Pawsitively Clean: Removing Dog Urine Stains from Your Wooden Swing Set

There’s nothing quite like a backyard swing set for kids to enjoy, but unfortunately, our furry friends can leave their marks on it too. Whether you’re dealing with fresh stains or old, set-in ones, read on to discover how to remove dog pee stains from wooden swing sets and restore them to their former glory.

How do you get rid of dog urine stains on your wooden swing set? It depends on the wood type (untreated, pretreated, or composite), but most often, you start with a good dosing of vinegar, some soft-bristled scrubbing action, and rinsing. Bring in commercial enzymatic cleaners if needed. And steer clear of hydrogen peroxide for swing sets. 

how to get rid of dog pee stains from your wooden swing set

Stains On Your Swing Set: An Unsightly And Unwelcome Problem

If you’re like me, you love nothing more than watching your dog enjoy some outdoor playtime. But as much as we adore our pups, we all know that their potty habits can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. One rather frustrating aspect of having a dog is when he decides to use the backyard swing set as his personal restroom. 

Not only is it unsanitary and smelly, it also damages the wood and some pretty ugly stains.

But fear not! We can get rid of them!

In this article, I’m going to share some tips and tricks for removing dog pee stains from your wooden backyard swing set. I’ll also cover some preventative measures you can take to discourage your dog from peeing on the swing set in the first place.

Removing Dog Urine Stains From Your Wooden Swing Set: Step By Step Instructions

To remove a dog pee stain from your wooden swing set, you can follow these steps:

  1. Soak the area: Pour some white vinegar directly onto the stain and let it soak for several minutes. The vinegar will help break down the urine and make it easier to remove.  Vinegar works best on untreated wood, but it is well worth trying on pretreated wood as well. 
  2. Scrub the area: Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the area gently, applying a little bit of pressure to lift the stain. Avoid using a hard-bristled brush or abrasive materials that could damage the wood.
  3. Rinse with water: Get out the garden hose and rinse the area thoroughly. You want to get rid of both the vinegar and any remaining urine. 
  4. Apply a specialized enzymatic pet stain and odor remover: Some stains are in there pretty deep. If the stain is still visible, or if you are trying to get a dog urine stain off a composite wood swing set, you can try using a commercial pet stain and odor remover. 
  5. Repeat if necessary: Did nothing happen? Stubborn stain sometimes simply need to have the process repeated several times, but eventually it should be completely removed.

Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide?

The answer is not NO here, but definitely “proceed with caution”. 

While hydrogen peroxide can break down the enzymes in urine that cause stains and odors, it can also bleach or discolor certain types of wood. It can also strip away any protective weatherproofing or sealant off the wood. 

More important than that, using too much hydrogen peroxide (or leaving it on the wood for too long) can damage the wood fibers and actually weaken the structure of the swing set. No parent wants that.  

Take a look at what happens in this video to the wood under this dog urine stain to see what happens to the wood using hydrogen peroxide (the stain is hugely lightened, but the wood doesn’t look very healthy):

What Do Dog Urine Stains On Wood Look Like?

Dog urine stains on a swing set can appear in different ways depending on the type of wood or material the swing set is made of.

On untreated or natural wood swing sets, dog urine stains can leave a yellowish or brownish discoloration on the surface. These stains may also have the strongest odor, especially if they have been left untreated for some time.

On pretreated lumber swing sets, the urine stains may be less noticeable and may not have as strong of an odor due to the protective coating or finish on the wood.

On composite wood swing sets, the urine stains may appear as a darker discoloration or a spot that is slightly raised from the surface of the material. Sometimes the stain is “tacky” to the touch as well (not that you want to touch it without gloves…)

Composite Wood vs PreTreated Lumber Swing Sets

getting dog pee stains out of composite vs pretreated woodGetting dog urine stains out of composite wood swing sets is possible, but it can be more challenging than removing stains from pretreated lumber swing sets. 

Composite wood, also known as engineered wood or wood-plastic composites, is a mixture of wood fibers and plastic materials. Because it’s more porous, it can actually stain faster and worse than than pretreated lumber.

To remove dog urine stains from composite wood swing sets, I’d recommend that you skip the vinegar and water step and start by using a specialized enzymatic cleaner designed for use on composite materials. 

Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application, and dwell time. Gently scrub the affected area with a soft-bristled brush, then rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

If the stain is being stubborn, you may need to repeat it a few times. 

Be careful with using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing tools with composite wood – they can ruin the protective coating and damage the wood pretty quickly. In general, it’s best to avoid using bleach or other strong cleaning agents that could harm the composite material. 

So, while getting dog urine stains out of composite wood swing sets may require more care and attention from you than pretreated lumber swing sets, it is still possible with the right approach and cleaning products.

What Damage Will Dog Urine Do To A Swing Set, If Left Uncleaned?

If left uncleaned, dog urine stains on a swing set can cause long-term damage that can actually compromise the integrity and safety of the structure. I know that sounds really dramatic, but it’s the truth – especially if your dog pees on the swing set regularly.

Over time, the uric acid in dog urine breaks down the wood fibers and weaken the wood, leading to cracking, warping, and splintering. This can create rough or sharp edges that can be hazardous for children to play on. 

The urine odor will also linger and make the swing set an unpleasant and uninviting place to play.

Preventing Future Dog Urine Stains

As a parent who cares about the safety and enjoyment of your kids’ swing set, it’s important to take prompt action to clean up any dog urine stains and prevent future stains from occurring. This can be done by:

  • Training your dog to use a designated potty area away from the swing set
  • Cleaning up any accidents as soon as possible (keep the garden hose handy)
  • Regularly inspecting the swing set for signs of damage or wear, and perform regular maintenance, such as sanding, staining, and sealing the wood. 

By taking this proactive approach to caring for your swing set, you can ensure that it remains a safe and enjoyable place for your kids to play and create lasting memories.

See It In Action!

Key Takeaways

To remove dog urine stains from a wooden swing set, use a mixture of white vinegar and water for untreated wood or specialized enzymatic cleaners for pretreated lumber and composite wood. Gently scrub the affected area with a soft-bristled brush and follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning products to avoid damaging the wood or protective finish. 

You can prevent stains on your wooden swing set by training your dog to use a designated potty area and cleaning up accidents promptly.

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