How to Get Cat Pee Smell Out of Mattress?

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. [Read our full health disclaimer]

Updated on September 28, 2023

Sharing your bed with your pet cat is usually no big deal, but accidents do happen occasionally. It’s quite common for cats to share beds with their owners. Often, your furry little friend will help themselves to your bed with or without an invitation. 

Whether it’s human or cat urine, urine stains can be quite frustrating and difficult to clean up. Your beddings can be washed in the washing machine, but good luck fitting your whole mattress in your washing machine.

So, what should you do? The first thing that pops into your mind is to throw your mattress out and go shop for a brand new one.

Don’t be hasty! There’s still some hope for your stained mattress. Getting pet urine out of your mattress seems tricky at first, but we have some tricks up our sleeve that we’ll share with you and help you clean up your mattress.

Let’s go!

Why Does Cat Urine Smell?

Cat pee isn’t very different from other pet pee, but here are three things that cause cat urine to stink:

  • Cat pee gets worse with time. Cat pee that is outside of your cat’s litter box is often unnoticed until it becomes a smelly problem. After a period of time, the bacteria in the pee decomposes and produces an odor that smells like ammonia, which is characteristic of stale pee. In the next stage of the process of decomposition, the pee gives off mercaptans, which are components that give skunk spray its distinctive bad odor.
  • Older cats have smellier pee. As your cat ages, its kidneys are losing effectiveness, and as a result, the pee smells worse. 
  • Unneutered male cats have hormones in their pee. As an addition to the smell are powerful hormones that male cats eliminate while they urinate. If your male cat isn’t neutered, the testosterone in his urine signals other male cats to keep away and lets female cats know that he’s around.

Why Does Your Cat Urinate Outside of the Litter Box?

There are numerous different reasons why your cat may begin urinating outside the litter box. Maybe you think that your cat does this as revenge for something; however, you have to know that cats don’t have the sophisticated cognitive abilities needed to make up revenge. So, if your cat starts urinating outside of the litter box, it’s likely that your cat is trying to tell you something very important, including:

Health Problems Can Be a Cause of Inappropriate Urination.

Medical conditions associated with inappropriate peeing are kidney disease, urinary tract infections, hyperthyroidism, experiencing lower urinary tract disease, and diabetes. If you think that your loving cat is experiencing any of these medical issues or has additional symptoms, take your cat to your veterinarian right away. If you leave these conditions untreated, they can become very serious.

Arthritis Can Make Litter Boxes Difficult to Use

Arthritis is another possible reason for your cat to pee outside the litter box. As your cat ages, they can get arthritis, and getting into the litter box can become much harder. Maybe the sides of the litter box are too tall, or it’s placed in a location that requires your cat to do additional physical activities.

The Cause Can Be Some Behavioral Problems

After you’ve ruled out any medical conditions, try to find if there is any behavioral reason why your cat isn’t using the litter box, such as associating the litter box to animal shelters.

How to Get Cat Pee Out of a Mattress?

Maybe the most annoying place to clean up cat urine is your mattress. Using the following method, you can easily eliminate the cat urine smell and stains. Remember that every cleaning method works best if you start cleaning the cat urine stain immediately.

  • Remove your sheets, blanket, and pillows and wash them using cold water and laundry detergent in the laundry machine.
  • Using paper towels or clean cloth, blot up cat urine as much as possible.
  • If possible, move your mattress outside in an open working area.
  • The next thing you need to do is make a cleaning solution by mixing one cup of white vinegar, one cup of water, and adding one tablespoon of dish soap. 
  • Put the mixture in a spray bottle and shake it. You can use other cleaning solutions, including vinegar and baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, baking soda, or enzymatic cleaner.
  • Spray from the vinegar solution on the affected area. Make sure that you’ve covered the entire pee stain.
  • Leave the vinegar solution for about half an hour.
  • Put a clean cloth or paper towel and heavy things, such as books, over the affected area to help soak up the excess liquid.
  • Sprinkle a huge amount of baking soda over the stained area. This will help in absorbing any residual pee smell.
  • Leave baking soda for up to 12 hours.
  • Using a vacuum, remove the baking soda from your mattress.
  • Leave your mattress to air dry completely.

How to Get Cat Urine Smell Out of Mattress?

Once you have cleaned your mattress, it’s time to get rid of the urine smell. Here are some tips.

Using Baking Soda

While baking soda may not be as effective or powerful as borax, we recommend you to use it first because it’s non-toxic, and additionally, it’s the most cost-effective method on this list. Moreover, baking soda is known for its smell-eating features, which is why it’s usually used to get rid of the odors from refrigerators and clothes.

Using White Vinegar

While white vinegar is neither harmful nor toxic for humans and animals, some of you might find that you don’t like its smell. If you are one of those that can tolerate vinegar smell, you can use it to solve your problem with cat urine smell because it’s remarkably effective for removing the odor. Keep in mind that the vinegar smell evaporates over a period of time.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an exceptional deodorizer and stain remover. Its downside is that hydrogen peroxide is dangerous and toxic. Therefore, you must take the necessary precautions, such as using gloves and a mask. This is due to the fact that fumes from hydrogen peroxide are toxic, as well. You can use hydrogen peroxide as a solution or in a pure form. Cover the affected area with hydrogen peroxide and leave the mattress to air dry completely. 

Using Borax

Borax is a strong chemical, and it’s a basic ingredient in numerous different pesticides and cleaning products due to its antibacterial properties. On the other hand, it’s very toxic, no matter if it’s inhaled or ingested. Use borax only as a last resort because it’s a very dangerous chemical. Remember, wearing gloves and a mask is mandatory.

Preventing Future Cat Urine

There are some things that you can do to prevent your cat to pee on your mattress, sofa, carpet, or wooden floors, including:

  • Resolve the medical conditions that can cause your cat to pee on the mattress. Your cat might have some medical condition that you need to resolve in order for your cat to stop peeing on your mattress, such as urinary tract infections, arthritis pain, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes. Take your cat to a veterinarian and find the proper treatment option that will help your cat.
  • Reduce the stress level of your cat. Anxiety can be a cause for urinating outside of the litter box. Calm your furry little friend.
  • Provide an extra litter box for your cat. Put a litter box in two of your cat’s favorite rooms. An important rule of thumb is to have two litter boxes for each cat.
  • Clean your cat’s litter box more often. Cats are particularly clean pets, and they can stop using their litter box if the box isn’t clean enough. Scoop your cat’s litter box once per day, and change the litter every two to three weeks.
  • If your cat is older, use a litter box with lower sides. Older cats can suffer from arthritis and pain in their joints, so getting in and out of it can be very painful for them if the litter box has higher sides.
  • Don’t allow your cat to enter the bedroom. This is may be the simplest solution for preventing your cat from peeing on your mattress, but it’s more of an if-all-else-fails solution.
  • Put a plastic mattress cover. Mattress covers are perfect for keeping the mattress secure from all types of spills, including beverages, pee, and other fluids that can cause bad smells and leave a stain.

Concluding Thoughts

Knowing how to remove pee stains and smell from your mattress properly is an essential part of keeping your mattress in the best state for a good night’s sleep. Not only is a smell-free sleep experience important to you and your loved one’s comfort, but the fact that you know how to get rid of urine smell and stains without corroding or damaging the materials of your mattress will help to extend the life of your mattress.

Once you’ve gotten the urine odor and stain out of your mattress and left it to completely dry, you’re ready to set your beddings and get ready for a good night’s sleep. In order to prevent any further urine stains, think about investing in a waterproof mattress protector that will protect your mattress from spills, stains, and dirt.

Bree Taylor - Lead Editor

Lead Editor

Bree is an interior designer with a passion for helping people improve their sleep quality.

She specializes in creating comfortable and functional bedroom spaces that promote a good night’s rest.

When she’s not testing mattresses or helping people get the best rest possible, Bree loves to travel and explore new cultures.

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