suction, ease of use (even though it does take a while to charge).

Step 5: Spray enzyme cleaner on the pee stain

A Siamese kitten with blue eyes lying on a bright green couch with striped yellow or solid purple cushions

(Image credit: Beachmite Photography/Getty Images)

By this stage, it’s possible your couch is smelling as fresh as the day it was delivered — but for that extra layer of odor-removal, use an enzyme cleaner.

Enzyme cleaners are specially formulated to break down biological stains such as urine and contain beneficial bacteria that feed on the organic matter in the urine, effectively eliminating both the stain and the odor.

Well adds, “Enzyme cleaners are quick and easy to use, making them one of the best options! Simply spray the enzyme cleaner over the stained area, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then use a cloth to gently tap the spot and absorb any excess liquid.”

We love Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover from Walmart, which has been banishing pet stains and smells effectively for more than three decades.

Step 6: Allow to dry

After applying the enzyme cleaner, it’s important to let the area dry completely. You can speed up the drying process by opening windows, turning on your best fan, or using a hair dryer on a cool setting. Ensure the couch is completely dry before using it again to prevent any residual dampness that could lead to mold or mildew.

If you think your couch is nearly dry, but you’re not certain, one tip is to place a clean towel over the area and sit on it to help to spot any remaining moisture.

Meet our experts

Profile photo of Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina Toner is an Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a prominent cleaning company based in Arlington, VA. With over a decade of hands-on experience in the cleaning industry, she's honed her expertise in providing top-notch cleaning solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of clients effectively, and sustainably.

Profile photo of Fresh Tech Maids founder Wells Ye
Wells Ye

Wells Ye is the brains behind Fresh Tech Maid — a respected, Chicago-based home cleaning service that boasts more than 10,000 happy clients thanks to more than 50,000 successful cleans. 

Accidents are inevitable, but with quick action and the right cleaning methods, you can keep your couch and home smelling clean and pleasant. 

Next, check out how to get rid of cat pee from carpets, how to get rid of a burnt smell in the microwave and how to get rid of a smell in the fridge.

Andy van Terheyden
Freelance Writer

I'm a senior writer with an English degree and NCJ qualification, plus years of experience writing news, lifestyle and consumer articles for the national and international press. I'm also a copywriter, working on a breadth of consumer and corporate projects, and a private education consultant. I live in the quiet of the countryside and spend my weekends mooching around homeware shops, completing DIY tasks to breathe life into my small, newly-built home.