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How to remove cat pee from your carpet

Here is a simple method that works very well with most all spots, not just cat urine, and is the only reliable, easy to use, effective process to remove cat pee smell from your carpet.


Tools You’ll Need:

Quality Wet Dry Vacuum

The tool that is affordable and works best is a simple wet/dry vacuum. We have personally used and offered this VacMaster 205 model to our clients for years with great success. Bigger vacuums aren’t necessarily better here because you want them to reach maximum suction quickly, but in a pinch, use what you have on hand, even a MAN VAC (the big one your husband keeps in his shop). Minimum size to be useful is 1.5 gallon, though 2.5 gallon is recommended as you’ll be lifting a lot of water.

Note: This tool will more than pay for itself over time. Just having it in a handy place will reduce panic and ensure you’re prepared for all kinds of spills, accidents and spots. Our clients LOVE them and often praise having a simple tool when accidents happen.

Quality Black Light Flash Light

Remove cat pee smell from carpet You won’t know if you’re treating the right areas unless you can unmistakably identify what areas are actually contaminated. Using a quality black light flash light will allow you to know for certain you aren’t missing an area. Usually you can feel the area since it will be sticky, but that is gross and the black light flash light is way more fun and CSI like. :) Here is a model we recommend since it is affordable, durable and does the job under reasonable light conditions (meaning DARK. A black light that works in full day light is quite an investment!)

This technique is so simple. I’m so glad I found your website.

Other Wet Vac Options

ArmorAll Wet/Dry Vacuum, 2.5 gallon, 2 HP DEWALT1/2-Gallon 18-Volt Cordless Wet/Dry Vac Shop-Vac Micro Wet/Dry Vac 1 Gal / 1 HP

Products You’ll Need:

HOT WATER and White Distilled Vinegar. The water here actually does the hard work of dissolving the pee, salt and other yucky stuff and the White Distilled Vinegar does the work of neutralizing the strong ammonia (that’s the strong odor we all HATE) which build up as urine decomposes. Gross eh? Also hot water will cause the fiber to swell or expand and encourage it to release whatever it has absorbed. Much of what homeowners and even some professional miss is what is IN the fibers, not ON the fibers. that is why patience is needed. This isn’t a lightening fast process. If it took a while to get in, it will take a while to get out. Water that is close to boiling is recommended (around 200′ F). Be careful not to exceed this temperature as some carpets melt at temperatures above 218′ F. Keep it below boiling and you’re safe!

Special care for wool: If your carpet is wool you will want to keep the water around 140-160′ F.
Kathy Green It worked great!
I was skeptical I could clean the cat pee smell out of my carpet with only water but I was desperate so I tried it. To my surprise it worked great!

The cat pee removal process

Before you start:

1. Locate and mark offending spots

After dark, close all curtains and turn off all light sources (use your head here and be safe!!). Using your black light flash light while on your knees or near the floor (you will need to be within knee range of the floor to locate spots as these lights have a limited range and your eyes make take time to adjust after turning out the lights) begin slowly searching the area for a glow in the shape of circles or splashes. Once you find a spot, mark it with a piece of tape or paper so you can work on it with the lights on.

2. Lights on, tools ready

Turn the lights back on or open the curtains to get as much light as possible. Have your wet/dry vacuum plugged in and next to the area you want to treat. Have your hot water and White Distilled Vinegar next to your work area.

3. Select a small work area

Choose a small work area perhaps the size of your hand that you will work on first. After you have completed this spot you can move on to the next “hand sized” spot. Do not try to treat a large area at one time. You need your water to stay hot and working in small areas will make this work better.

Here’s What to do:

Turn your wet/dry vacuum on and apply small (1 cup on a spot the size of your hand) amounts of the hot water directly to the area you want to treat. Immediately vacuum the water out. Continue applying water in 1 cup quantities and extracting. As you go allow the water to soak for slightly longer periods of time (up to 30 seconds). As the water absorbs into the fiber it will release the urine so you can extract it out. Do not do this just once or five times; Repeat this process as many times as it takes (sometimes we will do this 10 times or more per spot) to use as much as 1 gallon of water per hand sized spot. Insufficient soaking, rinsing and extracting will get poor results. The hot water will slowly dissolve the cat pee and the smell and will extract it into your vacuum. Remember to keep your water hot. When you’ve removed the odor (check with your nose, up close!) apply about 1/2 cup per hand sized spot of White Distilled Vinegar allowing it to soak for 30 seconds and then extract well. Do this process twice to neutralize any remaining ammonia.

Here’s What NOT to do:

Remember gravity + liquids = downward flushing. You need to be careful not to over apply the water. You are working in small amounts so that you don’t just end up washing the cat pee smell right into the back of the carpet and into the cushion.


Tip: When full, empty the wet/dry vacuum into your toilet and flush.

Watch us perform this technique

Final steps:

Extract, extract, neutralize

After you have repeated the above process over and over on all of the areas that you can visually see need treated do one final vacuum over all areas you worked on. Be thorough and patient. You want to extract the maximum amount of moisture from the carpet as possible. As a final step for those who are chemically sensitive, repeat the same process above with at least 3% hydrogen peroxide, but do not heat it up. If the area you are treating is in the direct sunlight, close the blinds as peroxide + sunlight can have an unwanted bleaching effect. Again apply and extract.

