A cat’s urine tends to be more concentrated than that of other pets. On top of that, when bacteria start to decompose the urea in the urine, it releases an upsetting ammonia-like smell.
Although the reason is unclear, different washing methods of cat urine have varying levels of effectiveness for different cat owners. Therefore, we’ve listed several methods that can help remove urine smell and stains from fabrics.
How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Fabric
When getting rid of urine stains and smells, the goal is to break down the composition of urea before bacteria can start to decompose it. The most effective way to remove urine from fabric is to pretreat and soak the soiled fabric and then run it through a wash cycle.
Make sure to follow these steps for the best chances of successfully removing cat urine smells and stains.
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock
One of the most effective things you can do is treat the fabric immediately after the incident occurs. This prevents the urine from deeply setting into the fibers and keeps bacteria from getting to the urea.
Take the fabric and rinse the stained spot under cool water. Resist the urge to scrub because this can push the urine deeper into the fabric.
Whatever you do, don’t skip pretreatment. If you put soiled clothes directly through a wash cycle, the urine will mix with the water to become further integrated with the fabrics. It’ll also spread to other garments, so you’ll end up with more clothes that smell like cat urine.
Also, avoid using ammonia. Since the scent is similar to old cat urine, your cat may pee on the same fabric.
Another cleaning product to avoid is bleach. Cat urine mixed with bleach can cause a chemical reaction that releases toxic gasses.
2. At-Home Pretreatment Options
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock
There are a couple of at-home remedies that you can try to remove cat urine stains and smells.
Baking Soda Mixture
First, you can try using baking soda and water. In a small bowl, pour out enough baking soda to cover the stained area on the fabric. Then, mix in a little bit of water incrementally until you create a paste.
Once you have a paste, scoop it out of the bowl and completely cover the stained area with it. Leave the paste on the stain for 15 to 20 minutes. After the time elapses, rinse off the paste and let the fabric air dry.
Another method is to use table salt, white vinegar, and borax powder. Mix equal parts of these three ingredients and use amounts that completely submerge the soiled clothes.
Once you’ve mixed these three ingredients, soak the clothes in the mixture and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes are up, rinse the clothes and let them air dry.
If you’re specifically trying to get rid of the urine smell, you can try using a white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide soak.
Since white vinegar is an acid, it can damage some fabrics. So, make sure to spot test vinegar before completely submerging the fabric in it. You can also dilute the vinegar by mixing one part water and one part vinegar.
As an acid, the white vinegar will help break down alkaline salt found in cat urine that’s been sitting out for a while.
Soaking clothes in hydrogen peroxide can also help remove odors. If the strength of the hydrogen peroxide is at about 3%, it shouldn’t cause damage to your clothes. If you notice that the hydrogen peroxide is evaporating quickly, you can try covering it in plastic wrap to slow down evaporation.
Let the clothes soak for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, rinse them and hang them to air dry before putting them through a laundry wash cycle.
3. Smell and Stain Remover Products
There are also cleaning products specifically developed to remove stains and odors. When you shop for spot cleaners, make sure to find an enzyme-based cleaner. Enzymes will help break down urea to prevent odors from strengthening.
Soak the stained clothing in the enzyme-based cleaner for 10-15 minutes. Then, rinse off the cleaner and let the clothes air dry.
4. Laundry Wash Cycle
There are several ways to wash the pretreated clothes. First, you can use an enzyme-based detergent. You can add a pound of baking soda to the wash for additional reinforcement.
Another option you can try is washing the clothes with a cup of vinegar with no detergent. Then, run a second wash with an enzyme-based detergent.
Once the wash cycle is up, air dry the clothes. Always air dry because the urine will set in the fabric if you use the dryer.
Reasons Your Cat Isn’t Using a Litter Box
It’s important to understand why your cat isn’t using a litter box. Sometimes, it can be a health issue, such as a urinary tract infection. Work with your veterinarian to rule out any medical factors that may cause your cat to urinate anywhere.
Urinating outside of the litter box can also be due to a behavioral trigger. Cats that aren’t spayed or neutered have a higher tendency of urine marking. The litterbox may also be too dirty, so your cats may not want to step in it.
If you have multiple cats, they may prefer using their own litter boxes. A lack of litter boxes may cause cats to relieve themselves elsewhere.
As a general rule of thumb, you should have one litter box per cat plus one extra litter box. So, if you have three cats, you should have at least four litter boxes throughout the house.
If you suspect that your cat isn’t using a litter box due to behavioral reasons, you can work with a cat behaviorist to pinpoint the cause and reason behind cats not using a litter box.
It takes multiple steps to remove cat urine from clothes and fabric. Always make sure to do a pretreatment to break down the urine. Then, run the material through a wash cycle. You may have to do this a couple of times to completely eliminate the smell.
Once you remove the stain and odor, allow the fabric to air dry. After you’ve properly cleaned up stained material, make sure to spend time finding the reason why your cats aren’t using a litter box. This will save you a lot of time by eliminating the need to constantly wash soiled clothes and other fabrics.
So your cat urinated outside their litter box – what should you do now?
Cat urine has a strong, distinct odor that can be difficult to eliminate. But it’s possible to remove the smell completely from most surfaces and fabrics if you act quickly and use the right cleaning products.
How Do I Clean Cat Pee and Remove the Smell?
The first step is to remove as much of the urine as you can. On hardwood, linoleum or tile floors, simply wipe it up. For fabrics, carpet or furniture, you’ll need to blot the area with paper towels, applying pressure to absorb as much as possible. Repeat as many times as necessary.
Once the urine is gone, clean a sealed floor as usual. For carpets, clothing or bedding, flush the spot with a small amount of cold water and blot that up.
Next, you’ll need to apply a dedicated cleaner to get rid of the odor.
What Cleaners Can I Use to Get Rid of the Smell of Cat Pee?
There are a few options to try when it comes to removing the smell of cat pee. You may need to use more than one – or even all of them – and you’ll likely need to repeat the process to completely get rid of the odor. Patience is key.
Enzymatic Urine Cleaner
Most pet stores sell special enzymatic cleaners formulated to remove the smell of cat pee, as normal fabric deodorizers won’t work. Look for these products in the pet supply aisle. Thoroughly saturate the spot with the spray and leave it to air dry for up to two days, or follow the directions on the label. Repeat as needed.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is a natural deodorizer. It’s especially useful to get the cat pee smell out of carpets and furniture, or other items that can’t be washed in the washing machine. Apply once the spot has dried or is nearly dry. Wait at least an hour or until completely dry before vacuuming or brushing it off. Repeat as needed.
Vinegar and Water
A 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water can work wonders for removing the smell of cat urine. Dab the solution gently onto the spot, blot it up and repeat as needed.
While none of these cleaners will likely discolor or harm most fabrics, it’s a good idea to test a few drops on a less visible place before applying to the soiled spot.
Tips for Washing Clothing, Bedding and Linens
To get the smell of cat pee out of clothes and other items that can be washed in a washing machine, pretreat the stain with one or more of the cleaners above. After pretreating, wash on the cold setting. For extra cleaning power, add a cup of vinegar or the recommended amount of enzymatic urine cleaner (check the label) along with the detergent. Always air dry or tumble dry with no heat. If any odor lingers, repeat.
Urine stains are not only unsightly, but they can also have a really bad smell. That’s why it’s important to be prepared when they happen, so you can get rid of them before they set in the fabrics and cause even more unpleasantness.
Why Does Urine Smell Bad?
Urine contains uric acid, which smells like ammonia. The smell may be more pronounced when the urine is more concentrated, as it is in people who are dehydrated. Medical conditions such as a urinary tract infection and eating certain foods can also affect the smell of urine.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Pee Smell Out of Clothes
With these tips, you can efficiently remove urine smells, and say hello to fresh sheets and clothes! It’s important to know that the uric acid that gives urine it’s ammonia-like smell is harder to dissolve in colder water at a lower pH, like that provided by vinegar, but is easier to dissolve in warmer water at a higher pH like that provided by baking soda. So, if you think your detergent needs an extra boost, pre-soaking in asolution of baking soda and warm water is the way to go.
Soak in baking soda
Before washing your urine-stained clothing item with a laundry detergent, you can try soaking it in a sink or tub with a mixture of baking soda and warm water—although, in most cases just washing it with a high-quality detergent like Tide will suffice. In a large sink or bathtub, make a solution of baking soda and warm water, agitate to make sure the baking soda is evenly dispersed, add your stinky items—making sure the stained items are submerged and leave them there for 15 minutes to give the baking soda solution enough time to break down the uric acid present in the urine. Rinse thoroughly to prevent the high pH of the baking powder from interfering with the effectiveness of the laundry detergent. Then wash immediately.
