When your normally loveable cat begins peeing outside the litter box or spraying your furniture, there is more to worry about than the horrible odor. Prolonged exposure to cat urine can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the structure of your home and can create respiratory health problems for your family.
ForTheLoveOfCat.com has created this definitive guide to show you how to get rid of the pungent smell of cat pee inside your home. There are several effective cleaning methods, both store bought 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 ordinary accidents on your own without spending a lot of money. These simple steps will walk you through neutralizing, sanitizing and deodorizing cat urine stains that you catch quickly. You will find links to any recommended products we mention in this video in the article or in the YouTube description.
Links in this article:
- UV Blacklight: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001Q70A0G/?tag=loveofcats-20
- Emmy’s Best Enzymatic Cleaner Pet Odor and Stain Eraser: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KM9X9LQ/?tag=loveofcats-20
- BISSELL SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008DBRFBK/?tag=loveofcats-20
First, Find the Stain
You have two goals: to clean the stain and eliminate the smell. Since cats return to the area where they urinate, it is critical that you completely get rid of the cat pee. To do this, you must first find every place your cat has urinated.
When a soiled area is already dry, it can be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. Since you know the general area, in a pinch, you could resort to crawling around and sniffing out the spot. You will know you have found it when you start gagging on the skunky scent. A better method for finding the stain is using a black light. You can purchase a handheld UV light from any general store for $10 to $20. Black light apps are also available for your smartphone or tablet, but don’t usually work as well as a UV flashlight.
Turn on the UV light in a completely darkened room and then scan the floor, furniture and lower walls. You are looking for glowing fluorescent green splotches. Check corners, chair and table legs as well as stacked books on lower shelves. Outline the stain with chalk or string so that you know where to clean when you flip on the lights.
Blotting Up Soft Surfaces
Cats love to snuggle up in things that are soft and cuddly, so carpets, rugs, sofas and mattresses are easy targets for urine. If you are lucky enough to catch a wet spot on a soft surface before it dries, then you need to soak up as much of the liquid as possible.
Grab a pair of rubber gloves, a roll of paper towels and a stack of newspapers.
Place a thick layer of newspaper on the stain and then add a 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’ll talk about later in the linens section.
Blot the stain by applying pressure with your hands or feet. Once the rags are soaked, swap them out and repeat blotting until you are no longer absorbing urine. Do not scrub the stain back and forth with the towel or a brush. This pushes particles deeper into the carpet fibers. While you’ll 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 their business.
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.
Pet supply stores carry a selection of enzyme cleaners. Nature’s Miracle and Emmy’s Best Spray are widely recognized for their effectiveness at reducing and eliminating the smell of cat pee. Using other chemicals on the stain before trying an enzymatic cleaner can interfere with the ability of the natural cultures to do their job.
It’s easy to make your own enzymatic cleaner. It is inexpensive and only requires some brown sugar and water but the fermenting process requires waiting three months! That is not very helpful when you need to get rid of the cat pee smell now. We’ve provided instructions on how to make your own at our website. However, instead of always cleaning cat pee, we recommend checking out our amazing guide that guarantees to stop your cat peeing outside the litter box first in the link below.
When you are ready to apply the enzymatic cleaner, for the best results, you must carefully follow the directions on the bottle. In general, or if you are using your homemade cleaner, you will need to thoroughly saturate the area so that it wicks down into the deeper padding. You also want to cover a larger area than the visible stain in case the urine spread further out as it seeped beneath the surface. Allow the cleaner to air dry. This may take a few days if you are cleaning a mattress or couch cushion.
A Natural Vinegar Solution to Combat Cat Pee Smell
If you prefer a common household item remedy or the smell is still lingering a few days after using the enzymatic cleaner, then you will need to attack the stain with a strong vinegar solution. Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of water and white vinegar and then saturate the soiled area. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and then scrub the stain with a bristle brush. Soak up the vinegar solution as previously discussed using either paper towels and newspapers or terry cloth towels. Let the wet area naturally dry.
Suck Up Particles with a Carpet Cleaner
A carpet cleaner or wet vac is handy for removing urine particles as well as sucking up excess cleaners and deodorizers that you have applied to the soiled area. The machine drenches the spot with clean, cool water and then sucks up the loosened dirt. Don’t use a steam cleaner or hot water in carpet cleaners as the heat will permanently set the stain. If you do not own a wet vac, then you can rent one from your local hardware store.
Reclaim Your Room with a Natural Deodorizer
To ensure you completely eliminate the smell, treat the soiled area with a homemade deodorizer. While wearing a pair of rubber gloves, mix up a solution of 1 cup of baking soda with a 1/2 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.
While it is easier to clean hard surfaces when you catch the accident quickly, cat urine can also do extensive damage to your hardwood floors, concrete floors, tables, countertops, walls and baseboards.
You will want to first soak up as much urine as you can with a damp cloth using warm 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 10 parts water and 1 part bleach. Saturate the area, allow the solution to soak for 1 minute and then wipe it up with a damp, warm cloth. Be very 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.
Washing Cat Pee Out of Your 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 if there is another accident.
On the first washing, add an enzymatic cleaner to cold water. If there is still an odor after the cycle, rewash the load with regular detergent, one box of baking soda and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Allow the linens to air dry so that you do not set the stain. Continue this process until the smell is gone.
Extensive damage from cat pee over long periods of time may require remodeling, such as patching drywall, replacing carpet pads or painting subflooring with an odor blocking primer paint. You may also want to consult a professional cleaner if you need to treat expensive rugs or delicate upholstery.
Now that your home smells fresh again, you need to identify why your cat is peeing or spraying so that you can prevent it from happening again. We have a guide available that is guaranteed to stop your cat from peeing outside of the litter box. Click here for more information.