How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Your Carpet, Mattress, Clothes, Couch and More!

maine coon cat laying on the carpet

We love our cats. They are pets that mostly take care of themselves. They can be temperamental, but you’ll soon learn to live with that. Unfortunately, something that is harder to live with is the smell of cat pee.

In this post, we’ll go through how to get rid the horrendous cat pee smell. We’ll look at the different places they may pee, and how to clean each of them. There’s not much worse than that lingering odor, so we’ll teach you exactly how to get rid it, as well as how to take care of the equally bad cat spray smell.

Before we move on to the specifics, though, it’s helpful to understand why your cat might be having this problem.

Why Cats Pee Outside The Litterbox


Most of us think that our cat is trying to get revenge by peeing outside their litter box. The truth is that your cat is probably trying to tell you something, but it’s not about revenge.

A cat that has a urinary tract infection, for example, might associate the box with pain. Every time they pee, it’s painful. They don’t understand that it’s because they’re sick. Cats that are older might also find it hard to get to the litter box on time and might have accidents.

If your cat has started peeing somewhere else, your first step is to take them to the vet for a checkup. 

If they’re not sick, then it could be a behavioral reason. It’s harder to distinguish the cause in these cases, but it’s not impossible. Watch your cat for a few days and see what they do. Have any new pets been introduced to the house? A cat may also mark their territory as a dog does.

One other reason could be a simple matter of cleanliness. You don’t like to use a toilet that’s stinky or dirty, do you? Neither does your cat. Make sure that you scoop solids out on a daily basis, and that you change the litter regularly. It might also help to use a different type of litter. Many cat owners consider this Pretty Litter review, which detects potential health problems by changing colors. Also, these Skoon litter reviews have been a popular page that a lot of cat owners have been reading up on.

If you have a really busy schedule or if you find yourself frequently forgetting to clean the litter box, you may want to check out the best automatic litter boxes to relieve you of that duty (no pun intended). We put in hours of research and surveyed various cat enthusiasts who own them for their honest feedback like this Cat Genie review or this Litter Robot review.


Why Cat Pee Smells

woman smells cat urine

Urine, in general, does not smell good, but cat urine seems to be especially strong smelling. Why is that? That bad smell is usually a result of the urine decomposing. It’s the compounds in it that give it that chemical, astringent odor.

It’s also an evolutionary thing. Male cats mark their territory by spraying, and the smell let’s other cats know to back off. Female cats do the same thing when they come into season.


Why Cats Spray 

cat in a karate outfit

If your cat has not been fixed, they might spray on vertical surfaces. If your cat is peeing against walls, this may be marking their territory or letting other cats know they’re ready to mate. The best protection is to have the cat fixed when it’s young.

In some cases, the cat may also spray because they are frightened, frustrated, or feeling stressed out. This is often the case if you have introduced a new cat into the home. To eliminate this behavior, it’s best to separate the kitties and start reintroducing them slowly. If this still doesn’t work, speak to your vet about using a synthetic pheromone spray or diffuser instead. This may calm them.


Products To Clean cat Urine

cleaning products for cleaning cat pee

You’ll need to clean the mess as soon as possible. The longer it sits there, the more concentrated the smell becomes. Also, stains will still smell, even if they’ve dried. Your cat will then associate the area with urination and continue to view it as their toilet.

There are a few different ways to deal with this. The key is to get it cleaned up as soon as possible, preferably before it has a chance to dry. You want to delete every last trace of that smell.

An enzymatic cleaner for cat urine is your best bet at getting rid of every trace. You can find these at pet stores. They are a bit more expensive, but they work by breaking down the acid in the stain. This destroys all remnants and will also sanitize the area.

A good cat urine odor removal home remedy is to use baking soda or vinegar. Baking soda sprinkled onto the stain or applied in a paste form will help draw out the odor. It should be left in place for a good few hours to get the job done correctly.

