HELP with ancient urine stain that won't come out!

sshrivastavaSeptember 5, 2011

Hello everyone,

Over the weekend I discovered two very old, ancient urine stains on a somewhat low quality Ikea duvet cover. The item was in a hardly used guest room and I never noticed the stains until yesterday. One of my cats must be very proud of his or her accomplishment! The stains are clearly at least a year old - no odor, just an impossible yellow stain that won't come out. I've tried everything... soaking the stain in pure hydrogen peroxide w/ a teaspoon of detergent and enzyme booster added. No effect. I soaked it in a hot solution of sodium percarbonate. No effect. I washed the item at 140 F using Tide HE w/ Bleach powder with sodium percarbonate and enzyme boosters. No effect. I soaked the stain in vinegar. No effect.

Nothing I try does anything to fade the stain. It's almost like the yellow has bonded with the cotton and changed its fundamental color. The fabric acts as if it has been dyed, rather than as a normal stained fabric where the stain can be removed. I feel like I've tried everything... does anyone have any suggestions?

And for my own peace of mind, I need to disclaim to everyone that I have a very clean house and was horrified at the discovery. I adopted an injured outdoor cat about a year ago, and she adopted this room as her own. I suspect she peed there a couple of times out of insecurity or due to the change to being an indoor cat. Just two spots. But I'm just mortified having to post about this in public!

If I can't clean the duvet cover I will probably just use it as a workshop towel or pet bedding, but I'd like to exhaust all possibilities first. Thanks everyone!

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Try using the full dose of detergent! Just kidding, of course, because I know you always do!

I would try a long soak (24-hours or more) in a strong solution of Borax or washing soda. (Usual "test first in hidden place caution".)

It may also be that the pH of the urine has long-since reacted (unfavorably) with the dyes and/or fabric and nothing will shift it.

There are some proprietary products sold for removing old, set-in, pet stains, Nature's Miracle and Get Serious are two I use. I think they both claim satisfaction, or refund. But at least one says use it first, and therefore might try to weasel on those grounds if unsuccessful.

I am sorry you have stress over revealing an old, previously unnoticed, pet stain. As you might guess I am a laundry-mane so stains stress me, too, but I also have nine (previously feral or abandoned) indoor cats, so I know it happens to the best of us.

Not to add to your angst, but you probably have more spots. A blacklight will reveal them if you care to search.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 5:14PM
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@ liriodendron

I have four dogs and four cats. I'm afraid my house would look like a murder scene if I hit it with a black light! This is the first time I've encountered a stain that I just couldn't remove. I see urine stains on my pet bedding once in a while, and those stains always come out in a simple warm wash. This one stain, though, is not behaving like it should. My god it's just pee! Not like it's some weird exotic stain or anything...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 8:44PM
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Have you tried using a vapor cleaner on the stains?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Have you tried using a vapor cleaner on the stains?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 1:26PM
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What's a vapor cleaner???

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 1:34PM
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I have used Clorox 2 straight on blood stains and it came right out. Give it a try.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 4:01PM
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"What's a vapor cleaner?" Maybe one of those portable home steam cleaners?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 5:24PM
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Here are examples of vapor cleaners: Vapor Cleaner Units

They range from the very expensive to the least expensive, but less effective handheld units you've seen advertised. Better vapor cleaners have higher temperatures, and pressures. If you know someone with a handheld unit you might try to borrow it and test it on those spots. The difference between a vapor and steam cleaner is that a vapor cleaner has substantially less water content released at the end of nozzle.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 12:18PM
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I remember reading on some detergent company or detergent association website that hot water is what actually sets the urine stains and they recommended using warm water washes instead of hot for underwear, including underarm stains. Something about protein stains versus whatever.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Boil some water in a kettle and then pour the boiling water on the stain. It will take a few times of doing this, then launder again. I am assuming you haven't placed the duvet cover in the dryer at any point yet. The dryer would set the stain for sure and would be near impossible to get out at that point. If the boiling water and laundering doesn't do the trick, the last resort would be to pour straight bleach on it. Let that sit for a few minutes, then launder.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Go to the pet store and pick up some Nature's Miracle. The stuff is made specifically for animal urine. Try a high concentrate (right from the bottle), wet it well and let it dry for 24 hours. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Don't use straight bleach! It will eat away the fabric.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 10:53PM
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Mix a solution of powdered oxyclean/water in squirt/spray bottle and saturate the stain. Let sit and resaturate if necessary then wash using oxyclean in the wash. If you have access to Charlie's soap, spray the liquid onto the stain and wash using Charlie's soap and oxyclean. The oxyclean pre-wash for stains works well also, but it seems as though you've just about tried everything already. In my experience if it doesn't come out with Charlie's soap and Oxyclean -- it might just be a lost cause.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:13PM
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Update - I have soaked the stain in hydrogen peroxide right out of the bottle... I've let it sit in oxy/percarbonate... made percarbonate paste and rubbed it on the stain... let it soak in Clorox 2... sprayed it with Nature's Miracle... re-washed at 140F... STAIN IS STILL THERE!

All I can say is that the acid in the urine must have chemically reacted with the cotton fiber, changing its underlying color. Nothing is getting out these stains. The fabric is clean - there is absolutely no odor or residue of any kind. It smells nice and clean, except for the yellow stain. Oh well, time to make some rags...

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 11:15AM
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The one thing that may still work on this stain is lengthy exposure to direct sunlight. I had similar stains in my patio enclosure and nothing seemed to lift the stain but eventually (a matter of a couple weeks), the ones exposed to direct sunlight disappeared! I remember as a child growing up in the 50s we used to set our machine washed white Keds out on the lawn to dry and the sunlight almost always removed the stains that the washer didn't. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:46AM
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EllenSu, that is exactly what we did when I was younger with our Keds. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 1:43PM
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I use a product called "Awesome" from the Dollar Tree. It is the most awesome (pardon the pun) laundry product I've ever used. It hasn't failed me yet. Just a week or so ago it got two week old dried blood out of a white sock. Can't even tell it was stained.

If you have the availabilty of a Dollar Tree, I highly recommend trying it! It is in a spray bottle and is a yellowish color.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 8:43PM
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