Overall, hardwood floors are fairly durable and easy to maintain, but cat urine is a still a formidable opponent for any surface. Whether yours are the popular oak or maple floors or you have a pricier wood like teak or black walnut, you’ll need to use some care to get the stubborn cat pee smell and stain out without damaging the floor. Continue reading
So a lot of cat caretakers are left wondering why is cat urine so strong and stubborn. It’s a good question because knowing the answer will help you understand what it takes to get rid of that pungent odor permanently. Continue reading
Or at least, they have the potential to be effective when you use them right. The problem is using these cleaners is a little bit tricky.
Why Your Enzyme Cleaner Might not Work
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as pouring the cleaner onto the cat urine stain and waiting for it to do its thing. That’s because enzyme cleaners rely on natural, biological processes that are sensitive to a lot of different factors. If anything interferes with the biological process, the cleaner won’t work and you’ll be left with that lovely kitty piddle stain and smell.
Enzymes are biological molecules (most often proteins) that speed up a biological reaction. Usually, they break things down. The enzyme rennin, also called “rennet,” is what turns milk into cheese. The enzymes alpha-amylase and beta-amylase, among others, are used to brew beer. Human stomachs also produce many enzymes that allow us to digest food.
In cat urine cleaning products, you’ll find enzymes that break down uric acid (the stuff that makes the stain and odor stick around) into carbon dioxide and ammonia. These byproducts evaporate and –voila! — a clean carpet, sofa or other surface.
But when you’re using enzymes to clean cat urine, there are two things you need to know:
- Each enzyme has a very specific function. Just like you can’t use rennet to make beer, you can’t use just any old enzyme to break down cat urine stains.
- Enzymes are highly sensitive to their environment. The wrong temperature, moisture level or pH level, or the presence of certain chemicals can prevent them from working.
How Get the Most Out of Your Enzyme Cleaner
Look for a product with a label that specifically states it works on cat urine. Products formulated for grass stains on clothes or even for dog urine might not work. They might, but your chances are better if you choose one that mentions cat urine. A few good ones are:
- Anti Icky Poo by MisterMax
- Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats by Nature’s Miracle
- Out! Stain and Odor Remover by Out! International
Some cleaners shouldn’t be used on wood floors or certain other surfaces, so read the label carefully before you buy.
Once you have your product, follow the directions to the letter. Each product has its own requirements in terms of moisture, temperature, and other factors. Think of the precision involved in the process of making cheese or brewing beer. That’s basically what you’re doing here.
In general, covering the area with a sheet of plastic to keep it warm and humid will help the enzymes work. After the period of time suggested in the product instructions, however, you’ll want to let the area air dry so the byproducts can be released.
But there’s one more thing you need to look out for. There are certain molecules act as inhibitors. These bind to an enzyme and prevent it from working effectively. When you’re using enzymes to clean, inhibitors are generally going to come from other cleaners.
For this reason, make sure the stained area is free from any other chemicals. Don’t use any soap, detergent, or even vinegar to clean the stain before you apply the enzyme cleaner. If you’ve already used some cleaning product on the stain, thoroughly rinse the area with pure water.
Another potential problem is the chemical composition of your cat’s urine itself. If your cat is on any medication, including simple flea or worm meds, or she’s eating a specially formulated diet, this alters the chemical composition of her urine. The chemists who formulated the enzyme cleaners didn’t account for these variations. In this case, you may need either a different enzyme cleaner or a different type of cleaner entirely.
Getting rid of the cat pee smell and stains is just half the battle, of course. You’ll also need to know how to get your cat back to using the litter box and not the carpet. To learn how to do that, check out Cat Urine Problems Eliminated.
If you’ve already tried cleaning cat urine using the common suggestions floating around the internet, you’ve probably realized many of those suggestions just don’t work.
There are two types of cat urine cleaning tips:
The Useless — Cleaning methods that don’t work at all or even do more harm than good. Ammonia is a good example. This chemical is great for cleaning and disinfecting glass and porcelain under normal circumstances, but it’s a very bad choice for cleaning any surface your cat has wet on.
