How to Remove Cat Urine in a Carpet by Steam Cleaning

A cat's urine is highly concentrated and acidic, leaving behind a strong odor.

A cat's urine is highly concentrated and acidic, leaving behind a strong odor.

Cat urine is a difficult stain and odor to remove once it has seeped into carpet. Even with cleaning, the odor can linger. While a rented steam-cleaner can remove most of the urine in the carpet and pad, a few additional steps can ensure the entire mess is eliminated.

Blot fresh urine with an old towel to remove as much of it as possible from the carpet and the pad underneath. Once the towel is saturated, use a fresh towel to continue blotting until the urine is no longer soaking the towel.

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water together in a bowl and pour it on the carpet where the cat urinated to begin removing the strong odor of cat urine. Wipe a gloved hand across the surface of the carpet fibers and push the liquid down into the carpet pad. Saturate the entire area and allow it to sit on the carpet for at least 30 minutes before blotting the carpet dry or using a wet/dry shop vacuum to suck the water and vinegar out of the carpet. Allow the carpeting to dry.

Pour club soda on any remaining stains after the vinegar has dried, prior to steam cleaning the carpet. Apply the soda to the stained area, and wait until it has stopped bubbling. Blot with a towel and wipe at the stain to remove it. Repeat the process until most, if not all, of the stain has disappeared.

Vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove dirt, debris and dust, both on and around the area that needs steam-cleaned.

Spray the urinated carpet with a pre-spray designed for pet stains and odors; these can usually be purchased where you rent a home steam cleaner. Allow it to sit on the carpet for the manufacturer's recommended time for optimal results.

Fill the rented steam cleaner's machine's reservoir or hose with hot water from the tap, and purchased carpet shampoo. Turn the machine on and run the sprayer over the carpet, following the manufacturer's directions for steam and shampoo application and suction. Scrub the urinated portion of carpet repeatedly, allowing the hot water to sink into the carpet and the pad before suctioning it back out.

Change the water in the steam cleaner as necessary to apply clean, hot water to the carpet in repeated doses. Dispose of the dirty water that is suctioned out of the carpet.

Allow the carpet to dry overnight and then examine the areas originally covered in urine; check for odor and stain, and repeat any of the steps as necessary to remove either.

Items you will need

  • Towels
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Latex gloves
  • Shop vacuum (optional)
  • Club soda
  • Vacuum
  • Pre-spray
  • Rented carpet steamer


  • Club soda can be used on both new or old stains, but a professional-strength stain cleaner may be necessary to completely remove older stains.
  • Steam cleaners can be rented at most home improvement and even grocery stores.
  • Handheld steam cleaners can be purchased at stores selling small home appliances -- such as vacuums -- and are easy to carry and use for repeated cleanings.
  • Enzymatic cleaners specifically formulated to remove cat urine odor and stains can also be purchased and applied to the carpet prior to steam-cleaning.


  • A black light may be needed to find old urine stains or hard-to-find urination spots on the carpet.
  • A professional steam cleaning company may be needed for numerous spots of urination or old, odorous stains.
  • In severe cases of urine saturation, the carpet may need to be pulled up and the pad cleaned separate, or replaced.

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About the Author

Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

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