How To Get Rid of Cat Odor in Your Apartment

How To Get Rid of Cat Odor in Your Apartment

Are you bothered by the persistent smell of cat pee in your apartment? Cats are wonderful companions. Unfortunately, most cat owners have had to clean up ‘accidents’ on their floors and use sprays to remove pet odor.  

The cleaning might be fast but getting rid of the foul cat odor is challenging. Cat urine is very concentrated, which can linger long after your kitty is gone. Cat odor can be unbearable when you want to stay home or have some friends over. 

If you’re struggling with getting rid of that smell, we have a few tips that can help! And they won’t ruin your relationship with your cat. With deep cleaning, detergents, and patience, you can get rid of cat odor and save your carpets too!

Why Is Your Cat Not Using Their Litter Box?

Before cleaning, you need to find out why your cat isn't using their litter box. Is it the litter? The location? Or the size of the litter box that your cat doesn't like?

If you bought a litter box, but your cat still won't use it, there could be many reasons why. Cats are sensitive creatures. Anything from the litter boxes’ location to environmental changes can cause this unusual behavior.

Cats also suffer from urinary tract infections (UTI), arthritis, and bladder infections. These medical conditions could also affect their potty habits. Have your veterinarian check if a health problem is behind your cat’s accidents. It could also be stress or because the litter box is dirty. 

How many times are you cleaning the litter box? Daily? Once a week? Cleaning the litter box every day will ensure it is fresh and clean for your kitty. If the litter box is clean and you don’t suspect any of these conditions, a visit to the vet might be necessary. 

why your cat is not using litter box

Why is Cat Smell So Hard To Get Rid of?

Out of all the different pet odors, the smell from cat urine is one of the hardest to get rid of even after using cleaning products all day.


Cat urine contains uric acid, which has a smell that can last for days in fabrics, carpets, and wood.

All of which your cat can access, pee, and escape without you noticing until the smell hits you. Even after cleaning, the trapped odors can still return during a humid day. With a cat at home, their hair and dander could also be causing your apartment to smell. 

Now that we understand the nature of pet odor, how do we get rid of that foul smell?

How To Clean Up Cat Urine Spots

Whether you have old urine stains or your cat urinated, it’s essential to clean the mess as soon as possible. The longer you wait to clean it, the longer it stinks up your apartment. 

Start by using a towel or rag to absorb as much urine as possible. You can use different products like enzyme cleaners on the spot for a few hours before leaving the area to dry. Ensure your keep your kitty away from the ‘crime scene’ because cleaning products are harmful to pets like cats. 

If the smell is too strong, open your windows to keep the airflow going and keep the odor out of your house. To prevent this again, you can mark where your cat does this and place the litter box there. It will be ideal if it has privacy and low human traffic. 

It could also be that your cat needs new scenery when going to the toilet.

How To Clean Up Cat Urine Spots

Ways To Get Rid of Cat Odor

While cleaning cat pee is simple, getting rid of the urine odor is an uphill task. You will need to use more advanced methods than the usual rag and water. Getting the smell out of fabric, carpet, and mattresses can be difficult. 

Here are some ways to get rid of cat odor in your apartment:

Water and Vinegar

One classic way to remove urine odors is a homemade cleaner made of white vinegar and water.

Take three cups of hot water and one cup of white vinegar and mix well in a spray bottle. Spray a good amount on the urine stain and let it sit for about a minute or two. Try blotting the moisture and leaving the carpet to dry completely.

 If it doesn't immediately work, you can repeat it a few times. In most cases, this should be strong enough to eliminate pet smells and cat odors.

How To Get Rid of Cat Odor in Your Apartment with baking soda

Baking Soda

Did the water and vinegar mixture work? If you can still smell the urine, try mixing another batch but this time, add two cups of baking soda to the mix. Baking soda contains excellent properties that deodorize the smell of urine. For minor smells, you can even just sprinkle baking soda directly on the stain.

You can let the mix sit for more than 30 minutes and pat to dry. Wait and see if it gets rid of the cat odor. If not, we still have more tips you can try!

Vacuuming and Washing

Vacuuming may be the best option for cleaning cat hair and dander smells. Cats also shed hair, so vacuuming your home once a week can help keep your seats and carpet free of cat hair. Ensure you empty the vacuum cleaner as soon as you finish to prevent lingering smells. 

If you can’t get the pee out and still smell it, you need to change strategy and get completely new equipment. Investing in a quality carpet cleaner is worth it for any pet owner. Why? Because it might be the cleaning solution that works for you.

 Using hot water and a good cleaning solution, you can get rid of pet stains. If nothing works, you can call a professional carpet cleaner. 