If making a paste, mix the baking soda with just enough water to make it runny. Then apply. Once you have left the baking soda to sit for a few hours, preferably overnight, vacuum it up again with a powerful pet vacuum cleaner. You may need to repeat the process.

Vinegar can also be a very effective solution here. Use a strong solution – one part each of water and vinegar and apply. Let it soak for a few minutes and then dab away as much of the solution as possible. Reapply and then leave it to soak in.

The vinegar will neutralize the odor and then evaporate.

When cleaning, make sure that you can’t smell any traces, and then clean again. Cats have a much better sense of smell than we do and can pick up even the tiniest whiff.

If you decide to try different cleaning products, avoid those with ammonia in them. Ammonia is naturally found in urine. The cleaning products may thus exacerbate the situation.


How To Get cat urine smell Out Of Carpet

cleaning the carpet

Let’s start with how to get cat urine out of carpet.

First things first, try and blot up as much of the liquid in the carpet as possible. If the urine cannot soak in, it will be much easier to clean the carpet and rug area. Next, get cool, clean water and rinse the rug area. If possible, soak up the moisture with a vacuum cleaner over the carpet when the cat urine is.

You might be tempted to use a steam cleaner on the carpet, which is a mistake as it might cause the cat pee stain to set.

Instead, move on to the method that you’ve chosen to destroy the odor. Apply your cleaning liquid or paste now. If you’re using a commercial spray, you want to soak the area. A light spray here is no good.

Leave it for at least ten minutes and then try to dab as much up as possible. Block off the area while it dries so your cat can’t get to it. If necessary, repeat.

If it’s already soaked all the way through to the sub-flooring, it’s going to be harder to remove. Follow the steps as listed above. If that’s still not working, you’ll have to consider replacing that carpet section and the padding underneath.

To deter your cat from reusing the area as a toilet, try placing their food or toys there. This sends a clear message that the area is meant for something else.


How To Get cat pee smell Out Of couch Cushions & Mattresses

cleaning cat pee from the couch

Now let’s learn how to get cat pee out of your couch.

If your cat has gotten into the habit of spraying a mattress or cushions, you’ll clean them in a similar way. You’ll just need to check the care instructions first, though. You’ll blot as much of the wet mess up as possible on the couch. Then you’ll apply your cleaning agent on the couch cushions.

If at all possible, place the cushion that your cat pee'd on in the washing machine and run it on a heavy soil cycle. If you can do this, let the couch cushion air dry in the sun. If you cannot put the item into the washing machine, cover the area with aluminum foil to prevent the cat from going back an urinating on it again. They don’t like the sound of it crinkling.

A mattress might require a bit more effort to clean the cat pee. You’ll want to apply the cleaner and blot as much as possible on the mattress. Then layer towels over the top so that you can make the bed. The towels will have to be swapped out every day. Once the mattress is dry, you’re done with cleaning the urine from the bed.

It’s prudent to cover the bed with plastic while it’s not being used. Again, the cat doesn’t like the noise of the plastic crinkling, and this can discourage it. At the very least, you can easily remove and wash the plastic from the mattress.

How To Get cat urine smell Out Of Linens & Clothing

When it comes to how to get cat urine smell out of clothes, it’s easier to get rid of the smell than you think. Rinse the clothing area with clean, cool water before putting it into the machine to clean the urine smell of the cat. A cupful of baking soda or about a quarter cup of vinegar should be added along with your usual detergent.

We recommend running it through at least two cycles. If the smell on the linen or clothing is still present, you can add an enzymatic cleaner. Do NOT use bleach, as the combination can give off dangerous gases.

Once you’ve finished, hang up the linens or clothing to dry. Sunlight and air will help to dissipate any smells that might still be there. If that still doesn’t work, you’re going to have to try rewashing everything.


Final Notes on getting out cat urine smell

Cat urine smells bad. Your best remedy is to deal with the issue as soon as possible. Get rid of the stain, and hopefully, your furry friend will look for their litter box next time.