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I love my cat as much as the next pet parent. (Okay, perhaps a little bit more.)
But when my furry feline relieves himself on the carpet, it’s a smelly issue. Luckily such rogue events don’t happen often.
Seeing as you’re reading this article, you must have suffered the same fate. So the question is: will steam cleaning remove cat urine smell?
I’m a huge fan of steam, but I’m gonna be super honest with you. Steam cleaning isn’t the best way to remove the cat pee smell from the carpet. In fact, using steam cleaning without any pre-treatment can cause the chemicals in the urine to bind with the carpet fibers. That will result in a permanent stain.
To be even more precise, you can use steam, but only after you take care of the stain – and the smell.
It’s time to delve deeper and find some more effective solutions.
How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell?
Pet parents will agree. Cat urine smell is one of the most hideous smells that can spoil your home atmosphere.
However, cat urine isn’t much different from that of other animals. What makes it really smelly is the presence of common chemicals like urea, uric acid, creatine, and other detoxified substances.
In the first stage, the bacterial breakdown of urea creates that characteristic ammoniacal odor. During the next stage of decomposition, mercaptan, a pungent-smelling gas, is released. And that’s the reason the smell gets worse with time.
If your cat is older, the smell might be stronger.
What makes cleaning cat urine from a carpet so difficult?
When the liquid is fully absorbed, it stains multiple surfaces. That includes the carpet tuft, the carpet backings, and the sub-floor.
So, unless you clean it up properly, the chances of mold formation and carpet fabric damage are high. That means you need to act fast.
And the bad news is, cats love to pee in the same spot. (Thank goodness, that hasn’t happened to me).
The first thing you need to do is locate the urine on the carpet. If you can see the puddle, fine. Otherwise, it might be difficult to find the exact spot.
If the spot is still wet, you need to soak up as much of the urine as possible.
In case the stain has dried up, there are various effective steps that you may take. We will come to that later.
Will steam cleaning get rid of the urine smell?
Don’t use hot water or steam cleaning in the first stage as it might stain the carpet permanently. In fact, steam cleaning will only mask the smell temporarily.
Clean up the urine as much as possible, using the methods I’ll outline below. Only after that’s done, can you steam clean the carpet as the last step to clean up any remnant odors.
A word of warning: some cheap cleaners disguise the smell, instead of cleaning it up properly. Best avoid them.
Also, avoid using chemicals like ammonia or vinegar. The strong smell of these chemicals can mark the spot and make your cat do it again there.
And we suggest that you use a pair of rubber gloves while cleaning up cat pee.
5 Steps to Remove Cat Urine Smell from Carpets
Here are some of the most effective steps to remove cat urine from your carpet
1. Soak it up
Firstly, blot the spot with some cold water. Use a layer of paper towels or a piece of old rag on the spot to soak up as possible.
You can also cover the towels with a newspaper and put some weight on them. (I stood on it for a few minutes). If you have a wet vac, use it on the soiled area.
2. Hit it with chemicals
Take the dish detergent out of your cupboard and mix a few drops with water. Then pour it over the spot and allow it to soak in. But don’t scrub or rub the spot. That won’t help. Let the detergent act for a few hours. Then wet a towel and blot the area a few times.
Next, use a solution of hydrogen peroxide to remove the odor. Since hydrogen peroxide helps in eliminating bacteria, it will prevent the chemical breakdown of the urine. Besides, it will reduce the ammonia smell from the urine.
Note, it’s best to use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Anything stronger might bleach the color from the carpet fibers. To be sure, test over a small area before using it.
Pour the solution directly on the spot and let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Then blot the area with a paper towel.
3. Use baking soda
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is an excellent dry deodorizer. When sprinkled on the surface, the particles can penetrate deep into the fabric and soak up the odors.
After sprinkling it over the spot, work it into the carpet using your fingers. Leave it for a few hours, or even better, overnight.
In the morning, vacuum the area to leave your carpet smell-free.
Here’s a video tutorial that helped me master the process. EXCEPT for the vinegar part, mind you! As I said above, it may actually end up “inviting” your kitto to do it again. (Don’t ask me how I learned that.)
4. Using cat urine removers
The urine removers available in pet stores make use of enzymes that break down the urea. The resultant products are carbon dioxide and ammonia gas that disperse easily. You can use the remover after soaking up the urine.
All you need to do is follow the instructions on the product’s label. It’s necessary to leave the cleaner for some time to allow it to penetrate deep. After application, place an absorbent towel or pad on the area and place a weight on it. For effective cleaning, multiple treatments can be required.
Generally, all-natural products should not harm carpet fibers. Still, test it over a small section to be sure.
5. The last stage
Once all this is done, vacuum the carpet to dry it and reinspect the affected spot. In case it still isn’t clean, use some or all of the above steps once again. Lastly, you can steam clean the carpet to sanitize it and remove any remaining trace of odors.
However, if the urine has soaked through the padding and reached the floor, it might be difficult to clean it up fully. In that case, you may need to remove the padding and clean the floor. Then, install new padding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can steam cleaning remove pet urine smell?
Steam cleaning can remove the urine smell of pets from the carpet. But the high temperatures can result in the formation of a stain on the carpet. So, it’s best to use other methods for removing the smell.
Once you’re done with the stain and smell, you can steam clean to kill off any surviving germs!
What is the fastest way to get rid of cat urine smell?
Using an enzymatic cleaner is an effective way of removing the smell. If you want a more natural and cheaper method, try using baking soda on the carpet.
What do professional carpet cleaners use for cat urine?
Professional carpet cleaners generally use special chemicals that contain natural enzymes. They also vacuum clean the carpet in the final stage for drying it up.