How To Get Rid of Cat Odor in Your Apartment with vacuuming

Hydrogen Peroxide

Are you looking for a home DIY option? If so, you can also try using detergent to get rid of cat urine and odor in your apartment. You need two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap to make the solution. 

Pour the mixture onto the stain and scrub with a brush. Be gentle so you don’t ruin your carpet because of cat pee. After letting it sit for a while, you can blot the carpet with a paper towel and let it dry. After a while, with extra ventilation, the smell will be gone. 

When using hydrogen peroxide, make sure to clean it. If left to sit for too long, it can discolor fabric or carpets.

Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme cleaners work well to get rid of cat odor. These cleaners can break down biological matter like feces and urine to reduce the strong pet odor you're smelling. An enzymatic cleaner breaks down the uric acid in cat urine to help neutralize bacteria. 

When it comes to flooring and baseboards, you can use enzyme-based sprays. Sprays get rid of odors, but they also keep your cat from re-marking the same spots again. You can try a different enzyme cleaner until you find the one that works for your cat’s urine smell.

Here's our recommendation.

Simple Solution Pet Stain and Odor Remover

Use a Steam Cleaner

If your carpets are covered in old stains, steam cleaners are a great option for removing pet odor.

Don't worry, you don't need to go out and buy a huge commercial steam cleaner. You can buy carpet cleaners specifically for cats and dogs. Here's a good option we found from Hoover.

Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner

Invest in an Air Purifier

I know there's a lot of debate about how effective air purifiers are, but let me tell you—they work wonders for bringing some fresh air and handling any bad odor in an apartment.

The trick is to get the right one.

This Shark purifier is a great option for pet owners (the strong online reviews don't hurt either).

Shark HE402 Air Purifier

If you want a lower priced option, consider this one from Winix.

How To Stop Your Cat From Peeing Outside the Litter Box

To get rid of the cat odor, you need to stop your cat from peeing anywhere else than the litter box. The last thing you want is to step on pee on your way out of your apartment. It not only means you need to change your socks, but you also have to clean up.

So how can you prevent this from happening again? Here are some tips to try:

Visit the Vet

A trip to the vet doesn't hurt, especially if your cat is displaying worrying symptoms. If they recently started to pee outside their box, it could be because of a medical condition. Cats can suffer from arthritis, diabetes, and urinary tract infections. 

Your vet will carry out tests to help determine if they have a medical problem. If they’re healthy, it could be behavioral issues causing the accidents.

Provide More Litter Boxes

How many litter boxes do you have? If you only have one, get an extra litter box to help with your odor problem. Cats are picky about using boxes with urine or feces. Having an additional litter box can help when the primary one is dirty can ensure your cat always has one to use. 

Get Rid of Cat Odor in Your Apartment

Evaluate Your Litter Box Location

Where have you placed your cat’s litter box? In the laundry room?Bathroom? Or a closet? Consider where you're putting the litter box and if it is accessible to your kitty. In closed cabinets and near noisy washing machines in your laundry room might not be ideal for your cat. 

If your cat keeps peeing in the same place, try putting the litter box there and see if it changes their behavior. 

Preventing Cat Odor

Prevention is still the best bet to getting rid of cat odor. If you live with your kitty, you need to prevent further ‘accidents’ from happening. 

Unfortunately for cat owners, cat feces and urine may not be the only cause of cat odor in your apartment. A dirty litter box can leave your apartment smelly, so frequent cleaning might be the answer to preventing foul odors. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to have an extra cat litter box in your apartment. 

You also should avoid a pile-up of cat hair in your home because that can cause cat odor.

Giving your kitty healthy cat food can also help prevent vomiting that causes the home to smell. If you want to use air fresheners, make sure they are safe for pets like cats first. 

Get Rid of Cat Odor in Small Apartment

Get Rid of Cat Odor in Your Apartment

It can be tough cleaning and removing cat odor for good with old and new cat smells. That's why most apartment buildings charge pet fees or an additional security deposit for pet owners. The smell of cat urine is so strong it can penetrate the walls, causing complaints from other tenants.

If you want to avoid that, clean up after your furry friends.

Using enzyme cleaners, baking soda, and white vinegar can help get rid of cat odor in your apartment for longer than regular dish detergents. 

 For longer-lasting freshness, you need to find out the reason behind the change in behavior. Some investigating can help when taking your kitty to the vet for a trusted diagnosis. 

None of these tips are working for you? If that's the case, you might need a cleaning company to help. For extreme instances where the cat smells won't disappear, a professional is the best choice to treat the soiled areas.