If your cat has been peeing outside the litter box or spraying your furniture, you probably understand how frustrating and difficult it is to get rid of the cat urine smell from your house. It is mentally, physically and emotionally draining coming home and discovering new puddles of urine all over your house and furniture, especially in hard to reach places and having to clean it all up. It is enough to make any cat owner lose their mind.

Prolonged exposure to cat urine can cost thousands of dollars in damage to the structure of your home and can create respiratory health problems for your family. The worst part is you start thinking about having to give up your cat. There are several effective cleaning methods both readymade products and homemade remedies that work especially well when combined. Different treatments are also used to attack urine stains on soft surfaces, hard surfaces and machine washable items. The good news is that you can handle most cat sprays on your own without spending a lot of money. The following steps will walk you through neutralizing, sanitizing and deodorizing cat urine stains that you can catch quickly.

Finding and identifying the urine stain

Your priority is to find the stain, clean and then eliminate the smell. Since cats return to the area where they urinated, it is critical that you completely get rid of the cat pee. To do this you must first find every place that you cat has urinated. When a soiled area is already dry, it can be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. A better method for finding the stain is using a black light (UV Flashlight Pets Urine Detector).  Turn on the UV flashlight in a completely darkened room and then scan the floor, furniture and lower walls. You are looking for glowing fluorescent green patches. Check corners, chair and table legs and stacked books on lower shelves. Outline the stain with a chalk or a string so that you know where to clean when you flip on the lights.

Cats love to snuggle up in things that are soft and snuggly. Therefore, carpets, rugs, sofas and mattresses are easy targets for urine. If you are lucky enough to catch a wet spot on a surface before it dries, then you need to soak up as much liquid as possible. Grab a pair of rubber gloves, a roll of paper towels and a stack of newspapers. Place a thick layer of newspapers on the stain and then add a thick layer of paper towels. Terry cloth towels also work well since they are able to absorb more liquids and are easily washable using the methods we will talk about later. Blot the stain by applying pressure with your hands or feet. Once the rags are soaked, swap them out and repeat blotting until the towels are no longer absorbing urine. Do not scrub the stain back and forth with a towel or a brush. This will push particles deeper into the carpet fibers. While you will be tempted to toss those urine soaked papers straight into the garbage can, place some in the litter box to reinforce the scent where your cat should be doing business.

Eliminate cat urine using homemade methods

The thing with home remedies is that they may work well for one person but fail for another person. Therefore, it is important to try different things if the previous remedy did not work for you.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Simply use a dry cloth and soak up as much urine as you can. You should make sure that you are blotting the urine with the cloth rather than wiping it, so that you do not spread it around and make it bigger than it is. Next step is to soak up the area in a mixture that is one-third white vinegar and two thirds cup of water with a little bit of soap or dishwasher detergent. Then use another piece of cloth and soak up the liquid spot by pressing down on it hard repeatedly until it is close to dry. Now add some baking soda on top of the area and clean it with a vacuum cleaner within 24 hours.


Peroxide works pretty well in breaking down the chemicals in cat urine that is responsible for stains and odors. One thing to keep in mind is that peroxide can damage the color of surfaces. Therefore, you need to be careful before you use this method. To use peroxide, all you have to do is, place little bit directly on the stain area and let it sit to dry. Once it is dry, pour warm water over the area and then dry it with a piece of cloth.

Listerine mouthwash

Listerine is usually added to the above recipes to increase the effectiveness in removing cat urine odors. The reason it works is that it is an alcohol, which is a common disinfectant. Just add a few drops to any one of the previous remedies – baking soda or peroxide and just apply it to the stain area or you can just mix it in warm water and apply it to the same area.

Branded cat urine cleaners

If you find that the home remedies are not working then you may want to try some commercial cleaners. Neutralize odors with an enzymatic cleaner. Store bought enzymatic cleaners are not chemicals or odor masking products like carpet fresheners and fabric sprays. These microbe solutions are non-toxic and biodegradable, which makes them safe for your home, your family and your pets. The biological enzymes attack the bacteria in the urine and break down the proteins to neutralize the overpowering ammonia smell. Using other chemicals on the stain before trying an enzymatic cleaner can interfere with the ability of natural cultures to do their job.

Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Original

The functional ingredients in Nature’s Miracle Original Just for Cats Stain and Odor remover is a bio-enzymatic formula. This formula targets proteins and starches, which are the main components in organic stains. The formula immediately begins to remove stains and odors instead of just masking them.

Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer

Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Urine Destroyer is a bacteria based formula, which breaks down urea and uric acid crystals that are the cause of strong urine odors.

Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Advanced

Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Advanced Stain & Odor Remover combines both bio-enzymatic agents and oxygen boosters to target the most severe stains.