How to use baking soda and vinegar in the wash
If you want to know more about the application of simple household products in your laundry routine, read our comprehensive guide on washing clothes with baking soda and vinegar.
How Does Washing Clothes with Vinegar or Baking Soda Compare to Detergent?
How Does Washing Clothes with Vinegar or Baking Soda Compare to Detergent?
Or, if we’re being polite, eliminating that “inappropriate elimination” odor.
It’s all fun and games until the cat pees in your house. Kitty tinkle is one of the most unique and pungent smells on the planet, perhaps rivaled only by the notorious durian fruit.
Cleaning cat pee isn’t very intuitive either – it’s actually sort of like a science experiment. Whereas you’d instinctively use warm or hot water to clean basically anything else, using hot water on cat pee is only going to set and amplify the stench. So if you’re having a cat pee-mergency, follow our guidelines below to neutralize that stinky urine.
General cat pee removal guidelines:
- Eek! Where’s the pee?! First, track down the source of the smell. And do it quickly. The longer the cat pee sits on your mattress or couch, the worse it’s going to smell.
- Blot with COLD water. Once you’ve located the cat pee spot, you’ll want to use cold water and paper towels or an old rag to blot the spot, absorbing as much as the cat pee as possible. If you’ve got an extracting wet vac on hand, feel free to use that on the cold setting. Do not scrub, that will just make the cat pee angrier and more resilient, rubbing it further (and more permanently) into the couch, floor, or garment.
- Neutralize it! Then you’re going to want to douse the spot with an enzymatic cleaner or simply make your own cleaning solution by combining (white or apple cider) vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio. Because the vinegar is acidic, it will neutralize the bacteria in the cat pee, offsetting its odor. Let the solution sit for 3-5 minutes or carefully follow the instructions on the cleaning product’s label.
- Rinse + Repeat. Using a fresh paper towel or wet rag, do one more quick once over the stained spot. If you’re using a wet rag, remember to use cold water.
- Freshen up! For additional freshness, try using Febreze Fabric Pet Odor Eliminator once it’s completely dry. You can also use Febreze Air Heavy Duty Pet Odor Eliminator around the litter box area to dull that lingering cat pee odor.
If your cat peed on the carpet, mattress, or couch:
Follow general guidelines then also sprinkle baking soda on the stain, letting it sit for an hour or so before vacuuming it up. This will aid in neutralizing the cat pee smell.
If your cat peed on tile, sealed wood flooring or baseboards:
Follow general guidelines or use a DIY solution of hydrogen peroxide and water (1:2 ratio) or straight up undiluted white vinegar on the stain.
If your cat peed on unsealed floors:
Well, that’s a little more complicated. If your floors are not sealed, after you clean up the cat pee with cold water, scrub the stain with straight vinegar and rinse with more cold water. Blot stain with a towel until you can no longer detect moisture. Enzymatic cleaners could potentially damage your unsealed floors, so test some in a subtle location before liberally using on the stain.
If the cat pee stain and odor don’t go away, you may have to bust out the sander because the urine could’ve soaked into the wood. We recommend sealing your floors, but that’s a project for a whole ‘nother day.
If your jerk cat peed on your clothes:
Time for a new cat. So. Rude.
But seriously, a common mis-cat-ception is cats confusing laundry baskets for litter boxes. Do not throw your cat pee clothes straight into the washing machine, no matter how tempting. If you do this, the odor will set and your clothes will be trashed. Think of the cat pee like it’s smallpox: The smell is super contagious and can be transferred to other clothes in the same laundry load and then you’ll need a whole new wardrobe.
Stop and breathe.
Rinse the cat pee stain on your clothes with cold water and blot with towels, just like you would the floor or a piece of furniture. Remember to blot, do not scrub. Throw soiled clothes into a bucket with a ½ cup of oxygen bleach (not chlorine bleach!) for 2-3 hours. Next, remove clothes and soak in a bath of vinegar and water (1:3 ratio). Add some baking soda directly to the stain, letting the mix sit for 10-15 minutes. Then and only then can you add the cat pee clothes to the washing machine, set to cold, and run without any detergent. Hang clothes to dry, as the heat from the dryer may still cause the odor to set.
If this seems like a lot of work to get rid of a stain, you’re not wrong. We would reserve this sort of care and diligence for your most cherished articles of clothing, otherwise, it just might be time to go shopping.
The future is feline
To avoid future rogue cat pee incidents, be sure to keep a clean litter box. Kitties loathe a dirty litter box. If your cat continues to pee outside of its box for no real reason (new pet, new house, change of scenery, change of kitty litter), consider taking it to the vet for a check-up.
We sure love our faithful, furry friends, but do you know what we don’t love? Cat pee smell on our clothes – or dog urine smell, for that matter.
Our cute canine and feline companions can’t help having an accident now and then, especially when they’re still learning, so it’s up to us pet owners to take a deep breath and deal with it quickly.
Fortunately, the powerful formula in our Oxi Advance range will remove pet odour while also getting rid of stains and brightening colours. It performs deep hygiene action in-wash, leaving clothes smelling and feeling fresh, plus it removes stains for a hygiene boost too. Once you know how to get rid of dog or cat urine smells you can get back to focusing on the cuddles.
How to get rid of dog or cat wee smell in 3 easy steps
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to remove dog urine smell from fabric or you need to know how to get cat pee smell out of clothes, the method is the same. You’ll want to use Vanish Oxi Advance Multi Power Gel for colours, and Vanish Oxi Advance Crystal White Gel for whites. This pet odour and stain remover eliminates smells from deep within the fibres and gets rid of stains while brightening, too – even at 30°C.
With this step-by-step guide on how to get dog or cat pee smell out of fabric you can keep your clothes smelling great… whatever your pets throw at you. Simply follow the instructions below:
Vanish Oxi Advance Multi Power Gel for colours
Vanish Oxi Advance Crystal White Gel for whites
- Apply 2ml of gel and rub into stain using the top of the dosage cap.
- Leave the gel on the stain for 10 minutes maximum.
- After soaking, wash in machine as normal. Dose your usual detergent and add a 50ml dose of Vanish Gel.
- Use a dose in every wash to help your clothes live for longer!
– Act quickly. This is the crucial first step. The faster you get to it, the more chance you’ll have of successfully getting rid of cat or dog smell.
– Rinse and blot. Rinse out the affected area with cold, clean water first. Then blot the area dry (rather than rub) with paper towels – rubbing could push the odour deeper into the material.
– Pre-treat. If you throw your smelly clothing in the machine straight away, you run the risk of the odour setting in – and even spreading to everything else in your load. Avoid this by pre-treating with our Oxi Advance formula (see steps 1 and 2 in instructions above) to remove the dog or cat urine smell as much as possible.
– Be cool. When you put the clothing in your washing machine (on its own) you’ll want to use a cold/lukewarm setting, like 30°C, as hot water could set in the smell.
– Air dry. Do this rather than tumble dry, as heat could permanently set in the odour.
– Please refer to the packaging for specific product usage and advice.
– KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS. Store the product only in the original container and always fasten the lid.
– Do not expose product to direct sunlight.
– Before use check for colour fastness by testing a hidden area of the fabric, rug or carpet.
– For best results it may be necessary to repeat parts of the process.
Cat pee can be one of the most stubborn smells around. There’s no mistaking it. That’s because kitties have highly powerful components in their urine that mark their area. Cats use peeing to tell all kinds of tales to other animals lingering around. Scent is commonly an understandable means of communication in the animal world.
However, when you find cat pee on your favorite cardigan, you might have some conflicting feelings. Even though it might be disgusting to humans, cats don’t feel the same way about their pee. The good news is, if your cat has an accident, you can clean it up quickly and easily—making it almost painless.
What Makes Cat Pee So Lethal
There is no mistaking the smell of cat pee. If the litter box is too dirty or your cat just used the bathroom, you can recognize the odor right away. If you think cat pee smells like straight ammonia—that’s because it is.
Cat per consists of bacteria, urea, creatinine, pheromones, urobilin, and sodium. Once the cat pee is released, it immediately decomposes, causing the urea to release ammonia into the air.
The ammonia smell can be very potent—and even dangerous to breathe if you’re pregnant. So, it’s essential to know just how to get these smells out so you can remove any trace of pee completely.
How to Remove Cat Pee Smells from Clothes
Even though you might’ve had bad experiences in the past, that doesn’t mean that it has to be a task to get cat pee smell out of your clothes. Follow these quick and easy steps to remove the odor for good. After all, you won’t want to sport a shirt that reeks of cat urine. Let’s get cracking.
1. Locate the Source
In order to treat the problem, you have to find the source. Unfortunately, if your cat used your latest laundry pile as a litter box, it’s best to rewash the entire load.
If it’s dry, it might be a little harder to find. Sniff around until you locate the soiled item.
Image Credit: Caleb Woods, Unsplash
2. Make a Concoction
Mix 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups of water. Vinegar has powerful components that break down the smells of cat urine naturally.
3. Saturate the Pee Spot
Cover the urine generously in the solution. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes.
4. Throw Your Clothes in the Washer
Add all of the soiled items to the washer. Wash in cold water on the cycle of your choosing.
5. Add Baking Soda
Baking soda is a powerful odor reduction that neutralizes strong smells and removes stains. Sprinkle a little baking soda over the wet spot to help reduce the offense. Alternatively, you can add a detergent with added baking soda, though it might not be as effective as the raw version.
6. Hang Dry
Heat can sometimes intensify the smells of cat urine. Rather than throwing the clothes into the dryer, hang them up to air dry.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Cause of Urinating Outside of the Litter Box
Due to your cat’s desire to cover their own urine, it is unusual to see them using the bathroom outside their box. If this behavior developed suddenly, or if you’re not quite sure why it’s happening, you might want to review a few factors that can contribute to this problem.
Urinary Tract Infection
If your cat is suffering from a UTI, it could cause them to pee outside of the litter box. The reason for that is because sometimes they cannot hold it or make it, as they don’t feel sensation until it’s too late. If you suspect that your cat might have a UTI, you must seek veterinary care right away as they will need antibiotics to combat the infection.
If your cat has reached the age of sexual maturity and you still do not have them fixed, it’s not unusual that they would start marking on clothes, doorways, and other household areas. They use this tactic to map out what they feel they own and also to attract potential mates.
When your female cat is in heat, they might pee and spray outside of the litter box. They use a combination of pheromones and hormones to let other cats around know that they are ready for pregnancy.
Dirty Litter Box
If you have a multi-cat household or haven’t been cleaning a litter box as frequently as you normally do, this might be your cat’s way of telling you to get it together. Cats do not enjoy using overly dirty litter boxes.
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock
An Issue with Other Cats
if your cat is offended by the fact that they have to pee where another cat pees, it could cause them to use the bathroom on items like your clothing or bedding. If you feel that it’s a multi-cat problem, try to offer multiple litter boxes throughout the home to give them more variety and personal space.
Products to Reduce Cat Odor
There are always commercial formulas to help us out with challenging issues. Depending on the problem, here are two products—one for marking and one for regular urine.
Nature’s Miracle — For Marking Issues
If you’re having an issue with marking, Nature’s Miracle makes a wonderful concoction with potent additives that deter your cat from working on your items. Cat lovers everywhere swear by it.
OdoBan — For Urine on Laundry
If you want to add a little extra punch to your wash, this OdoBan detergent is fabulous for removing those tough odors—even ones that have dried.
Finding cat pee on your clothes isn’t a fun experience for anyone. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day. Always keep vinegar and baking soda handy, as they are two of the best ways to combat cat urine odor naturally. If you notice a pattern or continued behavior, you might want to try a commercial product to see if it helps the situation.
If the behavior is sudden and repetitive, there could be an underlying health issue like a UTI. If you think this could be why, contact your vet right away to get your cat tested.
Do you feel like your whole house smells like a litter box? Getting rid of cat odors in carpets and furniture is key to getting your house to smell fresh and clean. How do you go about truly removing cat odor and not just covering it up? The key is knowing a little science behind the smell.
Why Cat Urine Is So Potent
Cat urine contains uric acid, which can last in carpets, fabrics and wood for years! Although baking soda, vinegar, soap, and hydrogen peroxide may neutralize the odors temporarily, a humid day can cause the uric acid to recrystallize, and the infamous “cat odor” will return. The only way to destroy the uric acid is to use an enzyme cleaner, according to TheCatSite.com. The affected areas on the carpet or fabrics need to be soaked in enzyme cleaner and allowed to air-dry completely. The enzymes break the uric acid into gases, and through natural drying, the gases evaporate, leaving your carpet and fabrics smelling fresh again. Enzyme cleaners can be found online and at most grocery stores.
How to Clean It
Whether your cat recently urinated on a surface in your home or you have old stains and odor, it’s important to address the mess with some strategy. Here are some basic guidelines to get you started:
- Use an old towel to blot and absorb as much urine as possible as soon as you find a spot.
- Let an enzyme cleaner sit on the stained area for a few hours and dry naturally.
- Put a laundry basket over the area while it’s being treated to keep kitty away from the cleaner.
- Open windows and run fans to keep the airflow moving and help odors leave your house.
- Try to identify why your cat is having accidents (urinary issue, stress, change in routine).
Cleaning the area thoroughly with vinegar first and then applying an enzyme treatment will break down and evaporate the uric acid and your home will be free of cat odors. Vinegar and enzyme cleaners work on all surfaces: hardwood floors, carpets, mattresses. But remember, all types of flooring and fabrics can be affected differently by cleaners, so always test a small area before doing any treatment.
One key point to remember, however, is to never use a steam cleaner or heat on cat urine stains or spots, petMD warns. It can set the stain and make it more difficult to remove. If you have steam cleaned rugs or mattresses already, be sure to do the enzyme treatment a few times. Strong odors usually linger in fabrics and carpets longer and may need a few treatments.
Preventing Cat Odors
The best way to keep cat smells from overtaking your house is to avoid them in the first place. Keep the litter box clean and add baking soda to help absorb odors. If your cat seems to be having urinary stress issues (which cause her to have accidents) or is constantly throwing up hairballs all over your house, consider gradually transitioning her to a food that helps reduce hairballs and urinary issues.
Most animal smells in your home may be due to bodily fluids, but it is also important to not let cat hair pile up in your home; this can lead to cat odor as well. To easily remove cat hair from upholstery, mix some fabric softener with water in a spray bottle and lightly mist the surface. After spraying the surface, use dampened rubber gloves to scoop up and remove the cat hair.
Once you have your house smelling fresh and clean, you can usually keep it that way by providing your cat with healthy food, a clean litter box, and regular brushing. If you need a temporary quick fix and use things such as air fresheners, make sure they are safe for pets, so as to not create more problems than when you started.
Chrissie Klinger is an educator, writer, and mother of two children, three dogs, and three cats. She enjoys living an active and eco-friendly lifestyle.
Cat urine is perhaps not your perfume of choice. It certainly is, however, pungent and lingering. If your cat has somehow managed to get pee on your clothes, you may or may not get the smell out, depending on the fabric.
Dump the clothes into a bucket immediately and cover with cold water. Add a few cups of white vinegar. The first step is to dilute and rinse out as much of the urine as possible.
Let the buckets sit for a few hours and tip the water into the toilet.
Put the clothes on a quick wash with plenty of detergent. Sniff them once they are done. If the urine smell remains, go onto step 4, otherwise hang to dry.
Wash the clothes again, this time using an enzyme odor-removal product as well as detergent and/or a warmer temperature. Alternatively, soak the clothes in buckets again but for longer, perhaps overnight, and with a stronger vinegar solution.
Repeat the above steps. However, if the smell has not gone after two or three washes, you probably won’t be able to get rid of it. In this case, it might be best to cut your losses and throw out the clothes.
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- If your cat has a habit of urinating in inappropriate places, take him to the vet. This could be a sign of a serious medical problem. Of course, if the cat is an intact tomcat, he’s probably doing it to mark his territory. He still needs to go to the vet though — for neutering.
