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How to Get Cat Pee Smells Out of Clothes (Quick & Easy)

Cat pee can be one of the most stubborn smells around. There’s no mistaking it. That’s because kitties have highly powerful components in their urine that mark their area. Cats use peeing to tell all kinds of tales to other animals lingering around. Scent is commonly an understandable means of communication in the animal world.

However, when you find cat pee on your favorite cardigan, you might have some conflicting feelings. Even though it might be disgusting to humans, cats don’t feel the same way about their pee. The good news is, if your cat has an accident, you can clean it up quickly and easily—making it almost painless.

What Makes Cat Pee So Lethal

There is no mistaking the smell of cat pee. If the litter box is too dirty or your cat just used the bathroom, you can recognize the odor right away. If you think cat pee smells like straight ammonia—that’s because it is.

Cat per consists of bacteria, urea, creatinine, pheromones, urobilin, and sodium. Once the cat pee is released, it immediately decomposes, causing the urea to release ammonia into the air.

The ammonia smell can be very potent—and even dangerous to breathe if you’re pregnant. So, it’s essential to know just how to get these smells out so you can remove any trace of pee completely.

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How to Remove Cat Pee Smells from Clothes

Even though you might’ve had bad experiences in the past, that doesn’t mean that it has to be a task to get cat pee smell out of your clothes. Follow these quick and easy steps to remove the odor for good. After all, you won’t want to sport a shirt that reeks of cat urine. Let’s get cracking.

1. Locate the Source

In order to treat the problem, you have to find the source. Unfortunately, if your cat used your latest laundry pile as a litter box, it’s best to rewash the entire load.

If it’s dry, it might be a little harder to find. Sniff around until you locate the soiled item.

cat hiding in clothes
Image Credit: Carlos Merigo, Flickr

2. Make a Concoction

Mix 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups of water. Vinegar has powerful components that break down the smells of cat urine naturally.


3. Saturate the Pee Spot

Cover the urine generously in the solution. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. 


4. Throw Your Clothes in the Washer

Add all of the soiled items to the washer. Wash in cold water on the cycle of your choosing.


5. Add Baking Soda

Baking soda is a powerful odor reduction that neutralizes strong smells and removes stains. Sprinkle a little baking soda over the wet spot to help reduce the offense. Alternatively, you can add a detergent with added baking soda, though it might not be as effective as the raw version.


6. Hang Dry

Heat can sometimes intensify the smells of cat urine. Rather than throwing the clothes into the dryer, hang them up to air dry.

air drying clothes
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Cause of Urinating Outside of the Litter Box

Due to your cat’s desire to cover their own urine, it is unusual to see them using the bathroom outside their box. If this behavior developed suddenly, or if you’re not quite sure why it’s happening, you might want to review a few factors that can contribute to this problem.

Urinary Tract Infection

If your cat is suffering from a UTI, it could cause them to pee outside of the litter box. The reason for that is because sometimes they cannot hold it or make it, as they don’t feel sensation until it’s too late. If you suspect that your cat might have a UTI, you must seek veterinary care right away as they will need antibiotics to combat the infection.

Marking Territory

If your cat has reached the age of sexual maturity and you still do not have them fixed, it’s not unusual that they would start marking on clothes, doorways, and other household areas. They use this tactic to map out what they feel they own and also to attract potential mates.

Heat Cycles

When your female cat is in heat, they might pee and spray outside of the litter box. They use a combination of pheromones and hormones to let other cats around know that they are ready for pregnancy.

Dirty Litter Box

If you have a multi-cat household or haven’t been cleaning a litter box as frequently as you normally do, this might be your cat’s way of telling you to get it together. Cats do not enjoy using overly dirty litter boxes.

Cleaning cat litter box
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock

An Issue with Other Cats

if your cat is offended by the fact that they have to pee where another cat pees, it could cause them to use the bathroom on items like your clothing or bedding. If you feel that it’s a multi-cat problem, try to offer multiple litter boxes throughout the home to give them more variety and personal space.

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Products to Reduce Cat Odor

There are always commercial formulas to help us out with challenging issues. Depending on the problem, here are two products—one for marking and one for regular urine.

Nature’s Miracle — For Marking Issues

Nature's Miracle No More Marking Pet Stain & Odor Remover

If you’re having an issue with marking, Nature’s Miracle makes a wonderful concoction with potent additives that deter your cat from working on your items. Cat lovers everywhere swear by it.

OdoBan — For Urine on Laundry

OdoBan Disinfectant Laundry & Air Freshener Concentrate

If you want to add a little extra punch to your wash, this OdoBan detergent is fabulous for removing those tough odors—even ones that have dried.

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Final Thoughts

Finding cat pee on your clothes isn’t a fun experience for anyone. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day. Always keep vinegar and baking soda handy, as they are two of the best ways to combat cat urine odor naturally. If you notice a pattern or continued behavior, you might want to try a commercial product to see if it helps the situation.

If the behavior is sudden and repetitive, there could be an underlying health issue like a UTI. If you think this could be why, contact your vet right away to get your cat tested.


Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda, Flickr