We all love our rabbits. They're amazing companions, entertaining, and bring a purpose to our lives. Yet, we don't like dealing with their litter box or cage. We certainly aren't thrilled with the stench that lingering rabbit urine can leave in our home. When our friends come over we don't want them to crinkle their nose in disgust at the smell of our home. Bottom line, our rabbits should bring joy to our home not a urine smell.
When looking around your home you'll find either rabbit poop or urine. Rabbit poop is usually hard, dry pellets made up almost entirely of digested hay fibers, which turn out to be fairly easy to clean up. It may not be a pleasant thing to pick up, but at least it doesn't leave a lasting impression on your carpet or furniture.
However, urine is not dry and will soak into your furniture and carpet with ease. To make matters worse its chemical make-up means that even with a fairly diligent clean up, it can continue to smell for weeks, if not months. It's best to be prepared for accidents because they're bound to happen. Luckily the urine clean-up process is fairly simple.
Rabbit Urine Clean-Up Supply List
Full Strength White Vinegar
A Clean Empty Spray Bottle for the Vinegar (I keep one full of vinegar all the time)
Paper Towel or a Couple of Wash Cloths
5-10 Minutes to Complete the Clean-Up Process
Urine Clean-Up Process on Carpet or Fabric
White vinegar has special properties that keep it from lifting color out of carpets and fabrics, but has enough acidity to neutralize the urine smell. The greatest thing about vinegar is that it is all natural and completely safe for pets and humans.
If there is a lot of urine still present, blot up as much as you can. DO NOT scrub yet or add water to dilute the urine. The main reason to avoid scrubbing and adding water at this point of the clean-up process is that you are more likely to make it soak and spread further into the carpet or fabric. At this stage we want to try and contain the urine to as small of an area as possible.
Once the majority of the urine is blotted up, spray the vinegar liberally all over the area and immediately around the section where the accident occurred. If the accident was on a solid, relatively non-porous surface let the vinegar sit for one to two minutes (for wood floors, see instructions below). If your rabbit got your carpet or favorite chair let the vinegar sit for five to ten minutes.
Now that the vinegar has had some time to work we can begin to clean it up. First, blot up as much vinegar as you can. Then take a slightly damp cloth or sponge and allow a little water to soak into the area. Finally, blot all the remaining liquid that you can out of the fabric or carpet. For fabric that's easy to remove, the best way to blot the remaining liquid is to lay the fabric on the carpet and press HARD. The remaining liquid will soak up into the towel.
Urine Clean-Up Process on Wood Floors
Wood floors can be especially tricky as they generally do not like to get wet, and really don’t like to stay wet. This is because they can absorb the moisture so readily, and will buckle as they try to expand to drink it all in. Here are some quick pointers to help clean it up:
Wipe up the urine as quickly as you can.
Using your vinegar and paper towels, spray and wipe letting the vinegar only sit on the floor for 5-10 seconds. You may need to do this multiple times.
You can then take a wash rag or sponge with warm water and wipe over it one last time.
Now here is the important part, dry the floor with a clean dry towel or clean dry paper towels.
Cleaning Your Tools
As you've already discovered, rabbit urine smells. This is because it has enzymes in it that help the rabbit mark its territory, and it’s full of bacteria that help it to linger around for a long time to ensure that the territory remains marked. Now that we removed the enzymes and bacteria from the carpet, fabric, or floor we need to also make sure that we take the proper steps to making sure that they are removed from our cleaning tools.
Paper Towels: Throw them away and wash your hands, you're all finished!
Cloth Towel: Throw it into the laundry to give it a clean wash or boil it in water before using it for anything else.
Sponge: Throw it away or into the dishwasher to sterilize it. If you don’t have a dishwasher, boil water on the stove and place it in for 5-10 minutes to make sure that you and your family do not get sick.
Alternative Cleaning Solutions
If vinegar isn't quite up to your squeaky clean standards, all of the following products can be used to clean up rabbit urine in place of vinegar: