Can this sofa be saved? Cat pee edition.
September 18, 2023 6:28 AM   Subscribe

I really don't want to buy a new sofa.

The normally sane cat evidently peed on the sofa when she was upset about noisy plumbers in her litter box room, about a month ago.

I discovered the sofa pee a few hours later the same day and tried what feels like everything :

removing all the cushions covers and dowsing them with the top rated pet mess enzyme cleaner and leaving them in the sun three times.
I dowsed the fragile foam pillows themselves, which are hard to wipe off.
I called the sofa company, this sofa is discontinued and so they won't sell me new cushions or covers.

Right now, the fabric cushion covers are in a different room and the couch is covered by a bedspread thing. And still - I have not been able to get rid of the fainter, but still revolting, whiff of old cat umbrage. Now it's been weeks and the pee molecules are of course just more entrenched.

I can't believe I have to get a new sofa because of a little cat pee. I actually loved this one and did not plan on spending sofa dollars in my life right now. What else can I do?

Bonus question: The foam spray enzyme cleaner shoots out of the bottle in a messy , wide cloud impossible to avoid inhaling instead of in the concentrated spray it's supposed to. It came this way. Can I also fix this nozzle?
posted by ojocaliente to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have outdoor space at all? Historically I have done an initial run at cat pee smells with various cleaners but what ended up solving things in a more wholesome way was to have the item sit in the blazing sun after they have been sprayed for the better part of a day. If that is an option for the parts of the sofa that were hit, I would give it a shot.
posted by openhearted at 6:36 AM on September 18

If you read the post, they already tried that.
posted by greta simone at 6:44 AM on September 18

This (THORNELL Cat Odor-Off Concentrate) is my go-to for mitigating cat pee smells - follow instructions to add to water and douse affected materials. I've never found the enzyme cleaners particularly helpful.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:53 AM on September 18 [3 favorites]

Unless there is something special about the foam itself I'd just replace it. Most upholstery foam is of an open cell construction and therefore a literal sponge. It also breaks down from use over time and to a certian extent can be considered a maintenance item.
posted by Mitheral at 7:02 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]

Have you washed the cushion covers (like, in a washing machine)? I'd try that - cool water, gentle cycle, large front-loading machine if you have access to one (yeah, they probably say they're not machine-washable, but what do you have to lose?). Even a dip in the bathtub might help.

And yes for the foam inserts you can probably get someone to cut you new ones for a lot less than the cost of a new sofa.
posted by mskyle at 8:12 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]

Have you repeated the enzyme-soaking-and-drying process, or have you only done it once? We successfully saved two couch cushions, but if memory serves it took three rounds of soaking-and-drying over the course of at least a month. We also ran the couch covers through the laundry (COLD water only, hang dry) several times. Don’t use any heat because that will help the odor set.

And to my memory the smell/spray diffusion from the enzyme cleaner was unavoidable (at least it is for Nature’s Miracle brand); now I wear a KF-94 whenever I need to spray it.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 8:15 AM on September 18

I saved a hybrid latex/memory foam cat pee mattress including its fabric cover by soaking the area with hydrogen peroxide (and I mean soaking it—full bottle), applying baking soda on top of that, throughly drying it with fans and open windows, vacuuming up the dried baking soda, making extra sure it was dry with the fans and open windows, flipping and repeating it one more time. Zero pee smell.

I had to put a tarp down and it was a pain to prop up the mattress for air flow. It was messy work and I was aware I might damage the foam but as the alternative was buying a new mattress it was worth it to me.

I should add this was more or less what the manufacturer recommended, just an extreme version of it. Also I wasn’t concerned about discoloration because the mattress is always covered.
posted by kapers at 8:43 AM on September 18

Call an upholstery cleaning company. This is literally their job and deal with animal pee all the time on furniture and rugs. My 3 seat sofa was $100 to clean as a standard cleaning. Your cost may vary especially with them maybe needing certain treatments. Just tell them what you need done.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:04 AM on September 18

I don't find spray bottles useful for soaking stuff like fabric, especially cushions. I'd recommend an enzyme concentrate so you can mix up a bunch in the bathtub & really soak the stuff. Maybe in a cheap kiddie pool! Otherwise, I'd take it outside or put a tarp under it & would pour on cupfuls of enzyme cleaner to really soak it.

I'm a fan of Odormute, which comes in powder form so you can mix up as much as you need. Does a great job on cat urine odors and getting pee smell out of fabric, and is unscented.

For (kids') peed-on clothes that have been sitting for a bit, after soaking in Odormute I often do a second soak in oxiclean. I use the powder "odor blasters" type.

I also use Thornell Odoroff and love it, but typically not for fabrics. Worth a try of course, I've definitely had cat pee situations where I used absolutely anything & everything out of desperation...
posted by Baethan at 9:36 AM on September 18

I have had some success by soaking things in white vinegar overnight then double washing in the washing machine with laundry detergent and Biz. Maybe you can treat the pillow covers that way, and get new pillow inserts?

We recently replaced our disintegrating couch cushions with new foam inserts - from a place like this. There might be better places, but these are functional.
posted by Vatnesine at 4:14 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

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