how to clean cat urine in carpet It happens to the best of us: your cat decides to “go” someplace other than the litter box, and now your carpet is stained and stinky. How do you clean up such a mess? Can you ever have clean carpet again? Yes, of course! Here is a guide to cleaning cat urine in carpets and removing it for good so you can enjoy a fresh and clean home again!

Clean The Stain

The first thing to do when dealing with cat urine is to tackle the stain. Cat accidents can leave unsightly patches in your carpets that you’ll want to clean right away. 

What to do:

  1. Act quickly. The faster you act on the stain, the easier it will be to clean. Your best bet is while it’s wet and fresh, as gross as that may be. 
  2. Remove as much urine as possible using paper towels. Replace the paper towels regularly to avoid spreading more urine. Take the soiled towels to the outside garbage can as soon as you are done cleaning to prevent the smell from lingering in your home. 
  3. Blot gently at the spot instead of using force to avoid making the stain worse.
  4. If the stain is dry, pour cold water on it and blot to remove. 

What not to do:

  1. Don’t let the stain sit. It’s tempting to say that you’ll deal with it later, but you’ll only be doing yourself a disfavor.
  2. Don’t rub or be too aggressive with the stain. Rubbing the stain will push it deeper into your carpet fibers and make it worse instead of removing it.

Remove The Odor

Even after the visual evidence has been cleaned, the smell might linger. The longer it sits, the worse the odor becomes, so be sure to tackle the stain as soon as you can. 

What to do:

  1. Use a product designed specifically to remove pet urine, which is a tougher smell than most to remove.
  2. Test out any cleaning products you use on a small area of your carpet first. This way, if the product damages the carpets, you won’t ruin your entire carpet.
  3. Call a professional if you need help. A professional pet urine odor remover will be able to break down the urine at the source and remove it, without damaging your carpets.

What not to do: 

  1. Avoid using cleaners with ammonia. Cat urine contains ammonia, and the similar smell could encourage the cat to mark the same spot again.
  2. Don’t use cleaning products that are designed to just mask the odor, like air freshener. These won’t remove the odor and will only make things worse when they wear off.
  3. Avoid steam cleaning. The hot steam can actually lock in the odor and make it much worse.

Prevent it From Happening Again

Once you have cleaned the mess up, one thing most pet owners will want to do is take action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Occasional accidents happen but there are things that you can do to make it less likely.

What to do:

  1. Provide access to the litter box at all times. Your cat should always be allowed to access the litter box.
  2. Help your cat feel secure in its territory. Changes, such as new furniture, a new pet, etc, can make your cat feel threatened, causing it to mark its territory.
  3. Clean the litter box. Cats don’t like to use a dirty box, so cleaning it every day will help encourage your cat to use the box.

What not to do:

  1. Don’t close the door to the room with the litter box, or otherwise separate your cat from the litter box.
  2. Don’t make the box hard to get to, such as on top of something, with high walls, or anything that might make it hard for the cat to get to it.
  3. Don’t move the litter box. Establish a place for it and then keep it there so the cat can always find it. 
  4. Don’t punish the cat for going outside of the litter box. The cat won’t understand why it is being punished and you might just cause more anxiety, further encouraging the problem. 

Investigate Repeat Behavior

If you have taken steps to prevent repeat behavior and your cat still has accidents, it’s time to see a vet. Frequent urination can be a sign of an illness in a cat, like a bladder infection, that your vet will be able to diagnose and treat. Even if nothing is wrong medically with your cat, your vet will have ideas to help encourage litter box use.


Cat urine is a hard stain to deal with but it doesn’t need to be permanent. If you need help removing pet urine stains in your carpets, John’s Chem-Dry of Whatcom County in Bellingham, WA can help!