If you’ve ever cleaned a pee-stained mattress or chair, you know the power of a good detergent. So it should come as no surprise that many brands claim to be the best laundry detergent for removing pee stains. We tested 10 popular detergents and found some good options for removing pee stains from fabrics. If you have a high-efficiency (HE) machine and are making cold-wash only detergent, check out our list of the best cold-wash only detergents for removing pee stains.
|1||TYLER Gallon Glam Wash Laundry Detergent||9.2|
|2||Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Laundry Detergent||9.0|
|3||Tide PODS Laundry Detergent Soap Pods||8.6|
|4||Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean Clean Meadow||8.4|
|5||Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent||8.3|
Why Human Urine Smell: What Science Tells Us
Before learning the mechanism behind urine odor removal, we need to learn why it smells in the first place. Let’s start!
Urine contains urea, which is an odourless solid. Our bodies use it to get rid of ammonia, which comes from the proteins we eat. Different compounds can make urine smell different.
Ammonia has a strong smell and trimethylamine has a fishy smell. As urea breaks down, new compounds form that make urine smell worse over time. That’s why old pee smells worse than freshly made pee!
How Laundry Detergents Come to the Rescue?
One word, Surfactants!
Laundry detergents that we have listed are able to do this because they contain surfactants, which break down the oils found in most bodily fluids, including urine.
These surfactants bind with the proteins in urine and other materials, allowing them to be washed away with water.
Additionally, some of these detergents also contain enzymes that break down the molecules in urine and other stains so they can be washed away more easily.
After washing with our recommended laundry detergents, air-drying items in direct sunlight can also help further eliminate any odors that remain.
The Approach We Took for Testing
After I collected all the samples, I washed several loads of my own laundry using the laundry detergent samples. I used one detergent at a time, and I used a combination of synthetic and cotton fabrics.
In addition to my own laundry, I washed some old rags and some child-size pajamas. These items are perfect for detecting lingering odors because they are flat and made of tightly woven fabric.
When I was done, I asked my team members to smell each load, as well as the rags and clothes left out on our drying racks.
I gave the samples another round of tests in March 2017—and this time, I added a few more stain removers to the lineup to see how they compared.
TYLER Gallon Glam Wash Laundry Detergent
The Glam Wash’s gentle, low-suds formula will clean most fabrics effectively without damaging them. And this detergent’s fragrances—lavender, jasmine, and sandalwood—smell great and last longer than the competition’s.
This detergent has a soft, floral smell that’s lovely and soothing, and the fragrance seems to linger longer than that of other detergents we’ve tried.
We found it worked well on all kinds of laundry, from heavy towels and blankets to delicate gowns, linens, and underwear. The one downside is that the Tyler Glam Wash can be hard to find in stores—except for the chain of stores that carries it.
Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Laundry Detergent
The Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Liquid Laundry Detergent is the most effective detergent we tested: It cleaned our test stains better than all competitors.
It’s gentle on clothes and has a concentrated formula (one bottle makes 64 loads of laundry). It’s made with plant-derived cleaning agents, dirt-fighting enzymes, and other thoughtful, plant-based ingredients.
Like most detergents, it’s free of harsh chemicals, free of fragrances and dyes, and biodegradable.
The Mrs. Meyer’s brand makes a variety of other sprays, scrubs, and soaps that all smell like, you guessed it, lavender, and they’re all free of the fragrances, dyes, and chemicals that many other cleaning products contain.
These products are all cruelty-free and certified by the Leaping Bunny.
Tide PODS Laundry Detergent Soap Pods
If you’re looking for a simple, effective way to remove the stink from laundry, then you should give Tide Pods a try. This year, we were impressed by the way the pods left our test items, including human-urine-soaked cloths, smelling fresh, despite the fact that we used cold water to wash them.
The pods in this line are extra-concentrated detergent, stain removers, and extra-strength odor fighters all rolled into one. They dissolve completely, even in cold water, and work in all washing machines.
