Help us get the cat pee smell out of our basement!
October 16, 2014 7:17 PM   Subscribe

We just moved into a brand new house that we love, but one of our cats peed in the basement and its making the entire house smell awful!

Our basement is finished. It has a carpet. One of our cats peed down there and we've tried a bunch of stuff to get the smell out, but nothing seems to be working. This weekend we had the basement professionally cleaned and even that didn't work. It was really humid this week, and the smell was worse than ever. Is there ANYTHING that gets the smell of cat pee out of carpets? We're going nuts over here. Any suggestions you have would be amazing.
posted by to sir with millipedes to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What did you do already?
posted by k8t at 7:22 PM on October 16, 2014

Did you try Nature's Miracle and/or Anti-Icky Poo? These are the only things that have reliably gotten the pee smell out in my experience.
posted by desjardins at 7:23 PM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I accidentally linked to the Nature's Miracle for dogs. Be sure to get the one for cats because the chemistry is different.
posted by desjardins at 7:24 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've used Stink Free with some success. It is not cheap, and it takes a significant amount, you need to soak the carpet and pad for it to work well. Hopefully you don't have wood floors under the carpet. I've also used Nature's Miracle, but found Stink Free more effective... similar chemistry I believe.

It may take several treatments to take care of the problem.

It helps if you can locate the specific areas of the carpet that are stained, because doing the whole room/basement is difficult and expensive.. This may be more difficult if it's been cleaned, but a black light helps. Or, getting down on your hands and knees smelling the carpet.

Lock the cat out while you're doing this, and, perhaps even keep it locked out for a while...need to break the habit of peeing there.
posted by HuronBob at 7:29 PM on October 16, 2014

Seal everything up with painters tape and plastic sheeting and rent an ozone generator. Let it run for like, 24 hours.

This is the nuclear option, it will 100% work and it's basically impossible for it to fail. Try the other stuff like nature's miracle first. You'll probably be out $80 in plastic sheeting, tape, and renting the machine.

But, it will work. That's part of the process of getting like, dead body smell out of places. If it's gone through to the carpet pad or something and nothing else is working there's your solution.
posted by emptythought at 7:30 PM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've had decent luck with Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer and even better luck with a product called Zero Odor. Target used to carry it, but I didn't see it on the shelves last time. Fortunately I was able to get it at Walgreens. You may have to look around or check out amazon.

You really need to soak the carpet with whatever you use. The carpet pad and even the concrete or subfloor underneath may be contaminated too. If the carpet is near a corner, could you pull it up at all? May help reach all the affected areas.

I have four cats. One gets stressed easily and peeing outside the litter box is the way she deals. Or whatever it is that she's doing. i don't care i love her Another had a stubborn bladder infection this year. I don't want to label myself an expert on treating carpet and furniture (and piles of paper, clothes, wood floors, shoes, appliances) but I've tried dozens of products and methods on literally hundreds of pee spots.
posted by chaoticgood at 7:48 PM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Carpet, you say? I would pour on the vodka and use a wet/dry vac to suck it up. I would flush the site several times via this method, than dry it with a fan.

The last time (third) I would use an 8oz spray bottle of Vodka+20 drops of essential oil - Lemon or Grapefruit.

Let dry .

Repeat. (You won't need to repeat!)

Seriously. Vodka .
posted by jbenben at 7:58 PM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

PS. Nature's Miracle (the urine destroyer heavy duty type) can suck it. Didn't really work, and that damn fragrance reminded me the cat had peed on my beloved leather couch.

Vodka really saved the day.
posted by jbenben at 8:01 PM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Can you get a hold of one of those black lights that make bodily fluids visible, to make sure you're treating the right spots? How much do you care about the existing carpeting? The pee has probably gotten down to the carpet pad and the floor beneath it, so, I would think you'd have to pull up the carpet in the scent-marked areas, tear out the padding (not sure if that stuff is cleanable or if it would just disintegrate from the acidicness of the pee) and soak the floor & carpet with Nature's Miracle.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:03 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you know there's a particularly bad corner, peel back the carpet in that area. Paint the slab beneath with a product that seals in odors and stains, like KILLZ.

Use a blacklight to find urine spots. Soak the urine spots with enzymatic cleaner.
posted by Ostara at 8:19 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Natures Miracle can be mixed up to 1:1 with water, check the instructions I might be off by a bit, it's been awhile since I used it. Douse the carpet and underlay until thoroughly saturated and cover with plastic so everything stays wet longer giving the enzymes time to do their work. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
posted by redindiaink at 10:07 PM on October 16, 2014

Um, there is a huge difference between female cat pee which is just pee like you and me and what the male cats do to mark their territory. Unsterilized male cats scent marking is really persistant.

