How to Get Cat Pee Stains Out of Bedding

Grey and white kitten in white bedding

Linda Raymond/ iStock/ Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 45 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5-10

Cats are mysterious creatures. It's often impossible to understand why they do the things they do like pee on your bed. It's estimated that 10 percent of all cats will urinate outside the litter at some point in their lives.

If your cat has left urine on your bedding, no need to panic—the stain and odor can be removed in a few simple steps. As soon as you spot the stain, remove the bedding and treat it with an enzyme-based stain remover formulated for pet stains or a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent. Then, wash as recommended.

Below, we fully outline how to get cat urine stains out of your bedding quickly.

Stain Type Protein-based
Detergent Type Heavy-duty laundry detergent, enzyme-based stain remover specifically formulated for pet stains
Water Temperature Cold to hot
Cycle Type Normal

Before You Begin

This article provides information on how to get cat pee stains out of washable bedding and mattresses. If your bedding has a care tag that recommends dry-clean-only, blot up the urine and then place the bedding in a plastic bag. Take the bag to a dry cleaner as soon as possible and identify the stain.

The first peeing incident on your bed may be difficult to understand, but the next one won't be. Some cats develop a surface or location preference for elimination. Other cats urine mark to establish their territory even if they have a litter box. No matter the reason, if all of the urine odor is not removed after the first incident, the cat will return again and again.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 washer or large laundry sink
  • 1 vacuum
  • 1 soft-bristled brush
  • 1 pair disposable or washable nitrile gloves

Materials

  • 1 container heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • 1 container enzyme-based stain remover for pet accidents
  • 1 container laundry sanitizer or chlorine bleach
  • 1 box baking soda
  • 1 box laundry Borax
  • 1 roll paper towels
  • 1 bottle distilled white vinegar
  • 1 bottle hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 container oxygen-based bleach powder

Instructions

How to Remove Cat Pee Stain From Washable Bedding

  1. Blot Up the Cat Pee

    If you find a fresh stain, slip on some disposable gloves and blot up the cat pee with several layers of paper towels.

  2. Remove the Bedding

    As soon as you discover the stain, remove the bedding from the bed. Check each piece for stains or odor. The sooner you treat the stains and wash the bedding, the more successful you will be in removing the stains.

  3. Pretreat the Stains

    Use an enzyme-based stain remover formulated for pet stains or a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent to pretreat the stained areas. Use a soft-bristled brush to work the cleaner into the fabric. Let the cleaner work for 10-15 minutes before you wash the bedding.

  4. Wash the Bedding

    Wash the bedding in the hottest water recommended for the fabrics. Add one cup of baking soda to the wash water to help combat odors.

    Tip

    If you are concerned about bacteria in the urine, use a disinfectant in the wash water. White 100-percent cotton fabrics can be disinfected with chlorine bleach. Colored and synthetic fabrics require a different method of disinfecting, such as a pine oil disinfectant.

  5. Check for Stains

    If yellow stains remain, don't place the bedding in the dryer. The high heat may set the stains permanently. Air-dry the bedding if you're not sure if the stains are gone.

    To remove difficult stains:

    • Mix a solution of cool water and oxygen-based bleach following the directions on the package on how to mix the solution.
    • Let the bedding soak for at least two hours.
    • If the stains remain, mix a new solution of oxygen-based bleach and water and soak overnight, then wash again.

    How to Remove Fresh Cat Pee From a Mattress

    When cat pee happens, remove all of the bedding as quickly as possible. Toss the sheets, mattress pad, and any affected blankets in the washer.

  6. Blot Fresh Pee

    Wearing rubber gloves, use paper towels to blot away as much of the pee as possible. Press hard to help the towels absorb the moisture and move to a dry towel as the urine is transferred.

  7. Treat the Fresh Stain

    • Mix one teaspoon of an enzyme-based stain remover or heavy-duty laundry detergent with one cup of warm water.
    • Dip a soft-bristled scrub brush in the solution and lightly scrub the stained area of the mattress.
    • Work from the outside edges of the stain toward the center to prevent it from getting larger.
    • Blot the area with a dry towel to absorb the moisture.
  8. Tackle the Cat Pee Odor

    • While the mattress is still damp, sprinkle the spot with a generous layer of baking soda.
    • Allow the baking soda to air-dry completely. This may take several hours.
    • When the powder is dry, use the upholstery attachment of a vacuum or a handheld vacuum to get rid of the powder.

How to Remove Cat Pee Odor From a Mattress

If the cat pee stains are not caught right away, the pee smell can seep deeper into the mattress fibers and continue to smell. If possible, choose a breezy, dry day to clean the mattress so it will dry more quickly. Try these four methods followed by a thorough cleaning to remove the smell.

  1. Baking Soda Paste

    • Mix one cup of baking soda with a tablespoon of water to make a paste.
    • Spread the paste liberally over the areas that smell like pee.
    • Use a soft-bristled brush to work the paste into the mattress surface. Allow the paste to dry completely.
    • Leave the paste on the mattress for at least four hours.
    • When the paste is dry, vacuum it away.
  2. Distilled White Vinegar

    • Pour undiluted distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and liberally spray the areas that have a pee smell.
    • Allow the mattress to air-dry. The vinegar smell will be strong at first but will dissipate as it dries. Distilled white vinegar is a mild acid that helps neutralize the components in urine.
    • Speed the drying time by using circulating fans to move air across the mattress.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide

    • Pour fresh hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and liberally coat the pee-stained area.
    • Hydrogen peroxide is a mild disinfectant and oxygen-based bleach. Use the three percent solution sold in drug stores for removing pee odor without damaging the surface of the mattress. Allow the mattress to air-dry.

    Warning

    Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach that can discolor a printed or colored mattress cover. If that is a concern, dilute the solution with an equal amount of water before using it.

  4. Laundry Borax

    Warning

    Borax, found in the laundry product aisle, is an alkaline mineral salt that helps to neutralize acid stains like urine. While natural, it is toxic to humans. Always wear rubber gloves and eye protection when using it, and be sure that the mattress is well-vacuumed before anyone uses it again.

    • Mix one cup of borax with one tablespoon of water or enough to make a thin paste.
    • Spread it over the pee stain and work it in lightly with a soft-bristled brush.
    • Allow the paste to dry completely and vacuum away the residue.

Tips for Removing Cat Pee Stains

With the right products, patience, and thorough cleaning, you can get cat pee stains and odor out of bedding. Here are some tips to get the best results:

  • Don't just surface clean. Cat pee can penetrate mattress toppers and mattresses to create a lingering odor.
  • Don't use the heavily-scented laundry detergents that mask the odor for you. They don't mask it for a cat.
  • Don't use ammonia-based cleaning products. Urine contains ammonia and the cat may think you approve of their actions and return to the spot.
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Urine Marking in Cats. ASCPA

  2. Litter Box Problems. ASPCA

  3. Boric Acid General Fact SheetNational Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University.