Nature’s Miracle formulas work on a variety of surfaces such as carpets, floors, furniture, clothing, litter boxes, pet living areas and sleeping areas.

Rocco & Roxie

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator is a child and pet safe formula with a pleasant smell. A bio-enzymatic formula that not only eliminates pet stains but also discourages pets’ attraction to stained areas. It can safely be used on carpets, upholstery, rugs, pet bedding, automobiles and laundry.

Amazing Solutions

Amazing Solutions Pet Stain and Odor Remover is another best selling product, which uses enzymes rather than traditional chemicals. Therefore, it is non-toxic, environment friendly and certified by The Carpet and Rug Institute. The manufacturer also offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee on purchase of this product.

 Many pet owners have had success with all the above products. These are strong formulas created specifically to get rid of the cat urine smell. When you are ready to apply the enzymatic cleaner, for best results, you must carefully follow the directions on the bottle. In general or if you are using a homemade cleaner, you will need to thoroughly saturate the area, so that it wicks down into deeper padding. You also want to cover a large area than the visible stain in case the urine spreads further out as it seeped down beneath the surface. Allow the cleaner to air dry. This may take a few days if you are cleaning a mattress or a couch cushion.

If you still have trouble, then it is recommended that you invest in a multi-purpose deep cleaning machine to suck out all the urine from your carpet. A carpet cleaner or a wet vacuum is handy for removing urine particles as well as sucking up excess cleaners and deodorizers that you have applied on the soiled area. The machine drenches the spot with clean cool water and then sucks up the loosened dirt. You should not use steam cleaners or very hot water as the heat will permanently set the stain.

BISSELL Spotbot Pet Handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner

The revolutionary BISSELL Spotbot Pet Handsfree Cleaner with deep clean technology is hands free and easy to use. No more manual chemicals needed. Just set the machine on the stain and enjoy the freedom to walk away while it does the work for you. The deep reach technology delivers solution further into the carpet where the deepest part of the stain resides. When the cleaning solution is released into the carpet and then suctioned back up, it removes those tough stains. Its automated computer controlled action does the work for you. It offers two customized cleaning cycles. The surface stain cycle is for use on fresh stains and the set-in cycle is for older tougher stains. It even lets you know when the cleaning is complete. It also features Microban antimicrobial product protection, which prevents the growth of odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew.

Simple ways to eliminate pet urine odor

Cleaning wooden floors

When you see the pee, wipe the puddle and use absorbent cloth or tissue to get as much as you can of the substance off the floor. You may want to have a lot of old rags handy since you want to dry the wet spot as thoroughly as you can. Mix white vinegar with three parts water and wipe in on the affected area. Wipe it dry with fresh rags after. After vinegar, sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the area. Then use everyday cleaning liquid mixed with water and using an old toothbrush, brush the baking soda into the wood. This helps with the odor as well. You can vacuum it after you have left the baking soda to dry for a while.

Cleaning hard surfaces

Although it is simpler to tidy up hard areas when the cat urine continues to be wet, the urine can do intensive damage to your hardwood or concrete floors, furniture, countertops, baseboards and walls. You should try to absorb as much urine as possible with a moist cloth using hot water.

The next step is to disinfect the area with your favorite all-purpose surface cleaner. Make sure it does not contain ammonia since this pungent gas smells like urine and will serve as an attractant to your cat. To completely disinfect the area, prepare a spray bottle with ten parts water and one part bleach. Saturate the area and allow the solution to soak in for one minute. Wipe it up with a damp warm cloth. Be careful about where you apply the solution since bleach can discolor or eat away at many materials. Also, be careful that you do not mix bleach with any ammonia-based products as this can create a toxic reaction.

Cleaning linens

It is fairly easy to remove cat urine from machine washable linens ranging from clothing and backpacks to bedding and towels. You can also use this method for cleaning terry cloth towels so that you can reuse them. On the first washing, add an enzymatic cleaner to cold water. If there is still odor after the wash cycle, rewash the load with regular detergent, one box of baking soda and one-cup apple cider vinegar. Allow the linens to air dry so that you do not set the stain. Repeat this process until the smell is gone.

Using deodorizers and aromas

To ensure complete elimination of the smell, treat the soiled area with a homemade deodorizer. While wearing a pair of rubber gloves, mix up a solution of one cup of baking soda with a half cup of hydrogen peroxide. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil such as lavender, lemongrass or eucalyptus. Sprinkle the mixture over your carpet or furniture and let it air dry. After several hours or the next day, vacuum it with your regular household appliance.

tips to remove cat pee odor

Frequently asked questions

Cats are loveable creatures and their antics endear them to all cat lovers. This feline does not usually urinate out of its litter box, but may do so if it is unwell, have behavioral issues or is simply not happy with its litter box. Whatever may be the case, if your cat urinates anywhere outside its litter box, you get saddled with its stubborn stains and strong odor.

