How to Clean Cat Urine

Learn how to clean cat urine properly, so the odor no longer permeates the home or invites the cat to continue urinating outside of the litter box.

Catch the Stain Quickly

While not always feasible, cat urine removal works best shortly after the owner catches the cat peeing on the upholstery or floor. If a strong odor persists, use a black light in the direction of the smell to find old, dried stains. When encountering a cat urine stain, gather the following household cleaners and products:

  • Rag
  • Paper towels
  • Vacuum
  • Wet vacuum (optional)
  • Scrub brush
  • Hair dryer or fan (optional)
  • Baking soda
  • Cold water
  • 1/2 cup warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon dish detergent
  • Anti-urine cleaners with anti-enzyme action or
  • Homemade household cleaners made from 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup warm water

Attack and Rinse the Stain

Blotting, not rubbing, is the first step to cat urine removal. Blot the stain with paper towels until relatively dry. If the stain is dry to begin with, pour cold water over it and blot for a time. Rinse the area with cold water and blot again.

Destroying Bacteria and Enzymes

Learn how to clean cat urine with either anti-urine cleaners or homemade household cleaners. Use the commercial anti-urine cleaners as directed by spraying the stain and wiping it with a rag in a circular motion. You could also substitute homemade household cleaners made from 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup warm water for the anti-urine cleaner. Be sure to test the cleaners on a small portion of the surface first to ensure that they won't stain. (Avoid using vinegar on stone or marble.) Allow to dry or use the fan or hair dryer to speed up the process.


Cat urine permeates fibers and floors, so learning how to clean it is not enough; stained areas must be deodorized. Sprinkle the affected area with liberal amounts of baking soda and add a few drops of the detergent/water mixture. Use the scrub brush to work the baking soda mixture into the stained area in a circular motion. Allow to soak for a few hours or overnight, then vacuum the excess away. Follow with a wet vacuum shampooing if necessary.

Addressing the Behavior

  • There are several possible reasons for a cat frequently urinating outside of the cat litter box.
  • Dirty cat litter may be one reason; scoop daily and thoroughly clean the cat litter box at least once a week.
  • Stress after a change in environment may be another; this behavior may lessen over time as the cat adjusts to the new environment, but in the meantime, look for anti-urine cleaners and scents to keep the cat away from favored urination areas.
  • A health problem and/or old age may be another reason for unwanted cat urination.
  • A vet check-up is in order if the poor behavior persists despite a clean cat litter box and stress-free environment.
  • Know how to clean cat urine, but also learn how to stop the cat from peeing on furniture and floors to prevent further problems. Persistent urination outside of the litter box may be an indication of a medical concern.