Dry Wall Smells like Urine – What’s Wrong with It?

Have you ever gotten back to your house only to find it enveloped in urine stench when you open the door? This happens to more people than you might think, and some have come to accept this as the new normal. Let us face it – a stinky house is embarrassing. You might try and mask the stench with air freshener, but that is only a temporary option.

It might cost you a potential tenant or buyer. If you decide to sniff out the culprit causing this ammonia-like smell, you will likely find it all coming from your wall. Having lived in the house for years or recently moved in can force you out before your lease dates are up. You do not have to leave just yet.

Drywalls smell like urine from time to time, and we shall focus on the aspects below that bring about this situation:

  • What causes the urine smell?
  • Is your wall safe when it smells like urine?
  • Can cleaning solve it?
  • What other options are available to get rid of the stench?
  • Effects of such stench in the home
  • Ways to avoid the stench all together

Why Does My Wall Smell Like Urine?

1) Mold

Despite washing your house, you can still sniff out the pungent smell. It is time to find the source. One of the reasons your house smells like urine is mold. When you have leaks in your home due to faulty plumbing, a leaking roof, or wet spots, mold grows. You can easily spot it by touching walls, as they will feel cold or crumble due to rot. Others have white substances forming around the wet spot.

Humidity in the air is a conducive environment for black mold to grow and thrive well. When fully grown, it releases spores that vaporize at room temperature. When this process takes place, it releases toxic gases into the atmosphere. These gases are responsible for this pungent and urine-smelling odor. The toxic chemicals released are found in paints, gases, and some cleaning products.

2) It Might be Urine

It might be urine if you have kids or pets in the house. Kids are known to be mischievous and love to explore. Some take their exploration a notch higher by shooting ranges when peeing. This means they leave streaks of urine on the walls. If cleaning does not occur, the urine will stink even after drying. Pets could also be a source of the stench.

Cats and dogs pee to mark territory when feeling threatened by ferals and strays. You might also get guests such as feral cats, stray dogs, wild animals, and pests. Once they pee without your knowledge, the pee stinks, and your walls become the victims of their actions.

If you suspect this could be the reason, you can install cameras and review to know the exact source. Faulty plumbing can also be a source of this stench. When there is a hiccup in the normal flow of sewage waste, the urine smell can find its way back to your house walls.

3) Carcasses and Food Remnants

Dead animals, pests, or even food remnants can be the other source of this stench. Stray animals and rodents die between walls. After a few days, the body decomposes and releases toxins and oleic acid.

If highly infested, before their death, they release pheromones that leave the space smelling musty and rancid. Combined with the acid and toxins from the decomposing body, the smell comes pretty close to that of cat pee. It might take a few days to wear off, but if there is moisture in the air, this can last for months. Plants, especially cruciferous veggies, also release the same stench when decomposing; you need to check your pantry or fridge to spot these.

4) Electrical Faults

We are fast to order or pick the new and coolest gadgets, but we are never aware of their effects on the electric system. Overloading causes an electric component to heat up and emit toxic gases. In the worst-case scenario, it destroys the whole house’s connection and can easily cause a fire.

Some require special plugs and a different system altogether to operate. Check your electrical devices and circuits when you smell a fish scent and have ruled out fish and mold. This is hard to pick up on and can go undetected for months if you are not keen. Additionally, the smell fluctuates or varies depending on the duration of use.

Is My Stinky Wall a Red Flag?

Yes and no. Your walls can smell like pee due to the activities in your house. A wall acts like a mini diary as it soaks in all the scents from activities in your home. Cooking fish, such as sharks that emit ammonia, will be registered on your walls.

The best way to confirm whether you need to take more action starts by cleaning. Start by doing a complete overhaul of your house and consider deep cleaning. Where kids are involved, track their movements to see whether they are the pee culprits. If that does give the desired results, follow the stench. It always leads you back to the source.

You can take more action if you notice rotting, mold, or an electrical or plumbing fault. A rotting wall can cause havoc by weakening beams and finally lead to a collapsed building. Where mold, plumbing, as well as electrical circuits and devices are faulty, they might cause a fire or even infections from toxins released.

Ways to Avoid the Pee Stench

1) Using a Dehumidifier

Since mold contains a high toxic concentration, you should ensure it never gets a breeding ground in your Home. Check the amount of relative humidity in the atmosphere. Anything above 50 is beyond recommended levels, and you should take the necessary actions to eliminate it.

Use a dehumidifier to lower it and maintain the levels at acceptable levels. You can also seek the assistance of professionals to help you eliminate this menace, especially if it keeps recurring.

2) Train Pets and Teach Kids

Kids are easy to teach as they are always eager to learn, and it might be time. Take them to the bathroom several times a day and ask them to pee. For pets, walk them regularly to avoid emergency pee breaks in the house. Get comfortable litter boxes with comfortable litter too. Uncomfortable litter on paws can force cats to pee outside the litter box.

3) Repaint Your Surface

Paint has become a miracle-working solution to many homes with a pee stench. Once you have identified and rectified the problem, a coat of fresh paint breathes life and fresh air into the house. Some paints have dehumidifying components that make them ideal for walls affected by humidity and moisture. Some also come with scents that linger in the house forever, masking any putrid stench you can expect in the future.

Paint also helps you spot areas affected by mold or moisture. In most cases, it falls off, enabling you to pick up on your house problems faster before irreversible damages occur.

4) Clear Bushes and Water Pools and Piles

Strays and pests can survive in piles and bushes near you and only come out when convenient. Bushes and piles are breeding grounds for rats, roaches, and feral cats. Clearing these bushes and piles removes these habitats, forcing them to look elsewhere. This also helps your house receive the much-needed light to allow walls dry in case of leaks and excess humidity. Getting rid of water pools and puddles helps reduce the amount of water soaked up by your porous walls.

5) Call Expert

When all your efforts have failed to remove the stench, you can call experts for an assessment and possible solutions available. Instead of painting, call an expert painter to do the job for you. Before they begin, they access walls they ought to work on, and if they spot a problem, they will let you know.

Your house also needs an electrical inspection to rule out any electrical faults. The inspectors are available at local government levels for a fee, or you can hire registered ones practicing privately. Have a plumber review your plumbing, as this could be the undetected source.

Pests can be a menace, and you can call in experts to deal with them too. They use appropriate and advanced ways to deal with them. To deal with ferals, some use animal control units while others use water-spraying jets with sensor motion to deter them from accessing your house.


The urine smell is not easy to remove despite numerous cleaning sessions. Masking it with scents works for a while, ending where you first started. Knowing the source is much more helpful as you can deal with it without assumption.

Do not be alarmed if you can smell it again. It has the habit of recurring at the same place or a different spot. Since living in the house can leave your nose blind, ask a neighbor to share their honest opinion about what your house smells like.