Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting Cat Pee Out of Laundry

I know it's hard to believe that one of these little angels (har har) would pee on laundry, but once in awhile, especially as two of them have reached their mid-teens, it has happened. The good part is that so far it has happened in the part of the basement that just has a cement floor, so the only casualty thus far has been laundry.

In the latest incident, a drop cloth, my favorite bathroom rug, and some towels were the victims. The drop cloth was immediately trashed, but I wanted to at least try and save the rest. In the past, the boy has tried washing pee-soaked laundry several times in a row to now avail. Obviously I needed to take a new approach, so I turned to the all-knowing Google.

As always happens when one consults Google, I found varying opinions. Some said vinegar would work, others said if the urine was dried (as it was in this case) the only chance was using an enzyme cleaner, and even that might fail. I decided to try using things I have on hand, which worked perfectly.


  1. Soak laundry overnight in washing machine with one cup of vinegar. Set water at lowest setting possible that will cover laundry.
  2. Next morning, rinse laundry and spin out all water. Add detergent and 1/4 to 1/2 cup Borax.
  3. Hang clean laundry outside in in sun to dry.
And, voila, I got my laundry back.


  1. Oh dear... I fear I have WAY more experience in this department than I care to think about. The deal with cat pee is that it's not just about getting rid of the odors that we humans can smell, it's about cleaning up the pheromones that the cats can smell - because when they smell the pheromones they're sort of hard wired to "refresh the scent." It's like a sign telling them "this is the place to pee."

    Vinegar doesn't remove the pheromones, and some people say that it actually mimics them, causing further problems.

    So I swear by enzymatic cleaners. Kids 'n' Pets is my favorite, and I always keep at least one bottle on hand, but Nature's Miracle works too. I would seriously consider cleaning the concrete floor with the enzymatic cleaners too - just to remove any lingering odors that you might not be able to smell.

    I have another CatLady friend who swears by peroxide based cleaners like Get Serious brand (available at PetSmart.) I've tried it once and it did work well - although it was not cheap!

    Since the pheromones thing is less of a problem with elderly cats and more of a problem with males who are marking territory, you may get away with it.

    BTW - have you taken the offending feline to the vet for a full workup? Often peeing outside of the box is a sign of kidney problems, urinary tract infection or diabetes - especially in an older cat.

  2. Cat - I almost contacted you to see if you have a method. I'll look into some enzymatic cleaners next time I'm out. I do clean the floor with something specific to pet urine and other messes.

    We're not sure who of the three cats is doing this, but we suspect it's Alex, the 15yr. old, who does happen to have kidney issues and food-controlled diabetes. He's a walking tale of disease, yet looks amazingly well considering. So if it's him, he regularly gets a full workup. It's very random and almost like they do it when they're pissed off at something, but trying another cleaner on the floor couldn't hurt.

  3. I have a wonderfully obliging cat when it comes to using the litter box, but I did foster a kitten once who proceeded to pee on my new mattress...repeatedly. I noticed the pheromone phenomenon. I ended up resorting to hospital bed covers until she left, and then scoured everything with baking soda, vinegar, and soap. It took a fair amount of doing, but the smell is gone now.


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