How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Clothes

Two Parts:Pre-Treating Urine StainsWashing with Enzyme Detergent

When cats start marking or missing the litter box, experts agree its essential to clean the stains thoroughly to stop repeat offenses. Luckily, if your feline has chosen to make his mark, you have many tools at your disposal to get cat urine smell out of clothes once and for all.

Part 1
Pre-Treating Urine Stains

  1. Image titled Remove Oil Stains Step 1
    Sop up excess liquid with paper towels if your cat has just urinated on the clothes. You will have a better chance of removing the smell on the first wash if you can do it while it’s fresh[1]
  2. Image titled Remove Oil Stains Step 3
    Soak the stain in milk to help neutralize it if you need to go out and buy the right detergent. Milk contains enzymes that can help to counteract the bacteria in the urine that causes odors.
  3. Image titled Neutralize Bleach Step 3
    Use oxygen bleach to pre-treat the stain. Fill a sink tub with warm water and add a scoop of oxygen bleach. Place the clothing in the sink and allow it to sit for at least one hour.[2]
    • This product may be sold as Oxiclean, Vanish or simply oxygen bleach.
    • White clothing may be soaked for up to four hours.

Part 2
Washing with Enzyme Detergent

  1. Image titled Neutralize Bleach Step 1
    Purchase an enzyme-based detergent. Not all detergents list whether they are enzymatic detergents, so you’ll need to do some research. Tide’s original liquid detergent contains enzymes, as do most detergents labeled as “cold-water detergents.”
    • Using enzymes as the active ingredient allows detergents to fight stains at a much lower temperature than traditional detergents.
    • If possible, choose a detergent that lists “protease” as an active enzyme ingredient. It is the best at removing urine stains.[3]
    • Make sure to choose a “color-safe” detergent if you are treating colored clothing. Some detergents may bleach colored clothing.
  2. Image titled Neutralize Bleach Step 9
    Pre-treat the article of clothing with a mixture of the detergent and water if you haven’t used oxygen bleach.
  3. Image titled Remove Turmeric Stains Step 6
    Run the article of clothing through the laundry with similar-colored clothing according to package directions. Make sure to use enough detergent and the optimal water temperature. Make the load a little lighter so that you ensure there is enough space for the washing machine to clean the clothing very well.
  4. Image titled Remove Turmeric Stains Step 4
    Air-dry the clothing rather than drying it to see if the odor is gone. A dryer can set the stain.
  5. Image titled Neutralize Bleach Step 2
    Repeat the process, including pre-treating, if the smell is not entirely gone. With these steps, most cat urine stains will be gone in one or two washings. Then, you can wear as usual.


  • For best results, choose a detergent that contains both enzymes and oxygen bleach. Some products, like Biz, claim to have both so they are useful to add to regular detergents to remove tough stains, as well as a pre-soak agent.


  • Beware that oxygen bleach and detergents can cause upholstery or carpet to fade. Use specially formulated enzyme cleaners on these stains. Specialty cleaners allow you to use less water so that you don’t soak the carpet pads or cushions.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Milk
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Enzymatic laundry detergent
  • Washing machine
  • Water

Article Info

Categories: Clothing Stains | Laundry