Help — My Patio Smells Like Pet Urine!


dog on a patio

Back when I smoked, I walked outside one summer morning to try to get a cigarette in before work. I took it out of the pack, put it in my mouth, fired up the lighter and — boom.

All I could smell was the sickly ammonia of dog pee on my back patio. I had to face facts: my patio smelled like urine. To add insult to injury, I didn’t even have a dog at the time!

I did my best to clean up the smell but after a few days, I noticed the aroma of animal pee again. This continued for weeks!

Finally, I got tired of putting a band-aid on the problem and I resolved to permanently fix the issue. After all, animal urine can be dangerous.

The solution was two-fold:

  1. I had to clean (and I mean really clean) the affected area.
  2. I had to stop whatever creature was using my precious patio as a bathroom.

I’m going to share what I learned with you fine folks in hope that no one else has to go through the same type of ordeal.

Find Where the Animal Has Urinated

First, I’d suggest investing a black light to find the affected area and target your cleaning efforts. You most likely won’t need to clean your entire outdoor area to get rid of the smell.

However, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with wanting to clean the entire area. In fact, it may end up being the better choice, as the way we’re cleaning the animal urine will also clean the concrete. This will leave whichever area you clean a few shades brighter than the rest of the patio.

If you decide you want to target your cleaning efforts, I would suggest the following black lights for this purpose (although any will do).

What Neutralizes the Smell of Dog Urine?

One of the biggest problems with cleaning pet urine off of a patio is the fact that concrete is porous.

If an animal decides to wee all over your outdoor space, the urine is going to creep into every nook and cranny it can find in the concrete/pavers. So what should you do?

First, cover the affected area with baking soda. Seriously, use a lot. You don’t want to have to do it twice.

Let the baking soda sit on the patio for about an hour so it can really absorb the odor.

Next, slowly pour or spray white vinegar over the baking soda. You’ll notice that the mixture will start fizzing and bubbling. This is a good thing! The vinegar is neutralizing the ammonia in the animal urine and also reacting with the baking soda to pull the rest of it out of the porous concrete.

Let the chemistry do its work and after the bubbling has stopped, thoroughly rinse the target area with pure water.

But What About Using an Enzyme Spray?

It’s possible that you have a much bigger problem than the one I had a few years back.

In that case, you might consider using an enzyme spray. An enzyme spray will attack the dog’s urine smell at the bacterial level, eradicating the odor and ensuring that it doesn’t come back.

This does more than simply neutralize the ammonia.

I typically advise folks against going to this option first as I prefer more natural approaches. But if your situation is very bad or you don’t want to take any chances, an enzyme spray might be a great alternative to get rid of the urine smell.

Now, Let’s Keep the Critters Off Your Patio

The final step was to make sure that whatever had been urinating on my patio stopped urinating on my patio.

The best way to accomplish this was to make sure they never got on my patio at all. While the vinegar smell would repel some creatures (including cats) for a short time, I needed a more permanent solution.

I didn’t want to hurt the animals at all. Yes, they had made my life a bit more difficult than usual, but I don’t have a vengeful bone in my body.

I’m not going to recommend you use any sort of traps to catch the creatures (although this is an option, albeit a less humane one).

The best way I found to keep animals off my patio is to install two motion detector lights facing out toward my yard. The light gets triggered long before most animals get close to my patio. This tends to freak out most animals, with the exception of raccoons.

Luckily, the raccoons have little interest in using my outdoor space as a bathroom.

Final Thoughts

As far as I’m concerned, there are few things more frustrating than having to deal with an otherwise gorgeous patio that smells like pee.

Hopefully, by sharing my experience, I’ve helped you become more comfortable dealing with your own situation.

Do you have tips I forgot to mention here? Any products you use that might help other gets rid of their own urine smell? Share them in the comments!

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Captain

I'm Chuck (the Captain). I'm passionate about my outdoor space and love sharing my experiences with the world at large. I want Captain Patio to become the best place on the internet to find, share, and learn about all things patio-related. When I'm not keeping up my content schedule, I'm spending time with my wife and two kids (usually on my patio!).

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