How To Get Rid Of Cat Urine Smell?


There is no odor more foul and obnoxious than cat urine. Especially if the cat is a male and he has determined to spray every non movable object in your house. The smell can seep into any porous surface, taking hold and hanging on like a bad memory. The odor will refuse to leave unless proper cleaning steps are taken.

When a cat has started urinating outside his litter box you must first and foremost figure out why he has changed behaviors. If you don’t alter this new activity you can clean until the cows come home and your cat will continue to urinate in any place other than the litter box.

  • Number one on the list is determining whether your cat is ill. Male cats have a tendency towards urinary blockages, making peeing extremely painful. If your cat has painful urination he may associate pain with the litter box and look for a new place to do his business.
  • Usually the guy is to blame, but both male and female cats will spray urine. Unfortunately this is an inherited quality in cats. It’s a way to show they are in the mood for love, or announcing to anyone or any thing with a nose that this is their space!
  • Dirty litter boxes are a disaster waiting to happen. Cats are sensitive, and usually in need of a good physiatrist. They don’t like to relieve themselves in a stinky spot and will find a much less odorous place- at least an odorless place for the moment.

After determining the cause of your cat’s bad behavior, the next order of business is to find the source of the cat urine odor. If you can see a puddle on the floor, soak it up with something you can throw away, such as paper towels. Carpet is a bit more difficult to clean since urine will seep into it, the pad, and then the floor boards. Just cleaning the surface will be of no use. Unfortunately, if the cat has decided to pee in the middle of the carpet this will make clean up more difficult.

You can make an excellent effective homemade solution which is very simple to put together, and easy to use. In an ordinary spray bottle, mix three parts water to one part vinegar. On the affected area, drench the place with your homemade brew. If it is on carpet soak not just the carpet, but the pad and the underlying floor boards. After a few minutes of a good soaking, blot up the excess liquid with old rags or paper towels and allow it all to dry.

Next, shake a fair amount of baking soda over the dried area. Then mix together ¾ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1 tsp. of your favorite dish detergent. Drizzle this on top of the baking soda. Using an old tooth brush, scrub the stinky area with the peroxide baking soda solution. Again, allow it to dry. Use your vacuum to sweep up the residue. If your nose can still detect a trace of odor just repeat the process. Due to the alcohol content you can also add a bit of Listerine mouthwash with your vinegar solution to insert a smidgen more zing. There are other home remedies, but most consist of the same ingredients; vinegar, water, peroxide and dish detergent.

For clothing or cloth items that have been urinated on, add into your washing machine ¼ cup apple cider vinegar along with your regular detergent. Just wash the items as you normally would.

Using bleach to clean cat urine is thought by many to be a huge no no. Due to the ammonia content in the urine, bleach has an adverse reaction whenever the two are mixed together. This can be extremely harmful to humans and animals.

There are many products on the market to clean cat urine odor and stains, but make sure you purchase a cleaner and not just a deodorizer. A deodorizer will only mask the smell, and when it wears off, once again kitty’s overwhelming presence will be known. Pet stores carry many good brands such as: Nature’s Miracle, Capture Pet Stain, FON (Feline Odor Neutralizer), and Simple Solution.

Properly cleaning up after kitty’s terrible manners will insure your home stays smelling good and the cat stays in your good graces.


Author: Kelly

Kelly Hurston has been a professional writer for 10 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in May, 2010. Kelly enjoys cooking, doing DIY projects, and is an avid reader.

23 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Cat Urine Smell?”

  1. Turn any wall surface into a permeant air purification system. An all-natural paint additive has been developed, that turns any newly painted wall, into a permanent air, filtration system no electricity or filters required. The Air-ReNu, technology maintains healthy indoor air quality while removing offensive odors. Air-ReNu, is safe, effective and a permanent solution to pet & Urine problems.

    1. Hi, Matt! Thank you for sharing information regarding the Air-ReNu product as an option for getting rid of the cat urine smell. However, your post sounds more like an advertisement for the product rather than a person just responding to the article that Kelly wrote. Could you please share what you own personal experiences have been with using this product to get rid of cat urine smells? Although THF does welcome people talking about good products they have tried, we do not allow the comment sections or the forums to be used directly for the sole purpose of advertising any product. I would hate for you to be banned from leaving comments and forum postings simply due to a misunderstanding of what your intentions are. Thanks!

      1. Have several inside pets, so odor was a problem. I’m also a painting contractor; many of our jobs are rental units, smoking and pet odors can hinder finding new tenants. Found this product solves odor problems. VRVS

        1. Hi, Vincent! Are you saying that you have tried the Air-ReNu product and it works? How much does it cost to use? And does that mean that in order to get rid of an existing odor, the person has to paint the entire wall, using the Air-Renu mixed in with the paint?

    2. How would getting rid of the smell help with pet problems like this? The spray would still be there and the cats would still keep marking it until it’s been properly cleaned. This is far from a permanent solution.

      1. In response to your question, Air-ReNu is an Ionic compound, when mixed with paint and applied to a wall it activates the anions that remove the odor. Matt

        1. But if it doesn’t remove the actual source of the odor then it’s not actually cleaning anything. Meaning the cats will still smell it, and will still mark that area again. It also means that the place will still fail the black light test if anyone wants to sell it. While it may mask the issue, it’s still not actually solving anything. And certainly not permanently. Sounds good if you’re moving into a rental or can’t afford to have a new place cleaned from a previous smoking tenant or something, but pet stains have to be cleaned, not just the smell removed.

          1. What makes the smell of something, like, say, cat urine? While what’s making the smell may be invisible to the naked eye, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. The smell is made of invisible gases that have vaporized from the source, smoke, pets, cooking and trash. These vaporized odors float in the air attaching to the suspended particles moving around the room.

