How To Remove Stubborn Cat Urine Odors From Your Carpets

Everyone who's ever owned a cat knows all the quirks that come with them. The kneading, the knocking objects off of tables, the obsession with chasing laser lights, the hairballs, and the dreaded ammonia-like odor of their urine. This odor isn't only strong; it can be hard to remove, especially if it ends up on your living room carpet. No matter how many times you scrub and vacuum, a lingering odor may still remain. In fact, the uric acid in cat urine can last for years on carpets. What's worse is that even if you're able to remove the stubborn stench with ingredients like baking soda or vinegar, it can return with a vengeance on a humid day.

Having a carpet that smells like cat urine can give the entire room the same unpleasant smell, even if it's faint, so what's the best way to remove cat urine odors from carpet? Quickly. The sooner you clean the urine, the less likely it is to settle in. As soon as you notice the urine, use an enzyme-based cleaner to clean it.

Step-by-step instructions for cleaning cat urine from carpet

The first step in cleaning cat urine from carpet is to take a small absorbent towel and blot the spot with it. It may help to apply weight to the towel with your foot. Next, spray the area with an enzyme-based spray cleaner, liberally. There are dozens of options to choose from, including Simple Green Cat Stain and Odor Remover and Simple Solution Extreme Pet Stain and Odor Remover. If your container doesn't include a spray nozzle, you can pour the solution into your own spray bottle.

After generously spraying the urine spot with an enzyme cleaner, let it sit for a few hours, until it's completely dry. You can also sprinkle some baking soda over the site to absorb any faint remaining odors. The last step is to vacuum the carpet thoroughly. You may even want to block your cat's access from the site for a couple weeks to prevent them from peeing on it again.

How does an enzyme cleaner eradicate cat urine odors?

Having your pet relieve themselves on your carpet can be annoying, regardless of the species, but dealing with cat urine can be especially frustrating because of how potent and stubborn it is. If you don't use the correct cleaning agents, the odor can linger for a long time. So what is it about cat urine that gives it these qualities? 

"Cat urine ... contains hormones and pheromones in addition to urea (a waste product), uric acid and more," Jessika James, the senior trainer for Learn to Restore told The Washington Post. The urine of a cat is highly concentrated, compared to other animals, so as it decomposes, it causes that pungent, unpleasant ammonia smell. If it's allowed to sit, the urine will release other odorous biological elements. Enter the enzyme cleaner. When you introduce an enzyme cleaner to a recently-peed-on section of carpet, the enzymes consume the bacteria in the residual cat urine. The bacteria is then converted to odorless carbon dioxide and water, and voilà! The foul odor is eliminated.