By Tom Farrington MRCVS., MVB., VetMFHom
Cats are generally very clean creatures. They learn to use a litterbox quickly and usually confine their toilet behaviour to the litter tray or garden. As a result, the smell of cat urine in the house can be worrying and needs to be investigated. Once you have got to the bottom (excuse the pun) of the causes of your cat’s urinary incontinence and taken steps to treat it, you can focus on the job of cleaning up. Unfortunately, as most cat owners will attest to, cat urine is rather smelly, so getting rid of the smell of cat urine can be both a challenge and a priority!
I have personally found the process detailed below to work very well, but do remember when using Vinegar that it can set a stain! Always test a patch area first for colorfastness etc., but in my experience, most people just want to be rid of the smell one way or another and during my use, I have been lucky enough not to find this a problem.
Where your cat has recently urinated on the carpet, soak as much as possible up with paper towels or an old towel kept used for such purpose. Place them over the urine-soaked area and tread on till you have gotten out as much urine as possible. Repeat this until you have removed every last bit you can.
For urine that has dried, there are two ways to find the offending area, the most obvious being your nose, but for those with no sense of smell, there is a visual option. The stains from cat urine fluoresce under ultraviolet light in a darkened room and this can be found using a handheld portable UV Black Light, which can usually be picked up fairly cheaply.
After removing as much urine as possible, you make a 1 part to 1 part (50%/50%) solution of white vinegar and water and wet the area right down to the bottom of the affected carpet fibers. After treatment, dry the area off as much as you can with paper towel or an old towel as previously described. You can, of course, use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner for this purpose too.
All that having been completed, you are onto the last stage, bar the final dry off:
- Apply a handful of baking soda over the affected area
- Mix a quarter of a cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide with a teaspoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent
- NB note: do not use Hydrogen Peroxide stronger than 3% (also known as V10 or 10 volume) because it will release 10 times its volume in oxygen. For the liquid hand dishwashing detergent one of the organic ones based in coconut oil is ideal. It is important not to use the caustic detergent you put into the machine dishwasher!
- Drizzle this solution over the baking soda. I prefer the easy life and mix both detergent and the hydrogen peroxide in a hand sprayer (making sure the cap is not on too tightly while mixing as there can be some expansion). Then I tighten the sprayer on once mixed and spray the area, working it well in with a scrubbing brush or similar tool.
- Allow to dry fully.
- Then once dry vacuum/hoover the area thoroughly. You can speed the process with a hairdryer or similar gentle heat source.
And hey presto, your carpet or furniture should be back to normal!