Cat pee and couture
March 26, 2019 2:26 PM   Subscribe

My cat peed on a beautiful wool blazer. The dry cleaner returned it to me still smelling like cat pee, my guess is the pee needs a wet wash, but the blazer needs to avoid washing machines and retain its fashionable structure. Any advice please!
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Pets & Animals (16 answers total)
Oh dear.

You may need to throw it away unless someone comes on here to suggest some special enzyme spray of miracles.

I find once a strong smell has gotten I to wool it’s hard to get it out due to the limitations on how hot you can wash and it really needs to be laid to dry.
posted by catspajammies at 2:31 PM on March 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I mean you can lay it in the sun and hang it outdoors but I did that with my mothball smelling wool sweater in between and after like 10-15 cold washes and vinegar soaks and spritzes of alcohol and it still smells weird. I bought it 2 years ago and I’m still working on it, it’s hung outside for many many many weeks in sun and sub zero. Maybe cat pee isn’t that bad.
posted by catspajammies at 2:34 PM on March 26, 2019

You could try spot treating with Carbona Stain Devils #8.
posted by slkinsey at 2:34 PM on March 26, 2019

There's apparently a move away from dry-cleaning with its kinda toxic chemicals toward a sort of gentle wet-cleaning that is still safe for traditionally dry-clean only fabrics. I don't know a lot about it, but the place near me that does it did a lovely job on my dry-clean only wool coat and didn't damage it. Maybe something like that would work for you if there's a place near you?
posted by jacquilynne at 2:36 PM on March 26, 2019

If you leave it in the sun, don't leave it somewhere a cat will smell at and want to exacerbate the problem with Moar Pee
posted by slightlybewildered at 2:43 PM on March 26, 2019 [12 favorites]

I had good luck getting the pee smell out of a comforter by loading it up until was saturated with an enzymatic cleaner, and then it sat in a hot garage for a week. The heat makes the enzymes work. It was sort of miraculous.
posted by chocolatetiara at 2:52 PM on March 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

I got cat pee out of a handknit, wool blanket by repeated uses of Nature's Miracle. You just gotta be persistent.
posted by brookeb at 3:16 PM on March 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Turns out there is an enzyme based spray for this from Nature’s Miracle. I used it all the time when my male cat pissed on everything I owned. It actually is really, really effective, but I am not sure how it works on wool and it may take a few spray/dry clean cycles to really get the odor out fully. It worked on a sofa that I then steam cleaned so it might work.
posted by Young Kullervo at 3:18 PM on March 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

Nature's Miracle works quite nicely.

My process for this sort of thing is normally: soak the item in Nature's Miracle; let it sit for a long time, pretty much until it's dried; and then wash as you normally would, with whatever laundry detergent you would normally use. Repeat until cat smell is gone.

For your blazer, I would probably repeat the soak/dry cycle a few times, then take it back to the drycleaner. That will likely get it out.
posted by kdar at 3:32 PM on March 26, 2019

I soaked linen crops in apple cider vinegar overnight (couldn't afford the vast quantities of NM that my two cats called for), maybe more than once. Then I added to the washer probably the whole bottle of the biggest size of ACV available to me. I did not use the dryer, but I think I put up the window and laid them out to air as best as possible five stories up in a city. It worked beautifully.

I'd try soaking it in ACV for a couple of days, let it dry and take it back to the dry cleaner.

Good luck!
posted by jgirl at 4:08 PM on March 26, 2019

Vinegar is okay, but Nature's Miracle or a comparable enzyme-based cleaner is what you want. Maybe a couple applications. I would talk to the cleaner about the fact that they did not accomplish their task, ask them for a do-over after thorough soakings with Nature's Miracle. Sunshine & fresh air will help get rid of any dry cleaning product. I got dog pee smell out of a wool rug, yay.
posted by theora55 at 5:16 PM on March 26, 2019

What catpajammies said. Wool will hold that smell forever. Sorry.
posted by terrapin at 5:22 PM on March 26, 2019

Rave Fabricare is a mail-in cleaner with a pretty good reputation. They aren't cheap, but they're often recommended as the Hail Mary option in cases where the garment has sentimental value, would be tough to replace, and/or needs cleaning beyond what you or the local dry cleaner can manage. For what it's worth, they have an apparently genuine endorsement from none other than Jesse Thorn after they cleaned moldy yogurt out of a friend's suit.

Maybe give them a call and ask if this is something they could take on (and how much it would cost)?
posted by pullayup at 6:36 PM on March 26, 2019

Enzymes digest proteins and wool fibers contain protein, so any enzyme based cleaner should be a last resort. Also heat can lock odors into clothes so keep cat pee stuff out of the sun/warmth until you know the odor is gone. We've had good success with Thornell Cat Odor-Off . No enzymes. It's been more effective than Nature's Miracle (which is no longer as good as it once was) and the smell of the product is not as offensive to me as NM perfume-y funk. (This stuff in the original scent weirdly reminds me of a frankincense hair product I used to use, and most of the smell goes away after a couple days airing.) The Thornell worked on a stubborn cat pee smell after multiple attempts with Nature's Miracle and Fizzion.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:48 PM on March 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nature's miracle can work, but maybe you should find the underlying cause of why your cat hates fashion.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:31 AM on March 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

If this is a really special piece I would suggest finding a specialized dry cleaner (perhaps not at your location) and shipping the item. I use Madame Paulette in NYC for serious clothing issues.
posted by decathexis at 2:01 PM on March 27, 2019

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