What do a new kitten, a healthy middle aged cat and a senior feline all have in common? They all pee. And sometimes, they miss the litter box and pee somewhere they shouldn’t. You may not be able to see it, but you can smell it. Cat Urine Odor. Home remedies for Cat Urine Odor Removal…Do they work?
There are many home remedies available to remove cat urine odor, but do they work?
The honest answer is both yes and no.
Yes – in the short term (a few hours), these home remedies might seem to work.
No – for a permanent solution, you need an enzymatic cleaner because the cat urine odor will keep coming back (usually in hotter temperatures and higher humidity conditions) for years, no matter how many times the area is treated with a home remedy.
Let’s look at the 4 major components to a typical cat urine odor home remedy:
5% acetic acid (household vinegar) is found at any grocery store and is is inexpensive. Because it is an acid, it can help to neutralize the ammonia in cat urine (which is alkaline).
Because vinegar is an acid, it can react with common surfaces in unexpectedly destructive ways. Vinegar should never be used on marble, stoneware, concrete, waxed surfaces, iron or aluminum. Not all home remedies are safe for all surfaces, even if they seem to be Eco-friendly.
If you do chose to try vinegar, it should be a last step (after using an enzymatic cleaner) because vinegar can help to ‘set’ the stain and lock it into the surface that you are trying to clean.
Sodium BiCarbonate is another easily found and inexpensive household cleaning item. Although it is a great cleaner for many things, baking soda (like vinegar) is just one step in a multi-faceted attack in the war to remove cat urine odor.
Baking soda is mildly abrasive, and if rubbed into the pee, can cause some surface damage. It also will leave a very fine dust-like salty residue on your surfaces. Baking soda also should never be used on aluminum.
It is very reactive (this is why it bubbles up) but on its own does not clean. It is however, a bleaching agent (often used in the laundry as a substitute for chlorine bleach).
Detergents are good at lifting greasy stains (this is why they are used for washing dishes) but they are not able to lift the urea and minerals in cat urine.
There is nothing wrong with using vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide or dish detergent (or a combination of the four) in your battle against cat urine odor, except you should be aware of the potential surface damage that any one (or a combination) of these might do to the surface you are trying to save.
Also, while the area will seem to be odor free temporarily, the smelly cat pee odor will come back (because without an enzyme cleaner, you cannot remove the worst biological components of the urine).
Everyone likes a good “life hack” that is made from simple ingredients, inexpensive and home made…but there are certain problems that cannot be fixed with “simple”, and unfortunately cat urine odors are one of them.