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How to Get Dog Pee Smell & Stains Out of Shoes and Boots

Written by: Lindsey Lawson

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

jack russel terrier sniffing shoes

How to Get Dog Pee Smell & Stains Out of Shoes and Boots

Every dog owner expects to experience the hurdle of getting the dog pee smell out of the carpet or flooring at some point, if not on a few occasions. It’s inevitable, you can expect your pooch to pee in the house, especially during the puppy phase when potty training is just beginning.

You may not think about the challenge of getting the dog pee smell out of your footwear until you find yourself in the situation. Thankfully, shoes and boots are a more difficult target for the urine stream of a dog, but that does not mean your shoes are totally out of danger. Let’s check out some ways to get that pee smell (and other odors) off your shoes and boots.


The 11 Ways to Remove Dog Pee Smell from Shoes & Boots

1. Throw Them in the Wash

If you are lucky enough to have machine-washable shoes, this is typically the best way to treat the smell of dog urine. The sooner you get them in the wash, the better. It also won’t hurt to add a little stain-removing spray to your shoes before starting the cycle or even soak them in a mixture of cold water and detergent for up to 30 minutes before throwing them in. Make sure to use the cold cycle and wash according to the instructions on your shoes. The hot cycle can make the urine smell worse. Unfortunately, this won’t be an option for all shoes.

shoes in washing machine
Image Credit: Pixabay

2. Shoe Cleaner

There are a variety of different shoe-cleaning products and shoe-cleaning kits on the market today. Some of the cleaning kits will even come with scrub brushes that are perfect for getting right into the shoe. Make sure you look for a cleanser that removes stains and odors, and ensure you have rinsed all the urine out of your shoes before you start the cleaning process.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the most powerful odor neutralizers you can use. This powerful, odorless white powder can absorb odors, not just mask them. Due to the pH in baking soda, when used to fight against mostly acidic odors, the reaction between the two neutralizes the unpleasant smells. Use approximately 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water and gently scrub your shoe. In addition to odor elimination, it can also help whiten shoes that have been stained yellow with urine. If you are using this option on leather, try adding a leather conditioner to finish it off.

Baking Soda
Image Credit: Monfocus, Pixabay

4. Vinegar

Another powerful cleaner and odor neutralizer is vinegar. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, but most opt for white vinegar since it is clear, making it a more versatile cleaner. You simply use one part white vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle, shake it well, and spray it as needed to get the odors right out of your shoes.

In addition to being a powerful odor neutralizer, the acidic composition of vinegar is powerful enough to kill bacteria and dissolve mineral deposits, dirt, and grease. You can even add some baking soda to the mixture to give it a more powerful punch to knock out that urine smell. As with the baking soda, if you use this mixture on leather, make sure to have some leather conditioner available.

5. Dish Soap

Another option for getting that nasty urine smell out of your shoes is dish soap. All you need is some dish soap, some water, and a gentle brush. Not only will this help with odor, but it can also help with stain removal and overall cleanliness. Dish soap will cause a lot of suds, so a little bit will go a long way. You may have to repeat the cleaning process a few times to get results on set-in odors, but this simple hack is worth a try!

dish soap
Image Credit: Jim Barber, Shutterstock

6. Pet Urine Stain Removers

Many different cleaners are designed specifically for pet urine odor and stains. There is no harm in dragging out these cleaners and giving them a go on your shoes. Be careful of the harsh chemicals in some of these products, as you do not want to cause more damage to your shoes. Make sure you rinse well, as the chemicals can also cause skin irritation.

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7. Try Deodorizers

If you have the cleaning part taken care of but still cannot seem to fully eliminate the smell of urine in your shoes, try a shoe deodorizer. There are three main types of shoe deodorizers, including sprays, powders, and shoe inserts. Some products are even made using baking soda, which we know is a great odor eliminator. The options are endless, and this is worth a try, even if you simply want to refresh the inside of your shoes.

Cleaning spray
Image Credit: Polina Tankilevitch, Pexels

8. Freeze Them

Yes, you read that right. After you are finished with the cleaning process, try sticking your shoes inside of a plastic bag, then place them in the freezer overnight. This is not to be used in place of thorough cleaning, but it can help get control of the urine smell. Bacteria and odors breed in warm, dark places, like the inside of your shoes. Placing them in the freezer will help kill the bacteria and prevent the odor from worsening.

