Removing Urine Smells from Clothes: Cat Pee and Your Laundry

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Unfortunately, cats that urinate outside of their litter boxes often choose toHow to Remove Cat Urine Odors from Clothes pee on their owner’s clothing. Some cats prefer to pee on piles of dirty clothing, while others, like ours, seem to like fresh, clean laundry. It is not pleasant to pick up a favorite jacket or shirt and find that it reeks of cat urine. Since most clothing is washable, it is usually easy to remove urine stains and smells. The following steps can help you restore your urine-soaked clothes to an odor-free state.

Removing Cat Urine Odors from Washable Clothing

  1. First, make sure that the cat only peed on your clothes. Sometimes the smell of your feline friend’s urine is so strong that it seems to come from all over the room. So, triple check to make sure that you have located every item or surface that is affected. If he or she “missed” and also urinated on the carpet, you need to learn how to remove cat urine smells from your carpet.
  2. Whether they are clean or dirty, place all clothes that were close to the your cat’s place of choice in the washing machine. If you have affected items that are not machine-washable, put them aside.
  3. Set your washing machine for a normal cycle. Use warm or hot water if the affected fabrics will tolerate this safely. Hot water helps remove odors by killing the bacteria that grows in the presence of kitty urine stains.
  4. Add your regular laundry detergent in the recommended amounts. The brand is not particularly important, but use an effective product for the best results.
  5. Include about one cup of enzymatic odor remover in the wash load. This step is important!. This product is specifically designed to remove animal urine smells; it is usually sold with laundry supplies or pet supplies.
  6. After the cycle is complete, check the clothes for any residual odor. If there is any urine smell at all, repeat the washing process. Once the odors are gone, dry as usual.
  7. If you have any urine-affected clothing items that can only be hand-washed, fill a sink or basin with warm to hot water and soak clothing in detergent and enzyme odor remover for up to an hour before washing and rinsing. Repeat as necessary until no odor remains.
  8. For clothing that is not washable at all, consult a dry cleaning company for advice.

Tips for Getting Rid of Cat Pee Smells in Your Clothes

  • Always wash urine-exposed clothing items separately from other dirty clothes. This avoids the chances of contaminating other clothes with urine odor, which could lead to wasted water and detergent if repeated cycles become necessary to remove odors.
  • When large, delicate or expensive items are soiled by cat urine and machine-washing is not an option, consider taking an enzyme odor remover to your local dry cleaners and ask if they can use it while restoring the piece if their usual methods are not successful. Believe it or not, it’s something dry cleaners deal with on a regular basis. In fact, we helped our local dry cleaner come up with a solution that he now uses for all “cat pee” situations.
  • In an emergency, white vinegar is a safe, effective and inexpensive replacement for enzyme cleaner. Add a cup to the water in the sink or washing machine and allow clothing to soak in it for at least 30 minutes before washing normally. The vinegar smell will dissipate when clothing is rinsed.
  • To discourage a repeat performance, keep all clothing put away while it is clear that your cat is suffering from a behavior problem. Search for an underlying cause of inappropriate urination and treat the problem so your home can once again enjoy peace and a fresh atmosphere.
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About Sara B.

7 Responses to “Removing Urine Smells from Clothes: Cat Pee and Your Laundry”

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  1. Gale says:

    I have a friend with several cats who is very ill and her whole home smells like cat urine. i have bagged 12 large garbage bags of clothing some I had to wear a mask to even put into bags!!!!! Her whole home smells like cat urine and even her furniture has been covered with cat urine!! I am trying to clean up put am totally overwhelmed!!! She has no money for professional carpet cleaning because there are other more pressing issues that cost such as medication etc. She does not qualify for assistance due to her age etc. Where do I begin??? Her cats are her family members. She has 5 cats. Her husband passed away suddenly and she dearly loves her cats! She also has 3 miniture dogs she devlivered herself and loves to death. HELP!!!!!!! Her home is 2 stories or should I say two apartments with full everything. I can not even go into the upstairs kitchen and livingroom area without using a mask. She has kitty litter boxes but they obviously do not use them all the time! In short she loves her pets and will not part with them!! I myself have 3 dogs I rescued and a cat but I am not depressed, lonely or ill. God has blesssed me!!! Like I said I am trying to help but am totally overwhelmed!! Thoughts???????

    • Sara B. says:

      Gale,

      I’m incredibly sorry to hear about your friend and her situation. I have friends who’ve gone through similar stages in their life.

      Regarding her cat urine problem, I have a couple of ideas.

      My son and I have been working on a 100% natural cat urine removal product. So far, it’s been working incredibly well. I’ll be more than happy to send you a batch that you can use and that should help you get rid of the smell. Just send me your address via the contact form and I’ll try to get it to you ASAP! But, it might take a little while for me to get a batch large enough to cover that entire area since it’s so large. So…until then…you can start solving the problem by doing the following:

      As far as the clothes are concerned, I’d put them in the washing machine just like any other clothes. Separate the whites and colors just like you would when doing any other laundry. On the white clothes, you can use bleach in addition to a normal laundry detergent. This will add some additional “stink removing power”.

      Considering the financial situation, I’d suggest going with a few affordable but effective odor removal agents. Borax works great and is incredibly cheap. If you can’t find it locally, try Amazon and yous should be able to get some for less than 10 dollars. Vinegar will also help. (See my response below for more details on using it.) Finally, you can try Oxi-Clean too. Between these, you should be able to get most of the smell out until I can mail you some of the solution I’ve been working on.

      I’m headed to work but I’ll add some more tips when I get home.

  2. gale says:

    Does apple vinager work also or just white?

    • Sara B. says:

      I’d suggest using white vinegar for clothing simply because it’s clear so there’s no risk of staining any of the laundry. Although I’ve never used apple vinegar, my guess is that it would work equally as well. You could test it on a pair of socks, an undershirt, underwear, or something else like that to test for stain-ability.

  3. Gale Erdice says:

    Sara,

    Thanks so much for your advice and I am grateful for animal lovers like you that understand situations like these!!! After reading your website my husband Harry and I experimented and with different ingredients and this is what we found worked the best. You gave us the base ideas and we went from there because these are very strong odored items!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Pre-soak
    Clorox 2 -stain fighter and color booster ( fresh meadow sent) with triple solve technology
    1 cup white vinegar
    1 oz. X-O – this is a neutralizer – expensive 10.98 for 32 oz bottle

    soak for at least 2 hours in tub in warm water or hot if all whites. If whites add 1/2 cup Clorox.

    Wash

    Tide Ultra with febreze
    X-O – 1 oz.
    Downy unstoppable ( in wash scent booster)
    liquid Snuggle in rinse cycle
    1/2 cup vinegar

    Dryer

    Snuggle dryer sheets – 2

    Anyway this seems to do the trick put expensive and I have no clue when it comes to doing the furniture and carpets !!

    We tried Pine-sol, Listerine, Awesome and Oxi – All !!!

    Anyway my address is…. HELP!!!!!!!

    • Mary says:

      Do Gail a favor and remove her address. Everyone and anyone can see where she lives! Not a good thing in today’s world…….

  4. M Pavletich says:

    You may have to ditch the furniture. Fortunately you can ususally pick up a cheap lounge suite at a hospice shop or equivelent. Box all the junk in boxes got from the supermaret and steam clean the carpets, you can hire a Rug Doctor from the local supermarket,

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