Urine can be one of the worst cleaning experiences next to fecal matter. It stinks, stains, and can lead to bacterial growth on your leather seats. Whether it’s because of a child or your pets, here’s how to deal with the problems you might face when urine gets on your leather car seats or couch.
Does leather soak up urine?
Leather can definitely soak up urine. Especially if the leather isn’t treated with any type of waterproofing spray or coating. This is especially worse for perforated leather seats where the urine can get into the cushioning underneath as well. It’s best to treat your leather with waterproofing sprays or any leather-safe coating product.
What does urine do to leather?
Urine is definitely not good for leather. Besides the terrible smell and the potential staining that can happen if you do not clean it quickly enough, it can potentially weaken the leather as well.
Urine can dry out leather and take the protective oils with it as it evaporates. This can increase wrinkling and cause shrinking due to it drying out. It may also slowly break down the leather and make it brittle and weaker.
Urine can also promote bacterial growth in that area that may cause mold and bacteria to spread rapidly and may eat into the leather, furthering the weakening process.
Besides weakening the leather and staining it, it can also be a health and safety hazard as anyone that may touch it with an open wound can be exposed to serious infections.
How long does it take for urine smell to go away?
Urine’s smell doesn’t really go away if left untreated. The smell will be less potent after a few days, but the spot will still smell for even years if you leave the area untreated. The smell isn’t the biggest concern when not cleaning a spot that has urine on it.
The bigger problem is sanitation. By leaving the urine there, you are inviting all sorts of bacteria to grow and fester on even up to nearby surfaces as the bacteria spreads.
How to clean urine from leather car seats
Urine is a big problem you need to clean up immediately when it gets on your leather car seats. If you don’t want your car to be a health and safety hazard, here are ways to clean urine off of your car’s leather interior.
Do note that you should be wearing rubber cleaning gloves and preferably a mask while cleaning urine. Inhaling evaporated urine and touching it with your bare hands may not be something you want to do and you don’t want to risk your health in any way.
Leather-safe enzyme cleaners
Most people that have had experience in cleaning homes will immediately think of enzyme cleaners when they hear about urine. Enzyme cleaners have always been the go-to product for cleaning organic matter or waste.
You shouldn’t just go for any enzyme cleaner though, as most of them are way too harsh for leather and can cause staining. Make sure to use leather-safe enzyme cleaners like Pet Stain & Odor Miracle (be careful and test it in a discreet spot). This cleaner will only work if it is the first cleaning method you used (because it is a natural solution). Otherwise, go with leather-specific cleaner Leather Honey (for real and faux leather) or Bickmore (for suede and nubuck).
Things you will need:
- Personal protective equipment (gloves and mask)
- Paper towels
- Leather-safe enzyme cleaner or leather cleaner
- Microfiber cloths for leather
- Leather conditioner/Waterproofing spray (optional)
- Make sure to wear your protective equipment like gloves and a mask before handling urine.
- Remove as much of the excess urine as you can with the paper towels if it is still fresh and pooling.
- Pour your leather-safe enzyme cleaner/leather cleaner on a microfiber cloth.
- Wipe the microfiber cloth on the affected area, applying more pressure on areas that may have stained.
- Wipe away the excess cleaner with another clean microfiber cloth.
- In case the cleaner may dry out your leather upholstery, you may use a leather conditioner afterward.
Cleaning fresh urine with baking soda
Baking soda is used by many pet owners to neutralize the urine smell on their furniture. Since urine has a high pH and is considered to be acidic, pouring baking soda which has a low pH will get rid of the pungent smell. Here’s how you can do it:
Things you will need:
- Baking soda
- Paper towels
- Microfiber cloth
- Leather conditioner
- Wipe the excess urine on the surface using dry paper towels or a soft cloth.
- Sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda onto the surface and let it sit for around 12 hours or overnight.
- You’ll notice the next day that the baking soda has turned into a light yellow color which means it has done its job absorbing the urine from the surface.
- Blot away the residue and do not scrub.
- To make sure there is no more baking soda residue on your leather furniture, use a vacuum cleaner after blotting away the excess powder.
- Repeat the process and apply a leather conditioner to your item once you’re done as the baking soda may have dried out the leather.
Cleaning dried urine with a hydrogen peroxide spray
Hydrogen peroxide is very good at disinfecting and cleaning at the same time. It’s even used by professional car detailers in certain cases where they need to remove stains from various types of items, including your leather car seats. Dried urine will most likely leave stains, so hydrogen peroxide can hit two birds with one stone as it disinfects the area and removes the stains as well.
