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How to Get Cat Urine Smell & Stains Out of Shoes: Step-by-Step Guide

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

cat peed in shoes

It can be frustrating to find a pair of shoes that are soaked in cat urine. Luckily, you don’t have to throw them away. With a little elbow grease, you may be able to get rid of the urine smells and stains. Here are a few steps that you can take to get cat urine smells and stains out of leather shoes and any other type of shoe that has been soiled by your cat.

The 3 Steps to Getting Cat Urine Out of Leather Shoes

Step 1: Utilize Vinegar

Vinegar can help neutralize the urine smell on your leather shoes. It can also help make your shoes shinier when all is said and done.

Put white or apple cider vinegar in a reusable spray bottle and spray the affected areas of your shoes thoroughly. Let the vinegar soak in for up to 24 hours, then wipe the excess vinegar clean from your shoes. You should notice less odor before the shoes even dry all the way.

Step 2: Invest in Enzyme Cleaner

Sometimes, vinegar won’t cut it when it comes to eliminating urine odor out of leather shoes. If you notice that your shoes still carry a lingering odor after treating them with vinegar, consider investing in commercial enzyme cleaner. This type of cleaner works by breaking down the enzymes in the urine so they no longer exist. Since the enzymes in a cat’s urine are what makes it smell so badly, enzyme cleaner should break through the odor and leave your leather shoes wearable again.


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Step 3: Allow to Dry Thoroughly

Whether you use vinegar, enzyme cleaner, or both, it is important to let your leather shoes completely dry before wearing them. The urine odor might seem like it’s gone after first treating them, but the odor could intensify as they dry. You wouldn’t want your shoes to start smelling again when you are wearing them in a public setting! By letting your shoes thoroughly dry, you can tell whether they are free of urine odor or whether they need another treatment before you put them back on your feet.

The 4 Steps to Getting Cat Urine Out of All Other Shoes

Step 1: Blot Up the Excess

The first thing that you should do is to use paper towels to blot up any excess urine left on your shoes. Apply pressure to the urine area, and hold the paper towel there for a few seconds at a time to soak up any urine hiding inside the shoe fibers. The more urine that you can soak up, the less treating that you will have to do.

British Short-hair Cat beside shoes
Image Credit: horvathta, Shutterstock

Step 2: Pre-treat the Soiled Spots

Before washing your shoes, it is a good idea to pre-treat the urine spots with baking soda. The baking soda will suck up enzymes and odor as it sits, making washing much more effective overall. Start by making a paste out of baking soda and soda water. Combine two parts baking soda to one part water in a bowl, and stir the mixture with a spoon until it becomes a paste.

Then, use an old toothbrush or your finger to scrub the baking soda paste into the urine spots on your shoes. The baking soda will clean the material of your shoes well, so if they are dirty all over, you may want to consider treating the entire surface of each shoe with the baking soda to avoid creating “clean stains” on them. Let the baking soda sit on your shoes for a few hours or even overnight.

Step 3: Rev Up the Washing Machine

After your shoes have soaked in the baking soda scrub that you rubbed into them, use a clean cloth, and wipe the excess baking soda off the shoes. Then, throw the shoes in your washing machine with mild detergent. Wash the shoes in a cold setting so warm water does not lock any lingering urine odors into the shoes. You may have to wash the shoes two times to achieve the results that you are looking for.

black kitten beside shoes
Image By: Pixabay

Step 4: Take Advantage of the Sun

Once your shoes are washed and clean, put them out in the sun to dry so the sun can disinfect them and erode any urine smells that might still be lingering. The sun will also help neutralize any baking soda remnants that have been left behind. If you cannot put your shoes outside to dry under the sun, place them on a windowsill where the direct sunlight can hit them. Even if you put your shoes in the dryer, you should expose them to sunlight for a few hours before wearing them.

Final Thoughts

With the steps outlined here, you should never have to throw away a perfectly good pair of shoes just because your cat pees on them. However, cleaning your shoes when you find cat urine on them should not be where your efforts stop. It is important to figure out why your cat is urinating on your belongings so you can take steps to deter the behavior. This is the only way to ensure that you don’t end up having to repeatedly deal with urine-soaked shoes as time goes on.

Featured Image Credit: AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

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