Cats, particularly unneutered males, tend to mark their territory by spraying urine on carpets, clothing and curtains. This leaves a pungent odour that worsens over time.
There are several methods you can use to lift the resultant stains and remove the stench. However, note that the longer the problem is left unattended, the more difficult it will be to resolve.
Home-based remedies tend to be effective only if you manage to treat the offending splash or puddle soon after it has occurred. This can be quite tricky – unless you actually see the cat urinate or feel a damp spot, it can be hard to see urine on a carpet or fabric (even if you can definitely smell it).
If you do catch it early enough, you can use ordinary household products to remove the stain and freshen up your home.
A domestic urine removal kit should include a roll of paper towel, white wine vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, dishwashing liquid and hydrogen peroxide, all of which are readily available at the supermarket.
Once you’ve tracked down the stain, carefully mop up as much of the urine as possible with a paper towel. Don’t rub the area because the towel will disintegrate and the scent will be driven deeper into the carpet pile or fabric.
Mix a solution consisting of half warm water and half white wine vinegar, and apply it to affected area. Add a liberal sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda to the carpet or fabric.
Finally combine a quarter of a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and pour it over the baking soda. Mop the area carefully, allow it to dry and vacuum up any residue. Your home will once again be fragrant and fresh.
If the stain is already set and the odour is strong, enzyme-based urine removers are your best bet.
There are dozens of brands on the market but all do exactly the same thing. They use a chemical process to break down the urine molecules, converting the urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia gas, which evaporate completely.
This technique is effective whether the urine is on the surface, deep in the carpet pile or even in the floorboards or tiles beneath a carpet.
The only drawback is that you may have to repeat the application process several times. Although it does resolve the problem, it takes time for the enzymes to work their magic.
Call in professional stench busters
There are instances when the stain and associated stench requires the intervention of a professional cleaning service.
Cats are instinctive and habitual and will often urinate at exactly the same spot time and time again. If this happens, you’ll find it almost impossible to remove the staining and the strong ammonia smell of old urine, even with the strongest enzyme-based solution.
Professional steam cleaning methods and hot water extraction can help when all else has failed.