- If your cat makes a habit of peeing on laundry, and there isn’t an underlying medical reason, put lemon peels in or drip any citrus essential oils on the laundry basket. Cats greatly dislike the smell of citrus fruits. Alternatively, put your laundry basket in a room to which your cat does not have access.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
It's bad enough that your cat left you a little accident that you have to clean up. But even worse? A cat pee smell that sticks around even after the mess is gone. The odor can linger if the urine was sitting there for a while before you got a chance to blot it up and disinfect—and the accidents can be annoyingly easy to miss, says Jennifer Gregory, brand manager of Molly Maid. "It can be difficult to spot cat urine on carpet unless you smell it, witness it, or step in it while wet," she says. By that time it could be too late, and the odor has already taken root. If your cat's spraying is becoming a trend, schedule a visit with the vet to rule out any health problems that are keeping your kitty from making it to the litter box, and watch for these 13 other signs your "healthy" cat is actually sick. In the meantime, use these expert-approved tricks for getting rid of cat pee smell from the house.
How to get rid of cat pee smell from carpet
As with pretty much any stain, no matter what the material, the key is to act fast. "If you can blot up as much of the pee from the spot as possible, you are halfway there," says Gregory. Next, apply a bacteria- or enzyme-based cleaner like this one to the area, suggests Merry Maids cleaning expert Debra Johnson. The good bacteria and enzymes help break down the smelly bacteria that are leaving an odor. Johnson recommends pressing the cleaner in with plastic so it can penetrate more deeply, then leaving the plastic over the stain while the product works its magic. If needed, follow up the cleaner a cup of vinegar mixed into a gallon of water, then apply more of the pro-bacteria product.
How to get rid of cat pee smell from furniture
Cat urine can smell like ammonia, so ammonia-based cleaners are a no-no for cat pee stains, says Gregory. "If they smell a spot with pee, they will keep peeing there," she says. "They will see this as a signal that is the place to go back to." But vinegar has the opposite effect, telling your cat to keep out. Wet the urine stain with a vinegar solution, and as the vinegar evaporates, it'll take the cat pee smell with it. For other messes around the house, use these 17 tricks for hard-to-clean household objects.
How to get rid of cat pee smell from hard surfaces
After blotting away any urine, mix a tablespoon of dish soap into two cups of cool water, suggests Johnson. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe down the soiled area with the solution, then use a clean cloth to dry the spot. If any odor lingers, sprinkle baking soda on the stinky spot and leave it for at least half an hour. "Baking soda neutralizes odors instead of just masking them," says Johnson. Once the baking soda has had time to get rid the space of the cat pee smell, vacuum it up. Just make sure you close off the room to your cat and other pets while the baking soda is still lying around—while it's not harmful in small amounts, it could be toxic if your furry friend ingests a lot of it.
How to get rid of cat pee smell from clothes
Rinse out the stain with cool water before tossing a cat pee-stained article of clothing into the wash. If the urine smell sticks around, try rewashing with a cup of baking soda or a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar—or better yet, an enzyme-based cleaner, suggests PetMD. Let it air-dry, because the heat from the dryer could make the smell worse if the wash cycle didn't get rid of it completely. While you're addressing your cat's pee problem, watch out for these other 14 cat health symptoms you should never ignore.
How to Remove Cat Urine Smell With These 5 Tricks
by Jane Meggitt – 5/2/19
If anyone enters your home and immediately says, “You have cats,” even though no felines are in evidence, it’s a good bet their olfactory nerves tipped them off. How to remove that cat urine smell? Fortunately, there are plenty of safe products on the market that can rid your home of kitty odors.
1. How to Remove Cat Urine Smell
Wherever your cat is peeing, the first step in removing the odor is to thoroughly clean the urine as soon as possible. The longer the urine lingers, the worse the smell becomes. Use cold water and paper towels to mop up the liquid. For best results, use an enzyme-based pet stain and odor removal product on the stained spot. These enzymes work by eradicating the acid in the urine and neutralizing bacteria. After saturating the area with the enzyme cleaner, place a damp towel over the spot and let it sit overnight.
2. How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Carpet
Again, remove the liquid via cold water and paper towels, followed by an enzyme cleaner and damp towel. After removing the towel, vacuum the carpet. While you can use a wet vac with cool water on your carpet, don’t use a steam cleaner. The heat from the steam can cause the odors to set. Once you’ve finishing cleaning and wet vacuuming, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on the soiled part of the carpet for further odor absorption. Leave the baking soda on the carpet an hour or so and then vacuum it up.
3. How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Wood
If your wooden floors are sealed, paper towels to mop up urine and a good wooden floor cleaner designed for pet odors and stains should do the trick. If your floors aren’t sealed, after cleaning up the urine, place white vinegar on the area and let it sit for several minutes. Blot it up with a paper towel or dry cloth, then add more vinegar with a sponge and gently scrub it into the stain. Follow that up with a light water rinse, using a paper towel or cloth to blot up the wetness until you can’t feel any moisture. The last step is the enzymatic cleaner, but test the product first on an unobtrusive part of the floor.
The bad news is that if this method doesn’t remove the stain and odor, you’ll have to sand the stained part down to clean wood, because the urine has soaked into it. If you seal the floor at this point, a repeat performance by your cat won’t soak the wood with pee.
4. How to Get Cat Pee Out of Clothes
Clothes left in a heap—or even in a laundry basket—can become a litter box substitute for errant felines. Your first instinct is to throw the soiled garments into a washing machine, but that’s a mistake. Not only can washing urine-soaked clothing immediately cause the odor to set, but if there are other clothes in the load, they can end up smelling like cat pee, as well.
First, rinse the affected area in cold water, then blot it with paper towels. Avoid scrubbing, since this can cause the urine to sink more deeply into the cloth. Instead, soak the rinsed articles in a sink or bucket after adding a half-cup of oxygen—not chlorine—bleach for approximately two to three hours. Next, remove the clothing and place it in a solution of one-part white vinegar to three cups water. Place some baking soda on the stain as well, and allow the mix to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. At this point, it is safe to wash the soiled items in the washing machine, using the cold water setting. Don’t add any detergent. When the load is done, hang the clothes out to dry. Don’t put them in the dryer, since hot air causes the odor to set.
5. Why Is Your Cat Eliminating Inappropriately?
The polite term for cats urinating or defecating outside the litter box is “inappropriate elimination.” If your cat is peeing where he shouldn’t, you must get to the bottom of it, no pun intended.
Are you cleaning the litter box regularly? Cats loathe dirty litter boxes. If you have multiple cats, do you have the right kitty to litter box ratio? Ideally, set out a litter box for each cat. If that’s not possible, provide at least one litter box for every two felines.
If your cat formerly used the litter box regularly but is now having accidents in the house, figure out if anything has changed. Is there a new person or pet in the home? Did you move the litter box, or change the type of litter used? Older cats may have arthritic or other issues that don’t allow them to feel comfortable using certain types of litter boxes.
If Kitty continues to inappropriately eliminate, take him or her to the vet for a thorough checkup. Your vet has dealt with many cases of inappropriate elimination, and will advise you on the best options for solving the problem.
Use your washing machine to wash the stained clothes, preferably with an enzyme detergent. Afterwards, air dry your clothes. Some recommend adding one pound of baking soda to the wash or to run a cycle with a cup of white vinegar and no detergent, then run a second cycle with regular detergent. Try again.
How do you get cat urine smell out of laundry?
Vinegar Wash Mix one cup white vinegar to three cups water (1:3). Coat the urine-stained item with this solution and allow to sit for a few minutes. Cover the stained area with baking soda, if you wish. Wash the urine stained items in a washing machine set on cold or lukewarm water. Air-dry the urine-stained items.
How do you get urine smell out of clothes that have already been washed and dried?
If you’re dealing with a smelly piece of clothing that’s already been washed and dried, consider soaking it bleach or washing it with an enzymatic detergent. If the garment is freshly soiled and especially smelly, try washing or soaking it with vinegar instead.
Why do my clothes smell like urine after washing?
Your Dryer Is Failing Your clothes may smell fine coming out of the washing machine, but develop a musty or sour smell after leaving the dryer. The smell may be more pronounced when the urine is more concentrated, as it is in people who are dehydrated.
Does laundry detergent get rid of cat pee?
Regular products can only go so far. Regular laundry detergent as well as other typical cleaning supplies, such as baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide, can make the smell go away, but this temporary. Some people recommend adding baking soda or vinegar to the wash.
How do I get my cat to stop peeing in my laundry basket?
Since that is difficult to do, switch the laundry basket to a closed hamper or consider using feline motion sensor spray deterrents or spray repellants near the laundry basket to discourage her from approaching the laundry altogether.
How do you get urine smell out of fabric?
