How do I get the odor of cat urine out of all my clothes?

by Wendylevy0131

My beautiful Russian Grey cat that is 19 years old, has been peeing on all my clothes. How do you wash them and get the smell out of my clothes?? There has to be a way

  23 answers
  • Wendylevy0131 Wendylevy0131 on Dec 15, 2021

    I will forever be in your debt if you have a way that works to get the the smell out of a minimum of 12 full loads of laundry that need to be clean an fresh. Any help would be greatly appreciated ❤️

  • I'm sorry this has happened to you... It happens to my daughter regularly with her three cats! She usually washes her clothes with plain vinegar first then uses a detergent meant for athletic clothes like Tide Sport (or even OxiClean) to get the smell out. This works well for her, and I hope it works for you, too!

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 16, 2021

    Hi Wendy,

    Cat's urine is highly alkaline, so bleach is something not to use, it will compound the problem and create gasses that are not pleasant.

    As a pre-treatment:

    To get to the heart of the problem, spray white vinegar on the area where your cat peed, then add baking soda & rub it in, it will fizz and remove the stain.

    Below are 3 ways to remove cat urine smell, see which works for you:

    Also, avoid washing clothes that do not have the urine smell with those that do have it. Use cold water when you wash, hot may set the smell in. Avoid using a clothes dryer, the heat may also set the smell. Air dry in the sunshine.

    If you choose to pre-treat the clothes with an oxygen based bleach, you can get this at the dollar store, rather than pay for a name brand like Oxyclean.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 16, 2021

    Soak them overnight first. Throw the water out, then wash in the normal way.

  • Soak the clothes in a 1:3 mixture of vinegar to water. Rinse and then wash with an enzyme detergent.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Dec 16, 2021

    here is some info and also with your cat's age she could have a urinary infection - I would hang up all my clothes if possible to keep her from peeing on them

  • Dee Dee on Dec 16, 2021


    Throwing urine-stained clothing or fabrics 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.


    A variety of odor-removing products are available as part of the pretreatment, but never use a product containing ammonia to clean urine stains. Cats are likely to mistake the ammonia scent for urine and may then repeatedly urinate in the same place.

    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.

    1. Mix one cup white vinegar to three cups water (1:3). Coat the urine-stained item with this solution and allow to sit for a few minutes.

    2. Cover the stained area with baking soda, if you wish. Baking soda will work along with the vinegar to absorb and neutralize odor.

    3. 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.

    1. 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.


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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    If your laundry has come out smelling fresh, but you still detect the lingering odor of cat urine in your home, you'll need to perform some detective work. It's possible the pet has marked floors, furniture, or other areas in your home.

    Arm yourself with a blacklight. Most blacklights work better in complete darkness, so work cautiously. Use the light to scan walls, floors, baseboards, furniture, and any other surfaces. Hold the light close to the surface for best results—urine stains will glow fluorescent white. Use chalk or sticky note paper to mark the areas where the blacklight reveals stains.

    Once you've identified the soiled areas, use an odor-removal product to clean the area. After thoroughly cleaning, you can enjoy a freshly-scented home once more.

  • William William on Dec 16, 2021

    Wash the clothes using 1 to 2 cups of vingar along with your detergent in cold water setting. Then add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Use fabric sheets in the dryer.

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 16, 2021

    Steps for Removing Cat Urine Smell From Your Clothes

    Here are some steps to follow for getting rid of cat pee smell.

    Don’t mix your clothes. Cat pee odor lingers. Don’t throw your things with pee into the washing machine with other clothes, as it can make your other clothes smell, too.

    Regular products can only go so far. Regular laundry detergent as well as other typical cleaning supplies, such as baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide, can make the smell go away, but this temporary. Some people recommend adding baking soda or vinegar to the wash. However, because these products don’t remove the uric acid, the odor can return again.

    Remove as much urine as possible. First, try to blot up all the pee before applying anything to the clothes. Don’t scrub it, just dab with a paper towel or old cloth to soak up the urine until it’s no longer wet. You can use an ultraviolet light to help find any stains that you can’t see, as urine will glow in the dark.