Is cat urine harmful or toxic?

Although urine of both humans and animals contain urea, this nitrogenous waste is found in a highly concentrated form in cat urine. When this gets broken down into amines, it gives off the strong stench of ammonia and inhaling ammonia is harmful.

Ammonia fumes may cause respiratory problems, such as asthma. The odor can also cause allergic reactions that may lead to watery eyes, wheezing, coughing, sinus problems, headaches and rashes, much like those triggered by cat dander.

How to clean up dried cat urine from the carpet?

Now that your kitty has peed on your carpet, your first step should be to get hold of a paper or cloth towel and blot up as much urine as you can from it. An effective way is to place the towel on the stain and stand on it. Your body weight will help in soaking up the urine to the maximum.

However, dried up urine on the carpet has to be tackled differently. Instead of rubbing, which only drives it deeper into the carpet, pour cold water over it and soak this up with a towel. Use homemade remedies or enzyme cleaners to effectively clean your cat’s urine.

Never use any detergents with ammonia as an ingredient, since its smell may tempt the cat to pee on that spot again. In addition, using strong chemicals may discolor your carpet.

What is the most effective way to get cat urine out of carpets?

Although home remedies are effective in cleaning cat urine from the carpet, enzyme cleaners are much more efficient. These biological compounds speed up chemical reactions at molecular level and break down biological substances contained in the cat’s urine.

What’s more, enzyme cleaners work differently than other cleaning products. Not only are they more thorough in cleaning, they also completely break down the proteins contained in the urine, thereby getting rid of both the stain and the stench. All you need to do is to blot-up the stain, spray the enzyme cleaner on the spot and leave it for a couple of hours or days. Afterwards, scrub the spot.

Since enzymes are damaged by extreme conditions, they need to be used with lukewarm water and never with soap or other cleaners. Although enzymes may take several hours or days to clean, cleaning is more thorough than conventional cleaners.

Why removing cat urine is essential

How to get cat pee out of bedding or upholstery?

The stubborn stain and persistent odor of cat urine makes the sofa unsuitable for use. If your kitty has stained it, blot up the urine with a towel until it can absorb no more. As a first step, remove the cushion cover, put it in the washing machine and add a cup of vinegar. This will remove the odor.

Now, spray a solution of white vinegar and water on the upholstery stain and let it soak up thoroughly. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and allow it to sit for about three hours. This will absorb any remaining traces of urine and neutralize the acid contained in it. Afterwards, brush off the spot or clean it with a vacuum cleaner. For more thorough cleaning, use an enzyme cleaner.

How to remove cat urine from clothes, fabrics and laundry?

It is impossible to wear clothes stinking of cat urine that refuses to go away, since it has dried and set-in. To restore your clothes, resist the temptation to put them directly into the washing machine along with other laundry. This is because washing will not remove the stink and may contaminate other clothes as well.

Best is to first clean the stain with water and blot the spot dry with towels. Never scrub, since it may drive the urine deeper into the fabric. Afterwards, soak the fabric in water mixed with oxygen bleach for one to four hours. Never use chlorine bleach, as it can damage the clothing.

Now, apply the vinegar wash solution on the urine stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle it with baking soda to absorb and neutralize odor. Brush off the baking soda and machine wash the fabric. Never use warm or hot water. Air-dry the clothes for a day out in the open. Do not use clothes dryer as it may set in the odor permanently.

A more effective way is to use an enzyme detergent that works best on organic-based stains, such as cat urine that contains proteins.

How do you get rid of cat urine odor in the air?

The offensive stench of cat urine lingers on, even after the spot is cleaned. Moreover, it is almost impossible to mask. Why cat urine is so stinky is because of a bacterium found in it that gives off ammonia-like odor that is akin to the stench of stale old urine.

Furthermore, if the urine is not cleaned over a period, it decomposes to emit mercaptans that make the stink as intense as that of a skunk. Even the male hormone, testosterone, released through urine by male cats to mark their territory, adds to this stink.

To kill this offensive odor, blot as much urine as possible from the spot. For this, use an enzyme cleaner, since a non-protein-based deodorizer may not prove successful.

Since the stink lingers longer in closed spaces, like a room, air the premises properly and use an air purifier. You can also go in for a baking soda-based air freshener that is most efficient in absorbing odors. Also, make use of room fresheners to mask the odor.

Your pet cat can become a pest, if it starts peeing in places other than the litter box. The unsightly urine stains and lasting stench is not only embarrassing, it can be downright unhealthy too. This calls not only for using effective means to remove stains and stink, but also to get the health of your cat checked by a veterinary doctor.