Remove Cat Urine Odor and Stains from Your Hardwood Floors

So we just purchased our first house. Among many of the improvements yet to be made, our number one priority was the stench. What kind of stench? Cat pee. Lots and lots of cat pee. Unfortunately for the sellers, we think they could have banked around $30,000 more if they would have just removed the smell from the home. I can only imagine how many potential buyers didn’t make it past the front door do to the unwelcoming odor permeating every inch of the house.

The home was previously owned by an old lady who passed away months before we saw the home for the first time. We were told at one time that there were over 50 cats in that house. I can’t imagine what 50 cats would look like, let alone in one home. Yuck. Needless to say, the smell was convincing enough to make anyone believe the 50 cat story. Aside from the smell, the house had tons of charm and just begged to be made over. With a little cash and a lot of prayer, my fiance and I decided we’d be the daring duo to take on the ominous odor.

After countless hours of on-line research, talking to friends who had faced the same thing, and conversing with countless pet store employees, Jarrod (my fiance) and I devised a plan. The origin of the odor was obviously the cat urine. The lady’s children had removed the carpet to reveal some potentially (and I do mean potentially) beautiful hardwood floors. Underneath the urine spotted floor we hoped we’d find shining hardwood floors filled with charm and character.

So, if you’re looking to tackle some stinky stained hardwood, here’s what I tried, what worked, and what didn’t.

Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover: The container said that it would remove 100% of the odor if applied correctly. Granted, the gravity of the situation I had to deal with was probably much greater than what the majority of their customers have to deal with. We used about four gallons of the product in total. We poured the gallons into a garden sprayer and bathed every floor in our house with the stuff. We let it sit over night. When I came back the next day, 80% of the smell was gone. That was, in essence, 80% exciting, 20% disappointing. There was still more to be done.

Hydrogen Peroxide: After racking my brain for more ideas to tackle the smell, as well as the stains, I was running low on ideas. I hit the Internet again and found a message board targeted at urine stained hardwood. One suggestion for stain lifting was hydrogen peroxide. The lady swore by the method and I was looking to try anything. My friend and I bought up every bottle of peroxide from a local pharmacy and took to the floors. We picked out a particularly disgusting stain and decided to test our new product. When we poured the peroxide onto the stain it immediately began to bubble up a nasty yellowish brownish color accompanied by a putrid stench of urine. As gross as it was, it was pretty exciting. We could literally see the urine resurrecting from the floor.

As the urine came up, the stains did too–but only to an extent. The process became the following:
1. Coat stain with hydrogen peroxide and let stand.
2. Remove lifted stain with disposable towel to disallow nastiness from resettling into the wood.
3. Re-coat stain with hydrogen peroxide and scrub stain with a bristle brush for 5 minutes.
4. Mop up lifted stain with clean pure water.
5. Repeat if necessary.

Also, we did notice that the floors looked better the next morning than how we thought we had left them the evening before. So if you think you’re making progress, give it overnight to see how far you’ve actually gotten with the stains.

Good Old Fashioned Bleach: After we had scrubbed and scrubbed with the peroxide, we had successfully tamed most of the stains and more importantly lifted the smell. However, there still seemed to be this lingering odor about the house that needed to be addressed as well as some stubborn black stains that needed to be removed. Some friends brought out their parents and suggested a good treatment of bleach water. We obliged. We mixed about 3 parts bleach with 7 parts water in a bucket. We then covered every floor with a healthy coat of the potent mixture. (I would strongly advise a mask and goggles for this job. Also be sure to be working in a very well ventilated environment when working with any chemical.) We returned to the house about 3 hours after treating the floors with the bleach. The smell was gone!

The remaining stains left will be easily removed with a sander. And any remaining odor will be permanently sealed into the floor with polyurethane. If you have a similar odor problem I highly recommend these products, but be aware that different floors may react differently. It is imperative to test out each product in an inconspicuous area to see if it is safe for your home. I would be sure to remove any children or pets from the house when using these potent chemicals as well. Be cautious and smart and you’ll find yourself with the hardwood floors that you had been hoping for.

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