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How to Get Cat Urine Smells and Stains Out of Leather

cat urine on sofa

One of the best things about having cats as pets is that they can use the litter box to relieve themselves. However, cats are finicky animals, and sometimes, they decide to relieve themselves someplace other than in their litter box. They might poop on the carpet or urinate on your leather furniture, shoes, or other belongings.

The urine smells and stains left behind on the leather can make it seem as though it is ruined. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to get rid of those smells and stains and ultimately, save your leather from the landfill. Before delving into cleaning tips, it’s important to learn why cats urinate on leather in the first place and why the smells tend to linger for so long.

hepper cat paw divider

Why Cats Urinate on Leather

There are many different reasons that your cat may urinate on your leather furniture or other belongings. First, there could be a health problem that is causing them to have accidents, whether occasionally or consistently. If your cat pees on your leather belonging, the first step that you should take is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

They should be able to determine whether a health problem is contributing to your cat’s bathroom accidents. If so, they can address the problem to minimize the chance of accidents again in the future. Other reasons that cats may urinate on leather include:

  • Stress
  • Marking territory
  • An unhappy atmosphere
  • Improper potty training
  • Problems with the litter box
European shorthair cat sitting on sofa
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

You can clean urine and stains off your leather, but unless you address the reason that your cat is urinating on your things, you will probably have to do so again and again. Making it a priority to figure out why your kitty is urinating on your leather will help you avoid the need to clean up urine stains all the time.

Why Cat Urine Smells Stick Around

It is extremely common for the smell of urine to stick around even after cleaning up a cat’s pee accident, especially on leather furniture and other items. So, why does the urine smell linger for so long? One reason is that cat urine has a low concentration of water and a high concentration of enzymes and other chemicals, such as methanethiol, that contribute to the foul odor of the urine.

When you clean up the urine, you are likely not getting all the enzymes and other chemicals. As time goes on, those enzymes and chemicals start to break down and create the ammonia smell that we cat owners are familiar with. That smell will never go away until something is done to get rid of the enzymes and chemicals that have been left behind.

cleaning leather sofa_Lion Day, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Lion Day, Shutterstock

Make a Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda can be used to soak up urine smells in leather. The baking soda will not hurt your leather and may even restore it by making it shinier. Sprinkling baking soda powder on the urine stains may do the trick, but creating a paste can make it easier for the baking soda to penetrate the odors. The paste can be gently massaged (not scrubbed) into urine stains and then cleaned away with a clean, dry cloth. These are the things that you’ll need to make a baking soda paste:

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Start by placing ¼ cup of baking soda in a small bowl. Then add 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the bowl. Use a spoon to stir the mixture until it forms into a thick paste. If the mixture is too dry, add one extra drop of hydrogen peroxide at a time until you achieve a pasty consistency.

Using a soft cloth or your finger, gently massage (do not scrub) the baking soda paste into the urine stains that you want to get rid of. Take your time, and make sure that the entire stained area is well covered. After letting the paste sit for up to 24 hours, use a dry towel or cloth to thoroughly wipe the area clean.

woman holding a jar of baking soda
Image Credit: Dragon Images, Shutterstock

Create a Vinegar Spray

Vinegar is a great solution for getting rid of cat urine smells and stains because it helps break down the enzymes in the urine so the odors dissipate. It is easy to source, it is affordable, and it is convenient to work with. To make a vinegar cleaning solution, you will need:

  • A reusable spray bottle
  • Clean water
  • White or apple cider vinegar
  • Choice of essential oil (optional)

To make a vinegar cleaning solution, pour two parts water and one part vinegar into a spray bottle. To cover the smell of the vinegar, you can add a couple of drops of essential oil (we recommend lavender, lemon, and cedarwood) to the mix (don’t do this near your cat, however). Close the spray bottle, then shake the solution vigorously for a few seconds. Then, spray the solution on the urine spots that you want to clean up. Let the solution sit for several minutes before wiping it dry.

sprayed home spray on couch
Image Credit: y_seki, Shutterstock

Utilize an Enzyme Cleaner

There are various enzyme cleaners available on the market that are designed to break down the enzymes from your cat’s urine that have been left behind on your leather. These cleaners can be used on multiple types of surfaces, including carpet, linoleum, denim, cloth, and wood.

Each product comes with unique usage and storage directions. Some that you find at the store or online may not be safe for leather, so always be sure to read the instructions and precautions before investing in any specific product.

hepper cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

It is never fun to be left with a cat urine stain on your leather. However, with the solutions outlined here, the stains that you face do not have to be a source of stress or disappointment. With a little bit of work, you should be able to save your leather and finally get rid of those smells and stains.


Featured Image Credit: cunaplus, Shutterstock