Removing Cat Urine Odor from a Couch

June 26, 2013

I thought I had deodorized my microfiber sofa, but continued to smell cat urine, especially when on the floor playing with my toddler. I turned the couch over and behold! The carpet was covered with stains caused by urine seeping all the way through the sofa. I treated the carpet, and the smell went away.


By the way, I have noticed that my diva of a cat only urinates on the sofa when her litter box does not meet her demanding standards, so daily scooping and frequent changes have eliminated the sofa problem--or so I hope.

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14 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

August 5, 2010

I have a huge problem! I am staying with a friend for a couple weeks until my house is ready to move into. My oldest cat, only a year, peed on her sofa because she was scared to get down to use the litter box. My friend has 2 dogs.

I tried Febreze and it didn't work so I went to the store and bought special "cat odor and stain remover spray". I have scrubbed the couch twice with no success. She has a reclining sofa so I can't take the sofa apart to wash them. What should I do? I feel horrible because my cats never did that at my house!


By Kinder from San Diego, CA


August 6, 20100 found this helpful

It sounds like you may have tried this already, but when my cat was a wee kitten, he had a little pee accident on the couch. I immediately soaked up what I could, soaked the area with an enzymatic cleaner, and tried to pull up as much moisture as I could with the carpet cleaner. I did this a couple times.

My cats seemed kind of interested while it was drying, so I sprayed the area with the enzymatic cleaner again after it dried. I haven't had any problems since then.

So, if you haven't tried it yet, pick up some enzymatic cleaner (I got mine at Petsmart, but I think I've heard that they have it at Wal-Mart and Target, too). Did you get to the accident while it was fresh? I really saturated the area, to get at all of the urine residue. It might take a few tries to get good results.

August 10, 20100 found this helpful

Search on ThriftyFun for the "pee recipe". I published it. You are going to have to soak the couch cushion and wherever the pee went.


Important, first check for colorfastness on a hidden area of the couch.


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August 10, 20101 found this helpful

Don't think it is going to work. Best plan on replacing her couch.

Cats have hormone sprays which they do in indication of what is going on. Fear, Dominance, Anger, etc all have different scents. Not meant to come off easily, if ever.

Not getting it clean means her house will stink, her dogs will continuously be upset by the cat smell as well. With a cat visiting someone's house over a length of time, at a person with dogs, the guest protocol would to leave your cat in the carry kennel (I am presuming you were a good guest and had one).


The dominate animals in the host house are the dogs. It was not up to the host to hide or detain them from their normal living pattern.
Does not matter if you bring dog/cat/children into another's home as guests, it is your responsibility to maintain full control 100%, to pay for damages 100% without question. Your homeowners insurance should cover it, Not the hosts. It should replace the item destroyed by the cat pee.


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August 10, 20100 found this helpful

Using chemical after chemical on the main furniture piece of the house is not good or healthy for those living there.


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August 10, 20101 found this helpful

I actually don't have a suggestion, but there are MANY suggestions on this site in the archives. I am sure that something will work. I do not think that you will have to spend $1000 on a new couch over one cat accident. I refuse to believe that there is not something that will work.


One thing that you might do is phone the SPCA or other animal shelter or a vet's office and ask them what they use to remove urine odor. I am assuming that the cat urine soaked into the foam, and you have to get you enzymatic cleaner down into that to do any good. Good luck!

September 10, 20102 found this helpful

There is a product called Zero Odor (you can order it online) that works, really works! Check it out.
Our dog got skunked in the face, and you know how difficult it is to get that smell out, even after bathing him with "skunk formula" items. I rubbed a little bit of Zero Odor on my hands and rubbed it on his fur and I'm not kidding, the smell was completely gone.


I've used it on really-really bad pet urine stains, instead of spraying it, I poured some into the stain directly from the bottle and let it sit awhile before blotting it up, and it worked better than anything else I've ever tried, including professional carpet cleaning products.
Try Zero Odor before you buy a new couch.

November 28, 20103 found this helpful

There's a terrific product that only costs a dollar. You can buy it at Dollar Tree and at Family Dollar stores. It's called "LA's Totally Awesome." I've tried expensive stuff that doesn't work, and this cheap stuff actually does!

