BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Wood: The Journey to a Fresh-Smelling Home

Ginger cat laying on wooden floor
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Cats are a lovely companion to have at home, but if there is anything that cat owners hate having to deal with, it would be the strong smell of cat urine. It smells bad enough even when it’s all clumped up neatly in the litter box, but what if your cat just happens to answer the call of nature on your hardwood flooring? Or perhaps your precious wooden furniture? The answer to the question “how to get cat pee smell out of wood” is a long one, because wood doesn’t let go of pungent smells easily, but it is totally possible.

Do you often look at that stain on your hardwood flooring with pain in your eyes as you think about the previously-fresh scent of your home? Don’t worry—you can find a way to get rid of the bad smell with just a little effort. No, normal cleaning solutions may not work well, but have you tried stronger solutions designed specially to snap the chains binding the cat urine smell to the wood particles? We’ve got some homemade recipes for you that you can make easily using the ingredients you already have at home.

How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Wood

We understand how you desperately want to have a home that is full of homey scent with the people and pets you love. In this article, you will learn the basic steps to having a fresh-smelling home by making a solution that will finally get the smell out. We will also explain how to keep the accident from happening again. First things first, though, we believe that by understanding the reason behind the terrible smell of your cat’s pee, you are a step away from cleansing your home.

The Reason Cat Pee Smells So Bad

Just like every living organism in this world, cats also need to get rid of waste products and urine is just one of these things that organisms excrete. While pee, in general, is not exactly aromatic, some people would argue that the smell of cat pee is just worse than that of most animals.

Don’t worry—cat urine is no chemical bomb of deadly and corrosive gasses. Like that of humans and other animals, it is just a combination of chemical wastes that include uric acid, electrolytes, salt, urea, and detoxified substances.

Remove-Cat-Urine-from-Wood-Floors

The reason why cat pee sometimes smells worse than a human’s or a dog’s is because as cats use litter boxes to poo and pee, many cat owners just let their cats be with their businesses. While they may have regular schedules for cleaning the litter boxes, the smell could still linger. If left uncleaned for a certain period of time, nature will take its course, thus causing the unbearable smell.

Bacteria breaks down the urea in the urine. This chemical reaction releases ammonia—a chemical that causes a foul odor. If you subject cat’s pee under a black light, you will even see it glow.

The longer the cat’s urine sits, the more that bacteria will break down the chemicals in it, and naturally, the stinkier it will smell. The thing is, the reason why the urine’s smell will become stronger and nastier is because it is not easily noticed until it actually smells. If it sits longer, it will release mercaptans—a nasty substance that will give the urine its bad stench.

Male hand cleaning and rubbing an hardwood floor with a microfiber cloth.

You may also have noticed that the smell of older cats’ urine is stinkier. This is attributed to the slowing kidneys of senior cats. Still, another contributor to the smell of cat pee is genetics. Some steroids in male cats may make the smell of their urines worse than that of female cats. The cat’s diet also has a great role to play in the smell of its urine. Feeding your cat with healthier food may help get rid of the smelly pee.

Perhaps you’ve done all you can to clean up the cat urine as fast as possible. You get there before the bacteria, and so far you’ve done a good job at keeping the house smell-free. Unfortunately, if the cat pees on wood, no matter how fast you are you wouldn’t be able to beat the smell to the punch. So what do you do then?

How to Remove the Smell of Cat Urine from Wood

If you go through the shelves of grocery stores, you will find a variety of products that promise to remove pet urine odors from hardwood flooring. The drawback is that these cleaners are also made of chemicals which could also eventually damage your floor surface. If you don’t want such a thing to happen, you can look for alternative solutions like creating a homemade cleaning solution.

Homemade Odor Removal Solution

To lessen the chances of damaging your hardwood floor when cleaning, you can create a homemade odor removal solution using things you can already find the pantry. With water, white vinegar, mild soap, and baking soda, you can already say goodbye to the pungent smell of cat urine.

A woman removing-smell-cat-urine-wood

Creating the solution is easy- just combine a cup of water, 1/3 cup of distilled white vinegar, ¼ cup of mild dish soap, and ¼ cup baking soda in a clean spray bottle. Shake it vigorously to mix. Spray it onto the stain, and rub lightly with a clean cloth. Let the solution stand for 15 minutes. Rinse the solution away with a damp cloth and let it dry thoroughly.

Hydrogen Peroxide Odor Removal Solution

Sometimes, cat urine smell on hardwood floors can be a great challenge. If the above homemade odor removal solution does not work, try applying hydrogen peroxide on the floor. Simply by pouring the solution over the stained area and leaving it overnight (cover it up to make sure your cat doesn’t come into contact with it because it is quite dangerous), your floor could quickly return to its clean and scentless state.

Image showing ydrogen Peroxide Odor Removal Solution

Now, the drawback of the hydrogen peroxide solution is the chemical reaction with wood. It may lighten in color because of the chemical reaction. You may have to rethink this solution if the affected area is very visible.