Things you will need:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Spray bottle
- Microfiber cloth
- Paper towels
- Soft-bristled toothbrush
- Baking soda (optional)
- Wear your protective equipment like a mask and gloves.
- Mix a 1:3 ratio of hydrogen peroxide to water in a spray bottle.
- Test the spray in a discreet area on the leather car seat and watch out for any discoloration or staining. Do not use it if this happens.
- If there are no negative effects, you may spray it on the affected area.
- You may spray liberally if the dried urine is thick and sticky.
- You may want to use paper towels to wipe up most of the dried urine before using microfiber towels.
- Before finishing, go over the nearby surfaces with the spray as well in case any bacteria has spread.
- Wipe those areas with the microfiber cloth as well.
- If there are still stubborn areas, you may spray that with the solution and sprinkle a little bit of baking soda and scrub with a toothbrush to remove any stains.
- In case the hydrogen peroxide dries up the leather, you may add a light coating of leather conditioner over your car seats.
How to remove urine smells from leather car seats
If you own pets, you’ve probably dealt with urine smells all over your house, including inside your car when you’re out traveling with them. Urine smells from your pet or child can be much worse inside the car since it is a closed space and there is nowhere the smell can go unless you open all the windows and let some fresh air in. To completely get rid of urine smells from your leather car seats, you can use this simple method:
Lemon or white vinegar spray
You can choose between a lemon or white vinegar spray since both work well in getting rid of unpleasant smells from leather car seats. If you want your car to be fragrant after, you can choose lemon, but if you’re not a fan of the lemony smell, you can opt for the white vinegar solution instead.
All you need to do is mix equal parts of lemon or white vinegar with equal parts of water and put the solution inside a spray bottle. Spray it onto your leather car seats and wipe the surface using a soft cloth. Be sure to wipe the excess moisture from the cleaning solution using a soft dry cloth and finish with a leather conditioner once you’re done.
For maximum effectiveness, let your windows down and park your car in an open field. You can even open the doors to let a lot of fresh air in and ventilate the car seats properly to get rid of the nasty urine smell in your car’s interior.
How to remove urine stains from leather car seats
Some of the methods above can also remove urine stains, but if for some reason those stains are still there and are more difficult to remove, here are some ways to get those stubborn stains out.
Lemon soap mixture
Lemon is great at disinfecting and treating stains. Soap makes it even more effective as it can work hand in hand with the lemon to remove stubborn stains.
You can use this in a soap bottle and you may use 5 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of mild soap. Dilute them into 2-3 cups of water in a spray bottle and shake it to mix.
You can then use this mixture to spray the stained area liberally. Proceed to scrub the area with a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush until the stains have been removed.
If the stains are still there after 2-3 attempts, you should stop before you damage your leather seats and take it to a professional.
Baking soda paste
Baking soda paste is stronger than the previously mentioned methods as it is concentrated into a liquid. It is very good at cleaning, however, so it will have the best chance at removing stubborn stains.
Mix enough water into a spoonful of baking soda just until it starts to become a thick paste. Put that paste onto the affected area and use a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to work the area and remove the stain.
If the stain still hasn’t been removed after a few attempts, taking it to a professional may be a better option as you may destroy the leather if you work it too much.
There’s nothing wrong with having fun with your kids and pets but sometimes, little accidents happen. Getting urine and other liquid on your leather seats can be a bit frustrating, but it’s nothing to be too concerned about as it can be easily remedied with a few tools you have at home. We hope this article helped you in finding a solution to get rid of urine smell and stains so you can enjoy your trips more with your loved ones.
Does pee leave a stain on car seats?
Yes, we mentioned above that aside from the unpleasant smell it leaves, pee can also stain car seats. If you leave it for weeks without wiping or cleaning it, there is a huge chance that the pee will leave a very noticeable stain, and even if you try to soak it, it will still be visible.
The ammonia from the pee, when left unattended for a long time will undergo chemical and bacterial changes causing it to stain and discolor anything it comes into contact with. That’s why we recommend wiping down any pee that comes into contact with leather surfaces immediately, or any surfaces for that matter.
Can you use My Pet Peed on leather?
My Pet Peed is a harsh cleaning product that is effective on various materials, but it should definitely not be used on leather. This product can easily stain and discolor your leather goods so steer clear of this product when it comes to leather. They also explicitly say not to use it on leather, silk, or suede on their product page.