How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Clothes

How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Clothes

Dealing with the smell of cat pee on your clothes can be incredibly frustrating and challenging. The strong, lingering odor can be hard to remove, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through effective methods to get the cat pee smell out of your clothes, leaving them fresh and clean. We’ll also cover why cat pee smells so strong and provide additional tips and frequently asked questions to help you tackle this problem effectively.

How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Clothes

Cat urine contains urea, ammonia, and other waste products, which can create a potent odor. As the urine dries, it breaks down and releases ammonia, a compound with a strong, pungent smell. Additionally,

if the urine is left untreated, bacteria will begin to break it down further, making the odor even more pronounced and difficult to remove. The combination of these factors is why cat pee has such a strong and persistent smell.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Cat Pee Smell

Blot the Area

As soon as you notice the cat pee, use paper towels or a clean cloth to blot the area. Press down firmly to absorb as much urine as possible.

Avoid rubbing, as this can spread the urine further into the fabric, making it more difficult to remove. Blotting helps to soak up the excess liquid and prevent the stain from setting in.

Rinse with Cold Water

Rinse the affected area with cold water. Hot water can set the stain and odor, making it harder to remove.

Hold the fabric under running cold water for a few minutes to flush out the urine. This step helps to dilute the urine and reduce the concentration of odor-causing compounds.

Pre-Treat with Enzymatic Cleaner

Enzymatic cleaners are specifically designed to break down urine proteins. Apply the cleaner directly to the stained area and let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Follow the instructions on the cleaner for best results.

Enzymatic cleaners contain natural enzymes that target and break down the organic molecules in the urine, effectively neutralizing the odor.

Wash with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Place the pre-treated clothes in the washing machine. Add one cup of white vinegar and a half cup of baking soda to the wash cycle.

These natural deodorizers work together to neutralize the urine smell. Vinegar is acidic and helps to neutralize alkaline odors, while baking soda is a natural deodorizer that absorbs odors.

Use a Heavy-Duty Detergent

Choose a heavy-duty detergent that is designed to tackle tough stains and odors. Run the washing machine on a cold or warm water cycle.

Avoid using fabric softeners, as they can lock in the smell. Heavy-duty detergents are formulated with strong cleaning agents that can effectively remove stubborn stains and odors.

Air Dry

After washing, air dry the clothes instead of using a dryer. The heat from the dryer can set any remaining odor. Hanging the clothes outside can also help, as fresh air and sunlight are natural deodorizers.

Sunlight has natural antibacterial properties that can help to eliminate any lingering bacteria that may cause odors.

Repeat if Necessary

If the smell persists, repeat the process. Sometimes, stubborn odors require multiple treatments to completely disappear.

It’s important to be persistent and patient, as the effectiveness of odor removal can vary depending on the fabric and the severity of the stain.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Hydrogen Peroxide: For particularly stubborn stains, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and apply it to the affected area. Rinse thoroughly before washing. Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer that can break down organic molecules and remove stains.
  • Essential Oils: Add a few drops of essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to the rinse cycle for a pleasant scent. Essential oils can help to mask any remaining odors and leave your clothes smelling fresh.
  • Avoid Ammonia-Based Cleaners: These can make the smell worse and attract your cat to mark the spot again. Ammonia smells similar to cat urine and can confuse your cat, leading to repeated marking.


1. Can I use bleach to remove the cat pee smell?

  • It’s not recommended to use bleach on cat urine stains. Bleach can react with the ammonia in cat urine, producing harmful fumes. Additionally, bleach may not effectively remove the odor and can damage certain fabrics.

2. What if the smell doesn’t come out after one wash?

  • If the smell persists, repeat the cleaning process. You may need to pre-treat and wash the clothes several times to completely remove the odor. Using enzymatic cleaners and natural deodorizers like vinegar and baking soda can help improve results.

3. Are there any commercial products that can help?

  • Yes, there are several commercial enzymatic cleaners designed to break down urine proteins and eliminate odors. These can be very effective and are available at most pet stores or online.

4. Can I use these methods on other fabrics?

  • Yes, these methods can be used on various fabrics. However, always check the care label and test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area first. Delicate fabrics may require special care or professional cleaning.

5. How can I prevent my cat from peeing on clothes?

  • Ensure your cat has a clean litter box, address any behavioral issues, and consider consulting a vet if the problem persists. Providing multiple litter boxes, maintaining a regular cleaning schedule, and reducing stressors in your cat’s environment can help prevent inappropriate urination.


Removing cat pee smell from clothes can be challenging, but with the right approach, it’s definitely possible. By acting quickly and using effective cleaning methods, you can ensure your clothes stay fresh and odor-free. Remember, persistence is key—sometimes multiple treatments are necessary to fully eliminate the smell. Happy cleaning!

By following this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any cat pee incidents and keep your wardrobe smelling fresh. If you have any additional tips or questions, feel free to share them in the comments below!

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