How can I get old cat urine smell out of a mattress?

  • When we went on a weekend trip a few months ago, I forgot to leave the door open to the cat boxes. So the kitties used our mattress as a replacement. When we got home we cleaned up as best as we could. We bought an enzyme cleaner and some febreeze. We were satisfied with our efforts and tried to continue to use the mattress.

    However, a few days after cleaning, the smell of cat urine returned. The smell kept coming back after every cleaning so we decided to switch mattresses with an older one we had on a guest bed. It has been several months now and there is still a smell of cat urine that lingers on the mattress. We have kept the cats out of the guest bedroom so there have not been any additional accidents. We would like to get the smell out and buying a new mattress is not an option.

    What else can we do?

    Thank you for the reference. But I need to know if the methods suggested in that thread are OK to use on a mattress.

    Nature's Miracle would be and I don't see any issues with vinegar either. What would worry you about a mattress? At this point the mattress is effectively ruined anyways.

    Is the smell returning because the cats keep using the mattress or just because it wasn't cleaned well enough? In my experience, once a cat starts using something as a substitute litter box there is no stopping them from using it.

    The small print on the bottle of enzyme cleaner I use says that cleaning supplies will bind to the urine and prevent the enzyme from working. More enzyme cleaner is unlikely to help, but if you have more it can't hurt to try.

    Wrap the mattress in one of those sealed plastic covers after cleaning and drying per some of these instructions. Or just burn it and get a new one...

  • Amy

    Amy Correct answer

    7 years ago

    I would suggest that you attempt a complete soak of the area. Also, keep in mind that there may be multiple areas, some large, some small. I understand this will be quite challenging for a mattress.

    Please read the following for my reasoning, which is based on one company - but applies to all cleaners, enzymatic or not.

    An enzymatic cleaner such as Kids 'n' Pets (I use) sells their product in a large non-spraying bottle, similar to the water bottles used for bike rides. Before their website received an overhaul, they used to have a FAQ page which included "Why does Kids'n'Pets come in a squirt bottle and not a spray bottle?" They explained that the common problem with pet-stain-cleaners was that customers never soaked the area as thoroughly as the urine originally did. Urinating directly onto a carpet (or mattress) allows liquid to travel deep down and outward. Customers often spray the surface based on the stain they see or think is there - which always allowed most of the urine (deeper under the carpet) to stay untreated. This leads to reoccurring smell, which leads to customers thinking the product doesn't work. They explained how the large opening squirt bottle encourages customers to actually completely soak the area. This way the product will work, and the customer will be happy. (It was not an expensive product) They promoted simply using your own squirt bottle for stains if you're sure they are surface-only. Unfortunately the product has grown in popularity; their website has gotten fancy; and I cannot find this information anymore. However, the logic is sound. People often just need to use more product.

    Pick a product you're sure will work on urine, not just microbes. If it kills the microbes, but leaves urine in it's original "edible" state, more microbes will just move in later and make the smell again. Remember, it's not really the urine that smells, but the microbial action. You need something that will break down urine into a form that's not usable by the microbes which cause the smell.

    I have used Kids'n'Pets for cat accidents including: food-based vomit, bile-based vomit (very very neon green stains) (a medical issue, now treated), feces smears (cat eats long human hair and freaks out during defecation); and very old, very stubborn grease oil (car/mechanic) stains in carpet. I have not used it on urine, but I originally chose it due to fabulous reviews (mostly about urine).

    I would suggest buying an enzymatic cleaner in bulk from online and soaking as much of the mattress as you can. Try to sniff out all areas in advance and perhaps mark with a pen or marker. Use a black light (UV light) in the dark to find urine stains. Keep in mind that if you properly cleaned the surface - it may be impossible to find the stains visually. Try to remember where you cleaned before and soak those areas and/or use someone with an excellent nose.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM