By Valerie Trumps
Getting Rid of Cat Urine Smell
The lingering, pungent odor of cat urine is enough to make a homeowner with carpeted floors weep in despair. Besides the unhealthy air you’re breathing, the “mark” beckons your kitty to return again and again to that same spot. Here's how to get rid of the smell for good.
Black lights are unique in their ability to detect urine, blood, sweat, and other gross bodily fluids that contain fluorescent molecules. Pick one up at most any store – pet store, hardware store, discount department store. Wait until nighttime, turn out all your lights except for the black light, and mark the spots with something heavy (rocks work well) that your cat won’t disturb. Then get to deodorizing so whatever product you choose can work overnight.
Stop the Stink
Few things smell as bad as cat urine ripening in your home, which has made products reputed to de-stink your carpets a hot commodity. Enzyme-based cleaners and odor removal products claim to render the odor inactive (in my experience, they do not), and sealers (like Kilz) are reported to lock the odor away in walls and floors. But rather than spending a lot of money on chemicals that are bad for you and your animals, consider using cheaper and time-tested cleaners from your grandparents’ day.
Some natural and reportedly extremely effective remedies include these:
- Pour ammonia on the offending areas, allow to dry, cover with baking soda, let it sit for a while, and then vacuum.
- Saturate the spot with hydrogen peroxide, pile baking soda on top, and let it sit for a couple of months (seriously!).
- Give the spot (or area) a heavy spray-down with white vinegar.
Granted, the ammonia and vinegar routes can be pretty stinky on their own, but the smell will dissipate much sooner than any urine odor will.
Bring Out the Big Guns
If none of these methods work and your house still smells like a litter box, it’s time to bring out the big guns of serious measures and considerable expense. Rent a commercial steam-cleaning vacuum to deep clean the carpets and go over the areas slowly and repeatedly. Combine this with purchasing an ozone machine, which improves the air and makes the whole house smell as if it’s never been urinated in.
If you have the unfortunate experience of neither of these methods solving the problem, a professional may have to be brought in to rip up the carpet and pad, scrub and seal the floor underneath, and replace it all. Short of moving out, this is the method that’s practically guaranteed, although it is extreme and very expensive.
Whichever way you choose to get rid of the stench, you absolutely must, unequivocally, be completely thorough. This point cannot be emphasized enough. If Kitty-Face so much as gets the slightest whiff of having urinated there before, the call of the wild will make her do it again. And after all the work you did to get rid of it in the first place, being forced to do all of it all over again has been known to reduce some urine cleaners (namely, me) to tears. It’s a good idea to block off the room from your little spraying feline until the cleaning and deodorizing process is complete and no odor remains. Otherwise, she may decide to thwart your efforts by re-spraying.
Have you had success with any other solutions besides the ones mentioned here? Or have any of the listed methods (or combination of them) worked especially well for you? Speak your piece and share your tips!