The best way, and only way to be honest, to remove cat odour is to use an enzymatic pet odour cleaner. And to be clear, by “cat odour” I am referring to cat pee. I’m discussing the removal of the odour that domestic cat urine emits it’s when a domestic cat eliminates inappropriately as it is euphemistically described. That last point needs to be expanded slightly. When a domestic cat urinates outside of the litterbox, say on the carpet, it is described as “inappropriate elimination”. This is because the cat has peed in a way which is inappropriate to the human caregiver. However, it is appropriate to the cat to do this because cats behave instinctively. If they are peeing outside the litterbox, it is for a good and appropriate reason under whatever circumstances caused it. One good example is cystitis. Another is nervousness.
You can buy enzymatic cat odour cleaners, which come in the form of a spray, online. I’d suggest Amazon for the best range and price. You can also use home-made versions which I discuss below. However, I don’t think it is worth the bother and they won’t work as well. If you have a good homemade cleaner that’s proved to work, please share in a comment.
How they work. Do they work?
Enzyme cleaners contain beneficial bacteria, I’m told, which emit enzymes which in turn break down molecules in organic material such as feline urine. When the enzymes break down these molecules the bacteria eat them which eliminates the smell.
People ask whether they genuinely work. They do genuinely work and they are the only thing that does work in my personal experience. I feel confident that visitors to this webpage will agree with me. If you’ve never tried them then please do. You can’t wash the smell of cat urine away using soap and water. You might reduce the smell slightly doing this but you won’t eliminate it.
My personal experience concerns my car. This is going back many years. I was taking my cat to the vet and she peed on the passenger seat. Since then, I have taken careful precautions to avoid it happening again. Of course, I couldn’t remove the smell of urine from the seat using conventional methods but I achieved success with an enzyme cleaner. The success of this product is because it changes the chemical composition of the components of urine which cause the smell.
They work pretty fast because they also contain a perfume which helps to mask the smell anyway. The Internet tells me that it may take two days for the smell to be removed entirely.
It is the ammonia and sulphur components of urine which smell. One committed scientists measured the effect of enzyme cleaner on these components. He said that the enzymes didn’t do much until about 12 hours into the chemical process. He said that most of them take two days to get down to below 10 ppm (of the smelly components) and 3-5 days to get down to 1-2 ppm. No doubt the effect varies slightly with the quality of the product.
Some people recommend baking soda which they say naturally neutralises odours. You sprinkle it liberally on the damp area and work the powder into the fibres of the rug or carpet. You let it sit there overnight for maximum odour absorption and then you vacuum it up to remove the smell completely. I’ve never tried this but by all means have a go if you wish (and report back here in a comment, please).
Baking soda and vinegar
Other people state that you can use baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar apparently is an acid which neutralises the alkaline salts in dried urine stains. You can use a solution of one part water and one part vinegar to clean walls and floors. This might be a method of removing the smell from hard surfaces. But then again straightforward soap and water would probably achieve the same thing. And vinegar smells anyway.
Homemade plus enzyme cleaner – a complete system?
Hill’s say that they have a home-made pet odour removing system which actually works. So, I’ll describe it. But I have to say I wouldn’t bother 😉. Use an enzyme cleaner. Much less trouble. Much easier unless you really are a tight budget.
The materials for your home-made cat urine eliminator system are: vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, washing-up liquid, enzyme cleaner, old rags and an old towel! I notice that in their system they’ve got an enzyme cleaner! What does the other stuff do? What they are describing is a complete method: belt and braces. I don’t like the use of hydrogen peroxide, a chemical which bleaches. It is milder than bleach but has similar properties; dangerous to use on carpets and rugs.
Use the old towel to absorb as much of the cat urine as possible and afterwards throw it away (that’s money in the bin 😢). You sprinkle baking soda over the affected area and let it sit there for 10 minutes. You then pour some vinegar over the baking soda and watch it fizz for a few seconds. You then blot the liquid with a fresh rag.
After that you use a DIY pet stain-odour remover. To make this you employ a few tablespoonfuls of hydrogen peroxide with a couple of drops of washing-up liquid. You pour the mixture onto the stained area. Note: please check in a remote area beforehand to make sure that it does not discolour the carpet.
You rub this home-made liquid into the carpet and blot it quickly to avoid removing the colour from the carpet. Dry the area with a fan. To avoid the uric acid re-crystallising, after about 24 hours soak the area with an enzyme cleaner and let it dry completely.
My comment on that is: don’t bother! As mentioned, use a good quality commercially manufactured enzyme cleaner straight out of the bottle. So much simpler.
P.S. Products for dog urine work for cat urine and vice versa.
There is nothing more to say in my view because this problem comes down to one product, the one that I have mentioned more than once!
THERE ARE SOME MORE CAT PRODUCTS BELOW: