How to Eliminate Cat Urine Smell

Updated on November 11, 2017
Cats have no respect for furniture or carpet.
Cats have no respect for furniture or carpet.

Cat urine is one of the toughest cleaning challenges. There are a variety of products on the market that claim to neutralize the odor, but you can also effectively clean the stains with products you may already have in your kitchen cabinets.

When I tried to save my cat from a terrible situation, he was so scared that he urinated all over me, my clothes, both of my couches, the drywall, and the carpet. I tried using a pet odor-remover carpet cleaner that I had on hand to clean the couch and carpet, but the odor still persisted. I had recently started using natural products to clean my home, so I decided to test them out on this tough new problem. Remarkably, the cheap ingredients did an amazing job at removing the cat urine odors from my flooring, furniture, clothing, and walls. Here is what I did to remove the stain and underlying smell.

Ashamed Kitty

This cat is hiding because he peed on the floor again.
This cat is hiding because he peed on the floor again.

Clean Cat Urine From Carpet and Furniture

  1. Use paper towels to soak up the cat urine on the surface of your furniture or floor. Stand on the towels or apply pressure with your hands to soak up as much of the urine as you can.
  2. Fill half a spray bottle (these can usually be found at the dollar store) with distilled white vinegar. Fill the rest of the bottle with water. Spray the affected area until it’s completely saturated. Allow the vinegar to penetrate into the material for about ten to fifteen minutes.
  3. Blot up the excess liquid again with clean paper towels.
  4. When the area is as dry as you can get it, sprinkle some baking soda on it. The amount you will need varies by the size of the area. Use enough baking soda to cover the surface to be cleaned.
  5. Scrub the area with a bristled scrub brush to work the baking soda and vinegar solution deep into the carpet or couch fibers.
  6. Allow the area to dry thoroughly. It may need to sit overnight until it’s completely dry.
  7. Vacuum up the baking soda. A Shop-vac or other heavy duty vacuum is perfect for this job. If the baking soda is too crusty and refuses to be sucked up, use a scrub brush to loosen it from the fabric fibers.

I used this solution on a regular fabric couch, a faux suede couch and beige carpet and did not have any issues with color change. However, that may not always be the case. Make sure to test an inconspicuous area of the surface to be cleaned when using any new product for the first time.

I repeated this process twice, just to be sure that all the cat urine odors had been eliminated. While I couldn’t smell anything, I wanted to be extra zealous because once cat urine has set into something for a long time, it is even more difficult to remove.

Clean Cat Urine From Clothing and Towels

The above method can be modified for use on urine-soaked clothes or towels. The day of my cat’s disaster, he managed to soak my skin and clothing with urine. Growing up, I had a cat that lost control of her bladder as she grew older and had many accidents in the laundry room on piles of clothes and on top of throw rugs around the house. This is an issue that a lot of pet owners have to deal with as their cats and dogs age. In some cases, when the area the cat has urinated on has become completely saturated or the smell cannot be killed, it is necessary to throw away these items or replace flooring. If, however, you catch the urine stain as soon as it happens, you can usually salvage the items.

  1. To clean cat urine from clothes, towels and throw rugs, soak the items in a wash basin full of cold water. Add one cup of vinegar to the basin. Allow the items to soak for an hour.
  2. Never use hot water to remove cat urine stains. Hot water steams the stain into the surface of the fabric. This is also true for a variety of other stains as well, such as blood and coffee.
  3. After the fabric has soaked for an hour, thoroughly rinse it in cool water. Now you can throw it in the washing machine. Add a scoop of Oxi-Clean along with the normal amount of laundry detergent.

Clean Urine From Hard Surfaces

If you have a cat that likes to urinate on your hardwood floors, or other types of hard flooring, the most important thing you can do when cleaning cat urine is to make sure that the smell is completely gone, otherwise the cat will continue to go in the same place over and over.

One way to clean urine-soaked hard surfaces is to use hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has many household uses, including deodorizing surfaces and effectively eliminating mold and mildew.

Use 3% hydrogen peroxide, which you can find at your nearest drug store. Pour it into a spray bottle, undiluted. Be sure to test a small amount in an unnoticeable spot to make sure it does not bleach your floor. If the hydrogen peroxide does change the color of your floor, try vinegar instead.

To clean the floor, first soak up the liquid with paper towels. Then, spray the area with the hydrogen peroxide. Allow the hydrogen peroxide to remain on the area for a few minutes. Finally, wipe the area with a damp mop.

Stained Hardwood Floor

This area of the floor needs refinished to cover the stain.
This area of the floor needs refinished to cover the stain.

Removing Cat Urine Stains From Hardwood Floors

If your cat has repeatedly urinated on your hardwood floors to the point that the floors are discolored and permanently stained, there are two options. You can either replace the floor or refinish it. The cost to refinish a small section of the floor is about $30, whereas replacing the entire floor can cost hundreds of dollars.

To refinish the floor, you will need sandpaper, borax, oxalic acid, a paint brush and a gallon of wood stain that matches your current stain. You will also need rubber gloves to protect your skin from the acid.

  1. First, sand the entire area. Rub the sandpaper along the grain of the wood rather than sideways to preserve the unique look of each slat.
  2. Put on your rubber gloves and mix the oxalic acid with water, according to the package directions. Pour the solution over the damaged area. Allow the acid to sit for at least an hour. You may need to repeat this step a few times to thoroughly bleach out the stain.
  3. Mix two tablespoons of borax with two cups of water. Mop the area of the floor with this solution, then rinse with water.
  4. After the wood has dried, sand it again to ensure a smooth surface for the stain. Using the brush, coat the area with wood stain. It may take a few coats of stain before the damaged area matches the rest of the floor.

Questions & Answers

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      • sangre profile image

        Sp Greaney 

        2 years ago from Ireland

        Thankfully our cat doesn't do this, but it is still a useful thing to know how to clean up cat urine from various surfaces.

      • profile image

        Dale 

        3 years ago

        why is this posted on the food and beverage page? Just curious.

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