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How to Remove Cats Urine Odor From Laundry

While cats make wonderful pets, the downside to owning your cat is that they do not always use the litter box the way they should. Cat urine has a distinctive smell that is hard to remove from clothing, especially shoes. If your cat has urinated in your shoes, you have to first remove any residual cat urine and then deal with the smell that is left behind.

Says Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman however, remove cat urine and its odors from any washable fabrics. The same method can be used for other types of urine. After dealing with the immediate problem, also consider behavioral or health issues that might be causing your cat to soil laundry in this way.

Marking territory with urine is your cat’s way of dealing with stress. They feel anxious and are trying to relieve their anxiety by staking out their boundaries.

For the full treatment, the materials you’ll need include:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Enzyme detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Oxygen bleach

Pretreating
Throwing urine-stained clothing or fabrics or Shoes directly into the washing machine isn’t a good idea since cat urine has a way of setting in its odors. If added to a general laundry load, you might even find that the urine-stained items contaminate an entire load of laundry with its scent. It’s best to pretreat the urine first before moving to the next step.

  • Fill a sink with water and add a half-cup of oxygen bleach, such as Oxyclean. Do not use traditional chlorine bleach, as this can damage clothing. Mix the oxygen bleach thoroughly into the water, then soak the urine-stained items in the water for one to four hours.
  • Rinse out the spot with clean, cool water. Blot the stained area dry with paper towels. Do not scrub at the stain, since this can drive it deeper into the fabric. Your goal here is to remove as much of the urine as possible before moving to the cleaning stages.

Vinegar Wash
For best results, use a two-part cleaning process to remove urine stains and odor. The first part of this process is a vinegar wash.

  • Mix one cup of white vinegar to three cups of water (1:5). Coat the urine-stained item with this solution and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  • Cover the stained area with baking soda, if you wish. Baking soda will work along with the vinegar to absorb and neutralize odor.
  • Wash the urine-stained items in a washing machine set on cold or lukewarm water. Do not add laundry detergent for this washing. Do not use warm or hot water, as this can set in the stain and odor.
  • Air-dry the urine-stained items. This can take a full 24 hours if you are drying indoors. Do not use a clothes dryer, because any heat can serve to set in the odor permanently.

Laundering
By now, a good deal of the stain and odor has been removed, and you can move to traditional washing:

  • Wash the urine-stained items in cool water, using an enzyme-based detergent. Enzyme-based detergents are known to work on organic-based stains. The enzymes effectively “eat” an organic material, including cat urine. Detergent labels will indicate if they contain enzymes—most cold-water detergents are of this type.
  • Air-dry the items once again. Once they are fully dry, smell the items carefully for any lingering odors. If the urine was fully dried in, it’s possible you may need to repeat the final laundering step.

RELATED: Diseases From Cat Urine

Consider Your Cat’s Health
To avoid future incidents, it’s important that you address the problem with your cat. When cats urinate in places other than the litter box, it very often indicates a health or behavioral issue.

What Causes Lower Urinary Tract Problems in Cat?

  • Injury to, or tumor in, the urinary tract
  • Stress
  • Spinal cord problems
  • Congenital abnormality
  • Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
  • Urethral plug (accumulation of debris from urine)
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder

What Health Conditions Might Lead to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?
Endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus can cause lower urinary tract problems in cats.

Which Cats Are Prone to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?
FLUTD is rarely diagnosed in animals younger than one year; the average age is typically four years. Male cats are generally more prone to urethral blockages because of their narrower urethras.

Remove Cat Urine From Shoes:

  • Rinse off the affected shoes with warm water to remove any cat urine that is still in or on them. Remember to just rinse the shoes and avoid having them soaked. Dry them thoroughly with a cloth or paper towels.
  • Toss the affected shoes in the washer if they are made mostly of cloth, such as canvas tennis shoes. Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the cycle and your normal washing detergent to remove your cat’s urine from them. After the wash, turn the shoes upside down and let them air dry.
  • Use borax (sodium borate) to clean the affected shoes that are made mostly of leather or acrylic materials. Spread a tablespoon of borax in the bottom of each shoe. Leave overnight to remove the smell of cat urine from the shoes. In the morning, you can shake out any borax power still left in of the shoes.