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How to clean dried cat urine from carpet

Proven solutions and clever fixes for cleaning up after your furry friend.

Updated By Cleanipedia Team

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Cats make for a lovely family pet and, when all goes well, they are fairly low maintenance. However, even the most well-behaved kitties can have an unfortunate accident in the home. Our guide will tell you all you need to know about how to clean dried cat urine from a carpet.

You will need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Old towel or absorbent paper towels
  • A bowl or bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Water
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How to clean dried cat urine from a carpet in 5 easy steps

  1. Protect your hands

    For hygiene, pop on a pair of rubber gloves; if not, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after going near the cat pee – it can be bad for your health (see below).

  2. Clean up the liquid

    If there is any wet urine residue, use an old towel or absorbent paper towels to blot the area of carpet that has cat urine on it. You want to soak up as much liquid as possible. Never rub urine stains as this will push them further into your carpet.

  3. Create a cleaning mixture

    Blend together a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water and generously swab the affected area (to avoid any possible damage to your carpet, it’s best to test the mixture on an inconspicuous area first). Leave for 30 minutes.

    Tip: Place an upside down laundry basket over the affected area to stop people walking over it while you’re waiting for the treatment to work.

  4. Dry the carpet

    Blot the area thoroughly using paper towels or a cloth.

  5. Check to see if the stain has gone

    Repeat the process as many times as necessary (you may need a few goes to get all of the stain out).

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3 other cleaning methods for removing cat urine from carpets

1. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda

Another effective method for how to get cat urine out of a carpet uses a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

As well as the active ingredients, you’ll need a bowl, washing-up liquid, toothbrush or nail brush and a vacuum cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide can be found in chemists and online – you’ll need the solution labelled as 3 per cent or ‘food grade’. Have your supplies? Here’s what to do:

  1. Sprinkle the baking soda over the affected area. (We have more on using baking soda in our 10 genius uses for baking soda you probably haven't heard of.) Add a teaspoon of washing-up liquid to 250ml of hydrogen peroxide.

  2. Drizzle this solution over the baking soda and then use a toothbrush or nail brush to work it into the carpet.

  3. Allow to fully dry, and then vacuum up the sediment. (Remember to change vacuum bags after use so you don’t get stuck with the smell of cat urine in your home.)

2. Sparkling water

This is a useful standby if you don’t have any other ingredients to hand. You’ll just need some bubbly water and a cloth/paper towels.

  1. Blot the urine using a cloth or paper towels, removing any remaining liquid.

  2. Pour the sparkling water onto the stain and then dab with paper towels; if using a cloth make sure to continually rotate it to a dry part. It’s important to dab and not rub at the stain.

  3. Repeat as necessary, and then leave to dry.

3. Commercial cleaners

If you want to know how to clean dried cat urine from a carpet using commercial products, there are two main types of treatments you can buy at stores or online: oxygen- and enzyme-based cleaners. The latter are especially good at tackling cat pee as they break down the urine and neutralise odours.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and remember to first test on an unobtrusive piece of carpet to ensure that there is no damage.

Tackling stubborn cat urine stains

If the stain has been there a long time it may require a commercial enzyme cleaner straight off the bat (see above for details). Stubborn marks may require a carpet shampooer (which you can rent). If you can’t budge the stain it’s time to call in a professional cleaner.

How to remove cat urine smell from carpets

Once you’ve cleaned up the mess, you may then have the problem of a lingering smell, so it’s important to know how to remove cat urine smell from a carpet. Remember that cats have a stronger sense of smell than humans, so even if you barely notice an odour your cat might and may pee in the same area again.

Enzyme-based cleaners are good at tackling odours (see above). Baking soda also works well – just sprinkle over the affected area and leave overnight before vacuuming it up. (For more useful tips, check out our guide on how to get rid of cat pee smell around the house.)

How to stop a cat peeing on carpet

Obviously it’s better that your feline friend is not peeing on the carpet in the first place.

  • The first thing to check is whether you have the litter box set up properly. Cats like privacy along with peace and quiet. If possible, put the litter box in a tranquil area of the house.

  • As cats have a strong sense of smell your kitty will detect the odour of a litter tray before you do. Try to scoop every day and thoroughly clean the tray out once a week. Check our article here on how to clean a litter box.

  • Make sure the litter box isn’t too small and that if you have more than one cat that the tray is big enough.

  • If you find your cat suddenly starts having accidents around the house, consider whether anything has changed: a new pet or person in the home can upset cats, as well as whether you have changed the type of cat litter or moved the tray.

  • If the problem persists, take your cat to the vet for a check up and advice on how to deal with the problem.

Your cat pee questions answered

Does vinegar remove cat urine from carpet?

Yes, white vinegar solutions can be effective at cleaning the carpet of cat pee. Simply follow the directions above.

Does cat pee ruin carpet?

Yes, if left untreated there can be long term damage to your carpet as well as the subflooring – repeated accidents in the same place can cause urine to soak into floorboards, causing them to rot.

Is cat urine bad for your health?

It can be. The strong ammonia odour from untreated urine can affect people with asthma or emphysema, or may trigger allergies.

Bacteria will also grow on the urine which can cause problems such as inflamed airways or skin irritation – young children or the elderly will be especially sensitive.

In extreme cases, where the urine soaks into the carpet padding, dangerous moulds can form (some of which can cause serious, long-term conditions).

How do you find a urine stain?

The most effective way to tackle a pee stain is to get to it as quickly as possible. However, if you don’t spot it when it’s still wet then it can be easy to miss: look for any discolouration in the carpet.

If you suspect kitty has had an accident but can’t locate it, pull the curtains during the day and (assuming you don’t have blackout drapes) the room will be dimmer but with enough sunlight coming through to make the stain easier to spot.

Lastly, you can shine a so-called black light over the carpet. Despite the name, these are ultraviolet lights of the kind used to detect counterfeit bank notes – they are available online or from specialist lighting shops. This will readily highlight any stained areas.

Have problems when it comes to bath time for your kitty? Read on in our article how to bathe a cat even if it hates water.

Originally published