This UV Flashlight Urine Detector Helps You Find (and Clean Up) Dog Messes

We love our dogs, despite their mess. Now, finding and cleaning up those messes is easier than ever with this UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector.

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As an author of 35+ pet books and a certified animal behavior consultant, I often hear from pet lovers complaining about hit-or-miss potty behavior—and subsequently, questions about how to remove pet stains from carpet. While dog smell isn’t always related to accidents (there are medical reasons why dogs smell bad), bathroom incidents are a top reason that pets lose their homes.

We can almost always smell the nasty evidence of pet odor, but we can’t always see the evidence of bathroom accidents. Even the best carpet cleaners and pet vacuums can’t clean an invisible stain. That’s why a UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector can be so useful.

What is the UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector?

Ultraviolet light illuminates many pet urine stains on a carpetBackyardProduction/Getty Images

This handheld device looks and works like a flashlight. Instead of a normal lightbulb, the pet urine detector, or black light urine detector, uses 51 individual ultraviolet (UV) lights that prompt certain fluids to glow under its illumination due to its high frequency.

Aside from messes from dog paws, pets have accidents—or sometimes mark on purpose—in unexpected places. It goes beyond the puppy being unable to make it out the door, meaning you’ll have to clean the carpet. Pet puddles and plops end up staining the furniture, too. Aside from the “solid” creativity you might easily find, your leg-lifting dog staining the bedspread or walls with urine won’t leave a neon dog pee mark.

But most biological fluids, including urine, contain phosphorus that naturally glows in the presence of oxygen. You can’t see the glow under normal light. But certain UV wavelengths of light, like the ones found in the UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector, make the glow easier to see. Once you’ve identified it, you can get that dog pee out of your carpet.

The UV flashlight is technically like a black light, emitting UV light. UV light simply has a frequency higher than visible light. It goes a step further than pet odor removal, helping you tackle the mess once and for all.

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  • Finds invisible stains on rugs, carpets, clothes and other surfaces (including the car)
  • Lightweight at 7 ounces
  • Also works on pests like scorpions or bedbugs
  • Economical $13 price
  • Pocket-sized for convenience
  • Lights last up to 15 years


  • Won’t detect wet stains
  • Batteries not included

How to use the UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector

Pet lovers who are tired of smelling but not seeing all the messes discovered they could find invisible urine stains using the UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector. It makes a great inexpensive gift for pet owners. Even the “yuck” factor has a quirky novelty appeal.

Lots of things glow under UV light, including carpet fuzz, bugs and toys. Just vacuum the area first so that you don’t get distracted (or horrified) by all the shiny detritus revealed.

  1. Focus on dry urine. The UV light only creates a glow with dry urine. If it’s still damp, or you’re in a humid area so the carpet or other surface absorbs moisture, you won’t see the glow. Thankfully, you’re likely to notice an area that’s wet before you need the light—save it for when you can’t find the source of the smell.
  2. Search in the dark. You’ll have the greatest contrast in a dark room, so get the best results by using it in the evening with the lights out. When there’s too much light, it dilutes the glow and makes stains hard to see.
  3. Get up close. The UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector works best at a distance no further than 24 inches. Standing up and waving the light around may miss soiled areas, so invest in knee pads to crawl around (or get your kids to do the legwork). Try to find the exact locations of suspect odors to target the area. Reviewers say the light works well on all urine stains, but getting up close will help improve the effectiveness.
  4. Look for yellow. Lots of things glow under a black light (white, green, blue, even red) but look for the pale yellow color that a urine stain creates. Pet urine stains look different depending on whether the dog squatted or leg-lifted. Stains can look like a pooled puddle, drips, or splatters on the floor, furniture or walls. Remember that bright white glow spots are more likely from carpet cleaners, spilled drinks or even wallpaper glue.
  5. Mark the dirty deed. Once you turn off the light, the spot disappears. So be sure to use tape, chalk or even a sticky note to mark the stain so you can clean up the pet mess. After cleaning the mess, try an air purifier to refresh the room.

The best user reviews

The product continues to fly off the shelves and became a viral sensation with over 56,000 Amazon ratings averaging 4.4 stars. As of May 2023, this UV flashlight continues to rank number one in the category of Pet Urine Detectors.

“I got it to make sure I was spraying enzymatic cleaner in the right places whenever my [fur babies] have an accident on the carpet, writes five-star reviewer Alex Campbell. “I always blot as much as I can before using, and just hope I’m spraying the cleaner in the right places. This helped with that a ton. Now I can actually make sure I’m spraying enough cleaner in the right areas, and I can make sure it’s all gone when the cleaner dries, so there’s no faint urine smell.”

Verified purchaser Rebecca Anderson also loves it for cleaning cat urine. “This is a fantastic thing! I have a cat who gets mad at me from time to time. When he does, he just backs up to a wall or something and pees against it,” she writes. “I can smell it later, but usually can’t find it. Not anymore! Using this black light, it lights up brightly and I can deep clean the area. Added bonus is that when it’s cleaned up, he doesn’t go back to that spot. I’ve needed this thing for years.”

Thala H. has bought UV lights before, but none that worked as well as this one. “I showed my sister on FaceTime how well this works and she immediately bought one too. It shows everything. Every little dirt or water spot. It shows stuff I swear I cleaned well but apparently I didn’t…Looking at my apartment with this makes me want to mega deep clean every surface.”

Where to buy the UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector

Uv Flashlight Black Lightvia merchant

The UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector is available at Walmart and Amazon. You’ll find the best price by shopping at Amazon, though.

For more pet stain removal products, check out the Bissell Little Green Machine, the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser, the Angry Orange Odor Eliminator and the Folex Carpet Spot Remover.

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Amy Shojai, CABC
Amy Shojai, CABC is the Affiliate Pet Editor at Large for Reader's Digest. She's also an award-winning pet journalist and the author of 35 pet titles. She specializes in translating pet medical jargon and shopping information into information pet parents easily understand. Amy shares animal behavior and care information on her blog, and lives in North Texas with her furry muses.