How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Clothes in 6 Steps

Cat pee smell can be tricky to remove from clothes. We explain how to get the odor out and make your clothes smell like new.

There's nothing more frustrating than finding your favorite piece of clothing soaked in cat pee. Without the right method, the odor can be difficult to remove.

Cats sometimes pee on clothing for various reasons, and the smell can linger even after washing. In this article, we'll discuss how to get cat pee smell out of clothes, why cat urine smells so strongly, why cats pee on clothing, and tips for getting your cat to pee elsewhere.

How to get cat pee smell out of clothes

Getting rid of the cat pee smell on clothes may require some effort, but it's not impossible. Follow these steps to eliminate the smell.

What you'll need

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent
  • Enzyme cleaner
  • Bucket or basin
  • Rubber gloves

Step 1: Draw out the cat pee

Remove the cat pee from the clothes as soon as possible. Use paper towels to soak up as much urine as you can. Avoid rubbing or pressing the urine into the fabric, as it will make the odor worse. Once you have removed the urine, rinse the clothing with cold water.

Step 2: Soak the clothing

Mix one cup of white vinegar with two cups of cold water in a basin or bucket. Soak the clothing in the solution for about 30 minutes. Vinegar is an excellent natural odor eliminator and will help remove the cat pee smell.

Step 3: Rinse out

Remove the clothing from the vinegar solution and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.

Step 4: Neutralize the smell

Create a paste by mixing equal parts of baking soda and water. Apply the paste directly to the affected area and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Baking soda will help neutralize the odor.

Step 5: Rinse and wash

Rinse the clothing with cold water and add it to your washing machine. Use your regular laundry detergent and add an enzyme cleaner to the load. Enzyme cleaners contain bacteria that break down the proteins in cat urine, effectively eliminating the odor. Follow the instructions on the enzyme cleaner's label for best results. Remember to check your clothes care instructions before adding to your washing machine.

Step 6: Dry without heat

Dry the clothing according to its care instructions. Avoid using high heat, as it can set the odor and stain into the fabric.


Why cat pee smells so strongly

Cat urine contains a high concentration of urea, which is a waste product from the breakdown of protein. When bacteria break down urea, it releases ammonia, which is responsible for the strong smell of cat urine. In addition to ammonia, cat urine also contains other chemical compounds that contribute to the odor.

Why cats pee on clothing

Cats may pee on clothing for several reasons, including the following.

  • Territorial marking: Cats may mark their territory by urinating on objects they consider to be their property, including clothing.
  • Litter box issues: Cats may avoid using the litter box if it's dirty, too small, or in an inconvenient location.
  • Medical issues: Cats may pee outside the litter box if they have a urinary tract infection or other medical condition.

Tips for getting your cat to pee elsewhere

If your cat is peeing on clothing, there are several things you can do to encourage them to use the litter box.

  • Clean the litter box regularly: Cats prefer clean litter boxes, so make sure to scoop out waste and replace the litter frequently.
  • Provide multiple litter boxes: Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in another. Providing multiple litter boxes can help avoid accidents.
  • Use a different type of litter: Cats have preferences for the type of litter they use. Try different types of litter until you find one your cat prefers.
  • Address medical issues: If your cat is peeing outside the litter box due to a medical issue, consult with your veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Getting cat pee smell out of clothes FAQ

Can cat pee smell be washed out?

While washing clothes can remove some of the cat urine smell, it's often not enough to eliminate the odor completely. As mentioned earlier, cat urine contains a high concentration of urea, which can create a strong odor that is difficult to remove. That's why it's important to follow the steps mentioned above, including soaking the clothing in vinegar and using an enzyme cleaner.

What is the best laundry detergent for urine odor?

Many laundry detergents claim to remove urine odor, but not all of them are effective. Look for a detergent that contains enzymes specifically designed to break down the proteins in urine, such as Tide with Enzymes or Persil ProClean Stain Fighter. Adding an enzyme cleaner to the wash cycle can also be helpful in removing the odor.

Can dry cleaners get cat urine out of clothes?

Dry cleaners may be able to remove cat urine from clothing, but it depends on the severity of the odor and the fabric of the garment. It's important to inform the dry cleaner of the issue and the steps you've taken to remove the odor. Some dry cleaners use special odor-removing agents, but it's not guaranteed to completely eliminate the smell.

Don’t give up on your clothes, even if they smell like cat pee

Dealing with cat pee on clothing can be frustrating, but it's important to take action as soon as possible to prevent the odor from setting in. Follow the steps mentioned above to get rid of the smell and prevent your cat from peeing on clothing in the future. If the issue persists, consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues and address any litter box problems. With patience and persistence, you can eliminate the cat pee smell from your clothes and enjoy them once again.

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