How to Get Cat Pee Smell & Stains Out Of Wood Floors: 5 Easy Steps & Prevention

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Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Jordin Horn

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Beautiful, original wood flooring is the pride of many homeowners. It’s nice to look at and easy to clean…until your cat decides to pee all over it. It’s been there for a few hours. No problem, you think, just a quick minute to wipe it up and it’s done. Little did you know, the smell would soak right into the wood! Now what?

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Cat Pee On Wood Floors

It depends on how quickly you catch it. By design, cats produce pungent, ammonia-smelling urine that lasts and lasts. The main reason for this is territory marking, which means that male cat urine tends to smell much worse than female cat urine.

Unfortunately, the longer the pee sits on the surface, the less likely the smell will “go away.” It might take 5 years of “airing it out” by opening all the windows of your house to eliminate it without working on it, but chances are you want it out of your floor sooner than that.

Sometimes, you move into an old house and the smell is everywhere. In this case, you may have to replace the floor and subfloor, because the cat pee can soak into even that layer of flooring.

To take the cat pee smell out of your hardwood floors, you will have to get aggressive with it.

Flooring with stains due to pet urine
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How to Get Cat Pee Out of Wood

Catching the “accident” as soon as you can is the best line of defense when it comes to getting rid of the smell. Once a few hours have passed since the deed has been done, you will probably have to work harder to get the smell out. However, it’s not an impossible task.

What You Need

Before you get to work on that gross mess, you will need to have a few things on hand:
  • Disposable towels (paper towels) and a trash can
  • Or a disposable sponge with a bucket
  • Gloves
  • Hardwood cleaner
  • Pet odor-removing cleaner
  • Mop or towel

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The 5 Steps on How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Wood

1. Soak up urine with paper towels or a sponge.

Time to roll up your sleeves and put on your gloves. For people who don’t mind using up paper towels, soak up the pee with paper towels and throw them away. Otherwise, you could take a disposable sponge to soak it up and squeeze the sponge into a bucket to dispose of the pee in a toilet or outside.

Just be sure to wash your bucket thoroughly after this process, and definitely wash your gloves well if you plan to reuse them.

a creased toilet paper on wood floor
Image Credit: Ratchanee Sawasdijira, Shutterstock

2. Clean with your favorite hardwood cleaner.

Sealed hardwood will keep the cat pee smell out of your wood floors better than unsealed. If your floor is sealed, the next step after mopping up the mess will be to clean the floor with a normal hardwood floor cleaner. This will make the surface clean in a way that’s safe for your wood floors.

3. Use a pet-specific cleaner.

If your hardwood is unsealed or came from a factory, you will probably need to buy a cleaner that’s made to remove pet stains and odors. These cleaners contain the enzymes that are necessary to kill the bacteria causing the strong smell from the urine.

hepper enzyme cleaner dog cat spray bioenzymatic

The Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray is our favorite enzyme cleaner out there. It permanently removes even the very worst kitty stains and smells, leaving your home fresh and clean! Click here to learn more about this amazing product and get yourself a bottle.

At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool cat company!

Hydrogen peroxide and wood floors

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural cleaner that can remove the urine smell from wood floors. This method calls for soaking the affected area with the solution and covering it with plastic wrap. But will it damage the floor?

Though this method is recommended by ServiceMaster Clean, do be aware that it could lighten the color of your hardwood floor. If you’re using hydrogen peroxide to get the cat pee smell out of your floor, be prepared to go through the work of sanding, re-staining, and sealing your wood floor.

Vinegar as an odor neutralizer

Looking for a more natural solution to the cat pee problem? Vinegar is a known odor neutralizer and could work to eliminate the cat pee smell. Make sure to test it in an inconspicuous area before trying it out in plain sight.

Try this solution from ServiceMaster Clean: 1 cup water, 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 mild dish soap. Put it all in a spray bottle and shake it up. Spray it on the smelly spot and rub it in with a cloth, letting it stand for at least 15 minutes. Then, rinse with water.

natural destilled white vinegar in spray bottle to remove stains
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4. Depending on the severity, soak with cleaner (for a long time).

Some people with severe cat pee problems reported success with soaking the area with the pet-odor cleaning solution for varying lengths of time, from several weeks to several months.

This can be done in the following way: soak the area with cleaner, with or without a soaked towel on top, and place plastic wrap on top of the soaked area or towel. This will inhibit the cleaner from evaporating too quickly. You will need to check the area every few days or so to add more cleaner if it’s all dried up.

5. Still unsuccessful? Call a pro.

By now, if you’ve tried everything we’ve suggested so far, and the smell is still there, you might be pulling your hair out. Stains that are deep will need professional work to correctly deal with the problem and might save some of your sanity too. Professionals have the expertise and top-of-the-line equipment to get the job done.

Image Cerdit: UfaBizPhoto, Shutterstock

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How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Peeing on Everything?

Now that your cat pee smell is out of your wood floors, you might be wondering how to prevent it from happening in the future. We’ve got you covered with these quick tips.

1. Remove the stain quickly.

Cats can smell where they peed before, and usually will return to that same spot to relieve themselves over and over again. Prevent this from happening by cleaning the spot she peed quickly and thoroughly.

2. Change the litter box often.

When the litter box is full and disgusting to you, realize your cat has similar sentiments, even to the extent that she will refuse to “go” there. Make it a nice place for you and your cat by keeping the box clean and changing the litter when recommended (every 3 to 4 weeks).

Hand holding plastic shovel removing cat poo
Image Credit: borzywoj, Shutterstock

3. Relieve stress.

Cats tend to stress pee in odd locations (read: not their litter box) when they are overwhelmed. Try to determine what might be causing them stress and help them by removing the stressful thing, if possible.

4. Check for medical issues.

When cats have a medical issue like urinary tract infections or diabetes, they will pee a lot and might have accidents on the floor. This will require a checkup with your vet, who can diagnose these issues and prescribe the right medication for your feline.

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Conclusion: Cat Pee on Wood Floor

Though we all love our kitties dearly, nobody loves the smell of their pee, especially when it’s been soaked into the floor. You can do things to help prevent this from happening, but sometimes it happens anyway. Now you have the right information to clean it up quickly and effectively, so everyone in your home can be happy again.

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Featured Image: Tanya Plotnikova, Shutterstock

About the Author

Jordin Horn
Jordin Horn
Jordin Horn is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, CBD, and parenting. Over the years, she has moved around so much that there's been no time to settle down and own a pet. However, as an animal lover, she dotes on and cuddles any pet she happens upon! She grew up with and dearly loved an American Eskimo Spitz named Maggie and a Pomeranian/Beagle mix named Gabby. She calls Colorado home, but has also recently resided in China, Iowa, and Puerto Rico Jordin does not like to settle for the "easy answer" when it comes to living life with your pet. She loves to research the best methods and products out there and cut through the jargon so you can see plainly what something is or how something is done.

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