If you’ve got cats, you’ll know what a nuisance cat pee can be. It smells, it stains, and it’s the last thing you want on your furniture. Unfortunately, cats are drawn to the scent of their old pee like moths to a flame. If you don’t get rid of the smell of urine completely, the cat will keep visiting the same spot again and again. When it comes to getting rid of pee stains, most people simply reach for the nearest bottle of household cleaner to hand. But be warned – if that cleaner contains ammonia, you’re simply making a bad situation worse. Cats go wild at the smell of ammonia. If they smell it, they’ll only want to re-mark the area even more. So, if ammonia is off the table, what exactly should you be using to get rid of cat pee? Find out as we run through the five best ways to clean cat pee in your house.
1. Highlight the Stains with a Black Light
First up, a black light won’t magically rid your carpet of pee stains. What it will do is highlight them. Cats can be sneaky. For every location they let you know they’re using as a bathroom, there’s another two they aren’t. The problem is, if you don’t find every last spot, your house will always have a lingering odor of urine. Buy a black light, switch off all the other lights, then wait for the urine stains to start glowing. Be sure to shine the black light on every possible spot your cat may be doing their business in, including the base of walls and hidden corners. Once you’ve found all the spots, you can start dealing with the stains.
2. Soak It Up
The number one rule of dealing with cat pee? Act fast. The more pee you can remove while it’s still fresh, the better. Grab a pile of newspaper or paper towels and soak up as much of the stain as possible. Letting a stain sit around for longer than necessary will not only make clean-up harder in the long run, it’ll entice your cat to use the same spot for a bathroom break again. Use a blotting action to avoid rubbing the pee further into the surface. Once you’ve blotted up as much of the stain as possible, dispose of the soiled paper immediately. Leaving it in a trash can in the house will add a fragrance you really don’t want.
3. Wash Linens With Baking Soda
If your cat has taken to using your bed as a bathroom, strip the linen as soon as you notice a fresh mark. Leaving it to linger will simply invite your cat to visit the same spot again. Once you’ve stripped the bed, don’t be tempted to leave the linens in the laundry basket until the next laundry day. The longer the stain is allowed to stick around, the more likely it is to leave a permanent stain (and smell). If the linens need to be dry cleaned, get them to a professional cleaner asap. If they’re suitable for machine washing, run them through a cold-water cycle straight away. Once they’ve finished washing, hang them outside to dry – the fresh air will help get rid of any lingering smells. If there’s any trace of smell left once they’ve dried, don’t be tempted to put up with it. Remember, cats use their noses to decide the best spots for peeing. If they can smell a spot they’ve used before, they’ll think it’s safe to use it again. To get rid of the last vestiges of odor, run the linen through the washing machine again. This time, add a quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar and a cup of baking soda. Once done, hang them outside to dry.
4. Use An Enzyme Cleaner
No matter how much you blot at a pee stain, you’ll never get rid of that distinctive urine smell with paper towels alone. But before you reach for any old bottle of household cleaner to tackle the stain, be warned. Some cleaners aren’t going to be up to the challenge. In fact, most aren’t. Cleaners that contain ammonia will make the problem worse, while simple solutions of water and soap will do nothing but mask the smell temporarily. To get rid of both the stain and smell effectively, you’ll need an enzymatic cleaner.
As Viva Cat Cat highlights, enzymes help break down the uric acid in the urine (the hardest part to deal with) and neutralizes it. Other cleaners will simply remove parts of the urine while leaving the uric acid intact. As it’s the uric acid that attracts your cat to revisit the same spot, that’s a problem. If you’re not sure whether any of your existing cleaners qualify, check the label. If they list enzymes among the ingredients, you’re good to go.
When it comes to applying the enzyme cleaner, adopt a ‘more is more’ strategy. Simply spraying a small amount on top of the stain won’t work: you’re going to need to soak it. Once the surface is good and saturated, leave it to sit for 15 minutes before blotting up the excess liquid. You can then leave it to air dry. If the stain is large or has had time to settle, you might need to repeat the process several times. You might notice that the urine smell intensifies as you’re cleaning. Don’t panic if you do – the process isn’t complete until the materials have had a chance to dry completely. Avoid combining the enzyme cleaner with a non-enzyme cleaner. Although it’s tempting to think that a belt and braces approach will increase efficiency, conventional soaps and detergents will simply deactivate the enzymes, leaving you no better off than when you started.
5. Try a Wet Vac
As Wave Pets notes, a home wet vac can make light work of cleaning up cat pee. Wet vacs (which look very similar to conventional vacuum cleaners) are readily available and work by spraying water and cleaner onto a spot, before sucking the dirty water back into the tank. When you use the vac, remember to use a pet cleaner with enzymes in it – while a wet vac is powerful, it’ll still need a helping hand from enzymes to tackle the uric acid present in urine stains.