Want it to smell pretty too?

For those who prefer to have a pretty fragrance when all done, repeat the above process with Natures Miracle Stain and Odor Remover Spray. Again apply and extract. Spray Natures Miracle Stain and Odor Remover Spray liberally, enough to saturate the area you are working on, but not enough to flood it. Allow it to dwell for at least 15 minutes and then vacuum the area thoroughly. To be safe repeat this process at least 3 times. Allowing dwell time between extractions. After you have completed the treatments vacuum the area thoroughly and place a small fan on the area to help accelerate the drying.


You have successfully removed the cat pee smell from your carpet. Please feel free to send us any feedback or comments you have on this method, how it worked for you and any insights you have that could help us improve this helpful post!

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About the science of removing cat pee smell?

If you’re reading this blog post you’re no doubt asking yourself “How do I get this cat pee smell out of my carpet“.

First, Why trust anything we have to say?

Removing the strong cat pee smell or urine from carpet is challenging and there are a million websites with ten million people telling you secret family recipes that will remove cat pee smell permanently. Understand that Cleaning Heroes is a professional service company with a fantastic reputation and we are highly recommended for our high quality work. We’ve been helping clients remove cat pee smell form their carpet for decades and have mastered the simple techniques needed to get the best results.

Why removing cat pee from carpet is challenging

1. Gravity wins! removing-cat-pee-from-carpet-diagramCat pee smell is subject to gravity and travels downward. Depending on the amount of cat pee and frequency of accidents in a particular area there may be a small concentration of cat pee smell causing urine or there might be a VERY heavy concentration of cat pee smell causing urine. The only proper way to identify the severity of the cat pee source is to do a visual inspection from the back of the carpet. The back of the carpet will clearly show the area that has been affected and the depth to which the cat pee has reached. Unfortunately getting to the back of the carpet is not easy. Thus why you have a big challenge on your hands.

CAUTION! (No doubt some of you who are reading this have heard of or been told that a black light is an effective inspection tool. This is partially true, but let us just spare you the expense and time to go down this road. You’re not a CSI and even highly trained professionals cannot always rely on blacklights. If your problem is this severe, simply call your local flooring retailer and ask for a referral to quality cleaning company.) 2. Absorbs into everything removing-cat-pee-smellCarpets are absorbent, some more and some less, but they all absorb to some degree, including odors like cat pee. This means that the instant a liquid comes into contact it begins penetrating the fiber. The deeper the penetration the more difficult it is to remove. Not only is the carpet itself absorbent, but the backing of most all wall-to-wall carpet today is made from latex, a highly absorbent glue. Once the cat pee contacts the glue it also absorbs the odor causing liquid. Not only are the carpet and the latex backing absorbent, so is the foam/rubber cushion on the back of the carpet. It is by far the most absorbent of the three primary components of wall-to-wall carpet installations. 3. Odor that doesn’t give up easily Pee of any kind is typically quite pure when it is expelled from the body. However over time mother nature begins her work of breaking urine down and it is during this process that the distinct “ammonia” odor that we all associate with urine begins to develop. If you have strong cat pee smell, that means that this cat pee has been there for quite some time as this process is not fast. Again fresh pee isn’t strong, old pee is pungent and rancid.

During the “bacteria” breakdown of mother nature the “ammonia” we smell is actually a VERY powerful chemical. It is so strong that it can weaken, degrade and destroy both natural (wool, cotton, silk, jute) and synthetic (nylon, polyester, olefin or polypropylene) fibers AND the dyes that are used to color them. Some fibers are colored in such a way that they are less likely to be immediately affected by decomposing urine, but all fibers over time will weaken.

Is it any wonder why it is so difficult to remove? Don’t feel bad, removing cat pee smell from carpet is by far one of the most difficult cleaning challenges you will ever tackle. So when you get it right, you AND your nose will celebrate!

Put our proven cat pee removal method to work for yourself!

First, you need to understand that there is no magic potion or wand you can wave. Follow these simple steps, honed over decades of experience, for the best results.

What do you need to know before you start attempting to remove cat pee from your carpet? You need to understand that the age, depth and concentration with determine the amount, intensity and level of work needed to remove the cat pee thoroughly.

1. It’s rarely on the surface

Cat pee is RARELY just in the surface. So you can clean the surface (not the latex or the cushion) for years and never get 100% results. In fact we highly recommend you do not attempt to treat spots that are visibly below the face yarns. Again you’re wasting your time. This is when its time to call a professional. We have tools, knowledge, experience and training you just don’t have access to and you’re far better off with a reputable company who has experience than making a huge mess AND THEN asking for help.

2. Stopping treatment makes life harder

Remember until a spot is touched it is easy to see and address. As soon as you start cleaning and working on it you will alter it and it will become more difficult to diagnose if you call a professional. So weigh out whether it is best to do this on your own first or if you should just get professional help right away.