Because ammonia is a component of urine, it makes the cleaned surface smell just a little bit like cat pee. You may not notice, but your cat’s more sensitive nose will pick it up. Bleach is another. As strong as this chemical is, it doesn’t have what it takes to break down cat urine crystal so they can be cleaned up.
The Specific — Cleaning methods that work only in certain circumstances. Wiping down a peed-upon surface with pure white vinegar can work, but only if it’s a non-porous surface such as glass or linoleum and only if the wet spot is very fresh. If you notice the “little accident” within 30 minutes or so and clean it up immediately, vinegar may be enough. For just amount any other situation, you’ll need something stronger.
Strange as it may sound, certain types of mouthwash, combined with white vinegar and liquid soap work well for cleaning cat urine and removing the smell. This recipe works best on lighter stains and odors, particularly those that haven’t had weeks to set.
Other homemade cat urine cleaners can work on deeper and more, shall we say, “richly scented” stains, but the ingredients will be different.
The Most Effective Solution for Cleaning Cat Urine
If the homemade recipes for cleaning cat urine don’t take care of your problem, it’s time to bring in the big guns: enzyme cleaners. These cleaners can be highly effective if you use them correctly. Use them incorrectly and you may as well be pouring plain water on the mess.
Instructions for use vary with each product, but one thing holds true for nearly all of them: never mix them with other cleaners. This includes nearly everything from dish soap to bleach, and for some even vinegar is no-no. Keep in mind that combining doesn’t just mean pouring both in a container and stirring. It means don’t apply the enzyme cleaner to a spot you’ve previously attempted to clean with another product unless you’ve thoroughly removed all traces of that other product.
Enzyme cleaners contain living microorganisms that can be kill or severely impaired by these harsh chemicals. Dead and sickly enzymes can’t work against stains and odors.
Some of the best commercially available products for cleaning cat urine are:
- Anti Icky Poo by MisterMax
- Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats by Nature’s Miracle
- Out! Stain and Odor Remover by Out! International
If you have a cat who has frequent “accidents” on your carpets, hardwood floors, furniture, elsewhere around your home, do yourself a favor and pick up one of these products soon. That way you’ll have it on hand to clean up any messes as soon as you find them. The faster you get rid of all the cat pee on the stained site, the less chance there is the spot will get smelly again after you think you’ve cleaned it.
Knowing the tricks for cleaning cat urine effectively helps, but ultimately, it’s a lot less work to stop your kitty from piddling around in the first place. This is possible. Even if you have an older, incontinent cat, there are things you can do to save your floors and furniture.
To learn more about correcting your cat’s inappropriate urination problems, check out Cat Urine Problems Eliminated.
Baking soda is a valuable weapon in the battle against cat urine odors. In fact, the properties of this substance are widely touted, if not perhaps a little exaggerated.
Browse around online and you’d get the idea that sodium bicarbonate, a compound of sodium, hydrogen and carbon, can not only whip up meals and clean the kitchen by itself, but is also the cure-all for numerous serious diseases.
While baking soda isn’t likely to manage your household for you or raise the dead, it does have certain chemical properties that make it useful in cleaning.
Litter Box Deodorizer
Many deodorizers that you can add to the litter box or spray in the general area only mask smells. What’s worse, they do it my produce a heavy, artificial scent that can discourage cats from coming anywhere near. It’s no good to have litter box that smells like roses and sea breezes if those scents make your cat avoid the box and urinate on the carpet instead.
Here’s where baking soda comes it. This substance neutralizes smells instead of just covering them up. Baking soda is weakly alkaline (the opposite of acidic). The molecules that create the scent of cat urine are acidic. When baking soda’s alkaline molecules come in contact with cat urine’s acidic molecules, they neutralize each other.
This chemical reaction Continue reading
Cat pee isn’t just disgusting, it can harm your health, too. The dangers of cat urine aren’t always obvious, though. No doubt you realize that cat urine, like all human and animal waste, carries bacteria that could cause illness.
