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How to Clean Pet Urine from Leather Furniture

How to Clean Pet Urine from Leather Furniture

Posted by Daniel Sutton on Apr 10th 2014

“Bad Fido! Bad dog!”

It’s happened again. Poor Fido drank way too much water this morning, and decided your refurbished leather sofa was probably the most sensible place to relieve himself. Moments later, the poor, misguided pup has been deposited safely outside, and you are frozen in place by your couch, completely befuddled about how you’re going to fix this latest mishap.

Aren’t you a lucky dog? That’s what today’s post is all about.

Stay Calm and Clean It Up

First step to clean leather furniture of pet urine is to keep calm. Unpleasant odors and stains are not the end of the world, so move quickly and it will have little effect. The sooner the mess is cleaned the better.

Second step is, a little obviously, to clean up the accident. If the spot is fresh when you find it (well spotted!), absorb the pet urine with a paper towel. Dab, don’t wipe. Smearing will only make the mess worse. After you have removed as much as you can, your next priority is to clean up the spot where the urine was sitting. There’s a trick to this. While it is important to clean leather furniture by removing the urine itself, an equally large threat is going to come from the stuffing underneath. If urine successfully penetrates your leather and gets into the stuffing, it can be difficult to remove. Instead, locate the zipper on your leather item and take all that stuffing out. If your leather does not have a zipper, follow these same steps and move quickly to prevent the urine from contacting the stuffing.

After the stuffing is out, clean the leather with a deep cleaner like Chamberlain’s Straight Cleaner No. 2. Do not saturate your leather. Instead, use a small amount of cleaner on a sponge or applicator pad and rub in circular motions to avoid streaking.

Take note: we recommend cleaners specifically designed for suede, nubuck, or unfinished leather of any kind if that’s what you have. These leathers are highly receptive to conventional leather care remedies, and will likely be harmed or darken if the wrong leather cleaner or conditioner is used. A good trick is to try your cleaner in a discreet area on your leather and observe its effects before applying it the entire item. You should know that if the urine is not caught very quickly on unfinished leather, the stain will soak into the fibers and cause more problems. If you are lucky enough to catch it quickly, however, clean the entire spill area seam to seam. Turning the entire cushion dark is the best way to keep a urine ring from developing. If your furniture does not have cushions, a local furniture upholster can take the piece apart and get down to the stuffing, where the smell most strongly resides. To find out more about unfinished leather, visit our blog post “Leather Care for Finished and Unfinished Leather Furniture.”

After you have applied leather cleaner on the affected spot, clean out the stuffing with an enzyme or bacteria based cleaner, or a homemade combination cleaning recipe. While you can’t exactly scrub stuffing, you can wash it in the sink or bathtub just like you would for hand-washable apparel. Once the stuffing is cleaned, allow it to dry completely before placing it back inside your leather. The best way to do this is to allow the stuffing to dry outside under sunlight, which helps dissipate the odor more effectively.

Your leather will need to be dried next. Unlike the stuffing, you should avoid drying it under the sun. Sunlight can bleach the surface of your leather, and cause it to harden and crack. Indoor drying in a cool place will suffice. Afterwards, it’s a good idea to restore the leather with some leather conditioner, like Chamberlain's Furniture Treatment no. 5, to safeguard it from further mischief. For boosted protection, you could alternatively use Chamberlain’s Water Protectant No. 3, a heavier, wax and oil based leather conditioner and protector. Take note that Chamberlain's Water Protectant may darken your furniture leather.

Nice Job, You

Have you stopped hyperventilating yet? Good! A day without making a mistake is a day without a lesson learned. And that’s what we here at Chamberlain’s like to call a “really boring day!” So what can be learned? Well, while pet stains can be troublesome to remove, they don’t have to be permanent. Try to figure out why your pet is getting on your clean leather furniture in the first place, and find a way to break this habit. Continued accidents can wind up being costly, but keeping an eye out and planning ahead will help you out dramatically.

Also, don’t forget to let Fido back inside. Poor pup didn’t mean to trouble you, after all. Help him figure out what you want, and you’ll get along just fine.


Anna Woodward
Chris Repp (

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