Many versions of DIY formula recipes to clean cat urine stains are available. Most often they include various combinations of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda., People unfamiliar with the problem of cleaning cat urine stains simply try to clean them as they would any other stain, only to discover that it didn’t work. The reality is that, using traditional household cleaners on cat urine can actually set the stain and make it extremely difficult to remove with proper enzyme cleaners..
There is a legitimate reason for using enzyme cleaners to clean cat urine stains. Home-made mixtures and typical household cleaners do not contain the necessary ingredients to remove ALL the components of cat urine. Vinegar and baking soda can temporarily neutralize the odor and hydrogen peroxide is 30% more oxidizing than chlorine., HOWEVER, cat urine contains organic compounds that can only be neutralized on a molecular level through enzymes.
Compounds in Cat Urine:
• Uric Acid
• Other electrolytes
• Bacteria – an average of 5 different strains.
When cat urine dries, the urea is broken down by the bacteria and they gas released smells like ammonia. As it breaks down further, it releases "thiols" that make the odor worse. (It is the thiols in skunk spray that make it SO potent and difficult to remove).
The urea and urobilin/urobilinogen are not hard to clean. Urea, urobilin/urobilinogen, creatinine and the pheromones are water soluble (urobilin is the pigment that causes the color). Traditional household or carpet cleaners will deal with these, and this is why hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and/or baking soda is only temporarily effective at eliminating the "water soluble" part of the odor. The reason these DIY cleaners do not work is because uric acid and its salts have been left behind. Uric acid is not water soluble and bonds tightly to whatever surface it touches.
Due to the uric acid component of cat urine, it can take up to six years. to breakdown naturally.
This is why it is absolutely essential to use a cleaner that can break down the uric acid asap. Common household cleaners and DIY urine removers cannot break down the uric acid in cat pee. These cleaners temporarily make the smell go away and appear to work because they do clean up the other components of the cat urine. But when exposed to humidity, the uric acid salts cause uric acid crystals to reform. This process releases the smell again--and not always at levels detectable by the human nose,!! However, a cat's more sensitive nose can smell it. The scent of their urine outside of the litter box can encourage a cat to continue urinating outside of the box, and the cat owner cannot figure out why,
An enzyme cleaner is the only solution that will neutralize the uric acid and permanently remove the smell. Enzymes break down uric acid into carbon dioxide and ammonia, both gasses will then evaporate. This is why it is also essential to allow the enzyme cleaner to air dry. It needs the “natural” drying time to break down the uric acid salts, allowing the resulting gases to evaporate.
Not all enzyme cleaners are equally effective. Good enzyme cleaners are typically a bit more expensive. Cheap ones will work, but need to be reapplied over and over (and probably end up costing as much as the more expensive enzyme cleaners). Enzyme cleaners that work well and reliably include Nok Out, Urine Off, and Anti-Icky Poo.
Most enzyme cleaners come in a spray bottle and spraying only a light layer of enzyme cleaner over a urine stain will not work effectively, if it does not saturate the stain completely. Cat pee wicks, and unless the enzyme cleaner completely envelopes the entire urine spot, it won’t completely work.
To properly use an enzyme cleaner on a fresh stain:
1. Blot up as much of the urine as you can before applying anything.
2. Soak the affected area with the enzyme cleaner.
3. Let the enzyme cleaner sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Blot up as much of the enzyme cleaner as possible.
5. Leave the enzyme cleaner to air dry.
Covering the area loosely with something is always a good idea. This will not only help prevent the cat from attempting to pee on the same spot while the enzyme cleaner does its work; it will stop family members from stepping or sitting on the wet spot and also allow for more time to work its magic before it had dried. Some people lay aluminum foil down over the area; other recommendations include an upside down laundry basket or an aluminum baking sheet.
The same basic procedures apply for an old stain. But be aware that an old stain may require two or three full cycles of enzyme cleaner application (allowing it to completely dry between applications) in order to completely clean the stain, since it has had time to deeply penetrate and adhere to the material from fabric, to wood, grout and concrete!