5 Reasons Your Home Smells Like Urine And How To Fix It

toilet and bidet

A urine smell in the home is never welcome. Learn how to track down the cause and give it the boot!

A urine smell in the home could have several causes. The most common reasons include pets, pests, mould, plumbing problems, and electrical malfunctions.  

A urine smell can be as simple as your neighbour’s cat dropping a puddle in the pantry or a serious problem like overheating circuits. Here is how you can tell the difference.

This Is Why Your House Smells Like Urine

Let’s say that you have already eliminated all the obvious answers. You do not have pets inside the house or a toddler with the tendency to have “bathroom accidents'' in the living room. But whenever you enter the home, there it is. The distinct smell of ammonia, very much like urine and sometimes even smelling a little musty. What is causing it?

One of the following reasons is most likely behind the unpleasant odour.

  1. A sneaky pet (not necessarily your own).
  2. Wild animals.
  3. Black mould.
  4. A problem with the plumbing. 
  5. Overheating electrical components.

Is A Pet Peeing In My House?

Usually, when an animal pees in the house there are signs like a puddle. But cats can mark an area without being so obvious about it. If you own cats, they could be the reason for the urine smell. But if you do not have any felines, it is possible that one is visiting your home on a regular basis to spray its territory.

Here’s how you can teach your cat to use a microchip cat flap.

Deterring the neighbourhood cats from entering your home could be as simple as closing the windows, but keep in mind that sometimes an animal will mark the outside of your house - and that could be what you are smelling inside. 

Places that are sometimes affected include bushes near walls, the patio, doorways, and flower beds. When such areas are used as a loo for a long period of time, the smell might get into the home.

cat on a fence

Try the following tips to keep cats out of the home:

  • Close the windows or install mesh that still allows air to flow through your home.
  • Focus on the spot once you identify it and clean it thoroughly and also take measures to keep cats away from it.
  • You can mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spritz the area thoroughly.
  • Never use an ammonia-based product because it smells like urine to cats and prompts them to return.

Wild Animals Could Cause A Urine Smell

This group of offenders include the usual suspects, depending on what area you are living in. But besides deer and raccoons, one must also consider critters like rats and mice. If the latter is the cause, chances are that you will know it. Rodents are not shy about leaving droppings behind and should you notice these, then rats or mice are probably causing the pee smell. 

If you find a puddle of rodent urine, you can follow these steps.

  1. Wear gloves.
  2. Mix water and bleach in a spray bottle or use disinfectant.
  3. Spray the urine or droppings. 
  4. Remove the urine or droppings with a paper towel.
  5. Dispose of the paper towels when you are done.
  6. Spray the area for several days.

You can also read more about the best humane ways to get rid of rats and mice.

Is Black Mould Causing My House To Smell Like Urine?

Black mould can make a house smell like pee. In this case, it has a distinctive odour like dried urine and it might even smell musty. The infestation can be slight or severe. When you smell black mould, it is no longer a light problem. By the time you smell it, the mould has spread to the point where it could be a toxic threat. 

You can identify black mould by its dark colour, roughly round shape, and the fact that several blotches appear together.  

It is impossible to tell where the black mould has managed to creep into. A homeowner cannot deal with this on their own. Call a professional who knows how to test for black mould and can get rid of the issue for good.

Is The Urine Smell Coming From My Plumbing?

Yes, it is always possible that the plumbing is causing the pee smell in your home. When a plumbing system is faulty or develops a hiccup, sewage smells often end up in the house by navigating through the drains leading to sinks and the shower. 

bathroom

Check The Bathroom For Spills

One of the first places to investigate is the bathroom itself. Look for a leaking toilet, a urine smell in the sink or shower. If their drains seem fine and there does not seem to be a problem anywhere, it might be time to check the rest of the home’s plumbing for blocks.

Check The Vents For Obstructions 

The venting system is responsible for removing sewage gases and odours from your home. If there is a blockage, it could cause bathroom smells to hang around inside where they smell unpleasant and also pose a health risk.

  • Make sure that the main vent is unobstructed. It usually leads past the bathroom outside and to the roof. 
  • You can use a drain snake or a commercial product to clear any blocks.

Check The Plumbing For Faulty Installation

If you detect a urine smell after a plumbing job or you just moved into a new apartment, then incorrect installation might be causing leaks or odours to escape into the home. The best course of action is to invest in a professional plumber.

Overheating Electrical Components

Sometimes, when electrical components overheat they give off a strange smell. At times, people detect an odour like fish. Others smell urine. If you know that there are no pee accidents from pets, your home is mould-free, and the plumbing is in sterling condition, then you could be dealing with an electrical problem. And it’s a serious problem. Overheating electrical parts can trigger a fire.

If you suspect an electrical malfunction, remember to check for both a urine and fishy smell. If you find one or more of the following, you must call a professional electrician to track down the exact cause and fix it.

  • A certain wall outlet smells like pee.
  • The odour is only inside the home or in a certain room. 
  • The smell persists after you clean all the drains and vents.
  • The odour is sometimes gone and then reappears (this is usually because the offending component heats and cools as the power is turned on or off).
  • The source of the smell is difficult to pin down.

The Truth About Urine Smells In Your Home

Unfortunately, getting rid of a pee smell is not the easiest thing. Very often, it’s difficult to track down the cause and that can be frustrating. A urine smell also has a habit of returning, whether it’s a persistent cat or plumbing that keeps failing. 

But don’t lose heart. Identifying and dealing with the problem is well worth it the effort. Once you track down the cause, you can rid your home of this unwelcome smell for good.

About the Author Harry Thompson

Gaining a BSc Honours in building/ property maintenance at the University of Portsmouth Harry went into the field of renovating properties. Along the journey, he has developed a wide variety of home & garden DIY skills such as installing new kitchens and landscaping gardens.