Life Hacks: How to Get Cat Pee Out of Clothes and Carpet
Cats are Jerks Who Pee
Let's just get this part straight. Cats, while precious and adorable in photographs and laps, are truly the work of the devil. This is coming from a girl who has four and, if not for the influence of a sane husband, would have more.
Why cats choose to do certain things like eat houseplants, destroy fine china, sleep in cardboard boxes and very large shoes, and pee on $90 jeans is beyond human logic. That's okay, because we don't need to understand it. All we really need to understand is how to fix it. And clean it. Learn how to do that in this article.
Tips to Prevent "Accidents"
The truth is, when a cat pees outside the litter box, it's never an accident. It's an evil plot to destroy the sanctity of your home by making it smell like a pet store in a questionable part of town. Here are a few tips to prevent your little buddy from creating any more havoc:
- Spay or neuter. If you haven't already done so, spay or neuter the perp. Not only is it the responsible thing to do, but it will help deter your cat from feeling the need to "mark" territory.
- Clean up previous pet stains. For reasons unknown to those who aren't cat therapists, cats seem to go back to spots where they or another pet have urinated to cover over it. Properly cleaning the area can help your cat to forget there's somewhere important they have to pee.
- Keep laundry and blankets off the floor. Because cats just like to add to the chaos, keep piles of dirty clothes and folded blankets off the floor. These are like cat magnets. First they cuddle, then they pee.
- Purchase rugs that don't have a rubber bottom. As weird as this may sound, sometimes certain smells can attract cats to a spot that they just have to pee on. The smell of rubber is one of them.
- Take your cat in for a check-up. Sometimes peeing outside the litterbox can indicate a health problem in your cat, such as diabetes. If all else fails, get the critter checked out.
How to Remove Cat Urine from Clothes
The good news is, of everything your cat could choose to take a leak on, clothing is the most washable. Unless, of course, it's some insanely ridiculous fabric. For your run-of-the-mill Gap wardrobe, however, you can do the following:
- Assess the damage. It sucks doesn't it? If the urine is old (as in, you just discovered the accident two days after the deed was done), throw the pile into a plastic laundry basket and douse the clothes in baking soda to help lift the urine. Let the clothes chill like this for the better part of the day. If the urine is fresh, though, just head straight to the washing machine.
- Wash clothes. Throw the clothes in the washing machine with a regular dose of laundry detergent, 2-4 cups of white vinegar (depending on how large the load is), and a liberal scoop of baking soda. The white vinegar deodorizes the urine, while the baking soda helps lift the urine out of the fabric. Wash on hot.
- Hang to dry. Because you're washing on hot, it's best to hang this load to dry to prevent shrinkage.
Note: This method works for towels, curtains, and small area rugs too.
How to Remove Cat Urine from Carpet
Cleaning cat pee out of carpets and large rugs that can't be thrown in the wash is a different game. While the agitation from the washing machine helps to throw the urine out of the fabric, so to speak, cleaning carpet is tricky. This is because, if you're not careful, you'll just sort of rub the pee in more. Thankfully, if the urine hasn't been there for too long, you may be able to save the carpet—or at least prevent the stain from soaking too deeply into the baseboard. Try the following before ripping any of your Berber up:
- Soak up the stain. Use paper towels to soak up as much of the pee as you can, without rubbing.
- Spray white vinegar on the area.
- Soak it again. Again, use paper towels to soak up the moisture. Repeat this step once or twice more, depending on the severity.
- Use baking soda, next. Sprinkle the stained area with baking soda to absorb as much vinegar and urine as possible. Let that sit until dry.
- Vacuum up baking soda.
If that doesn't seem to have done the trick, try a cleanser formulated to clean the enzymes found in cat urine and follow the directions on the bottle.
You can also use a black light to find places you may have missed (as with human bodily fluids, black lights pick up cat urine as well).