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How to Get Rid of Cat Smell in the House (7 Effective Methods)

Genevieve Dugal

By Genevieve Dugal

Cat looking on as human spray cleans carpet

Having a cat has many benefits, but alas, the smell that our little furry friend leaves around the house isn’t one of them!

Below, there are seven potential methods that should help you freshen up the smell of your home without having to part with your precious feline. But keep in mind that there is no magic trick to get rid of these unpleasant odors permanently; you will have to repeat the cleaning process more than once, especially if it involves cat urine.

Before You Start

Smelly cat litter_Shutterstock_catinsyrup
Image Credit: catinsyrup, Shutterstock

Before using any of our methods, you must identify the cat smell that is bothering you in your home. If the odor is due to cat dander, vacuuming and good ventilation will probably be enough. On the other hand, if it is a persistent smell of urine, you may have to use a mix of the methods we suggest.

The 7 Ways to Get Rid of Cat Smells in Your House:

1. Ventilate Your home

Whether you have a cat or not, it is essential to renew the air in your home daily and whatever the season. Not only does this prevent indoor pollution, but it also gets rid of animal odors that are a little too present.

Open your window and leave it like that for at least 10 minutes, taking care not to leave your kitty in the same room so that they are not tempted to flee.

siamese cat by the window
Image Credit: rihaij, Pixabay

2. Vacuum Everywhere

The vacuum cleaner is a powerful weapon against nasty cat dander. Moreover, if your cat is shedding a lot of hair, vacuuming at least twice a week is essential. Also, remember to empty the bag to prevent the smell from lingering.

3. Wash Your Bedding and Your Cat’s

Anything you can put in the washing machine will help keep your home fresh: cushion and duvet covers, cat beds, blankets, toys, and more. Of course, make sure that all these items can be washed safely.

cleaning clothes in washing macine
Image Credit: stevepb, Pixabay

4. Change the Litter Regularly

It goes without saying: to avoid foul odors, you must change and clean your cat’s litter box thoroughly. Use a clumping litter, preferably unscented, and remove poop and urine daily. Then, once a week (or more, if more than one cat uses the same litter box), empty the litter box and clean it with mild dish detergent.

5. Mix White Vinegar With Baking Soda

Our grandmothers were right; white vinegar is a powerful ally for eliminating bad smells, especially those left by your beloved feline. Combine it with baking soda, and you get a natural disinfectant that can be used for cleaning your entire home.

If your cat has urinated in your bed or on your favorite sofa, use the following technique:
  • Dilute 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in 5 tablespoons of water and pour this mixture on the urine stain. Let the product soak. After a few days, the smell of vinegar will evaporate, and take the smell of urine with it.

Alternatively, white vinegar can be used on its own, but diluting it will reduce the smell, without reducing its effectiveness!

You can also pour 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a glass of white vinegar. Then, by mixing these two ecological products in a spray bottle, you can diffuse the mixture in the soiled area and the surroundings to get rid of impregnated odors all-around your house.

6. Try an Enzymatic Cleaner

Baking soda and vinegar are wonderful natural allies, but there’s nothing like enzymatic cleaners to neutralize ingrained odors, especially in fabrics. The enzymes in these products work by breaking down the acid in cat urine, which helps eliminate the characteristic ammonia odor.

Spraying carpet cleaner on the carpet
Image Credit: Syda-Productions, Shutterstock

7. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are effective against foul odors left by cats, up to a point. Indeed, the pleasant fragrance diffused by a few drops of essential oil of lavender or lemon will give the impression that your house is free of odors for a few hours. But don’t expect a miracle if you haven’t changed the litter or removed the last traces of urine from the carpet.

Also, be very careful about not letting your kitty get close to your essential oils, which can cause them serious illness.

tea tree essential oil
Image Credit: ronstik, Shutterstock

Important Tips

Whatever you use to clean cat urine, stay away from products that contain ammonia. Indeed, ammonia is one of the components of cat pee. Therefore, this may attract your cat to return to urinate in the same spot.

Still Can’t Get Rid of Cat Smell?

Sometimes, you just don’t know where the cat smell in your home is coming from. Is it due to an old urine-soaked stain on the floor? Is there so much cat hair and dander flying around your house that your vacuum cleaner no longer delivers?

Don’t panic! If you’ve used one or more methods and nothing works, it’s time to move on to another step: have your house cleaned by a professional or a cleaning company.

You will obviously have to pay more than if you do it yourself, but the exquisite smell that will emanate from your house afterward will be worth it.

cleaning the floor
Image Credit: Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Unpleasant odors are part of life with a pet. Cats, despite being neat freaks, also leave bad smells behind. However, you can get rid of cat odors in your home using simple and effective methods.

But don’t forget that it’s also your responsibility to identify the cause of these odors. If your cat is constantly urinating outside of its litter box, for example, it’s time to pay a visit to the vet.


Featured Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

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