Endsleigh specialise in Home Contents Insurance for people in the UK

Urine: Never loses it’s thrill

Tips & Tools

Loyal readers may remember the cat-pee fiasco two summers ago, before our hardwoods had been refinished. When the weather got hot, the floor boards actually became wet and sticky with the years of urine that had soaked into them. (The previous owners had very naughty kitties and, apparently, no noses.)

The posts about cat urine continue to be our most popular. Even more popular than the one where I mention Jake Gyllenhaal naked, though that’s right up there. It seems that there’s just not enough information on the web about how to cure this pretty common problem. I did my fair share of research back in the day, and didn’t find too much either. Mostly because there’s no easy answer… cat pee is terrible, house-invading stuff. The scent of it lingers like nothing else. I still smell it in our upstairs hallway, where a rainbow striped rug and decaying carpet pad didn’t do much to keep the cat urine out of those hardwoods. We painted the hallway floor to seal in the smell, but it didn’t work well enough. And I smell it in our downstairs bathroom, which once held the PO’s litterbox and will one day be gutted entirely, since that’s the only way I can see that smell EVER going away.

I get a lot of commentors begging for help with this problem. I’ve had two in the last week – probably because the summer heat is making the smell stronger. My best solutions were the baking soda sprinkled liberally over the area (it soaked up a lot of pee and made the house smell much better) and the total floor refinishing (sanding, staining, sealing with poly). Everything else, including some expensive specialty cleaning products, was pretty much a waste of time. I do hear vinegar works, but I didn’t try that so I can’t vouch for it.

Our last two commentors have had urine of the HUMAN variety on the steps (great kegger? nah, young kids!) and they’re looking for help. Here’s what they have to say:

patty had this to say on 06.13.07:

i need to know what is the best thing to get human urine out of wood floors and it is the floor of the house not any overlay wood floor. I afriad to carpet it and the smell still comes thru. It is getting hot and i don’t know how old the smell is. I heard alot about the vinegar please let me know if this works or just a quick fix Thank Patty

Sarah had this to say on 06.18.07:

Our son urinated on our steps trying to make it to the bathroom. I thought I cleaned it good until the hot weather came, and it stinks horrible. We use those stairs often, and I’m wondering what you think the best thing might work since it was on the stairs. Does peroxide damage your hard wood floors? Do I need to let it sit for a short time or at least 15 min?

Is there anyone out there who can help them with these questions? I don’t want to leave them with the scent o’ pee any longer than necessary!

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Leslie had this to say on 06.18.07:

All I can say is, I can’t wait to see what Google search terms lead folks to your site now!!

Well, that and that I hope the pee from our obsessive marker dog hasn’t soaked through both the carpet and plywood that’s over the floor where he stays… we’ll see soon!

Gary had this to say on 06.18.07:

Rather than getting the smell out, try a couple of coats of shellac to seal in the smell. I did this on a couple of oil soaked wooden parts crates from NCR that we wanted to use to put potatoes in and it worked good. Has worked fine for all of our wood floors too. It works on those iritating stains that bleed through paint also. I know, I know, I should apply to be a regional sales manager for “Bulls Eye”!

Chuck had this to say on 06.19.07:

I have not used the stuff but a friend swears by it. I have also used Nature’s Miracle as well.


Old House Lover had this to say on 06.19.07:

Check out ReNew Systems, Inc.’s “Enzyme Family” of products, specifically “EC 655 Heavy Duty Degreaser” (works great for cat urine odors) and “OdorOut 200”.

Old House Lover had this to say on 06.19.07:

I guess the URL in that post didn’t come through, here it is again ReNew Systems, Inc.

Old House Lover had this to say on 06.19.07:

For some reason the URL for ReNew Systems, Inc. in my previous comment didn’t come through so, here it is,
I know this sounds like an ad but their stuff really works, we’ve used the EC 655 and to our noses eliminated the urine odor.

erin had this to say on 06.22.07:

i remember when this first came up on this post (im de-lurking here) and thought how miserable. well, we just purchased a home that had severe dog pee stains on the hardwoods when my husband removed the carpets (saint). they were wet and sticky, just like mindy said- even though the dog had been gone for 2 years. we planned on having them refinished and the floor guy said they wouldnt come out. well imagine my surprise when i got home yesterday and they were beautiful. i did a lot of research on this and the most intriguing fix (aside from the expensive enzyme stuff) was the peroxide. i had even brought some over to the house to try but i didnt. so i guess i can safely say that refinishing does the trick, unfortunately it seems that nothing works for everyone.
ps mindy- i live on onondaga hill and have been following your site since it was featured in the post standard. you guys are an inspiration! keep up the good work, and relax a little too :)

richard Sinnott had this to say on 08.27.07:

if i buy a house riddled wiht cat odor, will a gut renovation floors/sub/drywall removal and replacement fix it? thanks

We love to hear from you, dear readers.

Please note: Comments are moderated to keep out the spam. It may take a while for them to show on the page.