So you dutifully wear gloves when cleaning up kitty’s “accidents” and while washing the mops, sponges and other items you used to clean it with. ( By the way, cleaning your mops and other items with bleach kills bacteria, but apply bleach only after thoroughly rinsing out all traces of urine with plain water to avoid risk of producing noxious fumes). No problem there. Or is there…?
It’s easy to assume that once the urine stain and germs are gone, that lingering odor is nothing but a harmless nuisance. Remember, though, that odors are composed of microscopic particles of the thing that caused the odor. So by inhaling cat urine smell, you’re actually inhaling cat urine. Just the thought is enough to make you sick, right? Wait, it gets worse…
Ammonia’s Effect on Respiratory Health
Cat pee contains a particularly high concentration of ammonia. Although this is a natural compound containing nothing more than nitrogen and hydrogen, it’s not exactly good to breathe. The good news is that most cat caretakers won’t need to worry about this. A corner of the living room carpet that smells faintly of kitty piddle isn’t going to harm healthy lungs.
The risk occurs when Continue reading
If your cats have decided to use your furniture as an alternative to the litter box, presuming you’d rather not throw out all your tables and chairs, you’ll need to know how to get rid of cat pee smell on furniture. The problem, of course, is that most furniture is highly absorbent.
Sure, metal tables and other more industrial-type furniture is easy to clean, but sofas, chairs, beds and other soft items can be a nightmare to get cat urine odors out of. Even wood tables and chair legs can eventually absorb urine and smell. With the right cleaners and cleaning process, though, you can most likely get your furniture stain and odor free.
Cleaning Outer Coverings
This method will work for fabric upholstery. For leather, you’ll need a different, gentler method. Start by blotting up any remaining urine with white cloths or paper towels, then vacuum the soiled area with your vacuum’s hose attachment to remove any dust that could interfere with cleaning.
Apply a homemade cleaner specifically formulated to break down stubborn cat urine, such as Recipe #1 in Cat Urine Problems Eliminated, according to the directions.
If you’re planning to use an enzyme cleaner, check that the brand your using wont be affected by your homemade cleaner. If it will be, you can skip the homemade cleaner. Use a soft brush to gently scrub the soiled area with circular motions. If applied homemade cleaner, blot it up with a white cloth. If you’ve use an enzyme cleaner, you’ll probably need to cover it and let it sit for 24 hours. Just follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly. After the waiting period, you can then apply a stronger homemade cleaner, like Recipe #2 Cat Urine Problems Eliminated.
Cleaning Cushions and Stuffing
I’ll tell you up front, trying to get rid of cat pee smell on furniture stuffing might not be worth your time. You can do it, but it could take multiple attempts. Enough attempts and the stuffing might just disintegrate. Pillow inserts and stuffing are cheap. If you’ve already got your upholstery clean, you may want to dispose of any urine-stained stuffing material and buy new inserts or stuffing.
If you decide you want to have a go at cleaning it through, the process is much the same as for upholstery. You can either use an enzyme- or bacteria-based cleaner, a strong homemade cleaner or a combination. You can’t really scrub stuffing, but you can wash it in the sink or bathtub as you would hand-washable clothing.
Cleaning Wood Furniture
Kitty piddled on the coffee table or your great grandfather’s writing desk? If the item has a solid finish, with no cracks, seams, or gaps, you’re in luck. The urine probably hasn’t seeped into the wood, but is only stuck to the surface finish. Cleaning the item with Formula 409 or Orange Oil should do the trick. Applying a small amount of homemade cleaner Recipe #2 and letting it sit for 10 minutes should also remove the urine smell and minor stains.
Blot up the cleaner, then wipe down the item with Pine Sol or Orange Glo, both of which tend to repel cats. If the wood has soaked up large amounts of urine, an ample amount of enzyme-based cleaner might remove the smell, but it might not. If the urine has soaked in too deeply, unfortunately, that piece of furniture is probably a goner.
While these methods can effectively get rid of cat pee smell on furniture, you’re facing an endless, Sisyphean task of constant cleaning unless you stop your cat from peeing on the furniture in the first place.