How to get cat pee out of carpet in three easy steps

Experts reveal how to get cat pee out of carpets in your home, including the best products for the job

Ginger purebred Scottish Straight Golden Shaded Chinchilla kitten lying and looking at camera. Close up
(Image credit: Tatiana Meteleva/Getty Images)

So your floof had an accident and you need to learn how to get cat pee out of carpet, fast. Fear not, it's possible, simple and effective to do.

Our cleaning experts reveal the five simple steps to getting rid of that cat pee and freshening up your carpet back to its former state (and maybe even cleaner than before). They share top tips, homemade cleaning solutions as well as why this might have happened and how to avoid a second round of peeing in the same spot.

Learning how to effectively clean a carpet when cat pee is involved is vital to stop it seeping into the layers below, or retaining the pungent smell. 

Pros reveal the steps to removing cat pee from carpets

Whether it's a health issue, a problem with the litter tray, or simple that your kitty is in the midst of potty training, peeing accidents happen. Learning the best ways to clean urine is vital as at some point or another, we're likely all going to be dealing with it.

Where our experts have recommended products, we've carefully curated matching highly-rated buys from trusted retailers to help you nail this cleaning task and restore your carpet back to full freshness.

All prices were correct at time of publication.

Step 1: Soak up urine

Close up of hand blotting a cream low-pile carpet with a cream cloth

(Image credit: Getty Images/Catherine Mcqueen)

Acting quickly after a cat peeing in your home is the ideal, making your cleaning task easier and more effective. The less time the cat pee has to absorb into the carpet fibers, the better your chances of getting rid of staining and smells. 

Samantha Bell, cat expert at Best Friends Animal Society, fostered many kittens and senior cats who weren't able to make it to the litter box in time and is an expert at removing cat pee stains from carpet.

First, using clean and dry paper towels, absorb as much of the urine stain as you can.  Blot and dab, don't rub, to avoid spreading the urine or pushing it deeper into the carpet.

Step 2: Apply products

Cleaning supplies needed for cleaning a washing machine with vinegar, including baking soda, a toothbrush, microfiber cloth, and empty spray bottle

(Image credit: Future)

Vinegar is great for all sorts of cleaning tasks around the home as it's nature's very own cleaner and deodorizer.

Samantha says, "Pour white cleaning vinegar on the area, including a few inches outside the pee zone. After letting it sit for five minutes or so, blot the vinegar with a clean, dry cloth."

You can use white vinegar, cleaning vinegar, high strength or as little as 6% concentration. Don't worry about vinegar's natural smell, that goes as it dries. You can also mix it with a one to one ratio with fresh water and keep in a spray bottle for cleaning all over the home, including the cat pee on your carpet.

Samantha then says, "Sprinkle a big handful of baking soda onto the area. Be generous and make sure the baking soda covers all of the affected area."

If you'd prefer to use a commercial cleaner, replace the vinegar with Nature's Miracle Ready To Use Enzymatic Spray, available on Amazon. The product has been recommended to us many times by cleaning experts as their top choice for cat pee cleaning products. 

Veterinarian Alex Crow, who works with Happiest Dog, says, "These enzyme cleaners break down dried uric acid crystals from pee stains, which gets rid of any strong odor. Unlike other non-enzymatic cleaners, it actually gets rid of the stain and smell, not just masks it. This also helps your cat not pee there again. If they smell urine, they will think it is okay to pee there again."

If like me you don't like that characteristic enzymatic cat pee cleaner smell, the Unscented MisterMax Anti-Icky-Poo from The Home Depot is our expert panel's other product of choice. It doesn't have any fragrance of its own and works well.

After the recommended time on your cleaning products instructions, blot to avoid saturating the layers beneath your carpet with liquid, and leave overnight. If you want to be done with the job today, speed up the process by placing a portable heater next to the stain, or using a hairdryer.

If you've discovered a dry cat pee stain, Adriana Aziz from cleaning agency MaidForYou advises first using a steam cleaning machine, followed by a smart enzyme based cleaner (she also recommends Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer For Cats), blotting, leaving for the recommended time then repeating if necessary.

Whilst some experts recommend adding bleach when cleaning cat pee from carpet, it can react with the ammonia in urine, making the smell worse, and can easily damage or discolor carpets so we wouldn't advise it.

Step 3: Vacuum

Red vacuum on beige rug

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once all is dry, grab your best vacuum cleaner and suck up any product residue. As the baking soda is sucked up into your appliance, you might smell the urine it has absorbed but don't worry, it won't make your machine stink. 

Simply replace the vacuum bag when you're done and clean the head. If it's a cannister vacuum, give them an empty and clean. The vinegar/water mix you made earlier will do the job just fine.

When a cat pee accident happened in my home, I sprinkled some good old Glade Shake and Vac Powder, available on Amazon) over the carpet, and vacuumed after doing the steps above. This freshened up the room, whilst also running the floral smell through my vacuum. I didn't get any whiff of urine again.

FAQs

Why is my cat peeing on the carpet?

If your adult cat is peeing on the carpet regularly, there might be an underlying issue at play.

Dr Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior expert with Rover, strongly recommends taking your cat for a check-up with a veterinarian. "Make sure there isn't a health issue causing the behavior," he adds.

If a medical issue has been ruled out, make sure you have enough litter boxes available (at least one per cat) with your chosen litter. There's clumping, non-clumping, gravel, pellets, and other options available and some cats are fussy about the type they pee on, especially if you've adopted a cat. They might have grown used to whatever type was used in their previous home.

Make sure the litter trays are clean, too. "Cats are fastidious and will not use a litter box that's dirty and smelly," adds Mikel.

Cats can pee on carpets and floors because they're bored or very stressed so consider any stressors in the home and eliminate whatever you can. A Feliway Calming Pheremon Diffuser Plug-In, available on Amazon can help stressed out cats adjust to new pets, children or a home move. 

In some cases, particularly with very old cats and very young kittens, accidents may be difficult to avoid, so you may just need to rethink your flooring or use waterproof mats for a while. Laminate is easy to clean and a budget-friendly option for flooring.


Now you're sorted for pee stains on carpets, delve into our guide on cleaning urine from a couch successfully in case your cat decides to venture on one of those next time there's a little accident. 

Punteha van Terheyden
Editor

Hi! I'm editor of Real Homes. I've been a senior journalist and editor for magazines and the UK national newspapers for 16 years, specializing in consumer, real-life, and lifestyle articles. I have a BA in English Language and Communication and am also founding editor of Lacuna Voices, an independent platform. I love to cook, add character to my newly-built home, try my hand at DIY projects, keep my collection of plants alive, and make memories with my little family of three. For Real Homes, I specialize in articles on pest control, DIY, declutterring and cleaning.

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