Really you are going to have to tear the wood up.
posted by vapidave at 11:02 PM on October 16, 2014

Try any and all of the above (but if you're using Nature's Miracle, don't use anything before you apply it, like water or soap) but in my experience with cat urine on a rug over concrete floor, we had to completely remove the carpet and the under-pad, sanitize the concrete completely and seal it with Kilz and re-carpet the room. Dang.
posted by lois1950 at 12:25 AM on October 17, 2014

Vodka removed the male cat spray/pee from a hardwood floor with no finish. That's how I discovered it.

You can alternate a few treatments with an enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle. In the end, Vodka eradicates the odor AND the "Yuck" factor - there's no doubt when the spot is clean.

Again, when you use Vodka, there's no doubt when the spot is clean.
posted by jbenben at 12:51 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nature's Miracle, Simple Solution, Bissell and Hoover (for their machines), other companies as well make enzyme based odor removing cleaners. Ace Hardware makes a "Pet Stain and Odor Remover" product #1338649; follow the instructions. Make sure the stain-odor removal product formula indicates an enzyme base as that is what breaks down the odor. Again follow the instructions and results should be pretty good. For tough odors repeat. Oh, and as lois1950 said above do not use regular cleaners before or rinse regular cleaners completely - regular cleaners have a tendency to neutralize the enzyme action. Coincidently, these formulations also work in bathrooms around toilets, etc., wherever organic based odors are a problem (think nasty commercial urinals, public bathrooms).

We have a couple of cat's who mark from time to time and small dogs and these products are wonderful.

Ozone machines can be effective but be sure you know what you're doing - read the instructions carefully or you'll kill your pets, plants, destroy any natural rubber and fry your lungs. Ozone is serious stuff. Not for casual daily use in occupied environments. Check the Inter "webs""tubes" etc. for precautions on these machines. California, I believe, has even banned them for general public purchase because of danger associated with their improper use. Industrial, fire and flood recovery companies use them to restore indoor "atmosphere" environments, but that is costly.
posted by WinstonJulia at 12:58 AM on October 17, 2014

Everyone has covered enzyme cleaner. So, I'll share my low-tech, surprisingly effective, cat pee smell remover trick. White vinegar. Even better if you sprinkle the affected area with baking soda, let that sit for a bit, then spray white vinegar. Let it do its foamy thing and sit for a bit then clean up. Reapply white vinegar as necessary. I have found that this has neutralized the cat pee smell from more items and areas than I care to recount.

However, cat pee in carpet pad? Do you not know where your cat peed? It would be weird if it wasn't one specific spot. Is your furnace intake near the pee spot? A cat pee smell "all over" makes me think there might be something else going on here. If it is one spot then you need to, at minimum, remove the soiled carpet pad. Make sure the concrete or flooring is clean and dry and treat it with something. Clean the underside of the carpet. And if that doesn't do it then you haven't found the spot.
posted by amanda at 8:11 AM on October 17, 2014

I'm wondering if its even cat pee -- you may have to remove and replace the carpet pad - sometimes when they get wet, they smell terrible, like cat pee or vomit. Is your basement damp?
posted by backwords at 8:26 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm wondering if its even cat pee

Yeah, my first thought was mildew which has a heinous, cat-pee-like smell. How humid is it in your basement? If it's damp, try a dehumidifier.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have had good luck with "Nodor Litter Spray". It's meant to be used to keep litter boxes from getting stinky, but I've used it a bunch of times on cat pee spots on carpet and I think it helps a lot.
posted by Librarypt at 12:14 PM on October 17, 2014

My go to for cat urine is vinegar and baking soda.. Haven't had it fail me (including on things like furniture, where the smell can soak in).. but then again my cat doesn't have heinously awful smelling urine. YMMV.

On Preview, what amanda said.
posted by mbatch at 5:31 PM on October 17, 2014

Response by poster: Hi there! I just wanted to come back and share my experience:

* it was definitely cat pee, and several treatment with Vinegar/nature's miracle/even vodka didn't do the trick. It would make the smell go away for a little while but it would eventually come back with a vengence.

* I had no luck with any of these methods, and it seemed like nothing could make the problem go away. So I did the following - I cut away the carpet, pad in the affected area of the basement (a corner, thankfully) and threw it out. It fixed the problem.

This is, of course, not ideal. We need to replace the pad and carpet in that section of floor. But it did get the job done. Anyhow, that was the only way we found to remove the smell.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 10:58 AM on October 28, 2014

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