Before washing your urine-stained clothing item with a laundry detergent, you can try soaking it in a sink or tub with a mixture of baking soda and warm water—although, in most cases just washing it with a high-quality detergent like Tide will suffice.
How do you neutralize the smell of urine?
Mix Baking Soda, Peroxide and Dish Detergent Make a solution of baking soda, peroxide and any dish detergent. The combination of the three is often powerful enough to drive away even the strongest of urine smells.
How do I get rid of pet urine odor?
Opt for Baking Soda Baking soda naturally neutralizes odors. Sprinkle it liberally on the damp area or even an old urine stain, and work the powder gently into the fibers of any fabric, rug or carpet. Let the baking soda sit overnight for maximum odor absorption, then vacuum it up to remove the smell completely.
Why does the inside of my dryer smell like cat pee?
If a bit of odor persists, the felt seals in front of and behind the drum might have been soaked with urine. Consult your dryer manual for information on removing the drum, as each dryer is different. Peel off the felt seals, scrape away dried adhesive with a putty knife and attach new seals.
How do you get smell out of washing machine?
Baking Soda & Vinegar Wash Mix ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water and add it to your machine’s detergent container. Use four cups of plain white (not apple cider) vinegar to a top-load machine or two cups to a front-load model. Pour the vinegar into the drum. Run a high-temperature cycle.
Does cat pee smell ever go away?
Cat urine contains uric acid, which can last in carpets, fabrics and wood for years! Although baking soda, vinegar, soap, and hydrogen peroxide may neutralize the odors temporarily, a humid day can cause the uric acid to recrystallize, and the infamous “cat odor” will return.
Will OxiClean remove urine smell from clothes?
Here’s the really cool thing: OxiClean™ Odor Blasters Versatile Stain Remover can be used to help with pet stains and odor on laundry (clothes, sheets, towels and more), carpet, car seats, upholstery, pillows and any washable fabrics.
Can you put baking soda in the washing machine?
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash when you add your regular liquid detergent. Baking soda will give you sharper whites, brighter brights, and odor-free clothing.
What does my cat pee in the laundry basket?
When cats choose somewhere besides their litter boxes to urinate, veterinarians look for health concerns such as such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, crystals in the urine (a potentially life-threatening situation in male cats), bladder stones, or bladder inflammation caused by an infection or even stress Dec 20, 2020.
What smells deter cats from peeing?
6 Smells That Deter Cats from Peeing Lavender. Peppermint. Eucalyptus. Coffee. Vinegar. Citrus.
Why do cats pee in my laundry basket?
A common reason cats pee anywhere besides their litter boxes is that they have a problem with the boxes themselves. One cat might have taken ownership of the litter box and displaced the other one. Buy one litter box for each cat you have. Try cleaning the litter more frequently and buy a new type of litter.
Can you put vinegar in the washing machine?
Vinegar can be used to clean your washing machine, as well as many other household appliances. Run your washing machine without any clothing in it. Use hot water and a cup of vinegar. This will reduce the lint and soap buildup in the machine.
How do you wash clothes with urine?
How to clean pee stains on clothing and bedding. Debra Johnson, a cleaning expert for Merry Maids, recommends running urine-soaked articles through a full-wash cycle using cold water and one cup of distilled white vinegar (without detergent at this point).
How do you get old cat urine smell out?
STEP 1: Use an old cloth or paper towels to absorb as much urine as possible. STEP 2: Saturate any soft areas with an enzymatic cleaner. STEP 3: Use dish soap and cool water or floor cleaner on any hard surfaces. STEP 4: Sprinkle baking soda on the area to continue neutralizing odors.
Does vinegar react with urine?
As with toothpaste, the hCG in urine supposedly reacts with the vinegar, causing a change in color. Once again, there is no evidence that this is true.
Learn how to get rid of cat urine smells in carpet and prevent your cat peeing outside of the litter tray.
Updated 17 August 2021
If you want to know how to get rid of cat urine smells in carpet, just follow our key steps:
Soak up as much of the stain as you can.
Apply an enzymatic cleaner to break down the urine.
Try vinegar and baking soda for old stains.
Practice prevention steps.
If your cat decides that your lounge floor is good for a quick wee you’ll need to know how to get rid of cat urine smells in carpet piles. Learning how to get urine out of carpet is one thing, but you’ll also want to learn how to prevent your furry friend from doing it again! Let us show you what to do.
When you need to remove cat urine smells from carpet you can finish the job with a sprinkle of homemade carpet cleaner made from herbs. That’ll leave things smelling sweet.
How to get urine smells out of carpet when it’s still fresh
When you have to remove cat urine smells from carpet, the faster you act the better. The more cat pee you can get up quickly, the less deep cleaning you’ll need to do in the future. Here’s what to do:
Blot the stain with paper towels to soak up as much as you can.
Pour some cold water on the area and gently work in.
Use an enzymatic cleaner to break down the urine – always follow instructions and test any new cleaner on a small area of carpet first to check for reactions. Unsure about using cleaning products in your carpet? Check our guide to cleaning rugs and carpets for more information.
Lay a towel down to absorb the cleaner – one that you’re prepared to throw away.
Vacuum the carpet when completely dry.
That’s the fresh accidents dealt with – now onto how to clean dried cat urine from carpet.
How to clean dried cat urine from carpet
Fresh urine is much easier to deal with than old urine, but there could be times where you miss the initial accident. Over time the odour becomes really unpleasant and that’s when knowing how to get cat urine smells out of carpet is handy. Here’s how:
Take your time locating the source of the smell – under furniture, in corners, etc.
Mark any spots you find with tape so you know exactly where to clean.
Wet the affected area and apply your enzymatic cleaner before soaking up.
Spray white vinegar directly onto the stains and then sprinkle a light coating of baking soda on top. Leave for 24 hours to let the mixture absorb the urine.
Vacuum up the residue and consider steam cleaning for a final assault on the stain.
Preventing your cat from peeing on the carpet
Even though you know how to get urine smells out of carpet, prevention is better than cure, and stopping your kitty from going outside the litter box is always going to be the best way forward. Here are our top tips:
Tackle the problem quickly – if you see your cat starting to pee put them straight on the litter.
Try multiple litter boxes in different locations.
Try different boxes – your cat might not like the box, the location of it – or both.
Try changing the litter – they could be put off by smell or texture.
Clean the litter box regularly – cats are clean creatures and won’t want to go in a dirty box.
Make sure you thoroughly clean any accidents, so they’re not attracted to the smell in future.
Consult your vet if problems persist.
Once you know how to get cat urine smells out of carpet and prevent your kitty from peeing outside the litter, it’s much less of a problem. And always remember to wear gloves and protect your skin while cleaning!
We’ve shown you how to get urine out of carpet but if you have problems with pet smells, rather than stains, then our article on removing pet odours can help.
Machine wash. Use your washing machine to wash the stained clothes, preferably with an enzyme detergent. Afterwards, air dry your clothes. Some recommend adding one pound of baking soda to the wash or to run a cycle with a cup of white vinegar and no detergent, then run a second cycle with regular detergent.
How do you get cat urine smell out of laundry?
Vinegar Wash Mix one cup white vinegar with one cup water (1:1). Coat the urine-stained item with this solution and allow to sit for a few minutes. Cover the stained area with baking soda, if you wish. Wash the urine-stained items in a washing machine set on cold or lukewarm water. Air-dry the urine-stained items.
What kills the smell of cat urine?
Baking Soda and Vinegar Vinegar, while a bit smelly itself, works to remove the lasting odor of sprayed cat urine because vinegar is an acid that neutralizes the alkaline salts that form in dried urine stains. A solution of one part water and one part vinegar can be used to clean walls and floors.
Does OxiClean work on cat urine?
Most people think of OxiClean™ VSR as a laundry booster, but it can also be used to clean many types of flooring, including ceramic tile, grout, vinyl plank, and linoleum. It’s chlorine-bleach-free and can be used to clean up cat urine.
How do you get cat pee out of clothes without vinegar?
Mix baking soda and water to make a watery paste and spread it on the stain. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. This will neutralize the uric acid in fresh cat pee stains, says Bruce Vance of Town and Country Cleaning Services. (Always test an inconspicuous area first.)Aug 24, 2021.
Can you mix vinegar and laundry detergent?
You can use both vinegar and laundry detergent to clean a single batch of clothes, but you should ideally use the products separately. You need to be mindful about when you add vinegar to your wash and the quantities of the products you use. Too much vinegar and detergent can result in oily clothes.
