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How to Find Cat Urine Without a Blacklight: 5 Simple Methods

Written by: Luxifa Le

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

pee stain on bed sheet

How to Find Cat Urine Without a Blacklight: 5 Simple Methods

Cat urine has a distinct, pungent smell that seems like it never goes away—because, sometimes, it doesn’t! Usually, it doesn’t seem to matter how thoroughly you clean up the urine; the smell can still persist. If the scent continues even though you’re using proper enzyme cleaners, you might be cleaning the wrong spot.

Most people will recommend using a blacklight to find cat urine, but what if you don’t have a blacklight or don’t want to purchase one? You can use peroxide and baking soda to find cat urine! Curious to learn how you can make this solution? This article has all the information to help you find that cat urine spot!

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The 5 Methods to Help Find Cat Urine Without a Blacklight

1. Peroxide & Baking Soda

Peroxide and baking soda are effective if you can smell the distinct ammonia smell that sometimes comes with cat urine. Cat urine is made of many chemical components, including bacteria and urea. When the bacterium in the urine breaks down the urea, it releases ammonia, where the smell comes from. However, you can also use this to find the source of the scent with peroxide and baking soda.

Ammonia will turn white when exposed to peroxide and baking soda. So, if you can’t seem to get rid of the ammonia smell, spray around the area with a mixture of peroxide and baking soda. If the area turns white, you’ve got a hit, and you’ll have to clean the area with an enzyme cleaner to get rid of the smell permanently.

baking soda
Photo Credit: NatureFriend, Pixabay

2. Knowing Where to Check

Peroxide and baking soda aren’t exactly cheap. So, you might not want to waste your solution on false positives. How can you know the best places to check for cat urine? You’ll need some tactics to find the source of the nasty smell in your house.

3. Check the Usual Suspects

Some cats seem to have favorite places around the house to urinate, so check those places first. Planters, dark areas under furniture, corners of carpeted rooms, and new objects that have a strong smell are all places where cats will prefer to urinate.

A cat hiding under a couch
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

4. Use Your Nose

If you have the physical capability, you can always get on your hands and knees and just smell areas. It’s by no means foolproof, nor is it enjoyable to do, but when it comes to finding out where that persistent ammonia smell is coming from, the nose knows!

5. When in Doubt, Check Everything!

If you’ve cleaned up several times and the smell isn’t going away, it might be worthwhile to just clean up everything at once. Check all the suspect areas and further with your peroxide solution to find the source of the smell.

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When it comes to the smell of cat pee, the best medicine is prevention. The smell of cat pee can persist for years when it permeates a porous surface like wood, carpeting, or cloth. While you can’t plan for sudden illness, ensuring that your cat’s litter box is cleaned regularly—scooped, emptied, and wiped down—will ensure that your cat feels comfortable using it. Just like you hate the smell of ammonia, so does your cat! So, letting their litter box fester can lead to them avoiding it and choosing a new, less ideal place to use the bathroom.

Cleaning cat litter box
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock

How to Clean Up Cat Urine Permanently

To permanently remove the smell of cat urine, you’ll need to use an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners break down uric acid into gasses which evaporate as the enzyme cleaner dries. While homemade cleaning solutions can temporarily neutralize the smell of cat urine, they lack the chemical components needed to break down the uric acid and urea that produce the acrid, pungent smell of cat urine.

Using an enzyme cleaner is very simple and a permanent solution to the smell of cat urine; soak the affected area thoroughly in the enzyme cleaner, then simply allow the solution to air dry. It’s crucial to allow the site to air dry rather than dry it artificially since the uric acid will evaporate as the site air dries.

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Why Does Cat Urine Smell So Bad Anyway?

Cat urine comprises several chemical components: urea, uric acid, urobilin/urobilinogen, sodium, electrolytes, creatine, pheromones, and bacteria. The distinct smell of cat urine comes from uric acid and bacteria present breaking down the urea.

When bacteria break down urea, it releases ammonia, where cat urine gets its distinct ammonia smell. Additionally, uric acid has a terrible smell that can be present for years after a cat urinates in a location just once.

cat pee on carpet
Photo Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

How Long Does Cat Urine Smell Last?

Answering this question depends on whether you mean the ammonia smell or the smell of uric acid. The ammonia smell will clear up right away after a location is cleaned. However, it may return if an enzyme cleaner isn’t used.

Uric acid has a half-life of 6 years. That means it takes 6 years for the compound to break down organically unless it’s artificially removed with an enzyme cleaner. While homemade cleaners can temporarily reduce or neutralize the smell of uric acid, the compound will remain present in porous surfaces for years, and all it takes is one humid day for the uric acid to recrystallize and bring back that awful, pungent smell.

If you do not want to use a commercial enzyme cleaner, unfortunately, the smell might come back. It doesn’t mean your cat is still peeing outside the litter box; the compounds found in your cat’s urine only have to be exposed to a porous surface once for them to stay there for years.

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Final Thoughts

Do-It-Yourself and homemade remedies have been a popular way to deal with everything in our homes for the past few years. However, cat urine is best handled with a professional-grade, commercial cleaner. Homemade solutions simply lack the chemical power to break down the compounds present in cat urine that make it smell so bad!

While peroxide and baking soda can help you find the source of the smell without a blacklight, you’ll need a powerful enzyme cleaner to neutralize the smell of cat urine permanently.

Featured Image Credit: cunaplus, Shutterstock

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