I Shampooed My Carpet And Now It Smells Like Urine – How To Deal With It?

For the past couple of weeks, whenever I walked into my house, all I could smell was urine from the carpet. It wasn’t just me either because one of my friends even commented on it, too! 

It seemed like I shampooed my carpet and now it smells like urine. What’s going on? I have no idea what happened to cause this awful problem, but thankfully, after a few days of trying different things, I found out how to get rid of that pesky odor for good. 

Well, if you’re also in such a case and want to get rid of the smell before guests come over, maybe I can help you! Let’s keep on reading!

Carpet smells like urine after cleaning

Why Shampooing Carpets Make Them Smell Like Urine?

Many people also wondered why their carpets smell so bad after cleaning, so you’re not alone. Here are a few possible explanations for the odor.

Reactivating The Urine Odor In Carpet

It’s possible that carpets with dried urine don’t smell as the concentration was either low before cleaning or it has sat there long enough that the odor dissipates. While cleaning, water gets on the carpets, and a few things happen then – the ammonia and bacteria react with the water, causing the urine to spread.

Sometimes, if urine has soaked in your carpet for a long time, it may have gone dormant and stopped smelling. Another possibility is that homeowners have simply become used to the mild stench. Or maybe, a deodorizing product is also being used to mask the odor.

Urine Is In The Carpet Pad, Not Just The Carpet

It’s a little-known fact that the carpet pad functions as a giant sponge. Soaking and encapsulation are two common cleaning methods that primarily deal with the carpet surface, not the underlying pad at all.

Sadly, even some “professional” carpet cleaners do not treat the pad completely. Store-bought pet urine sprays and shampoos are useless at removing such unpleasant smells from your carpet. However, these products can hide this odor.

Not Dry Carpet 

After cleaning, the carpeting backing absorbs moisture and remains wet. If not allowed time to dry properly, it can result in bad smelling in your home!

A standard vacuum cleaner can suck up 90 to 95% water from the carpet, allowing the carpet to dry quickly. If you run an old or weak machine or modern-but-cheap one, it’s hard to get enough water out, resulting in foul odors.

How To Find The Urine Spot?


Perhaps you don’t want to crawl across the floors and use your insensitive nose to check if there is pet odor and urine. I know how frustrating this can be!

Use A Black Light

Instead of sticking your nose close to the carpet, you can use a black light to find the urine spot. When shining a bright black light on the carpet, the urine will show up. Mark the spots where the urine glows yellow. 

While this method is most successful at night, you can also apply it during the day if you pull the blinds down or use a strong enough black light. Don’t forget to check your wall and furniture. Perhaps there will be some glows there!

Pulling Back The Carpet

Most of the time, carpet cleaning companies will not take back your carpet to truly inspect the severity of the urine problem. It’s the only way to find out how serious the problem is, though.

You will need to pull your carpet since the pet urine may have already soaked deep into it.

How To Get Rid Of The Urine Smell?

Now that you know how to find the urine spot, but how to get rid of them?

Enzymatic Cleaners

Enzymes are the best urine cleaner as they can destroy the bacteria in urine and eliminate the urine smell from carpets by degrading oil, protein, and starches.

To get rid of urine smells, apply an enzymatic cleaner to the affected area and cover it with a damp cloth. This will keep the carpet moist and guarantee that the enzymes remain active, which will help to eliminate the germs that are creating such an uncomfortable smell. To obtain the best results, you had better let it sit out for at least 24 hours.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

It’s no secret that we can use baking soda and vinegar to remove pet urine and its unpleasant smell on hardwood floors, but did you know that it also works for carpets? Here’s how:

Mix vinegar and water in a bucket with a ratio of 1:1. Pour this solution on the affected area and scrub with a brush. Since the vinegar serves to neutralize the ammonia and its strong scent in your carpet, it can reduce the odor effectively.

As the surface is dry, continue to sprinkle some baking soda on the carpet and let it do its job. Mix up a detergent with hot water in another bucket and apply it to the area. Then scrub it and blot the spot to dry.

Lastly, vacuum the surface a few times, and you’re done!

Though this method might not work 100% of the time, it’s worth trying if you have vinegar and baking soda available at home!

Borax Powder

Borax powder is also a great solution to absorb the bad odor in your carpets. If you’re about to apply it, be sure to read the instructions carefully on the package. 

We recommend testing an inconspicuous area on your carpet before proceeding – this will ensure that there’s no adverse reaction from any detergent ingredient in its formula.

Sprinkle some borax powder on your carpet; make sure it covers all the surfaces. Use a sponge or soft carpet broom to scrub it gently and leave it for 8 to 12 hours. After that, vacuum your carpet, and you’re good to go!


I shampooed my carpet and now it smells like urine. After many trying times, I decided to stick on the enzymatic cleaners, which you can find at most major retailers. Now when guests come over, they are not greeted by an overpowering scent of my pets anymore!

Some people say it’ll go away by itself, but I guess it’s impossible! Rather than sitting out waiting for the urine smell to leave and risk having more problems in a few months or years from now – why don’t you try one of my methods above? 

If the enzymatic cleaner is not available, you can also choose vinegar, baking soda, or borax powder! They’re all worth a try! Good luck!

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