If you’re dealing with an old cat urine stain, like the kind that happened three months ago in the corner of your basement on your pile of summer clothes and you’ve just now discovered it, then there’s still hope that you can remove the stain and the odor from the fabric.
First, assess the damage - is it a white blouse that says “dry clean only” with a nasty ol’ orangish brown cat pee stain, or are we talking a black tank top from Old Navy that you normally just toss in the washer without a second thought? For more delicate fabrics, know that you’re treating at your own risk; I can’t guarantee that the stain and odor will come out, or, that if it does using this method that the clothing will still be intact. But I think there’s a gentle way to go about it that will give you the best chance at salvaging your clothing.
Next, you’ll need four products to get the stain out as efficiently as possible. One, you need laundry detergent; any kind will do. Two, you need OxiClean Stain Remover with Odor Blasters; this comes with a purple lid and is around $8. Three, grab a bottle of OxiClean Max Force Laundry Stain Remover which has a red spray nozzle and is around $4. Last, get an old toothbrush or a new one, doesn’t matter, to help ease out the stain.
The reason I suggest the OxiClean products is that they’re affordable and, in my experience, efficient! They work!
Okay, now down to the stain removal. If the stain is really obvious then you can start by spraying the Max Force Laundry Stain Remover onto the affected area and gently work the product in with that toothbrush. Let it sit that way for the rest of the day before going to the next step.
If there isn’t an obvious stain, skip the spray and go straight to filling a utility tub, bucket, sink, whatever, with one heaping scoop of the OxiClean powder and very hot water. The ratio is not an exact science but the way I do it is to eyeball just enough water to fully emerge the garment while still making sure there’s a high concentration of powder. You can tell the mixture is right if the water is opaque and white. Now let the garment soak for a few hours. Make sure to only soak like colors together. Don’t throw a red polo in with a cream dress because the dyes might transfer. I also sometimes stir the clothing in the water around. I don’t know if that’s helpful, but I do it anyway because I feel like it helps to shift the stain around instead of letting the crud that’s being lifted by the OxiClean just settle on top of the fabric.
After a few hours have passed, pull the skirt, top or whatever is in there out and see how it looks. Remember that cat urine is composed of enzymes that need to be broken down so the more time you spend soaking the piece, the better. It probably smells weird, but if the stain looks as though it’s begun to lift, then it’s a good time to throw it in the washing machine. Throw that in on a hot setting and the appropriate spin speed. If it’s a delicate piece, use knits/gentle; if it’s not just use your normal cycle settings. Use a heaping pour of laundry detergent and another scoop of OxiClean, add an extra rinse and push start!
The moment of truth will be when the washing machine stops. Don’t just throw the garment in the dryer. Inspect it and see if it smells and looks as though the stain has been removed. If it has been, hang it up to dry and if it hasn’t repeat the soaking process before washing it again. Sometimes these things take time, but with the right product and a little patience, I’ve almost always been able to remove cat urine stains from my clothing, even if the stain is old.