    Pretreat with enzyme cleaners. Enzymes are proteins that help to speed up chemical reactions. Enzyme cleaners break down uric acid in cat pee into carbon dioxide and ammonia, two gases which easily evaporate. Look for products that are specifically made for use on pet odors and urine. Some of these can be used on different surfaces, including fabrics, but be sure to follow directions and test on a small area first, especially on more delicate materials.

    Soak it. The clothes should be soaked in enzyme cleaner and left to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then blot up the enzyme cleaner and let your clothes air dry, so that the uric acid can be broken down properly.

    Machine wash. Use your washing machine to wash the stained clothes, preferably with an enzyme detergent. Afterwards, air dry your clothes. Some recommend adding one pound of baking soda to the wash or to run a cycle with a cup of white vinegar and no detergent, then run a second cycle with regular detergent.

    Try again. Cat urine odor is a difficult smell to get rid of and you might have to repeat the steps again until the smell is gone.

    Things to Watch Out for

    What not to use. Don’t use ammonia-based cleaning products, as it smells like cat pee and will attract your cat to keep urinating there.

    Health problems. When a cat pees outside the litter box, this could be a sign of health issues or behavioral problems. Urinary tract problems such as kidney stones and bladder inflammation can be painful and make your cat urinate more. Kidney and liver diseases can also be a possibility as cats feel the need to drink more and pee more. Other possibilities include problems with your cat’s joints, nerves, or muscles, which can make it hard for them to climb in and out of the litter box. See your veterinarian to rule out any health problems.

    Check the litter. The litter box could be dirty or your cat may dislike the litter in it. Change the litter more often. You can also experiment with different types of litter. If you have several cats, the more dominant one may have marked it as their litter box, leaving the others to find someplace else to use as a toilet.

    Stress. Another possible reason for not using the litter box is stress. This could be due to recent household changes, such as a new pet or family member. Cats like routine and small changes, like moving the litter box, can make them uneasy.

  • Betsy Betsy on Dec 16, 2021

    Hi Wendy: I have used a product called Odormute. Pet Supplies Plus used to carry it, but I'm not sure now. You can get it online. You need a product that will change the chemical properties of the urine, or an enzyme eater. Also, Odormute will clean the spot. I have used it for years and have not been disappointed. Even on cat pee stains that were over 16 years old under a carpet, through the padding, in a corner and onto the wooden floor. Never knew the cats were using that area:( AC takes care of a lot of smells. Also cleaned and whitened my son's baseball pants. The cats peed on them and I found out a year later (they were in a box) and the pants came out white and stink free. The stuff seems expensive, but you just use a little bit. It's environmentally safe, you can use it on your pet for skunk smells, and it's made in the USA! Doesn't get any better than that.

    Good luck with whatever you use.

  • Maura White Maura White on Dec 17, 2021

    unscented febreeze has worked for me

  • Homeroad Homeroad on Dec 18, 2021

    I would wash them on hot with white vinegar in the machine and use scent boosters to remove the smell.

  • I found this, which should help you get the odor out:

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Dec 19, 2021

    Hi Wendy, so sorry your purr baby is doing this. If this is something new, please take her to the vet for a check-up. Our one purr baby started doing the same thing and she had a serious bladder infection. To get rid of the smell, look for fabric cleaning products that are specifically made for use on pet odors and urine to break down the uric acid. We use a product called F10, but I think it's only available in South Africa. You can also try adding baking soda to the wash cycle with a cup of white vinegar and no detergent. Wash again with regular detergent afterward. Good luck

  • Nature's Miracle products work great.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Dec 22, 2021

    First wash with an enzymatic cleaner and I would wipe all the area down with odoban.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Dec 22, 2021

    this stuff works for my cats

  • Janice Janice on Dec 22, 2021

    Soak the clothes in distilled white vinegar....the type made for cleaning......and then launder as usual. Depending on the type of clothes washer you have you may be able to soak the clothes right in the washer, then run the washer as usual. If you have a front loading washer, soak the clothes in vinegar in a sink first then transfer to the washer and launder as usual.

  • P P on Dec 22, 2021

    Soak them in hydrogen peroxide for a while like an hour or more. Then wash them as usual with laundry detergent and dry them. It works on carpets too

  • Just let the clothes soak in a 1:3 mixture of vinegar to water. Just simply rinse and then wash using an enzyme detergent.