How Can I Easily Clean Up and Deodorize Cat Litterboxes and Accidents?

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, shares tips for cleansing and deodorizing cat accidents and cat litterboxes.

By Jeanne Adlon | Updated: April 9, 2016, 5 p.m. EDT

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Q: I have several cats. Any advice on getting rid of stains and odors?

A: This is a great question and something all cat owners can relate to. We love our kitties but occasionally they do have accidents. Or they can race to a freshly cleaned litterbox to make a deposit at the most inconvenient time — like right before company comes! What I do in this case is put a freshly cut lemon in the room to neutralize the litterbox odor.  I do not put it in or near the litterbox — some cats seem repelled by a citrus scent and we don’t want that — but in an out-of-the-way place where the scent can gently drift through the room.

Even the best trained cats will occasionally miss the litterbox, and cat urine odors are tough to get rid of unless taken care of as soon as possible.  Look for natural ingredient products that contain enzymes, which help clean stains and neutralize odors.

Luckily, I had one on hand recently when my senior cat Simon took a fancy to my new area rug. Most of my living room is linoleum tile and cleans easily. I bought the rug to give the room some color and a few days later, there was a urine stain right in the middle of it. It seems the easy-to-clean tile wasn’t quite good enough for Simon, who had a guilty look because he sometimes misses the litterbox.  Of course, I forgave him and managed to clean up the stain.
White vinegar mixed with water and a mild laundry detergent works nicely as well; always test an area of the carpet first for color safety and follow the directions. I suggest that you avoid cleaners with ammonia because cat urine has ammonia in it.
Cats are very clean animals and cleaning up after them can be simple and easy. As always I welcome your comments and stories
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Reader Comments

Kathy    Grantville, GA

4/12/2016 9:53:22 AM

So glad to know you too use white vinegar. A hint..I mix some alcohol into the vinegar plus a drop or two of liquid dish soap, making a disenfective, neutralizer and cleaner.

Connie    Knoxville, TN

4/12/2016 8:34:34 AM

I have 8 cats and spend a great deal of time cleaning up accidents. The best product to neutralize the urine odor is FON. It's the only product that I have found that actually works.

KinKStar    Lake City, FL

9/27/2010 8:40:19 AM

Eliminate animal stains from carpet by blotting up urine, flush several times with warm water and blot. Then apply a mixture of equal parts vinegar and cool water, BLOT again. Do Not Rub the area! Rinse and let dry.

I haven't tried it, but supposedly spraying on an area - couch, chair, counters - it will discourage them from walking or scratching those places. Test any fabric area first, in an out-of-sight place, to be sure it's safe.

Nancy    Miami, OH

9/26/2010 8:11:00 PM

White vinegar & water. How many parts to each? It sounds helpful. I have 7 cats & could use any advice.

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