Cat urine has an ammonia-like smell that cat owners can recognize with one sniff. The scent can be overpowering if not promptly taken care of, but sometimes it can be hard to determine where it is coming from.
Cat urine is tough to clean thoroughly. So, even if you’ve mopped up the cat urine already, old, saturated urine might still have a strong enough odor that you can smell it when passing through a room. The first step to getting rid of cat urine is to find it.
Most people recommend using a blacklight to find dried cat urine, but finding cat urine without a blacklight can be done with peroxide and baking soda. Read this article to learn more about how to use these simple ingredients to help locate cat urine in your home.
How to Find Cat Urine With Peroxide and Baking Soda
Cat urine releases ammonia into the air as bacteria break it down. You can use this to your advantage since the ammonia will turn white when exposed to a solution of peroxide and baking soda. Here are the materials and steps you want to follow:
1. Mix the Solution
Start by mixing one part of peroxide with baking soda in a spray bottle. This solution will be your way of finding where your cat has relieved themselves.
2. Spray Suspected Locations
Spray any locations that you think might have dried or saturated cat urine. If the solution turns white, then it’s come in contact with ammonia, and you’ve got a hit! This is a spot you’ll want to clean up with an enzyme cleaner to remove the smell of cat urine thoroughly.
How to Know Where to Check
Peroxide and baking soda are pretty cheap to buy, and you might even have these ingredients in your home already. However, before you start spraying this solution in every room of your home, you can use methods to narrow down where the smell is coming from before you start cleaning.
1. Check Usual Suspects
Cats will choose to urinate in certain places in your house before others. Usual suspects include underneath furniture, corners of carpeted rooms, planters, and new items that have distinct smells—like sofas.
2. Use Your Nose!
If you’re unsure, get down on your hands and knees, and start sniffing your stuff to see where the smells are most prominent. Cat urine has such a distinct smell that it won’t be hard to find it with your nose!
3. Check Everywhere
If you’ve exhausted all other methods, just lightly mist everything! You can’t miss it if you genuinely check everywhere.
Why Does Cat Urine Smell So Bad?
Cat urine is made of several chemical components, but urea and uric acid are most responsible for its terrible smell. Both are present in high quantities in cat urine and carry unique odors that will linger for days or even years after a cat has urinated in a place.
Urea is responsible for the ammonia smell of cat urine. As bacteria break it down, urea releases ammonia into the air. It’s why your cat litter box has such a sharp, burning ammonia smell if you don’t clean it well enough.
Uric acid is responsible for the tangy, acrid smell that lingers well past the point when you’ve cleaned your cat’s litter box. It is tough to clean out of porous surfaces, and you’ll be able to smell it for years if a carpet has been thoroughly saturated with it.
How Long Does Cat Urine Odor Last?
The ammonia smell from the area will usually dissipate shortly after a site is cleaned. However, uric acid has a half-life of 6 years when it saturates a porous surface like wood, carpeting, or cloth. That means even after you clean up the puddle, the spot may continue to smell for 6 years. A lasting uric acid smell doesn’t mean your cat is still peeing outside the litter box; the acid may be saturated into your floors or carpet and needs to be correctly cleaned to get rid of the smell.
It is possible to permanently remove the uric acid smell using an enzyme cleaner, as household cleaners and DIY solutions can only temporarily neutralize the scent. Even after you’ve cleaned up a site with a homemade cleaner, a humid day can cause the uric acid to recrystallize and bring back that acrid smell that you associate with cat urine.
What Is an Enzyme Cleaner?
Enzyme cleaners are chemical cleaners that break down the components intended to clean more effectively than catch-all cleaners. In the case of enzyme cleaners for cat urine, the enzyme cleaner breaks down the uric acid into gases that evaporate as the solution dries.
This is the only permanently effective way to remove uric acid from a surface besides letting it live out its entire half-life. While people who live in dry, cool climates might be able to get away with a homemade cleaner, those who live in humid climates will want to invest in an enzyme cleaner if their cat has had an accident. Humidity can cause uric acid to recrystallize if it isn’t cleaned correctly.
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How to Use an Enzyme Cleaner
Using an enzyme cleaner to clean up cat urine is very simple. There’s only one active step that pet parents need to engage in once they’ve bought the cleaner: Thoroughly saturate the affected areas with the enzyme cleaner. This is truly all you have to do.
Once you’ve saturated the area with an enzyme cleaner, leave the site to air dry. Air drying the space is essential since the enzyme cleaner will break down the uric acid into a gas that will dissipate as the solution evaporates. Artificially drying the surface could lower the efficacy of the solution.
Can I Make an Enzyme Cleaner at Home?
Even if you had access to the chemicals needed to make an enzyme cleaner at home, most people do not have the chemistry knowledge required to mix an enzyme cleaner that will be effective properly. It would likely be cheaper to invest in a high-quality commercial enzyme cleaner made using automated measurements that are more reliable than anything an untrained human can produce.
Cat urine is a stubborn problem that can be hard to deal with for any pet parent. Luckily, there are many tools you can use to banish the smell of uric acid from your home forever. But the first step is finding the source of the smell!
Peroxide and baking soda are an excellent replacement for a blacklight when it comes to finding cat urine, and once you’ve found it, a treatment or two with a high-quality enzyme cleaner should fix your problem quickly.
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