December 10, 20100 found this helpful

Several posts talk about extracting the water used for the clean up, can anyone recommend a wet/dry vacuum for this problem?

February 2, 20161 found this helpful

I have a reclining sofa whose cushions can not be removed :/ So I mixed liquid laundry detergent with water, about a cup full in about 6 cups of water. I slowly poured the mixture over the affected area, let it soak through all the way to the floor. Then took a big towel and stepped on the cushion pushing the water mixture through, while soaking up a bit too.

May 29, 20162 found this helpful

Use oxyclean powder that you get in the laundry isle!!!!!! I tried vinegar and dawn.Both did not work but the oxyclean did!!!

October 6, 20161 found this helpful

I'd suggest trying a homemade solution as they have worked much better for me than store bought ones. And that's the case with most things. Homemade solution works best. But the best store bought one I can suggest is Fizzion pet stain and odour remover. It's recommend by Jackson Galaxy (THE Cat Daddy) himself so I tried it and it works wonders on everything but my couch. But MY couch has a very thick foam seating and so its impossible to soak up all of the pee by just spot cleaning. It must be washed. So I'm going to try that next and that will probably work best. But depending on how thick your friend's couch is Fizzion might work for you. But otherwise I would definitely try a homemade solution. I tride this solution -
- on my desk chair that has a fabric seat and it worked great! Can't smell any pee anymore! But if you can't use hydrogen peroxide on your friend's couch (it does discolour fabrics sometimes. I spot tested first and it was fine and same for the rest of the chair but it's quite a light colour already and you never know until you spot test of it will discolour your particular fabric) then there are lots of other homemade solutions you can Google. This is just what worked for me. Good luck with cleaning your friend's couch! I know how stressful that is. The couch I mentioned was mine is not actully mine - its my landlord's ...and I live with them. I board. And my kitty has peed on the same spot on the couch over and over because I can't get the smell out (cats go back to pee in places that smell of past urination) and I'm really stressed about them getting sick of it and kicking me out.
Lastay though before I go I just wanna make sure you're not mad at your cat. You mentioned that he'd never done it at home and that you were really stressed and embarrassed about it. If he was properly litter trained at home and never encountered any stresses or upheavals/big changes in his life large enough to cause him to stress pee then of course he never had an accident. But this IS a big upheaval/change. I mean biggest of all - your friend has TWO DOGS. If you kitty hasnt had much experience with dogs before or at least not any good experiences with dogs then of course he's going to be scared out of his wits! And don't be fooled if he doesn't act scared because cats are all different and some of them are masters of hiding their emotions behind a cool exterior facade. I have three cats and I thought I knew that one of them was a very anxious cat and that his sister was the compl'été opposite - a cool calm kitty. But about a year and a half ago I took her to the vet for something and the vet discovered during her check-up that she had very sparse hair on her back legs and tummy which indicates that she had been over-grooming. Cats only over-groom when they are stressed! I was blind-sided by this! Everyone always comments on how chill she she is! So that was a lesson I had to learn the hard way - cats (like people) don't always show obvious signs of being stressed. You have to be vigilant and know your cat very well and also do regular nose to tail checkups of their body to check for any irregularities.
So even though your cat may not seem stressed (I'm not saying this is the case, I'm just assuming an option based on your reaction) he most definitely is if he is peeing outside the litter box. There is only one reason why cats pee outside the litter box - stress. Actually there is one other and that is when the litter box is not being cleaned frequently enough but that could also maybe be categorized under stress of a dirty litter box. Finding out what is causing the stress though is usually a matter of engaging in some detective work but it sounds like in this case it's quite obviously territorial anxiety. Cats are VERY territorial and they HATE change. They pee to mark their scent when they are feeling territitorial anxiety so that their new and scary surroundings smell more familiar. To cats, smell is a huge. We use our sight the most. They use their sensemble of the smell the most. They communicate using smell and they learn things using smell. And they familiarize using smell. So when a place doesn't smell like home they will try and make it smell like home. I'd suggest since you are spending 2 weeks there that you spread your cat's belongings around the house as much as you can and put a blanet that he usually sleeps on on the couch (it will smell like him). And let your friend know why you need to do this as she/he may be put out by it or find it odd. If you can bring some more things over from home that's also great. Don't know why you are staying with your friend though and if you have access to your house at the moment so it's just a suggestion if that's possible.
So basically your cat is feeling super stressed right now because of the big change and he feels totally out of place in this new environment. So don't be mad at him or feel embarrassed - this is totally totally normal. I would be gobsmacked if a cat in this situation did NOT pee outside the litterbox. That is something I would totally expect because cats don't do well with a change of territory. You don't realize how much smell and scent is important in a cat's life. Cats spend a big portion of their day patrolling their territory and remarking spots where their scent is fading (either through pee or through scratching or cheek rubbing - a cat's paws, cheeks, head and chin all contain scent glands that they rub against things or people to leave their scent) and making sure that EVERY THING around them smells familiar and it's also to ward off unwanted guests as well and to leave messages for other cats to say that this is their territory. So you taking him out of his little kingdom that he has spent so long scent-marking to make himself feel secure is seriously a huge deal to him. So you need to work with him and help him familiarize this new place that he will be staying at for the next 2 weeks. Otherwise he WILL pee again.
I really hope this helps you understand what your cat is going through and helps you to help him and also helps you to be prepared if you ever have to do this again. But if you can avoid it - do. It's really not nice for your cat.

