How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell (in 5 Steps)

There’s no smell quite as pungent as cat urine, and just one accident outside the litter box is all it takes for your entire home to be filled with the unpleasant, distinctive smell. While many cleaning products and methods are useful in covering up the smell of cat urine, it’s important to thoroughly clean and remove any traces of your kitty’s accident in order to prevent the smell from lingering.

Cleaning any accidents as soon as possible is important for preventing the smell from getting into your floor or furniture, and will help to stop your cat from doing it again. A cat’s sense of smell is stronger than a humans, so if you can smell their urine, they most certainly can too. Whether your feline friend is marking their territory, stressed, or simply couldn’t make it to their litter box in time, the longer you leave cat urine sitting, the harder it will be to get rid of the smell.

How do you go about truly removing cat odor once and for all, and not just simply cover it up? These 5 tips should help.

1. Soak Up As Much Urine As Possible

How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell: Soak Up as Much Urine as Possible

The first step in getting rid of the smell of cat pee is to soak up as much urine as possible. Paper towels or cleaning cloths are perfect for this job. You can easily wipe the urine off hard surfaces, but for textiles you will need to dab or press down to help bring up any urine. If your cat has peed on clothing, linens, or curtains, try to wash them or have them dry cleaned as soon as possible. Using a detergent with baking soda or enzymatic additives is best for removing the odor.

2. Natural Solutions You Likely Have On Hand

While there are many store bought cleaners available for removing the smell of cat urine, there are a few items lurking in your kitchen and bathroom cupboards that can also help remove any odors.

  • Vinegar helps to neutralize the bacteria in the urine which cause the characteristic smell. A solution of 1.5 cups of warm water to 0.5 cup of white vinegar should do the trick. Spray on the area and let sit for a few minutes before wiping or blotting it up.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is another product you likely already have at home that can help to remove cat urine smell. After using the vinegar and water solution, you can gently pour hydrogen peroxide onto the area if the smell is still lingering. Let it sit about five minutes or so before soaking or blotting it up. Hydrogen peroxide works well on wood floors, but can also be used on carpet.
  • Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) can absorb cat urine odors just as well as it does odors in other areas of the home. It is best used on textile surfaces such as carpet. Once you have cleaned the area and it is dry, sprinkle some baking soda over the entire area, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before vacuuming it up.

3. Use An Enzymatic Cleaner

If natural solutions aren’t working, or you rather skip to something stronger, an enzymatic cleaner is your next best option for removing cat urine smell. A spray with enzymes in it will help to break down any lingering odors to ensure your pet doesn’t return to the scene of the crime and repeat their misdeed. Note that a deodorizer is not the same as an enzymatic cleaner, as it merely tries to cover up the smell rather than removing the source of it.

4. Try An Extracting Wet Vac

How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell: Try an Extracting Wet Vac

If your kitty has peed on carpet or furniture, giving the area a once-over with an extracting wet vac can help to rinse the area. An extracting wet vac expels clean water onto carpet or fabric, then sucks the dirty water back into the tank. Avoid using a steam cleaner on the area, as the heat can actually set the smell more stubbornly into the fibers of carpet or furniture.

5. Prevent Future Accidents

Once you’ve cleaned any accidents, the key to keeping cat urine smell away is to prevent any further accidents from occuring. You can help to prevent more accidents by:

  • Retraining your cat how to use their litter box
  • Cleaning the litter box more frequently
  • Adding an extra litter box or two (this is key if there are multiple cats in the home)
  • Placing disposable pee pads in areas where your cat frequently marks
  • Taking them to the vet to be spayed/neutered, or having them checked for any bladder or kidney issues
  • Treating your pet’s anxiety, if that is the cause of their soiling
  • With a little elbow grease and the right cleaning products, getting rid of cat urine smell doesn’t have to be difficult.

Products You May Be Interested In: 

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator

Resolve Urine Destroyer Spray Stain & Odor Remover

Simple Solution Extreme Pet Stain and Odor Remover

BISSELL Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum

AmazonBasics Dog and Puppy Training Pads