Why are my cats peeing on my clothes?
There are three main reasons why this may happen: medical problems, behavioural issues or simply (and the most common reason) their litter tray is dirty so they’ve chosen somewhere else to go. Top Tip: Stop your cat peeing on your clothes for good with the critically acclaimed Cat Spraying No More.
Why is my cat peeing in the laundry basket?
A common reason cats pee anywhere other than in their litter box is because they have a problem with the boxes themselves. One cat may have taken ownership of the litter box and displaced another. Buy one litter box for each cat you have. Try cleaning the litter more often and buy a new type of litter.
Does cat pee smell ever go away?
Cat urine contains uric acid, which can last in carpets, fabrics and wood for years! Although baking soda, vinegar, soap, and hydrogen peroxide may neutralize the odors temporarily, a humid day can cause the uric acid to recrystallize, and the infamous “cat odor” will return.
Why did my cat pee on my clothes in front of me?
Health issues, such as urinary tract infections, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, bladder stones, and bladder inflammation can lead to a cat urinating on clothing. Also, anxiety, stress, and fear can lead to the sudden loss of bladder control.
Does baking soda and vinegar remove cat urine?
Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area and let sit for about ten minutes. Pour some vinegar on the baking soda and let it fizz for a few seconds before blotting the liquid with a fresh rag. Once the area looks clean, it’s time to eliminate the odor.
How do you get male cat spray out of clothes?
To treat machine washable materials, like clothing or bedding, add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and a generous sprinkling of baking soda to your usual laundry detergent and wash fabrics in this mixture. You can also opt for a detergent with baking soda to deodorize urine-sprayed clothing.
How do you get the ammonia smell out of clothes?
How to Get the Ammonia Smell Out of Your Workout Clothes Neutralize It With Vinegar. White vinegar is a weak acid that’s capable of neutralizing ammonia, which is a base. Use Baking Soda. Use Hydrogen Peroxide. Use ACTIVE Detergent. Use Borax.
How much vinegar do you put in laundry?
Clean clothes without harsh chemicals To clean your clothes with vinegar, put 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar in your washing machine’s detergent compartment. You don’t need to add any other detergents.
How long do you soak clothes in vinegar?
Adding Vinegar to Laundry to Remove Stains Soak the stain in straight vinegar. Allow it to sit for 10-30 minutes. Wash as normal.
Can I put baking soda and vinegar in my laundry?
Adding baking soda or vinegar to your laundry can help you clean both your washing machine and your garments better. Both of these pantry staples are an effective and inexpensive way to remove mildew odors, soften fabrics, and even brighten your whites.
Does vinegar deter cats from peeing?
Yes, vinegar is an effective deterrent that can stop cats from peeing and pooping in certain areas. Cats don’t like the strong smell of vinegar so will avoid areas that smell of it. Vinegar is a great deterrent as it is safe, non-toxic, and effective.
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Whether it was a little one who peed the bed or a pet who couldn’t make it until the walk, TODAY Home asked a team of cleaning experts to share how professionals would tackle this problem and clean urine stains from:
Check out these surprising uses for vinegar
How to clean pee stains on clothing and bedding
Debra Johnson, a cleaning expert for Merry Maids, recommends running urine-soaked articles through a full-wash cycle using cold water and one cup of distilled white vinegar (without detergent at this point). Vinegar is an excellent urine stain remover; it breaks down the uric acid in urine and makes the stain easier to remove.
When the cycle is complete, run the load again (this time adding detergent) and wash at the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric.
If the stain has been in the fabric for an extended period of time, soak the article overnight in the in the vinegar and water, then wash as usual in the morning. Repeat soaking the item in vinegar and water until stain is removed.
Home TODAY’s 2021 A to Z stain removal guide
How to clean pee stains on furniture
For starters, always follow manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning upholstery. For silk, antique and vintage upholstery, consult a cleaning professional.
Fresh urine stains:
Johnson’s easy method for removing fresh urine stains from furniture uses detergent, vinegar and water. Here is her advice for how to get pee (urine) out of a couch and how to get pee smell out of a couch — and other furniture. (Her suggestions not only include how to clean human pee out of couch cushions, but how to get dog pee out of couch cushions).
- Lightly blot the urine stain with a microfiber cloth to remove excess urine. If you press too hard, you may spread the stain. (Tip: If the stain is fresh, a wet/dry vac will do a great job.)
- Mix 1 tablespoon of dish-washing liquid with 2 cups of cold water in a small bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (to disinfect the area and break down the acid) to the solution and gently stir.
- Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution.
- Gently sponge the urine stain, starting at the outside of the stain and working toward the center.
- Repeat as needed.
- Rinse out detergent residue by blotting the area with a damp cloth.
- Using a dry microfiber cloth, gently blot the area until it’s dry.
Home Your 2021 spring-cleaning checklist
Old urine stains:
Jason Weaver of ServiceMaster Clean removes old urine stains from upholstery with a DIY formula.
- In a bowl, mix 10 ounces of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of recently opened baking soda (note: not baking powder), and 2-3 drops of dish-washing detergent. Mix until the baking soda is dissolved.
- Pour into a spray bottle.
- Pre-test the upholstery by spraying some cleaner in an inconspicuous place.
- Allow it to dry. If the fabric does not change color, proceed as follows:
- Spray the stain and allow the cleaner to work for an hour. If the stain is not gone, repeat the process.
- After the stain is gone, rinse the cleaning solution from the area by dabbing with a damp cloth and blotting with a dry towel until all cleaning solution is gone. This is an important step because, over time, detergent residue will attract dirt. Also, if not removed, hydrogen peroxide could bleach the upholstery and weaken the fibers of the fabric.
- If the stain remains, contact a professional upholstery cleaner.
Why you should clean your mattress — and how to do it
How to clean pee stains on carpet
Matt Smith, vice president of marketing for Simple Solution cleaning products, explained that when it comes to pet stains and odor on carpets, the main issue for consumers is not using enough product. (Johnson and Weaver confirmed the same.)
Fresh urine stains:
- Using a wet/dry vac or paper towels, remove as much urine as possible from carpet.
- Rinse the stain once with cold water.
- Vacuum or blot excess water.
- Wet the soiled area with an enzyme-based product and allow it sit for at least five minutes. “Pet urine tends to leak down into carpet backing and spreads for several inches,” said Smith. “So it’s best to spray a ring a few inches outside the stain area and then generously spray the stain remover on the area inside the ring to saturate the carpet and the pad below it.”
- Allow the cleaner to dry naturally, then vacuum.
Note: “Many people spray and remove immediately, which isn’t the right way to clean a pet stain,” Smith added. “You need to let the product work to get great results.”
Old urine stains:
Old urine stains can be hard to fight — and sometimes even hard to find. Make your job easier by using a UV urine-finder like UV Flashlight Pet Urine Detector by Doggone Pet Products and Black Light UV Flashlight 100 LED by Jumbl.
Once you find the stains, it’s important to note that they’ll require more stain remover than fresh stains. Smith explains, “Instead of using a simple enzyme cleaner, you may want to try an oxygen-activated enzyme cleaner to remove the stains and destroy the odor. Apply as directed and allow it to dry naturally, then vacuum.”
So you’ve cleaned and cleaned, and your floor, mattress or clothes *still* smells like cat pee? Here’s the fix.
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET’s Smart Home Section, MTVNews’ tech section and for Live Science’s reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
He’s all cute and cuddly, then he drops a stink bomb on your favorite shirt.
I’m pretty sure there’s no smell as potent — or as long-lasting — as cat pee. I’ve tried all of the home remedies to get rid of the stench and found some winners that will save whatever your cat decided was the litter box that day.
Did your cat get ticked off at you and decide your pile of clean laundry was a great place to get revenge? Yeah, I’ve been there.
Wash the laundry as you normally would, but leave it in the washer. Then, add 2 cups of baking soda to the load and set the washer to soak mode with warm water. If your washer doesn’t have a soak mode, turn on your washer, let it fill up with warm water, then pause the load.
Let the load soak overnight and then wash it as you normally would. Everything should come out smelling fresh.
On your mattress
For a while, when my daughter’s cat was stressed, she would go on our mattress. Mattresses are expensive, so I couldn’t toss it, but I just couldn’t get the smell out no matter how much I cleaned it. Finally, I learned the baking soda trick.
