Removing Cat Urine & Odor with Homemade Cleaners
Cats make wonderful pets. They are affectionate (at least sometimes), they don’t need to be walked outside when the weather is cold and rainy the way dogs do and they are pretty low maintenance as far as animals go.
If your cat stays home alone all day, she is probably more than content to have the house all to herself. Try that too often with a dog and you will come home to a complete mess!
The only downside to having a cat, or several cats - sometimes your cat will “mark” its territory with urine, leaving a very pungent and unpleasant odor.
Removing cat urine and the odor that comes along with it doesn't have to be a difficult task, but one that you must do right away and as completely as possible to ensure that the cat doesn’t make that spot her new litter box.
Homemade Urine Odor Remover Using White Vinegar
If you haven’t done so already, sop up as much liquid as you can using an absorbent material; paper towels, old cleaning rag, etc.
This next step is so easy you might just want to take the palm of your hand and bop your forehead. This natural ingredient is one of my favorite go to cleaning agents, it can be used for many things around the house, it’s inexpensive, and it will remove the smell of pet urine.
What is this awesome, natural ingredient? It’s White Vinegar. I’ll bet this is the easiest homemade anything you’ve ever made! Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, a mild disinfectant and it can help eliminate bacteria the urine leaves behind.
- Once you’ve lifted as much of the liquid as you can, saturate the area with white vinegar. No need to go overboard, you don’t want to spread the urine further into and around the area you’re cleaning.
- Let this sit while you go get some paper towels or a cleaning rag to blot up the liquid. When you’ve finished blotting up as much as will come up, cover with a towel until dry or dry enough to tell whether or not you’ll need to repeat these steps again.
When you’ve finished with the steps listed above, here’s a helpful tip:
- Use a spot lifter like the Bissell SpotBot, Bissell Spot Lifter or a shop vac to help suck out the liquids. I would still cover with a towel until dry but since you are saturating the area, these offer just a little more man power to lift the liquid out.
Getting Cat Urine Out of Upholstered Furniture
Vinegar will work on upholstered chairs and sofas as well. Just follow the steps listed below.
- If you’ve gotten to the spot while it’s still wet, blot the spot to absorb any urine still in the fabric. This may take several passes with a cloth or paper towels.
- If the urine has already dried onto the fibers, you can skip blotting and move onto the next step for cleaning the spot.
- Pour enough vinegar and water (a 50/50 mix) on the spot to dampen the area. Do not over wet, you want to keep the stain contained to the area you're working on - not spreading it around unnecessarily.
- Blot up the liquid.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 if necessary.
- You can use a shop vac or the SpotBot as mentioned above to help remove more of the liquids.
There is also a product called a Scat Mat; it’s a pet training mat to keep your pets away from certain areas. You could try one of these to keep them off and away from the furniture.
Do Vinegar and Baking Soda Really Work Together?
Each of these on their own has many useful cleaning purposes and they are both natural cleaning agents but together – they pretty much cancel each other out.
I know there are so many cleaning recipes out on the Internet that say to mix these two ingredients together for cleaning odors and stains for pet urine but it really doesn’t do anything useful. When you mix these two together, in the end, you’ll just end up with salty tasting water.
That being said, together they don’t make a good cleaning agent, but used together, they can dislodge hair and residue buildup in a drain. That’s where the fizzy fun and the bubbly reaction come into play.
Removing Urine and Odor from Hard Surface Floors and Walls
You might think that the worst spot your cat uses as a litter box is the couch or carpet, but his spraying other surfaces can be just as bad. If your cat is spraying urine against a wall or on hardwood floors, clean the surfaces completely with a 75/25 spray of vinegar and water.
Vinegar and water will work well on many surface floors including ceramic, tile and linoleum.
Don't use vinegar on marble or stone floors and it will etch the floor and ruin the finish.
Hopefully, a general cleaning is all that is needed. If the urine has seeped into the wall or under the floor, you may have to call in the professionals. It may be necessary to remove and replace sections of flooring or walls.
Removing walls and floors is extreme, but there are many pet owners who have had to do just that in order to remove odors.
I know some people who have moved into a home where cats were allowed to roam (and urinate) freely, the damage to hard surfaces was so bad, floorboards and walls had to be replaced.
If this is the option you must do, Kilz is a paint that will block stains and odors. If you have a serious problem and have to repaint or replace flooring, Kilz will block the urine odor completely, so you can start fresh.
If you are able to remove the source of the odor, you will be fighting a losing battle when it comes to cleaning up after your cat and trying to keep it from urinating.
Removing Lingering Odors and Stains
If, after you have used the white vinegar for removing odors and you still smell a lingering odor, it’s time to bring out the baking soda.
I keep boxes in my pantry, just like white vinegar, baking soda has many uses. It is very inexpensive and a great odor eating deodorizer. I am very rarely without it.
- Generally apply the baking soda to the smelly area.
- If the area you are working with is the carpet, work the baking soda into the carpet fibers carefully with an old toothbrush or something similar, something that won’t damage the carpet fibers. And do be careful that you don’t pull or snag the carpet fibers.
- If it’s upholstered furniture in need of a little TLC, sprinkle just a little baking soda over the stain and gently use the toothbrush to work the baking soda in.
- Let this sit for an hour, two hours, overnight – it all depends on the smell.
- Vacuum when you’re ready to remove the baking soda.
- After vacuuming up the baking soda and if there is any residue remaining, dampen a little, let dry and vacuum again.
- Cover until dry.
If there is any staining along with the odor, use this cleaning solution to remove the urine and odor. Although using the hydrogen peroxide should be just fine, you might want to test this in an inconspicuous spot first.
- 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid detergent
Cover and let this sit for an hour. Check the progress. Rinse, let dry and then vacuum.
How You can Find Hidden Sources of Urine & It’s Odor
A regular black light used in the dark will cause biological material (such as urine) to fluoresce or glow. It’s great for finding spots you didn’t even know about.
If you don’t remove all the urine odor, the scent of the urine will cause a cat to come back to use the spot again and again. Cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and even if you can’t smell their urine, they can.
Preventing Pet Accidents, Odors and Stains
First and foremost, love your kitty. There awesome little cuddle bugs.
- A house trained cat shouldn’t be urinating anywhere other than the litter box, and doing so could indicate a medical problem or be a sign of stress in your cat.
- It might even be that your cat doesn't like the litter you are using. If you use a scented litter, you might like - it thinking it's hiding the smell - but most cats don't like the perfumey scents.
- Keep the litter box maintained properly. Clean it and replace litter daily. A healthy cat will want to "do its business" there.
If you are having problems with urine in your home, be sure to consult your veterinarian to make sure that your cat doesn’t have medical issues.