In our blind testing, we loved the way Tide’s Spring Meadow scent made our laundry smell, and we found the brand’s pods to be the most effective at removing stains. This year, Tide is the only brand to earn the highest score for cleaning in our real-world tests.
Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean Clean Meadow
If you don’t want to experiment with different laundry detergents and don’t mind using a more expensive product, the liquid Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean detergent offers a lot of advantages over the competition. This concentrated liquid, which is formulated with twice the cleaning power of the prior version, should last you about a year, even if you do multiple loads of laundry each week.
It also uses less water than the leading bargain brand, which means that you can expect all of the power-packed stain fighters and cleaning power every drop.
We found that it cleaned more than 101 different stains, including grass and mud, food stains, oil and grease, and more. And in our lab tests, the liquid detergents in this line were much more effective than the competition at removing tough stains.
The Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean variety also offers the perks of a fresh-smelling scent and a low-sudsing formula that works well with both standard and high-efficiency washers.
Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent
If you’re looking for a great deal on a laundry detergent that doesn’t sacrifice cleaning power, our top-pick detergent, Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent, Clean Burst, is for you. It’s formulated with two times the cleaning agents of our other picks, but it’s also less expensive.
It uses less water, too, so you’ll end up with a cleaner, more fragrant load of laundry with every bottle. In our tests, this detergent was a winner at removing tough stains, and the resulting laundry was left smelling fresh and clean.
Our panel of scent-sensitive testers also liked the clean-but-not-overwhelming scent of this detergent. And because it’s formulated with a low-suds formula, it’s safe to use in all machines, including high-efficiency machines. In our tests, it worked well in cold water, and it’s also the least expensive detergent that we tested.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying
We conducted hours of research and spoke with experts in the field to find out which laundry detergents actually work best at removing human pee stains. We also read through a lot of customer reviews online.
In our research, we looked for detergents that were:
Safe To Use
We looked for products that didn’t contain any potentially harmful ingredients such as bleach, enzymes (which can cause skin irritation), optical brighteners, or bleach-like compounds known as surfactants.
We did take into account customer reviews that complained of skin irritation or other issues, but we prioritized tools that didn’t pose a direct health risk.
We looked for detergents that would eliminate urine odor without scrubbing. Some of these products come in very strong concentrations—some brands have an extremely pungent ammonia smell; others are almost odorless—but we prioritized those with a potent punch.
Laundry boosters also often have a more powerful scent than traditional detergents.
Frequently Asked Questions
What laundry detergent is the most effective at removing human urine odor?
Tide Ultra Stain Release Free Liquid Laundry Detergent is the most effective laundry detergent at removing human urine odor. It is specially formulated to tackle tough stains, including urine, and to eliminate odors from clothing.
Is there a laundry detergent specifically designed to tackle human urine odor?
Yes, there are laundry detergents specifically designed to tackle human urine odor. Some products include Tide Odor Rescue, OxiClean Odor Blasters, and Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
Are there any natural ingredients that can be used to eliminate human urine odor in laundry?
Yes, there are several natural ingredients that can be used to eliminate human urine odor in laundry. Some of the most commonly used natural ingredients include baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, and borax.
Are there any additional steps that should be taken to ensure complete removal of human urine odor from laundry?
Yes, additional steps can be taken to ensure complete removal of human urine odor from laundry. These steps include soaking the laundry in a solution of water and baking soda, white vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide, washing the laundry twice in hot water with a strong detergent, and adding a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Additionally, using a deodorizing product specifically designed for urine odor removal can help to neutralize odors. Finally, air-drying the laundry outdoors can help to further remove any remaining odors.
Are there any detergents that are safe for sensitive skin and still effective at removing human urine odor?
Yes, there are detergents that are safe for sensitive skin and still effective at removing human urine odor. Look for products that contain natural, biodegradable ingredients with no dyes or fragrances.
Baking soda is also a great natural odor eliminator. For an extra boost, you can add essential oils to your detergent to help reduce the smell of urine.