After cleaning the mattress and letting it dry, sprinkle baking soda over the spot that smells. Not just a dusting, either. I mean really layer that baking soda on. Then, put your sheet back on the mattress. Let the baking soda sit on the spot for a few days.
Don’t worry, you can still sleep on your bed. The sheet will prevent the baking soda from getting all over your bedroom.
After the baking soda has had time to do the dirty work, just vacuum the mattress. Is that spot radiant with freshness? You bet it is.
Pro tip: If your cat has an issue with using your bed as a giant litter box, invest in a fabric waterproof mattress cover (the plastic ones are super uncomfortable and hot). It will save your mattress and it’s much easier to clean. Just use the same cleaning technique as with clothing.
Pee-be-gone spray can take care of nasty odors that are hard to find.
Boy cats tend to mark their territory and often the area where they sprayed is hard to find. If you can’t identify the spot, shampoo the carpets, mop or whatever you need to do to clean the suspected area, then make a bottle of cat pee-be-gone.
In a spray bottle, mix 16 ounces (about 500 ml) of warm water with 10 drops of peppermint essential oil or two tablespoons of peppermint extract. Spray all of the areas that you think your cat may have urinated or marked. Within a few hours the scent will be gone.
Before you try the pee-be-gone formula on carpets, rugs, furniture or other areas, be sure to test it on a small area to make sure it won’t discolor the material.
Typically, when cats tinkle where they aren’t supposed to that means they’re trying to tell you something. Some things they may be trying to say are:
- They don’t like where their cat box is placed
- They need more than one box
- The box isn’t clean enough
- They don’t like their litter
- They may have a medical condition
To prevent future stinky situations, have a talk with your vet to eliminate any medical issues and try to figure out if the litter box is the problem.
Is your cat spraying? There are a number of reasons why your cat maybe not using the litter box. Accidents can happen, but that urine smell is challenging to eliminate! We’ve laid out a few tips below to help you to get rid of the cat pee smell from your carpet, clothes, couch, and car. The main thing is finding the exact location of the cat pee. This can be tricky, especially if the incident happens before you get home and has dried already. The easiest thing is to follow your nose (since cat pee smells so strongly!) but if that’s not working and you can only find a general area, look for stains or try a UV black light.
If you’re using a black light, here are a few tips to help your search:
- Make sure the room is very dark. Either close the blinds or wait for nighttime, otherwise, the UV light won’t work as well.
- Cat urine will glow yellow or neon green under a UV blacklight. Other stains or materials (such as cleaning products and tonic water) can also glow, so lightly smelling the stain is a good way to pinpoint if you’ve found the right spot.
- Mark the spot with tape or chalk once you’ve found it, so you can easily return and clean with the lights on.
Once you’ve found the area your cat has peed in, here are the next steps to get rid of that smell:
Absorb any Urine-Soaked Areas Immediately
Whether the affected area is carpet, wood or leather, use a paper towel or rag to soak up any noticeable cat urine puddles first. Lightly dab the absorbent material onto the wet area (instead of rubbing) so it pulls the liquid out easier. This won’t remove all of the urine but will make the deep cleaning process much simpler.
Use an Enzyme Cleaner:
Enzyme-based cleaners, such as Urine Gone, are biological compounds that react with fats, oils, and proteins. The enzymes break them down completely, getting rid of stains and smells. These cleaners are ideal for a pet household because they’re non-toxic and biodegradable. Since the process is biological, the cleaner does require time to fully break down the stain and can take up to a couple of days (depending on the cleaner), but it will completely remove the issue.
Spray the cat urine stain and the area immediately surrounding the stain with the enzyme cleaner. If the urine was on hardwood or an area that shouldn’t get wet, there are also powdered enzyme cleaners that can work just as well. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes and follow the cleaner’s instructions for cleanup. Make sure to test a small area of your clothing, carpet or wood flooring first.
Getting Cat Pee Out of Clothing and Fabric:
If the cat pee is on fabric that can easily be put in the wash, just pop it into the washing machine with enzyme-based laundry detergent, plus your regular detergent. If the area is particularly bad, you can pre-treat the clothing and let it soak in the enzyme detergent first, for around 5 minutes.
The same goes for clothing that can’t go in the washing machine. Just rinse the soiled fabric underwater first, soak the fabric in the enzyme detergent for the recommended amount of time labeled on the cleaner, and rinse by hand. Enzyme cleaners are known for being gentle on most surfaces, but we always recommend doing a small test first.
Why do cats urinate outside of the litter box?
- They’re unhappy with the litterbox. There are a few reasons for this, including the type or smell of the litter you use. A big reason is based on how often do you clean the litterbox. If you had to use a dirty toilet all the time, you’d probably look elsewhere to do your business too! Cat’s have very sensitive noses, so making sure they’re happy with their bathroom is an optimal way to ensure they use the proper place. This is especially important in a multi-cat household.
- Inability to access the litterbox. This is especially common with elderly cats or kittens. If the litterbox is hard to get into (eg. Your cat is arthritic), they might look elsewhere for the bathroom.
- Stress or anxiety. If a cat isn’t feeling comfortable in their environment, they could urinate in other locations to ‘mark their territory’. This urine-spray marking is most commonly found in males who haven’t been neutered yet, but can also happen in a multi-cat household or when a cat is introduced to something new.
- Your cat might have a UTI. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common in cats and dogs and can cause painful urination for your pet. If your cat suddenly starts peeing on carpets or in random places, a vet checkup should be first on the list. This is most common in older cats but can happen at all ages. The common signs of a UTI (and more serious kidney infections) are if your cat is straining to urinate but without much coming out.
- Your cat could have diabetes. If you notice your cat is super thirsty all the time and goes to the bathroom more often than before, go to the vet. Diabetes is potentially deadly if left untreated.
There are many reasons why your cat could be avoiding the litterbox. Finding out why is the primary focus to stop ongoing pee-related issues.
Good luck on getting rid of cat pee smells and these tips should have your life smelling daisy-fresh!
It’s strong, acidic, and stubborn – no matter how much you try it just won’t go! If you have a cat that loves to pee all over your home, you’ll know how hard it is to remove cat urine smell.
Luckily for all us cat-lovers, there are ways to get rid of it. Put down your carpet cleaner and return your anti-bacterial spray to the cupboard, this calls for something different.
From coffee to vinegar, try out these methods to keep your home smelling fresh.
1) Prepare the Area For Cleaning
Before you put anything down, it’s important you prepare the area your cat’s peed on. This is essential if you want to get rid of urine odor.
Start by soaking up the cat pee. This will only work if you catch the urine before has a chance to sink in, so be quick! By removing most of the urine, you’ll make learning how to get rid of cat urine smell much easier.
Use a little plain, cool water to rinse the area. When it’s wet, press the space with a dry cloth or paper towels. This’ll help sponge the rest of the pee out.
If your cat has peed on anything you can chuck in the wash, do so straight away. It’s all about reacting quickly, so get washing!
2) Pet Carpet Cleaner
Once you’ve prepped the area, use a specific cat pee cleaner.
These are designed for pet problems and can work harder than regular cleaners to get rid of stains and smells.
We recommend using an enzyme-based carpet cleaner. Enzymes kill the bacteria in cat urine, helping get rid of the problem and eliminate odors.
You can use them on anything too, so if you’re wondering how to get pee out of a mattress, clothes, or carpet, this will help. Just make sure to read the guidance and safety label first!
3) Baking soda
After you’ve cleaned the area with a pet carpet cleaner, you might notice a remaining odor. This definitely isn’t unusual!
We find it often takes more than one solution to get rid of the smell of cat pee, and natural methods are often best. They’re not tough on your carpets and upholstery, and they’re cheap. A win-win!
Baking soda is a great solution for how to get cat pee smell out of a carpet. All you need to do is sprinkle some over the area when it’s dry. Let it sit for as long as you can (overnight is best) before vacuuming it up.
Baking soda works as an odor absorber. It soaks up the cat pee smell and takes it with it when you vacuum.
You can add herbs and cinnamon to your baking soda for a scented finish.
4) White Vinegar
White vinegar works wonders of the smell of cat pee. As an acid, it neutralizes the alkaline salts that are left behind in dried urine.
Even if you’ve already cleaned it, these salts could still be causing smells.
To use, mix one-part white vinegar with one part water and apply with a spray bottle. It can be used all over your home, from walls to rugs, and is safe around your pets too. Once you’ve sprayed it, leave it to dry. The vinegar smell should fade after a couple of days and the cat urine smell will disappear.
