While being a pet owner can be a rewarding experience, there are no doubt a few drawbacks as well. One of biggest drawbacks (be it due to housebreaking or accidents) is trying to get the smell of cat urine out of carpets.
Luckily there are quite a few things you can do to get the smell of cat urine out of the carpet and have it smelling fresh again.
White Vinegar Mixed With Water
This is one of the more popular and probably cheapest options you can try first because vinegar is known to neutralize the smell of cat urine. Mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water. Pour or spray directly on the area and let sit for at least 30 minutes. If you happen to have a small carpet machine available (similar to The Green Machine) this will work perfectly to draw up the moisture. If not, try ripping a spare white towel into a couple of pieces, lay over area and place a heavy book or something with weight on it to help draw up moisture. Paper towels will also suffice in a pinch.
Make sure that whatever material you use however is white because you do not want to transfer any colors onto your carpet. Also be sure that if the cat urine stain is in a prominent area that you test this mixture in a less obvious place to ensure the mixture won’t discolor your carpet.
The area might smell like vinegar for a day or two it will dissipate, unlike the smell of cat urine.
Cat Urine Odor Remover Products
Give Coffee Grounds a Try
The second easiest and cheapest cat urine odor remedy you can try is placing dry, unused coffee grounds on the effected area and leave for about 12 hours. While this may sound like an odd remedy, many people swear it works. After the 12 hours are up simply vacuum up the grounds. If there is any remaining odor, simply repeat a second time. Be careful however to keep dogs and cats away from the area while grounds are on the floor, because coffee grounds can be toxic to them if eaten in a large enough dose.
Try Listerine Mouthwash
Another odd, yet effective and reasonably priced remedy is to use Listerine mouthwash. Mix one part Listerine with 2 parts water and spray on the cat urine stain. Let sit for approximately an hour and then soak up with white paper towels or an unwanted white towel. Again the smell of Listerine might linger for a day or two but the smell will soon dissipate.
Make a Do It Yourself Remover
Here is a recipe you can make on your own that is also great for removing cat urine smells from carpets. You will need baking soda, white vinegar, dishwashing liquid (not dishwasher powder) and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide.
Step 1: Get the area as dry as possible by soaking up the cat urine with paper towels or an unwanted white towel. Step on top of it or place something heavy to get as much of the moisture out as possible. Repeat a few times if necessary.
Step 2: Mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water and apply to area. Leave for about an hour then repeat the drying process as you did above by soaking up moisture with paper towels or white scrap bath towel.
Step 3. When you are sure area is dry, sprinkle a decent amount of baking soda on top of it and then lightly add a little 3% hydrogen peroxide on top (this is key because hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria that causes urine smell). Gently rub this solution into the carpet using gloves or a scrub brush. Allow it to complete dry and then vacuum up.
Cat Urine Odor Removers
Many people already have Oxi clean in their homes and it can work very well in removing pet urine smells as well as its other many uses. The reason is because Oxi Clean contains 3% hydrogen peroxide (as mentioned in the above remedy).
You need to careful when using this product however, because there is a chance that it will discolor your carpet or even possibly discolor a wooden floor underneath. You should definitely try this in a smaller test area before using in a major traffic one, and if you have nice wooden floors underneath your carpet you might want to forgo this remedy. If neither of these is a problem for you then it is a very effective remedy.
Buy an Enzyme Type Cleaner
Because cat urine smells and stains are a common problem, there are quite a few enzyme cleaners on the market made just for its removal. Nature’s Miracle seems to be far and away the most popular out there, but there are others that are supposed to be just as effective such as Out, Urine Gone!, Kids n’Pet and Odo Ban. You can find most of these enzyme cleaners online or in major pet stores. (You might find that buying online is cheaper however.) If removing cat urine odors and stains are an ongoing problem for you it is probably a good idea to invest the extra money to have one of these cleaners on hand.
Get Your Carpets Steam Cleaned
Many carpet cleaning companies have a solution they use just for these kinds of situations. If you find that your situation is rather severe and the above remedies aren‘t doing the trick, it might be time to call in the professionals. Be sure to tell them what your problem is before they arrive so they will have the cleaning solution that they will need.
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What You Should Never Use to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell
Some people might recommend using ammonia or ammonia based products to clear up the smell of cat urine, when in fact it is the last thing you should do. Cat urine already contains ammonia so chances are the smell will just get worse. Besides cats are drawn to the smell which means there is a good chance they will return to the spot which will have you cleaning up all over again.
More Home Remedies
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jennieC on July 19, 2015:
DO NOT STEAM CLEAN URINE ODORS!!! The heat from the steam will bond the bacteria in the urine to your carpet. Its a big no no and you'll never be rid of the smell!!!! Just an FYI!
jj on June 28, 2011:
also don't use bleach because as u mentioned cat pee contains ammonia.
carpet cleaning Grand Rapids Michigan on January 09, 2011:
All of us hate stinky smells! There are lots of alternatives for removing odor. But, aside from removing stinky smell, removing stain is one of the hardest challenges on carpets or clothes. On cleaning carpets or clothes, check first the fabric before applying and using cleaning products or materials.
carol on December 20, 2010:
the vinegar works great..