          2. I’m aware of the science. Getting rid of the smell in the air isn’t cleaning the problem. Period. Unless you feel that somehow the entire stain vapourizes, which it doesn’t, then you’re still just hiding the problem, not fixing it.

  2. Hi. Thanks for writing this. How long do you have to wait to put down the 2nd part of this solution (baking soda, peroxide, soap)? I am doing two rooms, and plan on deck scrubbing with this mixture. Any tips on doing a whole (small) room? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Joe! You just have to wait long enough for the area to dry after blotting up the excess vinegar/water solution. Once the area has thoroughly dried, you can apply the baking soda and peroxide mixture. Once you scrub the area, you once again blot up the access moisture and let the area thoroughly dry out before vacuuming. Only be sure that before you apply vinegar, peroxide, bleach or dish detergent that you test the carpet in a inconspicuous spot, since it can cause some carpets to bleed or ruin the fibers in some carpets.

      1. Hey thanks for the reply. It was actually on the wood base. The mixture worked great. I think the vinegar alone killed the smell, but i did the whole process and it was great. I then sealed with BIN primer to make sure it stuck. Thanks for the write up!!

        1. I’m glad that you were able to get rid of the urine smell, Joe! Here at THF, we try to provide as many helpful articles and answers to questions as we can. We love helping people to help themselves.

          You may find the forum threads are pretty helpful for finding good tips on how to resolve issues like this too. For instance, we have one thread in which all the many uses of baking soda and vinegar are being discussed. We have forum threads on just about every topic related to home ownership, apartment living, and various lifestyles. Plus, our forum members can post new topics if they don’t find a thread that covers their desired topic.

  3. my mom had a male cat that has ruined the house with his spraying… I want something for her to her rid of the smell.. What helps truly.????

    1. Julie, I know how awful it can be to have a male cat spraying everything in the house. However, there is no one simple answer to your question, since the house is most likely filled with items made of a variety of materials. The cat has probably sprayed in more than one area of the house, such as on the curtains, on the furniture, on the floor, in the cabinets, and on personal items such as clothing. Some of these items may me washed, using either vinegar or baking soda to freshen the smell. Other items may have to be dried-cleaned and some items may have to be discarded. But first, it’s advisable to get the cat to stop spraying everything. Neutering the cat and ensuring the cat is healthy may help, as well as using homemade or commercial products that repel cats. Then thoroughly clean the house, open the windows to let in fresh air, and follow the instructions given in this article.

      1. Hi Penny. I had a male cat that we had neutered specifically to stop his spraying. It helped a little but he still was capable of “letting it fly”

  4. I have a third step to suggest. If you have hard surfaces and really don’t want your cat returning to the area, dab some Vicks Vaporub on the spot after its been cleaned with vinegar and the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda mix. Cats hate the smell of menthol.

    1. Hi, Molly! Thanks for the suggestion. I would advise anyone who tries this step to test the Vicks Vaporub in a hidden area of the surface first, to make sure it doesn’t damage the surface in any way. Vicks Vaporub gets its strong odor and zing from the eucalyptus oil it contains. So just adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a spray bottle filled with water and then spraying the area may work to repel the cats.

      1. eucalyptus is toxic to cats, do you think the oil has a similar effect?

        i just bought everything to begin the elimination process…wish me luck, but let me known about the oil.

        thanks for everyone’s ideas, sounds like we are all in the same boat … a stinky one at that, so i feel everyone’s pain. 🙂

  5. So the vinegar itself is enough to get rid of the organic stains left on the clothes? Sounds way cheaper than the stuff the pet stores sell, and I’m of the impression that the cats can smell the biologicals after a normal wash and dry. I’ve been told Oxy Clean is useful as well, which can be used with Vinegar I believe, as long as I stay away from Bleach which can react poorly.

  6. Use Freshana. Best product ever for cat urine. Bar none. Elizabeth P. – “I walk in the office, I bend over to grab an envelope. WHAMM!!!! The smell of tom-cat pee. Yikes. And it had been there so long it had bubbled the laminate on the RTA cube. I could see the pee-edge where it had evaporated. This was, I’m tellin’ ya, some rank stuff. He’s a 16 pound Coon cat who has had some urinary tract issues about every six months.

    Stumbling backwards, it occurs to me that this is an exceptional field test. It also occurred to me that this is my office and if I had missed it THAT long, I needed to travel less. So I sprayed the rug, the canvas drawer and the bubbled laminate. I still have bubbled laminate, but– I have no smell. Zip. Zero. Nada. Maybe something the four leggeds could smell, but
    not me. Impressive. Very impressive. Thanks Freshana. “

  7. Ok-,my cat is 20+ yrs old, has been
    Peeing all over my (possibly) Chinese laminate floor, which I clean with paper towels and either
    Chlorox or Lysol wipes… now you. Should know that i have Asthma, COPD, burning lips, eyes, sinus
    Infection for over a month. CT pending, also on 3 weeks antibiotics. She is probably in end
    Stage renal failure or close- she
    Floods the floor, and it’s a 4 lb
    Cat. Never been more than 5 lbs.
    I don’t know where I can find out
    The combo rxs of urea, bleach and
    Formaldehyde, but it isn’t good-
    Leaves me short of breath, and
    Gasping for a while. Waiting to pull
    Floor until her quality of life declines. Checking for UTI on Mon.
    The cat- lol.

  8. I live in a apartment and a neighbor has been feeding a stray for about a year, this stray likes to spray my door after his meal, I have tried vinegar, I have tried tea tree oil, I have sadly even sprinkled chili powder around my door hoping to discourage him, I can’t get rid of the smell!! When it gets hot the smell is intensified!!!! Help!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *