Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

How to Remove Urine Smell from Elderly Clothes

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By Odua Images/

Bathroom accidents happen, and they’re especially common for older adults. Whether they can’t make it to the toilet in time, or can’t aim as well as they used to, seniors may get urine on clothing like their favorite pair of elastic waist pants. When that happens, fast action is needed, as any kind of stain (including urine) is easier to remove while still wet. Here is our guide to removing urine stains and odor from elderly clothing:

What Neutralizes the Smell of Urine?

To effectively neutralize the smell from urine-stained clothes, several common household items can be very effective. Baking soda is a powerful option, as it absorbs the unpleasant odor. Sprinkling baking soda directly on the urine stain before laundering can significantly reduce the smell. Additionally, laundry detergent, especially those formulated with enzymes, is excellent for breaking down the urine in both warm water and cold water. 

Vinegar is another helpful household item; adding a cup of white vinegar to the laundry can help eliminate the smell by neutralizing the urine’s acidity. These items combined create a potent cleaning solution that addresses the stubborn odors in urine-stained clothes effectively. For more removal tips, continue reading! 

4 Tips for Removing All Stains from Elderly Clothing

  1. Read the laundering instructions for each garment before attempting to remove any stains. Using the wrong stain remover can bleach the garment or cause the fabric to weaken. If you’re not sure if the stain remover will work, conduct a spot test on a hidden portion of the garment before using it on the stain.
  2. Don’t mix harsh chemicals when treating stains, as they can react together in adverse ways — only use one at a time. For example, if you treat a stain with ammonia, don’t wash it with bleach.
  3. Let stain remover sit a minimum of 10 minutes before laundering. For bad stains, you can let the remover sit for up to 30 minutes. The chemicals need time to break down the stain, so don’t just spray the garment and then immediately toss it into the wash.
  4. For stubborn stains, you might need to repeat the cycle of spot treating and washing the garment more than once. Don’t dry the garment until the stain has been completely removed, as drying the garment will set the stain.

Browse Elastic Waist Pants

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How to Remove Urine Odor from Elderly Clothes

  1. Blot away any excess urine using a paper towel or a used rag. Don’t press too hard though, as this can cause the stain to spread.
  2. If the stain is still wet, rinse the garment in the hottest water possible to wash away some of the excess urine in the fabric.
  3. Treat the stain with a dedicated urine remover and let it sit according to the package directions.
  4. Wash the garment using the hottest water the fabric can handle.
  5. Check the garment for stains and smells. If it still smells, run it through the wash again, adding a half cup of baking soda in addition to the detergent. If the stain is still visible, treat it with the stain remover again and let it sit for longer.
  6. Once you are satisfied that the stain and smell have been removed, dry the garment according to the instructions on the tag.
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Alternatives for Removing Urine Stains from Elderly Clothes

If the urine remover and baking soda don’t work, or you don’t have these products on hand, here are some alternatives that you can explore instead:

  • White vinegar is an excellent, all-natural solution for all kinds of stains. For really stubborn stains, you can let the nursing home clothing soak in a vinegar solution overnight. You can also add a cup of vinegar to the washing machine (without detergent), run the load and then wash it again with detergent.
  • Ammonia is a very potent odor remover and works well on bath towels, sheets and other linens. Add one cup to the load in place of bleach, alongside whatever detergent you are using. Ammonia is also great for breaking down hard water deposits, waxy residue from dryer sheets and more.
  • Borax is another solution for removing odors and smells that was once a go-to household cleaner and has recently been regaining popularity. Like bleach, it can hurt the skin if it comes in contact with it, and it can be harmful if ingested or inhaled, so it should be kept out of reach of children. Add half a cup of borax to each wash load, and enjoy your fresh smelling clothes.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is another household staple that can be used to treat stains. You can pour or spray the hydrogen peroxide on the stain in order to lighten it. You can also add one cup to your wash load in place of bleach to brighten the whole load.

Shop New Nursing Home Clothing

Being proactive about stain and odor removal will keep your clothes for senior women and men looking and smelling good for a long time. And if you’ve dried your clothing too many times and the stains are now set, you can find replacements here at Silverts. Order more than $20 of clothing and get free shipping in the contiguous U.S.!


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