How To Clean Dog Urine From a Concrete Patio

Your enjoyment of a concrete patio can be ruined by urine stains or unpleasant dog urine odor. Unfortunately, dogs are not particularly fussy about where they pee, and a patio is often a handy place for them to do it. Urine stains concrete badly and seep into it deeply. In this article, you’ll learn how to clean dog urine from a concrete patio.

Can I Use My Usual Household Cleaning Products?

As you have possibly discovered by now, conventional cleaning products on their own are ineffective long term at urine stain removal from concrete, and sometimes they make urine odors worse by “setting” the urine into the concrete. You might use household cleaning products and think the urine smell has gone, particularly during dry weather, but when moisture gets into your concrete patio, the odor can come back, sometimes more pungent than it was before. This is because the uric acid releases a gas when it comes into contact with moisture, and the gas causes the smell.

Since concrete is porous, it soaks up the urine liquid. When the concrete dries, the uric acid crystals in the urine bond to the concrete. As they are insoluble, they remain attached to the concrete. They will not bind with regular soaps and cleaning products that do not break down the uric acid crystals.

How Do I Remove The Urine?

Firstly you need to find all the spots where urine might be on your concrete patio. Sometimes this is easy if you know your dog only pees in a particular place. If you have recently moved into the house, have a new pet who pees in different locations, or are not confident you know exactly where the urine is, you will need to be careful to identify all the urine locations on the concrete.

The best solution is to obtain a blacklight, which is a type of UV light. Remove your patio furniture and scan the concrete patio carefully in sections. Old urine stains will show up as green, yellow, or blue marks. As liquid can spread through concrete, make sure you do a thorough scan of the patio. It is worth scanning the walls and sides of the patio too. Marking the spots you find with chalk can help you remember the locations.

Sometimes the blacklight does not show any stains, even though the urine odors are present. You may have to resort to crouching down on the concrete and using your nose to identify the areas where the smell is coming from. An option many people take up is to decide to clean and treat all areas of the concrete patio to ensure no area of pet urine is missed.

The Solution

In the next few sections, we’ll be covering, in detail, how to clean dog urine stains on a concrete patio.

Cleaning the Concrete

Having found the location of the dog urine on the concrete patio, remove any debris. Then:

  • Scrub the area thoroughly with a mixture of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water. Add 1/2 cup of TSP per gallon of hot water. You will need to wear eye protection and gloves. Make sure other pets and children do not have access to the patio while you are doing this.
  • Pour the hot mixture onto the locations you have identified on your patio and scrub with a deck brush to work the TSP mixture into the concrete. Do this in one area at a time (about three square feet), because the mixture will evaporate quickly. Keep the area you are scrubbing wet for 10 minutes, or more so the liquid soaks into the concrete. You may find the urine smell gets worse because of the gas released by the uric acid crystals as the liquid reaches them.

The TSP is effective at removing all the bacteria, and a lot of the dog urine stain left on your concrete. It does not remove the uric acid crystals, which are removed in a later step through an enzymatic pet urine cleaner.

  • When you have scrubbed the concrete, and the area has been kept wet for at least 10 minutes, pour clean hot water over the area to rinse the concrete. Use a wet-vac or carpet cleaner to remove the water. Repeat this two or three times and let the concrete dry completely, preferably for 24 hours. This process gets rid of the TSP mixture and helps remove any other pet urine left in the concrete.

Repeat the whole cleaning process for every area of dog urine you have identified on your patio. If the TSP mixture leaves areas of your patio looking whiter than other parts, you might need to repeat the process for all your patio to get a consistent look. This is also an option if you want to be sure you do not miss any of the urine locations.

  • (Alternatively) You could use hydrogen peroxide. You will need two cups of this, mixed with two teaspoons of baking soda and a little dish soap. Pour this over the stained/smelly areas of the patio, or all of it if you want to be sure you cover everything and leave to soak.
  • If you prefer not to use TSP or hydrogen peroxide as you want to use something with fewer chemicals, you can use baking soda and vinegar instead. Mix two parts vinegar with one part hot water and use the same process as outlined above for TSP. Sometimes vinegar reacts with the alkaline in the concrete and results in marks or patterns, so use it first in a test area.

