Removing cat urine and the overpowering smell it leaves behind can be difficult. Though there are many commercial products available, many of them are expensive and simply mask the odor, allowing it to return later. Cats will go back to the same spot to urinate if they can still smell a lingering odor, so proper clean-up and odor control is essential. Several cheap household and commercial products can help remove the scent of cat urine permanently when applied properly.
Removing the scent of cat urine is much easier the quicker the spot is found and cleaned properly. If you find a wet spot, clean it immediately by blotting it with a dry paper towel. Rubbing the spot will cause the urine to spread deeper into the carpet. Do not use ammonia-based cleaners to clean cat urine. Cat urine contains ammonia and even though these cleaners may eliminate the urine scent as far as humans are concerned, cats will smell the ammonia and be likely to return to the same spot to urinate again. (See Reference 2)
Household products can be used to effectively remove the smell of cat urine. Many cat owners believe that homemade solutions work just as well, if not better, than any commercial product available in pet supply stores. Baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are all effective household products that can help remove the smell. If your cat has urinated on a blanket, clothes or other washable item, put about half a cup of vinegar into the washing machine along with your regular detergent. Use a fabric softener to prevent the clothing from smelling like vinegar. For carpets, apply a solution of 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water to the area. Soak the carpet thoroughly and allow it to dry nearly completely. As it dries, the vinegar will neutralize the ammonia scent. Mix baking soda and about a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide together to apply to your carpet after the vinegar and water solution has dried. The hydrogen peroxide will kill any remaining odor-causing bacteria, and the baking soda acts as a general deodorizer. You may need to repeat this process several times to eliminate the odor, especially if the scent has been around for a long time. (See Reference 1)
Some commercial products are very effective at removing the scent of cat urine. While some products are expensive, you can purchase certain cleaners and deodorizers for as little as a few dollars a bottle. Pet supply stores are usually more expensive than superstores, such as Wal-Mart or Kmart, so check discount stores in your area before resorting to a pet store. Enzyme cleaners are usually the most effective at eliminating the smell of cat urine because they cause a chemical reaction that breaks down the urine while neutralizing the odor, rather than just masking it with heavy perfumes and scents. Follow the instructions on the bottle for any commercial product and always test a small part of the carpet or fabric to make sure it does not stain or bleed. (See Reference 3)
Amanda Knaebel is a self-professed gadget geek and loves all things tech, both new and old. Amanda has been working as a freelance writer for over 10 years on topics including technology, health, fitness, nutrition, gardening and many more. She has also worked with Fortune 50 tech and financial companies, both in technical support and content production.