How to get rid of cat pee smell
at your home

Does your home have that distinct cat pee stench?
These top tips are proven to eliminate those nasty smells from your home.

Last Updated on 

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If you have cats, you’re probably familiar with the problem. We all know the homes that have that distinct cat pee stench. Sometimes you just open the front door, and you know the household has cats. We love our pets, but we don’t want to be that home. We want a clean house with no off-putting stink.

Here are the top 10 tips on how to eliminate those nasty cat urine smells from your home.

1. Scoop the litter box once or twice a day

If you’re not going to take the trash out immediately, you can use sealed bags so that the odor won’t escape and linger in your apartment.

If taking the trash out right away is not an option, you could consider getting a Litter Genie, which stores the used litter inside airtight bags in an airtight container.

cat peeing in litter box

2. Choose the right litter and change it once a week

You might feel tempted to use scented litter, but you shouldn’t. Scented cat litter only masks the odor not actually eliminating it. Also, some cats are put off by the scent and might find another favorite spot for relieving themselves. And having your cat pee somewhere else than the litter box will certainly make your house reek!

Change the litter every week and wash the box with mild soap and water every time you do. Some people also sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the litter box, as it naturally absorbs odors. You could also sprinkle baking soda in the litter box daily. It won’t harm your pets, but it will remove some of the smells.

3. Replace the litter box once a year

Even if you wash the litter box every week, it will eventually start to smell. Persistent smells can be hard to remove from plastic, so you should replace the box once a year. What a great Christmas gift for your pet and yourself!

Some cat owners use disposable litter boxes to make sure the smells don’t originate from a stinking box. These disposable litter boxes by Nature’s Miracle can be used as they are or as liners. They won’t shred or leak, and they are made from land-fill safe recycled paper. If you think your cat’s litter box absorbs the foul smells, you can pop one of these inside the box and change it weekly minimizing the odors absorbed by the plastic box.

Self-cleaning cat litter boxes require far less maintenance than traditional cat boxes. An automatic or self-cleaning litter box is a great option, if you want to cut down on the time you have to spend cleaning after your cat.

4. Vacuum regularly

Vacuuming can be a very effective way to reduce pet smells. Vacuum your floors, carpets, rugs, and furniture at least once a week with an efficient vacuum cleaner.Getting rid of the pet hair reduces the smell of pets in your home. It won’t work for cat pee, but regular cleaning will help you notice if your cat starts marking his territory by spraying.

Remember to vacuum floors, baseboards, carpets, rugs, cushions, furniture, under furniture and especially those areas where your cats like to hang out.

cat litter box and a spotted cat

5. Mop your floors

Mop your floors once a week after vacuuming. Even if your cat is using the litter box, there might be small traces of pee around the house. Use a suitable enzyme cleaner and a wet microfiber mop to wipe your floors and remove any remains of cat pee.

Also, use an enzyme cleaner like the Bubba’s Pet Stain and Odor Eliminator to clean all other surfaces. It’s safe for pets and children, and very useful in wiping out foul odors.

6. Clean your carpets, rugs, and upholstery

Vacuuming once a week is a good way of keeping pet smells to the minimum. But now and then you should also thoroughly clean your carpets, rugs, and upholstery. Even if your cat is doing his business inside the litter box, there are small drops and traces of urine, which cling into the fabrics as time goes by.

When not cleaned regularly, the smells coming from these fabrics can form a nasty overall stench in your home. The best way to prevent this is to wash your rugs and use a carpet and fabric cleaner every so often. If you have a lot of carpeting, you might want to consider getting a carpet cleaner. If it’s only rugs and upholstery that need some dry cleaning, foam or powder fabric cleaner will do the trick.

7.  Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural and powerful way of getting rid of odors. It will eliminate the smell of ammonia in your cat's pee. Though vinegar has a strong smell in itself, that smell will evaporate in a few days taking the smell of cat pee with it. A solution with equal parts of white vinegar and water can be sprayed or poured on the stain letting it soak for a few minutes before blotting or wiping it up.

8. Use enzyme cleaners

Always use enzyme cleaners when cleaning cat urine. The reason behind the cat pee smell is often that previous messes have not been cleaned properly. Cats tend to pee in the same spots, which is why it is critical to thoroughly remove any traces of urine. Enzyme cleaners break down the proteins in biological stains eliminating odors as well as the stains.

cat standing in a litter box

9. If your cat urinates outside the litter box

If your cat starts to mark its territory outside the litter box, you need to act fast. Many times this habit can be left unnoticed until it has already become a problem. To cut the behavioral pattern you need to eliminate and neutralize the smells, as cats often mark the same spots.

If you can't find the exact spot you cat is marking, an ultraviolet black light detector will help you find exactly where the problem lies.  By finding all the problem areas and cleaning them thoroughly, you will eliminate smells and minimize the risk of your cat getting into the habit of peeing around the house.

10. Wash your cat

Yes, your cat can often add to the smell of cat urine. Though cats can be quite tidy in using the litter box for peeing, some of that urine gets caught in the fur. Most cats have negative reactions to bathing, but there are things you could try.

Bathe your cat when they are tired, and they are less likely to put up a fight. Stay calm. Place some toys in the tub and slowly add water. The toys will distract your cat and allow him to get used to the water gradually.

You can find more useful tips on how to get your cat to take a bath here.

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Matt Clayton
Matt Clayton
Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

Matt is the founder of and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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