9. For Leather, Try Saddle Soap

A highly recommended option for those with leather boots and shoes is the use of saddle soap. Saddle soap is meant for use on horse saddles. These saddles are made of thick, well-oiled leather though and the saddle soap is designed to clean, protect, and condition leather. Having some olive oil or additional leather conditioner is recommended to replenish the natural oil after cleaning since saddle soap is an astringent that pulls the oils from the leather.

10. Consult a Professional

If you have tried different methods to no avail and still don’t want to give up on your favorite pair, try contacting a professional cleaner. There are still professional shoe repair shops in most larger cities, and it is worth checking out if the cost of cleaning is cheaper than the cost of replacing the shoes altogether.

11. Go Shoe Shopping

If all else fails, you can always shop online or go into your local shoe store for a new pair of shoes or boots. Urine is a very strong smell and the longer it has had time to set into the shoe, the less likely you will be to fully eliminate the smell. It’s not like we need an excuse to buy more shoes, but a legitimate reason never hurt anyone.

shoes display
Image Credit: Pixabay


Why Does My Dog Pee on My Shoes?

Knowing why your dog is peeing on your shoes can help you get ahead of the problem and possibly prevent it from happening in the first place. We will take a closer look into some potential reasons why your dog may be exhibiting this behavior.

Submissive Urination

Submissive urination is one of the more likely reasons your shoes are falling victim to your dog’s urination habits simply because this happens as an uncontrollable response to a person or another dog they view as dominant. Submissive urination is most seen in puppies but can happen in dogs of any age. The reason why your dog is experiencing this behavior can vary.

This response is instinctual and happens when they feel anxious or fearful and wish to show you, they are submitting to your dominance. There are some different methods you can try to help put an end to this behavior. It’s always best to contact your veterinarian for further guidance and to rule out any health issues.

Signs of Submissive Urination
  • A response to loud or angry tones of voice
  • When being greeted by their owner or a stranger
  • When they are being greeted by another dog
  • When there are loud, uncomfortable noises in the surrounding environment (sirens, fireworks, gunfire)
  • When there is tense energy such as an argument within the household or they are being scolded for wrongdoing
  • Urination in addition to a submissive posture such as crouching low to the ground, tucking their tail between their legs, flattening their ears to their head, or rolling over and exposing the belly
Puppy Dog Pee Rug
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Excitement Urination

Excitement urination can often be confused with submissive urination but in this case, the signs of submission will be absent. Some dogs will not have enough control to prevent urination when they get overly excited. This behavior is typically observed in puppies but can also happen to dogs of any age.

Signs of Excitement Urination
  • Urination when greeted with high energy and excited tone of voice
  • Urination when being pet or when eye contact has been made
  • Urination when displaying happy, excited behaviors such as tail wagging, partially opened mouth, high energy, or joyous behavior


Your dog peeing in your shoes, or anywhere else in the house, could be due to their age. If you have a young puppy and are currently going through the potty-training phase, you must understand that they cannot hold their bladder for the same length of time as an older dog.

Puppies cannot go long periods without bathroom breaks. During this phase of life, it is recommended to crate train your puppy and never leave them unsupervised for long periods.

Marking Territory

Your shoes could be falling victim to urination that is due to territorial reasons. Your dog may simply be marking your shoes (among other things) to mark their territory. This behavior is most often observed in unaltered male dogs and if occurring suddenly as unusual behavior, could be due to a recent change in environment.


Health issues can cause sudden changes in urination habits. Many different underlying health conditions could be the reason for this. Urinary incontinence can happen for a variety of reasons, which is why it is important to contact your veterinarian to get your dog evaluated and rule out any potential health concerns.

Dog Pee Rug
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock


Behavioral issues such as separation anxiety could be the reason your dog is using the bathroom in the house. Separation anxiety is a common issue in dogs that is a direct result of intense fear and anxiety when separated from their person or family for any amount of time. This can be prevented with proper training and socialization from an early age but can be difficult to break. There are treatment options available for separation anxiety and it is important to contact your veterinarian for assistance in dealing with this behavior, as you will need to rule out any other causes as well.



The good news is that you do have plenty of options for getting the dog urine smell out of your shoes. Different methods like baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap can all be easily found in most kitchens without a special trip to the store. Thankfully, most options are low in price and simple to do. Worst case scenario, you may have to replace your shoes.

Overall, getting to the root of your dog’s urination behavior is key to a happier, odor-free home. Always reach out to your veterinarian with any questions about your dog’s overall physical and behavioral health.

Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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