Rabbits are often clean animals. They can be litter box trained just like cats, and they prefer to keep their mess in one or two spots. However, accidents can happen. Whether your rabbit is spraying urine, misses the litter box, or just decides to use a new corner as their bathroom, you may find that you need to clean urine stains every once in a while.
Rabbit urine can be removed from most surfaces using pure white vinegar or a diluted white vinegar solution. Tough or dried stains may need some time to soak, or they will require the use of stronger chemical cleaners. The steps you take to clean rabbit urine will depend on the type of surface that is stained.
The sooner you clean a urine stain, the better. If you find your rabbit’s pee directly after they urinated, you will be able to completely clean it with no stain and minimal elbow grease. However, if left for a long time, rabbit urine can cause significant damage. In severe cases, it can cause permanent stains on carpets or eat through varnish on wooden floors causing the wood underneath to rot. Use these tips to prevent your rabbit urine stains from causing permanent damage.
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The secret to cleaning urine stains: White vinegar
I do not know any product that is better at cleaning urine stains than plain old white vinegar. You can get a large bottle of this pretty cheaply at your local grocery store and make your own effective cleaning solution. Vinegar is also safe for rabbits to ingest, so you don’t have to worry about your rabbit licking spots where you’ve used this DIY cleaning solution.
To make a white vinegar cleaning solution, add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water to a spray bottle and shake it up. If you need a stronger solution for a tough stain, add more vinegar and less water to increase the concentration. Personally, I hate the smell of vinegar, so I will also add 10-20 drops of citrus oil to my cleaning spray. This gives it a much nicer scent when using it to clean.
If you don’t want to create your own cleaning solution, I recommend using Fizzion Stain Remover. I’ve used this product in the past, and it’s worked very well for me at removing urine stains from the carpet. It’s a pet-safe stain remover that also works to remove the scent of the urine. It’s very similar to a white vinegar cleaning product but smells a little better. However, I have not tested this spray on hardwood floors, so I cannot promise it will be effective on wooden surfaces.
Cleaning rabbit urine stains from the carpet or couch
Cleaning urine stains from a carpet or cloth material, such as a sofa or cushioned chair, is actually pretty easy. Obviously, the quicker you can clean up after your rabbit, the easier it will be to remove the stain completely. However, I’ve even managed to clean an old, dried stain my rabbit left under my bed that must have been there for many months before I found it.
- Soak up the urine if you can. If you catch your rabbit in the act, then the urine spot will still be wet. You want to soak up as much of the urine as you can using a towel or washcloth. This will prevent the stain from spreading.
- Spray with the cleaning spray. Next, spray the vinegar solution over the urine spot to cover and soak the area.
- Wait 5-10 minutes. You want to give the cleaning solution time to break up the chemical in the urine, so let it soak for a few minutes. This will also help the vinegar neutralize the smell in the area, preventing your rabbit from urinating in the same spot again.
- Blot up the stain. Using a dry towel or washcloth, rub the urine spot to remove the stain.
- For tough stains, repeat adding baking soda. If the stain does not come out after the first try, repeat the process. Before you spray the vinegar this time, sprinkle some baking soda onto the stain for extra cleaning power.
Cleaning rabbit urine from hardwood floors
If you catch your rabbit in the act, urine is easy to clean out of hardwood floors. Unfortunately, if left to sit on wooden floors for a long time, rabbit pee can be challenging to clean and even do some significant damage.
Rabbit urine has a high concentration of ammonia that will eventually start eating away at the varnish underneath. In the worst cases where urine has been sitting on the floor for a long time, it can even begin to rot the wood beneath. This is most common in areas below a rabbit enclosure or litter box where urine can seep and sit for long periods of time. You will likely have to refinish or completely replace the hardwood flooring in these cases.
However, a small stain on a wood floor can be removed, or at least reduced, using our white vinegar solution. For stubborn urine spots, you can use hydrogen peroxide to reduce the appearance of the stain. However, I recommend testing this on an indiscrete section of the flooring first to ensure the hydrogen peroxide does not damage the hardwood underneath.
- Wipe off the top layer of urine using a vinegar solution. If your rabbit just peed, this may prevent any stain from forming at all. If the urine has been sitting for a while or has dried, cleaning the top layer will allow you to see the extent of the damage done.
- Spray again, let the vinegar sit for 5 minutes, and wipe it up. If the floor is stained, spray the vinegar solution over the entire area. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to work at dissolving the chemicals in the urine. If the stain does not come out, repeat this step 3-5 times before moving on.
