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Home > Cats > How to Get Cat Urine Smells & Stains Out of Shoes: 5 Tips & Tricks

How to Get Cat Urine Smells & Stains Out of Shoes: 5 Tips & Tricks

Cat peed in shoes

Inappropriate urination is one of the most common behavioral concerns among cat owners. Not only can it signal a physical or mental issue with your kitty, but cat urine is also among the more unpleasant smells one can experience. There’s often no rhyme or reason to the locations our cats choose to go outside the box, but some cats may gravitate towards peeing in shoes.

If your cat has turned your favorite pair of Vans into a toilet, you’d probably like to know how to get cat urine smells and stains out of your shoes. In this article, we’ll give you a few different cleaning options and explain the process. We’ll also talk about how to keep your cat from peeing in your shoes in the first place.

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Before You Get Started

You’ll need to use slightly different cleaning methods based on what type of shoes your cat peed in. So, the first step is to determine what kind of material your shoes are made of such as leather, canvas, suede, etc.

You’ll also need to decide if you want to try a homemade cleaning solution or purchase one of the many commercial cleaners and deodorizers available over the counter. Part of this decision will also depend on what kind of shoes you are cleaning because commercial products may discolor leather or suede.

Cleaning supplies stored in shelf
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Preparation

Start by gathering the materials you’ll need to clean your shoes:

  • Water
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Commercial enzyme cleaner OR
  • Homemade cleaner (see below)
Possible options for homemade cleaners:
  • Baking soda
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Vinegar and water solution (50% water, 50% vinegar)

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How to Get Cat Urine Smells and Stains Out of Shoes

To get smells and stains out of your shoes, you’ll need to both clean and deodorize them. Here’s how you do it:

1. Rinse as Much Urine Off as Possible

This step may not be possible if you’re dealing with an old urine stain but if you catch a fresh deposit, try to physically remove as much actual pee as possible. Rinse off your shoes or take a cloth and soak up as much urine as you can.

Don’t soak your whole shoe—especially if it’s made of leather or suede—and dry it off as thoroughly as possible before moving to the next step.

Rinsing white shoe under running water
Image Credit: Darkwisper S, Shutterstock

2. Clean the Shoes

Depending on what material your shoes consist of, you have a couple of options:

Option 1:

Run your shoes through the washing machine. This option is only for shoes made of cloth materials, like canvas.

If your shoes have laces, remove them and soak them in a cleaner by themselves. Place your shoes in a pillowcase or washable laundry bag for washing. Use a gentle, cold-water cycle and wash with regular, color-safe detergent. Add either ¼ cup of vinegar or baking soda to help remove urine odors.

Air dry your shoes rather than put them in the dryer. If the urine stains are old and set, you may need to repeat this process.

Option 2:

If it’s not safe to put your shoes in the washer, clean them by hand. If you choose a commercial enzymatic cleaner, test it first to see if it will discolor your shoes. Spray your shoes with either the commercial cleaner or the vinegar mixture and allow them to sit for about 15 minutes.

Blot, rinse or wipe the shoes to remove the cleaner. Either allow the shoes to air dry or dry them by hand if they’re made of more delicate materials.

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3. Deodorize the Shoes

Enzymatic cleaners (including vinegar) do a good job breaking down the smell of cat urine. However, if you can still detect a lingering odor, it’s time to deodorize.

Baking soda is an effective natural deodorizer. Sprinkle your shoes with a generous amount of baking soda and let them sit as long as overnight to soak up the odors. Remove the baking soda and determine if you need to repeat the process.

Baking soda can also be made into a paste with water and used to scrub the outside of your shoes. Allow the paste to dry until the baking soda is back to a powder form before wiping them off.

Spray bottle
Image Credit: Squirrel_Photos, Pixabay

4. Perform Additional Stain Removal as Needed

Each product you’ve used to this point can function to help remove both stains and odors. However, if you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn stain, you can also use hydrogen peroxide as a stain remover.

Peroxide will act as a bleaching agent, so you might want to stick to using it for white or light-colored shoes only. Soak the stained area thoroughly and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. You can also soak white shoelaces in peroxide to remove stains and odors.


5. Use a Leather Conditioner (If Needed)

As the final step to cleaning leather shoes, apply a polish or conditioner. This step will help the leather recover from the cleaning process and look its best. Apply these products as directed on the label for the best results.

British Short-hair Cat beside shoes
Image Credit: horvathta, Shutterstock

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Protecting Your Shoes From Your Cat

Okay, now you know how to clean your shoes. But how do you stop your cat from peeing in them in the first place?

Protecting your shoes themselves is usually easy enough. Either store them behind closed doors away from your cat or use simple methods to discourage your cat from coming near them.

Try placing foil over your shoes. Cats tend to dislike the noise and feel of foil. You can also use a citrus spray or other cat deterrent products with smells that cats dislike.

Why Is Your Cat Peeing Outside the Box?

Keeping your shoes safe may be simple, but discovering why your cat is urinating inappropriately will take a bit more detective work on your part.

First, rule out a medical condition. This will require a trip to the vet for an exam and possibly some lab tests. Infections, diabetes, or bladder stones are all health conditions that can lead to your cat peeing outside the box.

Once a medical condition is ruled out, consider whether your cat could be stressed by something. Have you had any major changes in the house recently such as a new baby, roommate, or pet? If your cat’s behavior is stress-related, try such strategies as using a cat pheromone diffuser or giving your cat extra attention. Your vet can also prescribe medication to help if needed.

A final option to consider is whether your cat dislikes their litter box situation. Make sure you have enough litter boxes (one for each cat in the house plus one extra) and are using unscented, clumping litter. Scoop the litter box at least once per day.

cat beside litterbox
Image Credit: Alexandra Morosanu, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

All pet owners are accustomed to dealing with messes at some point. It’s one of the trade-offs we accept to enjoy the love and companionship of our pets. Arming yourself with effective cleaning solutions is one way to keep your shoes and your house smelling fresh. Removing urine odor is also essential to prevent your cat from continuing to urinate in unwanted locations.

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Featured Image Credit: AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

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