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Home > Cats > How to Get Rid of Old Cat Urine Odor (6 Easy Methods)

How to Get Rid of Old Cat Urine Odor (6 Easy Methods)

cat pee on comforter

Cats have very strong, concentrated urine that can make certain areas of your household such as flooring, furniture, and linen smell bad, even after cleaning. After a while, bacteria in the urine decomposed and gives off an ammoniacal odor characteristic of stale old urine. This smell is quite potent and difficult to remove.

We have compiled a list of the best home remedies and other solutions to remove old cat urine odors from clothes, flooring, furniture, carpets, and walls with solutions that are simple to create at home. Not only can the ingredients for many of these odor-neutralizing solutions be found in your home, but they are guaranteed to work!


How to Get Rid of Old Cat Urine Odor:

1. Enzyme Cleaning Sprays

The easiest way to get rid of old cat pee smells is to use a good enzyme cleaner. These products are specifically designed to quickly remove cat odors and stains using enzymes.

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2. White Vinegar and Water Cleanser

white vinegar on the wooden table top
Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock
Ingredients: Vinegar and water
Saturation time: 30 minutes
Target cleaning area: Carpet and upholstered furniture

Make a solution with 50% white vinegar and 50% water in a spray bottle. The acidity of the vinegar will neutralize the ammonia in cat urine. Saturate all the areas that smell of old cat urine with this solution and let it sit for 30 minutes to fully neutralize the odors. After you have let the solution sit in the solution, soak up the excess moisture with a paper towel. If any trace of the old cat urine remains, respray the area and let it air dry overnight.

  • Neutralizes ammonia in urine
  • Does not lift or stain furniture
  • Can be reapplied
  • Leaves a vinegary smell for a few days

3. Baking Soda Rinse

Baking Soda
Image Credit: Monfocus, Pixabay
Ingredients: Bicarbonate of soda
Saturation time: Overnight
Target cleaning area: Carpet, furniture, clothes

Sprinkle a scoop of baking soda over the affected area or add a heaped scoop of baking soda to any linen and clothing that you’re washing that has an old cat urine smell. For stubborn, old cat urine smells, you can mist water over the baking soda to allow it to soak up the odor on furniture and carpets. Sodium bicarbonate (the main component of baking soda) is excellent at neutralizing and absorbing potent cat urine odors.

  • Can be added to water or used dry
  • Absorbs cat urine odors
  • Can be added to the washing machine for linen and clothes
  • Must be vacuumed up afterward

4. Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda Wash

apple cider vinegar
Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock
Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar and baking soda
Saturation time: 30-minute cold wash or on affected areas for 15 minutes
Target cleaning area: Linen, clothing, carpets, flooring, walls, furniture

Apple cider vinegar is great at removing odors of cat urine from linen and clothes once it has been added to the washing machine with an enzyme-based detergent. Apple cider vinegar is a gentle form of cleaner that can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores. It does not leave a potent vinegar smell as white vinegar does, and it can be combined with baking soda to effectively neutralize stubborn old cat urine odors. You can also spray a solution of baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and water over affected areas. It is gentle enough to be used on walls and furniture without bleaching fabric or damaging paint.

  • Can be used in a cold wash
  • Able to be used in a spray solution over affected areas
  • Gentle enough to be used on walls and wooden floors
  • The combination of apple cider vinegar and baking soda can bleach fabrics

5. Hydrogen Peroxide and Water

hydrogen peroxide
Image Credit:, Shutterstock
Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide and water
Saturation time: 20 minutes
Target cleaning area: Floors, furniture, clothing, linen

Hydrogen peroxide and water work to eliminate cat urine odor on hardwood flooring, furniture without delicate fabrics, linen, and clothing. If you choose to use this solution on hardwood flooring, a concentration of 5% hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water can be sprayed on the flooring and left to saturate for 20 minutes. A less concentrated amount of hydrogen peroxide and water should be used on furniture, linen, and clothing to prevent damage to the fabrics. You can also add one teaspoon of baking soda to the solution to make it more effective.

  • Short saturation time
  • Effective at removing stubborn cat urine smells
  • Baking soda can be added to the solution
  • Highly concentrated solutions may bleach fabrics

6. Mouthwash and Water

mouthwash on table
Image Credit: Olichel, Pixabay
Ingredients: Alcohol-based mouthwash and water
Saturation time: 1–2 hours
Target cleaning area: Furniture, flooring, carpets, walls

Any alcohol-based mouthwash will work for this method. Use a discarded spray bottle and add two parts of water combined with one part mouthwash (such as Listerine), apply a few spritzes to the affected area, and let it sit for an hour or two maximum. Not only will this method remove stubborn old cat urine odors, but it also leaves a refreshing smell. You can also combine the solution with two teaspoons of baking soda to thoroughly remove any odors.

  • Leaves a refreshing smell
  • Works to remove stubborn urine smells and stains
  • Absorbs cat urine odors
  • Colorful mouthwashes may stain fabrics



When we think about cleaning old cat urine, we may initially reach for bleach and ammonia products. However, these are not the types of cleaning agents you should be using when ridding your home of old cat urine odors.

Instead of using ammonia-based cleaning agents that will provoke the opposite of removing cat urine smell and instead entice your cat to urinate in the area again, you’ll want to use enzyme-based cleaners (homemade or store-bought) for the removal of old cat urine odors. These solutions are easy to make and can be stored and used again if you find that the odor has returned.

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Featured Image Credit: Yongyut Hemsa, Shutterstock

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