Treat The Stains With Enzymatic Cleaner

After cleaning, you will need to treat your patio with an enzymatic cleaner. This uses ‘good’ bacteria, which produce enzymes to break down the uric acid crystals. The bacteria digest the resulting smaller pieces of the crystals and break them down into carbon dioxide and water.

Check the mixing instructions carefully on the enzymatic product you buy and pour some of the cleaner onto a small area of your concrete (about three square feet). Use a deck brush to scrub the product into the concrete and leave it for at least 10 minutes, so the concrete has plenty of chance to absorb the solution. You may need to do this again on heavily stained or very smelly areas.

Repeat the process on any other areas of the concrete, or all of it, if you want to be sure you do not miss any urine locations. Cover the areas or whole patio with tarpaulin to slow down evaporation and allow the solution to penetrate into the concrete. Leave to dry at least overnight – longer is better if possible. You do not need to rinse off the solution. Keep pets and children away from the area.

Leaving it at least overnight is important to ensure it has time to work. Just leaving it on for a couple of hours will not do the trick. This type of cleaner should get rid of any stubborn smells, even if the pet urine got into the concrete a long time ago.

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Seal The Concrete

While this step is optional, sealing the concrete patio is a good idea. It will prevent future urine messes from getting into the concrete by putting a protective coating on top. This also helps your concrete patio last longer and can even improve its appearance.

Wash and rinse the concrete and allow it to dry completely for 24 hours. If the area is not dry, the sealer will not stick to the concrete properly. Patch up any cracks in the concrete if you need to. Then apply the sealer according to the instructions, ensuring you wear gloves and a face mask. Long-sleeved trousers and shirts are recommended, so the sealer does not come into contact with your skin. Depending on the type of sealer, you will either apply it with a roller or a sprayer. Usually, oil-based sealers are sprayed on, and water-based sealers are applied using a roller.

It is probably easiest to apply the sealer in sections. You may want to use two or more coats of sealer, allowing each coat to dry before the next. You need to allow about three or four days before using the patio again.

There are various sealers you can choose, which will give different effects, and colors, depending on the look you want. To get the best out of the sealer, wash the concrete from time to time. If there are areas that have worn down, you could reapply the sealer after washing. You can use soap and water to wash the concrete. The sealer will not last indefinitely. You will ideally need to reapply it every few years.

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Can I Stop My Dog Urinating On The Concrete?

Even if you have gone through the process described above, you will probably prefer that your pet does not pee on your concrete patio. Dogs will smell their urine and return there to do it again.

If possible, make the patio area out of bounds to your dog, or unattractive to your pet. You could use temporary fencing to block it off. Or try motion detector lights, which will be triggered before your dog gets to the patio, providing he is approaching it from your yard. If he is in the house, you will need to restrict his access to the patio.

See where else in your yard your dog pees and choose one of those spots to focus on. If he has not already got any particular places, choose one yourself that seems suitable. It should have enough space for him to do his business in — a larger dog will need a bigger space than a small dog. Choose a place where you think your dog will feel comfortable. Make sure the area is clean, as your dog will not want to relieve himself in a place that is dirty or full of his own droppings, so clean up after he uses it. You will need patience and be prepared to supervise your dog peeing while you are training him. It can take around six weeks for the training to reap results.

Take your pet to the designated pee spot on the leash every time he needs to pee. Most dogs give off signals when they need to relieve themselves – usually spinning around, pacing, or sniffing. Learn to recognize the signs. Talk to him in a friendly manner to make him feel relaxed and wait at the spot until he has done his business. Give him some privacy and try not to stare at him as he may feel uncomfortable. Once he has peed, give him a treat, and praise him. Only reward him when he has peed in the correct area, so he associates the peeing with the reward. It is also a good idea to take him for a walk after he has peed in the right place, so the dog remembers the sequence of events. If he feels happy after peeing in a particular place, he will be more likely to remember that this is the correct area to pee.

You could also wipe some of his pee from the previous time on the designated spot, so your dog smells it and recognizes that this is the right place to pee.

Final Thoughts

If your dog pees in the wrong place, even if he pees on the patio, don’t punish him by hitting him or scolding him. He will not understand, and it will be counterproductive. It could also make your dog afraid of you. Just clean up the mess and move on. Your dog will soon realize that going in the right place brings rewards in the form of food or a walk, or something else fun, and will be more likely to go in the correct area.