Yet another cat pee smell question.
October 26, 2006 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Cat pee on a car seat. Yes, I've read previous cat pee questions...

At the end of an hourlong drive, I discovered the cat had peed in his carrier and by extension, the car seat. I blotted as much as I could. I tried vinegar, which made the car smell like vinegar and cat pee. We then applied Petastic/Nature's Miracle. The perfume stench of that product was marginally better than cat pee.

I even bought a (low-end) Bissell carpet cleaner. What a joke that machine was.

The smell is now tolerable, but still unpleasant. What do we do now? Suck it up and reapply Nature's Miracle? Some other enzyme/digester product? Full-on auto detailing? Rent an ozone machine?

I'd rather keep it cheap, but if detailing is the best bet it's what I'll do.
posted by O9scar to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A $40 dollar shampooing at your local full service car wash will work miracles on pet excretions. Don't ask me how I know this.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:04 PM on October 26, 2006

Take it in to a full service or a detailing outfit for an upholstery shampoo. People who detail know amazing things about getting rid of smells. I know this from my own experience with cat and dog "gifts", given on the move, so to speak.
posted by routergirl at 2:16 PM on October 26, 2006

What's the seat made of?
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:28 PM on October 26, 2006

Response by poster: The seat is a plasticky mesh/cloth outside, with spongy foam inside.
posted by O9scar at 2:34 PM on October 26, 2006

The real problem with auto upholstrey is the foam construction of most car seats. For cost and comfort reasons, most standard car upholstrey is made with open cell polyurethane foam, which unfortunately has the undesireable property of wicking liquid deeper into itself. If you had several ounces of cat urine in contact with the upholstrey for an hour or more, you can bet that some of it made its way several inches deep into the foam. And although it might seem that it would be harmless tucked away there, in fact, because of the open cell foam's very nature, it will continue to make its presence felt for years, on any hot, humid day.

You can try renting a Rug Doctor machine with the upholstrey tool, and giving it a good go. This is as good or better than any of the machines detailers use, and it has plenty of suction for cleaning normal upholstrey, but nothing of a mechanical nature is going to "pull" the dried and re-dissolved urine products through several inches of foam, because there is just too much surface area on the foam cells surfaces (think drying out a sponge after wetting). But a Rug Doctor will do as well as any machine, and you can rent it for about $20. Don't bother with their Pet Stain pre-treatment, which is designed for blotting up pet stains between full machine cleanings of carpet. You'll do as well with their standard steam cleaning upholstrey solutions, and plenty of time, warm water and elbow grease. But, from within the car, there is only so much you can do.

One thing that has worked for me, is to pull the seat out of the vehicle, by unbolting it from the floor mount, and then taking it to a car wash, and thoroughly soaking it through, until water sprayed on top, runs through the foam, and out the bottom. You can then use a Rug Doctor, from the top and the bottom (covering exposed foam with a piece of polyester fabric so the Rug Doctor doesn't shred any exposed foam from underneath) to suck out most of the remaining water, from the foam, before trying to re-install the seat in the vehicle.

The idea of this is to thoroughly dilute the urine, and wash it through the foam core of the seat, and if you are diligent about it, and have the time, it's fairly effective. But in cold weather, such as we're coming into, it can take days or weeks for the seat to dry if you don't get substantially all the water recovered before you reinstall it in the vehicle, and it's a perfect place for mold and mildew to form when this happens, which will leave a sour mildew smell of its own. So, I usually leave the seat out in the open sunlight for a few days after doing this, which also helps kill the smell as the seat dries completely.

I'm not going to derail this thread with any comments about cats. But, boy, I could.
posted by paulsc at 2:43 PM on October 26, 2006

Another digester suggester, here.

I have no relationship to this company other than customer, honest.
posted by jamjam at 2:51 PM on October 26, 2006

Anti-Icky Poo.
posted by gokart4xmas at 2:59 PM on October 26, 2006

Seconding gokart4xmas. I have 4 cats. This is the stuff to get.

If you have issues really getting it into the middle of the car seat construction, get a large gauge syringe (my vet gave me one when I asked), and inject the solution at 1-inch intervals.
posted by oflinkey at 9:32 PM on October 26, 2006

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