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Alina Bradford/CNET

Here's what to do when your cat pees on your stuff

So you've cleaned and cleaned, and your floor, mattress or clothes *still* smells like cat pee? Here's the fix.


He's all cute and cuddly, then he drops a stink bomb on your favorite shirt.

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I'm pretty sure there's no smell as potent -- or as long-lasting -- as cat pee. I've tried all of the home remedies to get rid of the stench and found some winners that will save whatever your cat decided was the litter box that day. 

On clothes

Did your cat get ticked off at you and decide your pile of clean laundry was a great place to get revenge? Yeah, I've been there. 

Wash the laundry as you normally would, but leave it in the washer. Then, add 2 cups of baking soda to the load and set the washer to soak mode with warm water. If your washer doesn't have a soak mode, turn on your washer, let it fill up with warm water, then pause the load. 

Let the load soak overnight and then wash it as you normally would. Everything should come out smelling fresh. 

On your mattress

For a while, when my daughter's cat was stressed, she would go on our mattress. Mattresses are expensive, so I couldn't toss it, but I just couldn't get the smell out no matter how much I cleaned it. Finally, I learned the baking soda trick. 

After cleaning the mattress and letting it dry, sprinkle baking soda over the spot that smells. Not just a dusting, either. I mean really layer that baking soda on. Then, put your sheet back on the mattress. Let the baking soda sit on the spot for a few days. 

Don't worry, you can still sleep on your bed. The sheet will prevent the baking soda from getting all over your bedroom.

After the baking soda has had time to do the dirty work, just vacuum the mattress. Is that spot radiant with freshness? You bet it is. 

Pro tip: If your cat has an issue with using your bed as a giant litter box, invest in a fabric waterproof mattress cover (the plastic ones are super uncomfortable and hot). It will save your mattress and it's much easier to clean. Just use the same cleaning technique as with clothing.   


Pee-be-gone spray can take care of nasty odors that are hard to find.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Everywhere else

Boy cats tend to mark their territory and often the area where they sprayed is hard to find. If you can't identify the spot, shampoo the carpets, mop or whatever you need to do to clean the suspected area, then make a bottle of cat pee-be-gone. 

In a spray bottle, mix 16 ounces (about 500 ml) of warm water with 10 drops of peppermint essential oil or two tablespoons of peppermint extract. Spray all of the areas that you think your cat may have urinated or marked. Within a few hours the scent will be gone. 

Before you try the pee-be-gone formula on carpets, rugs, furniture or other areas, be sure to test it on a small area to make sure it won't discolor the material. 


Typically, when cats tinkle where they aren't supposed to that means they're trying to tell you something. Some things they may be trying to say are: 

  • They don't like where their cat box is placed
  • They need more than one box
  • The box isn't clean enough
  • They don't like their litter 
  • They may have a medical condition

To prevent future stinky situations, have a talk with your vet to eliminate any medical issues and try to figure out if the litter box is the problem.