If you’ve got a cat that pees around your home, always keep a bottle of this in your cupboard!
5) Rubbing Alcohol
It’s usually the ammonia in cat pee that makes it smell so bad. Getting rid of the ammonia means you’ll get rid of the smell.
This is what makes rubbing alcohol such a great cleaner. It neutralizes the smell of ammonia quickly and easily, and it won’t harm your pets. Just don’t mix it with bleach or it will become harmful!
To use, soak a cloth with the rubbing alcohol. Don’t pour it onto the area or this will make it too wet and give you more to clean. Wipe the area, pressing down to help the fabric absorb the alcohol.
Leave it to dry and see the smell disappear!
6) Coffee Grounds
Coffee is known for its odor repelling properties. So, it makes sense it will work for cat pee too.
Collect your used coffee grounds and place them in the freezer to dry them out. Wet coffee grounds will only make more of a mess.
Once they’re dry, sprinkle your coffee over the cat pee area. Leave the grounds to work overnight before vacuuming them up – just like baking soda!
7) Use a Primer
Sometimes cat pee can soak through carpet and into the wood below. This is a nightmare for homeowners, but it can be fixed!
You will have to take up the area of carpet that’s been peed on. If you don’t know how to, it could be a good idea to bring in some help.
Once the carpets up, you can use baking soda or coffee grounds to try and remove some of the odor from the wood. Once that’s done, seal the scent with a stain-blocking, oil-based primer.
It can also be a good idea to replace the padding and even the area of the carpet. It’s a tough job, but it will get rid of the smell!
8) Scent Your Home
Once you’ve cleaned up the mess and deodorized the area, keep your home smelling fresh. This won’t help if you haven’t properly cleaned though, so always do that first!
By adding home fragrances, candles, and diffusers to your home, you can cover any bad smells from your pet. There shouldn’t be much left, but this can help finish off the job.
You can even get room fresheners for pet smells, so try those out and see if they work!
9) Professional Cleaning Services
If you’ve tried everything and you can still smell cat pee, it’s time to call in the professionals.
At Safe-Dry, we have a team dedicated to cleaning homes with pets. They can remove stains and get rid of odors easily. With our guys on the case, you won’t have to worry about a thing.
Remove Cat Urine Smell For Good
To find out more and remove cat urine smell for good, get in touch with us today. We’ll be happy to help with any of your questions or find a time to come and clean.
I have an 8 month old male kitten who likes to pee on anything shaped like a box. He just got neutered which seems to have stopped this habit in its tracks (so far). However, he has peed on a ton laundry because laundry bins are shaped like boxes. Its past the point of spot treating it because some of it has dried already. Plus its hard to tell what specifically has been marked. I am looking for a laundry detergent or additive that will help remove the smell. Right now I have been adding nature miracle urine destroyer to arm and hammer oxyclean detergent but I am not sure its strong enough. I am looking for something that I can just add to all loads of laundry for like a month to get any residual smells out. I am asking here because everything I have found online says to pretreat and that's no longer an option.
Edit:: thanks for the advice this is what I found to work the best for me.
I went though all the laundry and if I could see stains from pee, I sprayed it with nature miracle urine destroyer. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then soaked those clothing items in water for a few hours.
Then I put all clothes together in the laundry and washed each load three times.
First load, I put the urine destroyer in the detergent cup and a cup or so of vinegar in the prewash section. I washed it on normal/cotton with prewash on cold. This could probably be shortened to a speed wash with out the vinegar.
Second load, I used Pyrex odor eliminator detergent. I also used another cup of vinegar in the preseason section. I washed it on normal/cotton with prewash on cold.
Third load. I used my normal laundry detergent arm and hammer with oxi clean. I added a cup of unstoppables. I washed in on speed wash on cold.
I then dried them on low.
I realize this is probably excessive but it got the smell out of everything even the clothes that had previously been washed and still smelled.
Incontinence, the lack of bladder control, is extremely common in older adults and many caregivers will find themselves washing the smell of urine out of clothes on a daily to weekly basis. In this article, we’ll walk you through all the steps necessary to maintain your loved one’s wardrobe and get their clothes smelling like new.
Why Urine Must be Removed as Quickly as Possible
While the smell may be the most obvious issue after an accident, urine is also acidic, meaning it can ruin the fabric of your clothing, making it both smell pungent and weaken clothing’s structure.
Additionally, urine lingers on long after the stain is gone because of ammonia’s presence. While the stain will disappear after some time, the stench will remain, and this is even worse if there is urine present in non-washable items, such as car seats.
The average pH of fresh urine is 6.0, making it an acidic substance. However, when left exposed for long periods of time, urine’s pH can increase above 8.0, turning it into an alkaline chemical. The strong alkaline salt of old urine can destroy the fabric fibers of any piece of clothing.
As such, there are multiple reasons to remove urine as quickly as you can. But do not worry, as we have prepared an easy guide that will tell you the steps needed in removing urine stains and odors from your clothing.
Pre-treat your item
The first step you should take when removing urine stains and odor from clothes is to pre-treat the item so that it is ready to be rinsed and washed. Pre-treatment will make cleaning urine significantly easier and less of a headache later in the washing process. Here are the steps:
- After spotting the urine stain in your item, rinse it with cool water. You can also dry the spot by using paper towels. Be careful of scrubbing the stain, as it will cause the urine to stay even longer in the clothing.
- When using water to rinse your item, do not use hot water. Heat will set stains and smells into your clothing, thus making it even harder to remove them later in the washing process.
- Instead, continue using cold water while washing the stain. You can use hot water later, but we strongly encourage you to use cold water so long as the urine stain remains.
- When choosing the kind of bleach for your water mixture, avoid using chlorine bleach. It will ruin your clothing’s original colors along with forming vulnerable spots of fabric in your clothing.
- If you want to use detergent instead, opt for detergent with enzymes. They will clean urine stains efficiently.
- For older stains, you have to let your clothes soak in the water for longer. Sometimes, that may be up to four hours.
- If you have cats, then consider using a detergent that is specifically used to clean cat urine smell from clothing items. Cat urine is incredibly potent and will require the use of a specific detergent.
How to get the urine smell out with vinegar
Now that you have your clothes rinsed, and they’ve soaked in the water for a sufficient time, your next step is to use vinegar. Here are a series of steps to help you get the most out of your vinegar:
- Use a 3:1 ratio for a water and vinegar combination into a container. After mixing the compound well, apply a coat of the solution to your clothing’s urine stain. Then, let it soak for a short time, such as a few minutes.
- You can use cider vinegar, but keep in mind that white vinegar is most useful if you are washing stains from white clothing. The cider vinegar can create more stains or change the item’s original color.
- An optional step is applying baking soda to your clothing’s stain. You can skip the baking soda if your clothing’s urine stain is not severe. But the baking soda will help absorb the urine odor in conjunction with your vinegar-water combination.
- Make sure that you are not using hot water during this process, as it will set the stain on your clothes.
- While it is tempting to use a dryer as it will be faster than air-drying them, the heat from the dryer can settle your stains into the clothing. It can also set the odor into your clothing, and you won’t be able to get rid of the smell.
Use your washer
Now that your clothing has dried, you are prepared to fully launder and remove the stains from your items.
- Take your clothes and place them in the washing machine. Now you can add detergent. We recommend using enzyme-based detergent as it will break down the urine stains and odor and separate them from your clothing’s fabric.
- Remember to set your water as cool or lukewarm and run the cycle.
- If your clothes have a hint of a urine odor or stain, then you may need to launder them once more to finish the job.
How to get urine smell out of clothes without washing
We also recognize that you may either not have a washer or you want to quickly remove the odor faster than using the traditional method. Here are a few ways you can get urine smell out of clothes without washing them.
- The best solution is to use 60-70% of cheap high-proof vodka and combine it with water in a spray bottle. Then, you can use your spray bottle on the spots of clothing with urine.
- For clothing with graphics and you do not want to ruin their design, you can spray around the area for the same effect.
- The vodka is known for removing smells from clothing. You can also use the vodka solution to dry clean your clothes and help the durability of your items last longer if you need to take them to a dry-cleaner.
- You may have to launder after this step, but if you do not want to, then you can try having your clothes air-dry longer if the stench has not been eradicated.
Learning how to remove urine smells is important, whether you are a live-in caregiver, a new parent, or a pet owner. We hope that this process aids you with enjoying your favorite clothes without needing to worry about smell or appearance.
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