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December 9, 2016

We have 2 cats and we smell cat pee on our brand new suede couch. What product really works getting rid of the smell?

Or do we hire professionals for deep cleaning? Will the cats just keep peeing there as this is the 2nd time?

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August 30, 2013

My boyfriend and I were cat-sitting for his mom for a couple of weeks, and during that time, one of the cats decided to use our fairly new couch (less than a year old) as his litterbox. The cats are gone, but the couch still reeks of cat urine. We have an enzyme cleaner and I've sprayed it about 5 times over the cushion where the damage was done (took the cushion out of the cover and sprayed them separately), but I can still smell it.

I'm to the point where I just want to pour the bottle onto the cushion and get it soaking wet, but I don't know if that's how it should be used. I just want my apartment to stop smelling like cat pee. Is there a better way to get the entire cushion and cover clean?

By Andrea B


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September 1, 20130 found this helpful

Try spraying it with a solution of half white vinegar and half water. Sponge it off and let it dry thoroughly - outdoors if possible. If this doesn't work, I would suggest calling a professional furniture cleaner. Good Luck!

September 4, 20130 found this helpful

Try Totally Pet from Walmart. It works wonders. Also if the area is only on a cushion and it's removeable I would take it to an professional upholsterer and have it replaced if the odor persists. You should have a zipper to remove the cushion, then wash the cushion and use fabric softener and fabreeze on it. Good luck.

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August 3, 2010

My cat has peed on my sofa once again! The smell is so awful that I can't enjoy sitting in my living room anymore. I need a home remedy that is going to work. Please help.

By TAMMY from Chicago, IL


August 3, 20100 found this helpful

Something I have used many times is called Stink Free (for cat urine). They make it for dogs, too. I bought it at PetSmart. You just pour enough on the spot to saturate and let it dry. I would probably use the Bissell thing if using it on a couch or bed. It has worked every time.

August 4, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, Seeing your post about cat pee on couch reminded me of a cat named Tom I once had. Got him as a kitten and after a visit from a friend with a dog, that cat started to pee on my couch. I think it had to do with marking territory. I used everything I could think of to clean it and finally got rid of the couch. Then, same cat repeated his bad behavior on the new couch. I started buying large plastic drop cloths at the dollar store to cover the couch. That worked. I loved that old cat and kept him until he got sick and died. There is a product called UrineGone which is very good. A little pricey but still, it works and with cat urine so powerful, home remedies simply won't work. Good luck and God bless. Connie in OH

August 4, 20100 found this helpful

This is not exactly a home remedy, but it is something I believe will help you, and is very inexpensive. I found a wonderful product at my local Dollar Tree stores. It's called Ry Pet's Friend Odor, Stain, & Urine Remover. It comes in a 16 oz. spray bottle and yes, costs just $1. (my stores do not always have this in stock, so you may have to check back a time or two) It works exactly like the Nature's Miracle enzyme product, which I used to buy at the pet store for SO much more. I have not tried it on furniture, but have used it on large areas of carpeting & padding that have been saturated with cat urine, & the smell is 100% gone. I swear by this product & would definitely give it a try on your couch. Test on a small area first, of course, for color fastness. This is a great product & for $1.00?? You can't find a better deal.

