How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Odor

house cat sunning itself outside
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30
What You'll Need
Apple cider vinegar
White vinegar
Scrub brush
Paper towels
Baking soda
Hydrogen peroxide
Coffee grounds

Odors from cat urine are pungent and obtrusive. And, if your cat has decided to mark its territory somewhere other than the litter box, the ammonia smell will linger indefinitely. The smell lingers because cat urine dries into crystals, continuously giving off an unpleasant scent until it’s cleaned up. In addition, your cat will be tempted to return to urinate in this spot repeatedly until it’s completely gone. Whether the urine is on your clothing, floors, carpet, or more, use this guide to get rid of the persisting stench.


To remove cat-urine odor from clothing, add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar or baking soda to the washing machine with your clothing and regular detergent. Dry them as usual, and the awful scent should be gone.


To clean urine from tile or hard flooring, mix warm water with white vinegar in a ratio of 3-to-1. Thoroughly saturate the area with the solution, and scrub it gently. Absorb what's left with paper towels or rags that you can put in the washing machine afterward. Then, let the spot dry completely. Repeat the process as necessary. Vinegar will neutralize the ammonia, eliminating the offensive odor.


Step 1 – Absorb the Urine

Cat-urine odor is more difficult to remove from carpets than other flooring. The substance saturates the carpet all the way through to the floor.

If the urine is fresh, blot it firmly and repeatedly with absorbent towels. Don't rub the area because that will make the urine spread. Continue until no more urine can be absorbed.

Step 2 – Neutralize the Ammonia

Mix a solution of warm water and white vinegar in a 1-to-1 ratio. Pour enough of the solution on the area to ensure it reaches the bottom fibers. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes, then absorb the vinegar and water the same way you did the urine.

Step 3 – Deodorize

Next, sprinkle baking soda to cover the entire area. Mix 3/4 cup of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of dish detergent. Test this solution on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn't cause discoloration. If it does, use water instead of peroxide.

Sprinkle the solution on the baking soda and use a brush to scrub the carpet. Allow the spot to dry completely. Then, vacuum up the powder. If there is any remaining scent, repeat the second and third steps.

Upholstery and Mattresses

Use the same procedure as for cleaning carpets to get rid of cat-urine odors in upholstery and mattresses.

Stubborn Smells

Cat-urine smells can be stubborn. If you still have odors after trying the above methods, try sprinkling dry coffee grounds on the area overnight to absorb the smell.

Using Charcoal

Charcoal is another natural odor absorbent. Use regular charcoal, not the kind that is pre-treated for instant lighting. Put these charcoal briquettes in small baskets, and place them in the odorous rooms. Put them behind the couch, under the bed, in a closet, or anywhere the offensive smell persists. Replace the charcoal weekly as needed.


If your cat continuously urinates outside of the litter box, it could be anxious or have behavior problems. Instead of getting rid of your feline friend, make sure your cat has spaces it feels safe in and around. You can build your cat a scratching post or window sleeping perch.

In addition, your cat could have separation anxiety. It's possible that if you treat the anxiety, you can fix the spraying problem. The solution can be as simple as purchasing an anti-anxiety spray from the pet store, or getting another cat to keep yours company.