oh god the stench
November 9, 2014 8:41 AM   Subscribe

I need help cleaning a few things that have cat pee on them. The smell is killing me. Help me!

Yesterday, The Stig had to go to the vet. The Stig does not like the vet. The Stig does not like the Bag of Doom. It's a soft-sided cat carrier meant for air travel, with a faux sheepskin fleece mat on the inside for comfort.

En route to the vet, The Stig peed in the cat carrier, presumably out of fear/stress. The pee soaked through the faux sheepskin mat, through the thick nylon/canvas material, and onto the passenger side seat of my car.

Being a dolt, I did not realize this had happened. When we arrived at the vet, I removed the cat carrier from my car, then decided that my purse was too much of a hassle to wrangle along with the cat carrier, so I grabbed my wallet and phone and then left my purse on the passenger seat, apparently right on top of the wet cat pee spot.

On the way home from the vet, the cat pee smell became quite apparent in the car. Upon my reaching home, I realized that my purse had a wet spot on the bottom from having been placed upon the cat pee spot while we were in the vet's office. This wet spot on my purse, unsurprisingly also smells of cat pee. After freeing The Stig from the cat carrier, the stench of cat pee in the carrier flooded the room. I removed the faux sheepskin mat and bagged it to deal with later.

Here are my questions:

1. How do I remove the cat pee from the upholstery of my car's passenger seat? The car reeks right now. It's pretty gross.

2. How do I remove the cat pee from the faux sheepskin mat from the cat carrier?

3. How do I get rid of the cat pee smell from the cat carrier itself? At this point, the stench emanating from the carrier is making my entire living room reek and I can't deal with it.

4. How the hell do I clean my purse and get rid of the pee stench? It's a canvas purse with a faux leather strap, some faux leather accents, and some metal accents. Can I throw this into the washing machine or will oversaturating the faux leather on the purse damage it? It's a Target purse (from the old Hayden Harnett for Target line) so it's not like I'd be out hundreds of dollars, but on the other hand I really like the purse and use it every day and would prefer not to have to give it up.

My past experience dealing with cleaning cat pee out of upholstery, clothing and other fabrics isn't so great - no matter how much soap or detergent I use the smell remains, and I usually give up and throw the urine-damaged item away. As I mentioned in #4 I'd prefer not to have to give up on the purse. I also need to be able to reuse the cat carrier and the faux sheepskin mat. I also cannot throw away the passenger seat of my car.

Google suggests soaking the offending items with white vinegar, but wouldn't that just make everything smell like vinegar?

Help! I can't live with this stench for much longer!
posted by thereemix to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Buy a gallon jug of Nature's Miracle. Water it down at maybe one part to three parts water. Soak everything in it then hang to dry. Should work. Put some in a spray bottle, soak the crap out of your car seat, and pray.
posted by raisingsand at 8:46 AM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Natures Miracle make a cat pee version. It's an Enzyme cleaner so you have to soak the area and give it time to work. I have found it very effective. Soap etc just doesn't work as well as you need the enzymes to break the cause of the smell down. You may need 2 treatments, & it may make the smell seem worse while it's working but give it a few days. I'd do the soak method raising sand suggested for the bag/carrier. If the pee in the car is still wet if you have a friend with a wet vac/carpet cleaner you can soak up the pee then drown it Natures Miracle.

I've also had good luck with Oxyclean as it's an enzyme based cleaner too. I'd soak the bag over night.
posted by wwax at 8:50 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nature's Miracle. Don't dilute it. Just drench the affected areas in that and let it dry -- don't do anything to aid the drying, particularly heat. Just wait until it dries and the smell will be gone. Spritz with some Febreeze once it's dry for an extra-fresh scent.

For the carrier, Nature's Miracle also has a formula for hard surfaces.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:22 AM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

As an alternative suggestion to Nature's Miracle, Odoban for pets. The original odoban works great too.
posted by 724A at 9:33 AM on November 9, 2014

After my now-Prozac taking anxiety cat peed on several upholstered chairs I had lots of opportunity to test cat urine removal. Here's what worked for me, much like wwax's method:

1) blot as much pee up as possible using paper towels. Don't press down too hard, you don't want to drive the pee deeper into the padding

2) use a spray bottle filled with water, put the nozzle right on the fabric and saturate. If you have access to a wet/dry shop vac or a carpet cleaner with an upholstery attachment, do a few rounds of saturating/lifting. Otherwise, it's back to blotting with towels.