August 4, 20100 found this helpful

Be sure to take the cover off the cushion also if this is the area, you will need to treat the foam etc. too.

August 11, 20102 found this helpful

I have the same problem. Got a nice couch given to me by a friend but their cat must have peed on it at some point. The problem is that this couch is of a leather type material and the cushions aren't removable. I tried the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap trick and it didn't seem to work between the cushions. It's starting to stink up my little apartment. Am I going to have to just toss the couch?

November 9, 20130 found this helpful

I got cat urine out of my leather chair with white distilled vinegar. I think I just used straight vinegar. The cat then sprayed my micro fiber sofa. I pulled the covers of the cushions and washed them with vinegar and borox in the washing machine and I don't smell anything on them. I sprayed the foam of the cushions with 50/50 mix vinegar and water covered with plastic and keeping my fingers crossed. So far the vingar has worked beautifully for me. Also once it dries the oder goes away (well in this case both odors). Good Luck.

May 29, 20160 found this helpful

Oxyclean powder in the laundry aisle!!!

August 17, 20160 found this helpful

My cat peeded on my love seat and I cleaned it with pet carpet cleaner and it did not work. Just looking for a home remedy I might be able to use.

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September 23, 2011

My cat is peeing on my couch. I need a strong remedy to get the smell out. I have tried citrus pet cleaners, vinegar and baking soda, Nature's Miracle, etc. He doesn't seem to avoid the area. Please help.

By Kristen


September 24, 20110 found this helpful

Regardless of advice or advertisement the only way is to have a professional upholstery cleaner come in. Even then there is no guarantee of success.

September 24, 20110 found this helpful

The professionals have excellent products for getting cat pee out, but the cat will continue to use your couch as a toilet because that's now part of his territory and he's doing what male cats do to mark it.


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September 26, 20110 found this helpful

Natures Miracle may not work if you have used other chemicals before you apply it. It needs to be soaked deep into the cushion and allowed to dry for possibly several days before the smell will be gone. Try some deterent scents to keep him away form the spot. My favorite is to lay a piece of aluminum foil on the spot. they hate to step in it. good luck.

June 29, 20160 found this helpful

I used a combination of fresh and clean animal oder w/oxiclean in it. Only thing I've used that really works. Spray it on and oder is really gone. In washables purex laundry detergent w. ./Zout. I had. An entire laundry basket with my good clothes left for a weekend and had a pet sitter and Diva my raised on a bottle cat soaked the entire basket. Used cold water that detergent and a cup of baking soda on them came out sparkling clean with no oder!!! Yay!!!

July 9, 20160 found this helpful

A good idea is to by incontinence pads for people and wrap them around the cushions after cleaning them and machine washing the covers. Then , at least the next time it will not soak into the cushions. I actually replaced my cushions with some large floor cushions I found at Walmart. I still have areas that my male cat sprayed on the outside of the couch. I will never get a male again. I used a black light on my walls and found places I never knew he connected with. It was so bad that when I had new flooring put in one store refused to come in to remove my carpet.

August 14, 20160 found this helpful

Female cats can be just as bad.

September 25, 20160 found this helpful

Is "fresh and clean animal oder" a product? also, "Zout"????

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November 9, 2013

I just bought couches from a lady, without realizing how bad the smell really was. I feel like the cat urine has sat on the couch for a very long time and I am having trouble cleaning it. So far I have steam cleaned the couches with cleaner and water, then I sprayed Nature's Miracle on them the next day and I still smell it! Do I need to soak the couches in order for it to work?

Please help! I need a better solution for this nasty problem!