- If the wood is stained, use 3% hydrogen peroxide. Be careful to use only 3% hydrogen peroxide since a stronger solution is more likely to damage the floor. It’s always best to test this on a small portion of your hardwood flooring before using this method.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the stain. Baking soda can interact with hydrogen peroxide to more effectively remove stains, so sprinkle an ample amount over the urine spot.
- Soak a rag in hydrogen peroxide. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Then soak a rag or washcloth in the hydrogen peroxide solution. Wring out the cloth to remove the excess cleaning solution.
- Place it on top of the stain and let it sit for a few hours. Place the damp cloth directly on top of the stain. Let it sit for several hours to allow the hydrogen peroxide to do its work at removing the stain.
- Remove the rag and wipe off the floor. After 2-3 hours, remove the cloth and wipe down the area.
- Repeat if necessary. If the stain remains, you can repeat the process a few times for better results. If it still doesn’t work, then you may need to sand and restain the wood flooring to remove the urine spot.
Removing urine stains from a plastic rabbit cage or litter box
Stains on a litter box or the floor of a plastic rabbit enclosure are often difficult to clean. They are created from a buildup of urine over time and create tough spots of urine scaling. To clean these, you will want to use pure white vinegar (rather than your watered-down solution), and you will want to let the stain soak for a number of hours. You can also use baking soda to help with more difficult stains.
Because you will need to allow the plastic objects to soak for many hours, you’ll want to have an extra litter box, or temporary cage prepared. Your rabbit may need to stay in this new setup overnight, so make sure it is secure.
- Clean out the cage or litter box. First, make sure you want to clean your rabbit’s cage or litter box as best you can using traditional scrubbing methods.
- Pour a 1-2 inch layer of vinegar. Use pure white vinegar, and pour a 1-2 inch layer on the bottom of the cage or litter box. You may want to do this in the bathroom to avoid making a large mess.
- Let it sit for a couple of hours. Let the vinegar sit for several hours to work away at the urine stains. For tough spots, you can even leave the vinegar to soak overnight.
- Scrub with a rough sponge or brush. After it’s had time to soak, you’re going to need to use some elbow grease. Use a sponge or scrubbing brush to clean the stained areas.
- For tough stains, repeat adding baking soda. If there are still some stains that you cannot remove, rinse the litter box or plastic cage out. Then, add a layer of baking soda over the stained areas before repeating the process.
- Rinse and dry. Once the stained areas have been removed, rinse it out with water and dry it thoroughly. Now you can give the litter box back to your rabbit to use or set up their enclosure.
Removing urine stains from clothing and bedding
If rabbits have access to your pet or a pile of laundry, it’s not uncommon for them to decide to urinate in these areas. Since these tend to be places that smell like us, the rabbit will have an increased need to claim the areas by adding their own scent.
- Soak up urine if the stain is fresh. If you caught your rabbit in the act, you can reduce the chance of staining and spreading by soaking up as much of the urine you can with a towel or washcloth.
- Spray with cleaning spray. Use the vinegar cleaning spray on any soiled clothing or bedding sheets.
- Wait 5-10 minutes. Give the solution a few minutes to work on the urine stain.
- Blot up the stain. Use a separate dry washcloth or towel to rub and blot up as much of the stain as you can.
- Place the items in the washing machine. Place the soiled articles into the washing machine to clean them thoroughly. It’s best if you can do this before the vinegar dries completely.
- For tough stains, add bleach or a color-safe stain remover. In some cases, if you don’t catch the urine spot right away, you may need to use stronger stain-removing chemicals. Follow the instructions for the bleach or color-safe stain remover you are using.
How to prevent rabbits from peeing everywhere
Now that you’ve cleaned up the urine stains that your rabbit left behind, you’ll want to do what you can to prevent this from happening again. You’ll want to make sure your rabbit is litter trained, but sometimes this isn’t enough to avoid accidents and spraying behaviors. If you’re struggling to prevent your rabbit from peeing in areas they shouldn’t, try some of these tips:
- Spay or neuter your rabbit. Most of the time, rabbits will stop spraying once they are spayed or neutered. This can also solve aggressive behavioral problems in rabbits.
- Provide extra litter trays. If your rabbit has certain spots that they return to and use as a bathroom, try adding extra litter boxes to these areas to encourage your rabbits to use them. You can also add mats under the litter boxes to prevent your rabbit from urinating over the side and staining the floor.
- Keep your rabbit off the bed and sofa. Beds and couches smell a lot like us because we tend to spend a lot of time in these areas. This means they are common areas for rabbits to spray and add in their scent to the space.
- Use puppy pee pads. If all else fails, you can purchase some reusable puppy pee pads. Place these on the floor in common areas where your rabbit urinates. You can then wash and reuse the pee pads whenever an accident occurs without worrying about staining the floor.