3) after the last soak/blot cycle, pour on an enzymatic cleaner and saturate the area. Personally, I had have better results with Anti IckyPoo but Natures Miracle is certainly more readily available. If your item is thickly padded (car seat, office chair) press down hard on the fabric to draw the enzymatic cleaner from the surface into the padding. Keep adding cleaner and pressing down until the surface remains wet when you stop pressing down

4) Cover the surface with some plastic wrap or a garbage bag for 24 hours

5) pull off the plastic and let air dry for several days, until it is dry

6) After I'm sure everything is dry, heat up the item with a hand held hair dryer. Sniff for pee odor once the item is warm (cat pee is sneaky like that). If you still smell pee, repeat 3-6

7) Optional: due to my very pissy cat, I've grown to loathe the scent of enzymatic cleaners. After my item passes the "Does not smell like cat piss on a hot day" test, I spray down the area with vodka. Don't do this before you are certain the enzymatic has broken down all the odor because alcohol will kill the enzymes that are trying to do their thing.
posted by jamaro at 9:57 AM on November 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

but wouldn't that just make everything smell like vinegar?
Nature's Miracle is definitely your best bet, but I wanted to reassure you, as someone who uses vinegar as a fabric softener, all purpose cleaner, and tea pot descaler, vinegar odors dissipate very quickly.
posted by xyzzy at 9:58 AM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Forgot to add: dunno about your purse but for the Bag of Doom (I have that same one), I just toss it and the pad into the washing machine and run it through a few cycles on heavy duty with regular laundry detergent. Line dry.

I can't remember if it's the Sherpa bag that has a stiff insert at the bottom or one of the other cat carriers I have, but in any case, check for a wooden or plastic base at the bottom of the wooly pad, it should slide out one end if it's there and shouldn't go into the machine.
posted by jamaro at 10:12 AM on November 9, 2014

Nthing jamaro's take on the wet/dry vac and water for your car. I actually hate the smell of Nature's Miracle and have never found it to be that miraculous on dealing with the stench. I use Dr Bonner's peppermint soap and hot tap water in a spray bottle (or just regular glass) - about enough to make it soapy but not too soapy. I vacuum as much of the wet up as I can and then wet it again - really wet with the soap solution and suck that up. I do that ad nauseam until it's at least not soo smelly. But the thing I find works the best is a hockey bag detoxifier KUE Odor. It smells pretty good like an very low smell men's cologne and it kills everything. I'm not sure if you'd find it but maybe a sports detoxifier like that would help.

For your purse (and the carrier) I'd wash and hang dry a few times until you can handle it. I'd add Borax to your regular laundry detergent. Maybe Febreze it?
posted by lasamana at 10:58 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, Nature's Miracle has their bonus level Urine Destroyer blend for when regular strength ain't cutting it. Just FYI.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:01 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

My wife's car was once known as the Cat-Pee Mobile.

What fixed it: many many hours, spread out over a week or so, soaking the upholstery with unscented, cat-urine-specific enzymatic cleaner, and letting it sit, and blotting it up, and letting it dry, and repeating.

Your incident was more recent and more isolated, so your car's remediation may not be quite as time-consuming.

I am so sorry for the Stig's traumatic trashing of your car, even if it is also eponysterical.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:01 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had good luck with Dumb Cat spray.

You can also make your own Oxy Cleaner with just a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. This might help on the purse. Let it sit for a while.
posted by hydra77 at 11:37 AM on November 9, 2014

Natures Miracle and other enzyme based products really only work when wet,/damp so if something really stinks, its best to keep it damp for a day or so by putting it in a closed plastic bag or something, rather than letting it start to dry immediately.
posted by Good Brain at 11:46 AM on November 9, 2014

Vinegar works very well on cat pee. Buy the clearest you can - ideally the spirit vinegar that looks like water. The smell doesn't linger at all.
posted by rhymer at 1:34 PM on November 9, 2014

I've got everything soaking it the cat pee-specific Nature's Miracle now - already the car smells 100 times better. Fingers crossed on the rest...

Thanks everyone! :)
posted by thereemix at 3:27 PM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

You need biological washing powder (literally just had this issue so delighted to be able to pass this on!!).. it breaks it down without you having to pay a fortune at the pet store.
posted by tanktop at 2:28 AM on November 10, 2014

There are also black uv lights to help you find the pee's.
posted by tanktop at 2:28 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Purse has been saved! Car no longer reeks! Cat carrier is clean! The Stig survives! All is well! Nature's Miracle: Urine Destroyer saves the day!

Thanks again folks. :)
posted by thereemix at 11:07 AM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

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