How To Clean Cat Urine

This page gives you practical advice on how to clean cat urine effectively from carpets, hardwood floors and furniture.

photo of white and black kitten sitting in toys

If your cat has decided to use your carpet, hardwood floor and / or sofa as his new "litter box," there are several very good reasons why you should get rid of the urine and its associated smell from these places ASAP:

  • The embarrassment factor when friends come round and try to subtly hold their breath until their faces turn blue...
  • If Kitty can still smell his urine in these spots, he'll see it as a VIP invitation to pee there again
  • Cat urine can eventually cause rot and mold if it's not cleaned up

The sooner you can start to clean the urine up, the better. When cat urine dries, it crystallizes. The crystals, as well as being responsible for the lingering smell, are difficult to dissolve, so it's much better to get rid of the urine while it's wet. Knowing how to clean cat urine effectively is extremely useful when the need arises for this reason.

If your cat keeps peeing outside his litter box and you don't know why, click here for advice on dealing with litter box problems.

How To Clean Cat Urine From
Carpets, Hardwood Floors And Furniture

1) Carpets

Blot up as much of the urine as you can using an absorbent towel such as a disposable kitchen towel. To do this, press down firmly on top of the wet area with the towel for 20 - 30 seconds. It's important that you just press down and don't rub the area, as rubbing will cause the urine to penetrate more deeply.

Get a fresh towel and repeat the above process until no more urine is being absorbed into the towel - i.e. after you've used the towel, it's almost dry.

picture of lovely cream persian cat

Next, get some cold, clean water and rinse the area. Blot the water up using absorbent towels again until it's as dry as you can get it.

This gets rid of the majority of the urine, but it doesn't remove all of it, and if you don't take further steps to get rid of the last traces, the cat urine smell will still linger. There are some household products you can use for this. Here are a couple that are commonly recommended as being quite effective. However, I'd always recommend testing these on an inconspicuous area first:

Baking soda. Dampen the pee zone with clean water, sprinkle baking soda over it, rub the soda in, let it dry and then vacuum it up. This method only works for fairly fresh stains that haven't penetrated the carpet deeply.

Diluted white vinegar. Make up a dilute white vinegar solution - 25ml of vinegar and 75ml of water. Sprinkle or spray the solution over the stain and then press down hard using an absorbent towel. Place something heavy over the area (e.g. a few big books) and leave for a few hours.

2) Hardwood Floors

Blot the area with absorbent towels until it's as dry as possible. Then wet it several times with dilute vinegar solution as above and dry after each application.

Test the vinegar solution on an inconspicuous area of the floor first.

3) Upholstery

Blot the area with an absorbent towel and soak up as much of the urine as you can. Apply clean water to a fresh towel, wash the area, blot it and repeat several times. If you have to use anything other than water, don't apply it directly to the upholstery - apply it to the towel and then use the towel to apply it to the upholstery.

Test any product on an inconspicuous area of the upholstery first.

Commercial Cat Urine Cleaning Products

photo of lovely white cat sitting on sofa

What's written above is really only half the story of how to clean cat urine. Following the advice above will get rid of the majority of the urine, but it's very unlikely to get rid of all of it.

My recommendation, after carrying out the steps above, would be to use a commercial cat urine cleaning product to get rid of the last traces of urine. If you're dealing with a dried in or deeply penetrated area, I believe this is essential. The best commercial products are those that contain enzymes, which biologically break down the crystals and other odor-causing substances in the urine. In other words, they don't just mask the urine smell - they neutralize it.

Good cat urine removers are available in good pet stores. The store will also be able to give you further advice on how to clean cat urine, as well as advice on the best product(s) for upholstery, carpet, wood etc. Click here for more information on different types of cat urine cleaning products.

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