November 18, 20130 found this helpful

Nature's Miricle works by letting the bacterial spores turn into the bacteria that eat the urine. You need to allow time for the bacteria to replicate. They will keep on replicating as long as they have a food supply, ie, the urine. They turn the urine into carbon dioxide and water.

This completely removes the urine and the odor. You also need to soak the couch parts enough to keep them wet enough for the bacteria to travel and to stay alive. I completely cleaned a mattress of cat urine by soaking the top of the mattress, applying the bacterial product, and then covering it with plastic bags for at least three days.

Ridex, the liquid or powder, is a less expensive product to use. It contains the same bacterial spores. They eat organic matter whether it is in a septic system or on a couch.

You can use a black light to see which parts of the couch have urine. You need to use it in the dark. The urine spots will look white.
Best wishes. Don't give up. I know this method works. Jean

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May 21, 2013

I can not sit on this couch without smelling the horrible stench of cat urine. I don't think anyone has ever tried to clean it before. It is leather or faux leather, and brand new. And anything that touches it ends up smelling bad too. It is so disgusting. Please tell me we didn't waste $1200 on furniture.

By Madeline


June 19, 20131 found this helpful

I use a cleaning product called Unique Natural Products Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator. It's a bacterial cleaner that breaks down the urine. You need to soak everything that smells bad in the stuff, and let it sit overnight, at least. Then you can use a hand held carpet cleaner or shop vac to suck up some of the moisture. Putting the couch/cushions outside in bright sunlight at this point would help too.

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November 14, 2012

I have a cat that has urinated on my couch more than once. I have cleaned it with vinegar and my Bissel and currently have used Urine Out 2xs w/o sucking it up with the Bissel because I read the cleaner needs to get down into wherever the urine has gotten into. It smells better, but there is still an underlying odor and I'm worried the couch is going to get "marked" again. I don't know what else to do.

By Cathy


November 14, 20120 found this helpful

Hi, not sure if you found a solution to your problems or not, but check out the scat mat on amazon,very good product. Also, please make sure you have your cat spayed regardless if it's an inside cat. A male cat that is not fixed can spray/pee on everything.

Anytime a cat pees on stuff please get it checked for a urine tract infection, usually that is the problem in 99% of of cats that are peeing around the home even if they still also use the litter box or not.

Walmart has cleaners with enzymes to help with cat urine smell.
Good luck :)
ps,maybe this will help you or others who may read this.

i have 15 cats and we had to rip up carpet in the whole house(training and other issues) we are replacing with laminate hardwood floors but to keep our house and our sanity we are buying fencing from lowes to make a cat area where they are able to go outside (safe in fencing area) where they can pee, run around and relax,we are also going to cut plywood to make shelf like thingys and carpet them to give them places to lay higher up (didn't figure out how to connect them yet) since cats like to be higher up on things.

We will buy a dog/cat door and put it in our wall in our family room so they can come and go as they please to the fence in area. They will be shut out though from the other parts of the house since they love to destroy our house playing running ect.

However we will allow them between 2 to 3 hours a day to come in our space. I'm thinking an hour and a half in the morning while I'm relaxing and drinking my coffee and able to keep an eye on them. Then again just after dinner time to play with them,give snacks and have our bonding family time. I hope it works the way I plan because I don't want to have to get rid of my cats. Out of all the cats we only adopted 2 of them, 14 years old now. The rest adopted me lol. 3 came to me pregnant and all gave birth just days apart.

All have been fixed. Not sure what state you are in, but if you have medicaid, some states pay up to 3 animals a year to get fixed and rabies shots. Also spca and rabies shots only charge 25 for males and 35 for females; very cheap and worth it.

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February 5, 2018

There are commercial products that can help remove the odor. Additionally, spraying with a vinegar and water mixture and blotting well can also help. Always do a spot test when cleaning upholstered furniture. This is a page about getting rid of cat urine odor from a microfiber couch.

Cat sitting on a microfiber couch.


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 1, 2007
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August 5, 2010

Help! I've been given a beige velour sofa by my nephew and he has two cats at home. The sofa is lovely, if a bit dusty, but it stinks of cats!


May 31, 2007
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November 20, 2006
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