Enzymatic Cleaners

Enzymatic cleaners break down the uric acid in urine. As discussed earlier, uric acid, when broken down by bacteria, releases ammonia and carbon dioxide. These gases evaporate and cause the cat urine to smell nasty.

Image showing Inject-N-Clean-pet-dog-cat-odor-removal-eliminator-tool-solution

To remove it, pour or spray the cleaner over the stain. Allow it to dry naturally so it will work over the area. It would help to cover the area to prevent family members and pets from stepping on it. Finally, once it is completely dry, wipe the area down with soapy water to get rid of the residue.

Undiluted Vinegar

Vinegar is a wonder that is often overlooked by people. You have it all the time in your pantry, yet little do you know that it can also help clean your home and eliminate the urine odor that your cat leaves behind.

Image presenting vinegar on a table

To remove the stain, start off by spraying undistilled white vinegar onto the affected area. Allow it to rest for about a minute before wiping it with an absorbent cloth. You can repeat the process if needed. To get rid of the sour smell of the vinegar, make sure to wipe the wood surface with mild soap and water solution.

How to Keep Your Cat from Peeing Outside the Litter Box

Perhaps the best way to have a clean home is to make sure your cat doesn’t just pee everywhere. While this skill is something that you need to be patient with, your cat will eventually learn. If you are not sure how to start, here are some ways you can keep your cat from peeing outside the litter box:

Toilet Train Your Cat

This one may sound obvious, but is your cat properly potty-trained? Potty-training a cat is quite easy as it caters to their natural instinct. The reason why cat litter boxes are widely used is because humans understand that animals behave differently from them and this is very evident in how they discharge wastes from their bodies.

A cat sitting on a toilet

Humans have their toilets and are very much aware of how to use it. As for animals, the best thing to do is find something that will give them an environment that is very similar to the wild. Cats have a natural behavior of burying their waste, and a litter box allows them to do that.

Now, perhaps you have already potty-trained your cat, and she uses the litter box most of the time, but sometimes she just feels this urge to take her business outside. What do you do then?

Add Additional Litter Boxes

Yes, you may hate the smell of your litter box so why must you add more? Well, the reason is simple: cats are quite picky about where they do their business. The single litter box you have now may not cater to their tastes, or it might be too dirty, so they choose to do their business outside.

Poopoopeedo Cat litter box

We understand you don’t always have time to clean the litter boxes ASAP. That’s why having more than one around the house helps. Also, if the cat has more litter boxes, the urine (and the smell) will not be contained in a single area. As a result, it won’t smell as bad around the house.

Check the Type of Litter You are Using

If you are using heavily-perfumed litter, you may notice that there is less smell, but cats may not entirely buy the idea. Their noses are very sensitive so they might actually end up ignoring the litter box and choose to pee elsewhere.

Japanese litter box

The best option for cat owners is to just stick with what their cats are familiar with. Some studies show that the preferred litter type of cats is the unscented, clumping clay litter that contains activated charcoal.

Make Litter Boxes Accessible

Your cats may climb and jump from all these high places, but there are also places that they could not access. With this, they may opt to just pee anywhere than to spend more time finding a litter box. The best solution is to make litter boxes as accessible to cats as possible.

Check the Social Dynamics of Your Cats

This is especially important if you have a new cat in the household. Some cats may display inappropriate behavior like peeing wherever. They may do this so they can have the attention of their human companions more.

Two kitties playing together

In some instances, altercations between cats may also happen. Instead of suffering because of these altercations, some cats just choose to avoid the litter.

Try Changing the Box

An enclosed box may be ideal for humans because it will hide most of the cat’s waste, but the cat may have a different preference. Cats may often shy away from the small, dark, smelly, and cramped space that is an enclosed litter box. Changing it to an open one may be more conducive to your cat’s business. Cats would love a large and open space that gives them more access. If you can’t find a litter box with this design, you can try a used tub instead.

Wrap Up

Your cat is a precious member of your family, but you have to admit that their wastes are not the most appealing thing in the world. While the sight of pee stains and the pungent smell on your floor may seem unbearable, the good news to these felines’ favorite hoomans is that the pungent smell of cat urine from wood and other surfaces could be removed.

The simple tips above are doable and affordable, so you can have a fresh-smelling home with great ease—especially if you act fast and take care of the accident before the urine could seep deep into the wood. The same can be said for the smell of pee emanating from litter boxes.

A person removing cat urine from the wooden floor with a solution

Often, the reason why the smell gets stronger and stronger every day is because the litter box is not regularly cleaned. Regular cleaning eliminates the bacteria and obviously, the smell. If you are doubtful of the choices that you have, it would probably be better if you would look for experts who can help you resolve the problems. These experts can use different chemicals and help restore the look of your floor.

Somehow, despite the fact that we will be dealing with the horrid smell, we still can’t help but love our feline friends. We just have to take it upon ourselves to be more proficient at cleaning up after them so we can live peacefully with them in a fresh-smelling home.

How often does your cat pee on wood? How do you usually take care of it? If you’re used to dealing with it, and you have tips on how to clean it up or how to prevent the accident, let us know by posting a comment below!

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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