How To Clean Up Cat Urine

As any cat owner will tell you, cat urine has a particularly intolerable - not to mention resilient - odor. On top of that, it can stain carpet and hardwood floors alike. There are many reasons why cats might urinate in improper places - stinky litter boxes, stress, age and illness being among the common reasons. 

You'll be able to clean up stubborn cat urine odors and stains using the following techniques.

  • For hardwood floors. Cat urine smells foul as it sinks into your hardwood floor. Worse still, it can stain and rot your floor if ignored.
    1. Absorbent cloths. Blot the urine-soaked area using your dry cloth. Make sure you have some of these on hand in case of emergencies. A white cloth works fine (or many paper towels if you don't have a cloth), but cloth diapers absorb much better.
    2. Wipe away residue. Wipe the spot gently with a warm, damp cloth, and then blot the wood dry.
    3. Household cleaners. You can then apply one of several household agents to the stain.
      • Many people swear by hydrogen peroxide as an effective stain and odor remover. If your peroxide is diluted to about 3%, you can spray it over the cat urine to remove both stain and odor. Let the peroxide sit for about five minutes before blotting.

        For an even stronger cleanser, add a couple squirts of hand soap and a sprinkle of baking soda to this spray. Shake it up, and watch it work.

      • Diluted white vinegar can help you remove urine as well. It's best to dilute the vinegar to about 25-30%. Spray the warm solution onto the affected spot and then, after a couple minutes, blot once more with the cloth.
      • Baking soda alone has been known to get rid of superficial odor-causing urine, but it won't help you remove deep stains in the wood.

      NOTE: No matter what kind of cleaner you use or what surface you're cleaning (wood, carpet or furniture), you would be well advised to try the cleaning agent on a small, non-visible patch of the surface before applying it to the accident site.

    4. Wipe once more. Use another warm, damp cloth to wipe the residual cleaner from the floor, and then blot the floor dry.
    5. Store-bought cleaners. From your pet store, you can buy special anti-urine cleaners armed with necessary ingredients to break down the bacteria and enzymes, fighting the source of the stains and odors. Nature's Miracle, Urine-Off, Simple Solution and Stain Gobbler are just a few of the available brands. Either substitute these cleansers for the household ones above, or use the store-bought kind after the household variety.
  • For carpets. Cat urine on a carpet or rug is more than a nuisance; it can penetrate through the fibers and into the padding, causing mold to go along with that awful smell.
    1. It's easier to clean wet urine. The quicker you can respond to an accident, the easier your job will be. But if you are trying to clean up and deodorize a dried-up urine stain, your task will be simpler if you dampen it with some warm water before proceeding.
    2. Absorbent cloths. Blot the affected area as described in the hardwood section above. If you blot with pressure for about half a minute, and the cloth is dry, then you can continue to the next step.
    3. Store-bought cleaning agents. Though you can try the aforementioned household cleaners first, your best bet is a heavy-duty store-bought carpet stain remover, designed specifically to target the bacteria and enzymes of cat urine accidents (you can find these at your pet store). After blotting with the cloth and applying pressure to remove as much of the liquid as possible, apply one of these cleaners, following the instructions on the package.
    4. Blot again! After letting it sit, blot the cleanser up using a fresh cloth until it seems dry. Finally, using a warm, damp cloth, apply a little pressure once more before blotting one last time with a dry cloth (to get any residue of cleanser out of there).

      You may have to repeat the cleansing step a couple of times.

  • Upholstery. It seems crazy, but cats can occasionally have accidents on your furniture as well.
    1. Blot with that dry, absorbent cloth.
    2. Blot again with the aforementioned vinegar solution.
    3. Use one of the store-bought stain and odor removers. Let it sink in as per the package specifications.
    4. Dab the spot dry.
  • Invest in a black light. Sometimes the odor of cat urine can permeate a living area, making it difficult for you to actually find it. Yet find it you must! Did you know that cat urine glows under a black light? If you smell urine, yet can't find it - and especially if you anticipate the kitty behavioral problem persisting - a black light is a smart investment.
  • One final reason for vigilance. Make a concerted effort to respond quickly and fully to accidents - if you still smell urine after cleaning up a spot, then the cat can still smell it, too. And that means she is more likely to urinate there in the future.

If you find yourself battling cat urine odor and stains, be comforted by the knowledge that you're not alone! Rapid response is best to prevent permanent stains. The most important strategy, of course, is prevention. Examine your cat's living environment, stress level and health. If your cat starts urinating outside of the litter box on a regular basis, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to determine whether an underlying health concern exists. Clean thoroughly and, if you determine any causes of stress, try to eliminate them from your cat's life.


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Great, site is already useful too me! I have 2 cats, one 9 months and 1 6 months. They tend to "miss" the litter box whening peeing and this was great at learning how to clean it up!

By Stephen Sandecki