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The Best Way to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell From a House

Updated on May 3, 2012

As a cat owner, I know how frustrating it can be when you can’t seem to get cat urine smells out of your home. You may not notice the smell at first, but after being outside the home for a few hours when you return to your house you will smell what everyone else who visits your home smells, cat urine!

There are many reasons for cat urine smells to crop up in your home. The cat may have just used the litter box and not covered it up well enough, the litter box might not been emptied regularly enough, the cat is not old enough to be properly toilet trained yet, the cat may have had an accident and didn’t make it to the litter box or the cat is acting up for some reason.

The culprit
The culprit | Source

Does your cat need a vet?

The first thing to do if your cat has urinated outside of their litter box is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any health-related problems your cat might be experiencing. Those medical problems that cause a cat to urinate in inappropriate areas can include a urinary tract infection and feline urinary syndrome (FUS). A vet can also advise you if your cat is experiencing a behavioral problem or not. Once you know the cat is healthy, it’s time to get down to getting rid of that cat urine smell.

Finding the source of cat urine smells

If you can’t figure out where the smell is coming from you can use a blacklight to find the source. When you turn out the regular lights the blacklight will find that urine spot.

Tools you need:

  • Paper towel
  • Brush
  • Sponge
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Enzyme-based cleaner
  • Bowl

Additional tools:

  • Black light
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Dish detergent
  • Spray bottle

Cleaning up cat urine

Hopefully, a cat urine stain is still wet when you find it which makes cleanup a little easier. When you find a wet spot blot it with paper towel immediately. Mix together 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar in a bowl. Dip a sponge in the mixture and sponge the area well. Sprinkle baking soda over the spot, use a brush to rub it in and vacuum when dry.

Time is of the essence when the cat has urinated on carpeting, if it is left too long you might not have any option but to replace the carpeting. If you are cleaning a wood or cement floor, you might want to mix ¾ cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of dish detergent and spray that on the spot before adding the baking soda.

One source of cat urine smells
One source of cat urine smells | Source
White vinegar has many uses
White vinegar has many uses | Source

After the stain has dried and has been vacuumed up, you should also spray the area with a enzyme-based product such as Odor Ban, Nature’s Miracle and Nature Clean; enzyme-based cleaners break down the molecules of stains and odors. Thankfully, I have never had to clean up cat urine from my cat out of the litter box. I have, however used Nature Clean to clean up areas where the cat has thrown up a hairball or food on my bed or the couch. It works very well and does not leave a smell.

The main thing to remember is that the area must be cleaned completely leaving no cat urine smell behind; a cat will return to the same spot again and again.

Your house will be welcoming again

I hope these suggestions for cleaning up cat urine smell are helpful to you. Thankfully, I have only smelled urine when passing the litter box. But, my cat is older and there may be a time when I have to try these solutions.

These tips will have your house smelling clean and fresh before you know it; your friends and family, especially those who do not own pets, will appreciate it.


Submit a Comment

  • Lea^ profile image

    Lea Smith 

    6 years ago

    When I clean with vinegar, it seems that our dogs (and dogs that I care for) are drawn to it. Has anyone else had an issue with this?

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Uninvited Writer, I am sorry it took me so long to find you. What a great collection of hubs. And this one on getting rid of cat urine is just what I needed. I have that horrible smell at my back door. The man in the video is adorable and it is such a well presentation of how to mixing this cleaning solution for cat urine removal. I never knew about the blacklight as a way to find the urine. Thanks for helping us keep our cat friends healthy!

  • Robin profile image

    Robin Edmondson 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    We moved into a house that had a horrible dog urine smell. We rented a blacklight and went to work with Nature's Miracle and then had the carpets professionally cleaned. It worked amazing. We were really concerned that our dog would smell the urine and urinate on the carpet to mark her territory (even though she never had done this before.) The Nature's Miracle worked great and we didn't have any problems with our dog. I'm sure that the vinegar is a great solution, too!

  • profile image

    Vinnie Valles 

    6 years ago

    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. You can’t see them but you can smell them.

    Science has proven that any ‘thing’ floating in the air, be it in your home, office or outdoors, is doing so because it is 'positively charged'. This includes tobacco smoke, cat or dog urine all remain, ‘smelly’ because of the unbalance of ions in the room. The scientific principle at work here is that, a proper balance of negative ions, bind with the positive ions, creating complete molecules which have a heavier weight, mass and a balanced charge. Hence, the positive ions (toxins, dust, odors, etc.) No longer float, they simply fall to the ground eliminating the odor.

    You can eliminate odors by three methods, open windows and air out the rooms, odor eliminating sprays, ionizer or an ozone generator, which introduces negative, ions to balance the positive ions. A permanent way to keep odors away is repaint the walls in a room and add the paint additive Air-ReNu, which only has to be applied once works 7/24/365 keeping your home smelling clean and fresh.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    If your house is full of cat urine smell, either you're not cleaning properly or the cat is sick. "Does Your Cat Need a Vet" is the right place to start, if the urine is something you can't control despite your commitment to cleanliness.

    Super helpful information. Once the urine smell is in the house, it takes a lot of effort to get rid of it. Best to not let it get that far.

  • jimmythejock profile image

    James Paterson 

    6 years ago from Scotland

    Interesting and helpful information, I have a cat who uses the bath when he urinates so luckily it is easier to clean. thanks for this great Hub UW.....jimmy

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I'm very glad everyone finds this helpful, thanks for commenting.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I'm going to print out this Hub and refer to it often I'm afraid. I have two cats Lily and Daisy. The vet is considering putting Lily on tranquilizers because she is acting out so much. She get's nervous and pees and throws up everywhere. I am going to purchase a black light to help me find all of the locations. Thanks again.

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Very useful hub that I will pass on to many of my relatives that own cats. When we did have a cat he pretty much only went in the litter box .. thank goodness.

  • Storytellersrus profile image


    6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

    I have had lots of issues with cat urine, as we raised two litters of kitties. I finally ripped up the carpet and painted the floor with Kilz! That killed the smell and the tantalizing spot they always hit. Ugh! Voted up and useful!!!

  • angela_michelle profile image

    Angela Michelle Schultz 

    6 years ago from United States

    This is very helpful. I have not experienced this yet. The only place the cat goes aside from the litter box is the drain in the tub. So we make sure we clean the litter box and he doesn't do it. But if we need to, I should bookmark this and come back. Very useful hub!

  • Natashalh profile image


    6 years ago from Hawaii

    Nice! One for my roomates has a cat and, sadly, she doesn't always take care of his litterbox. When his litterbox is full, he goes wherever. I thinks can put this information to use. Voted useful!

  • GoodLady profile image

    Penelope Hart 

    6 years ago from Rome, Italy

    This is just such an interesting and useful Hub. Super suggestions that are practical and give me confidence that the smell will disappear - for sure.

    So nicely written.

    Voting etc.

  • ThePracticalMommy profile image


    6 years ago from United States

    This is a very useful hub for cat owners! While I don't own a cat, I'll be passing this along to my in-laws who have three cats who occasionally miss the box.

    Voted up and useful!

  • wilderness profile image

    Dan Harmon 

    6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

    A good, well written hub with good information.

    As the servant to Shadow, king of the household, I particularly appreciate the tips. I've had to clean up a urine stain from an ill cat and it's not easy. Your tips will be remembered.

  • writer20 profile image

    Joyce Haragsim 

    6 years ago from Southern Nevada

    Thank you for all this information I'm sure it's going to be help to a lot us.

    Vote up useful and interesting, Joyce.


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