How to Get Cat Pee Out of Wood Floors

Cat urine can be one of the toughest stains to remove from wood floors. The ammonia in cat pee can quickly damage and discolor wood. But don’t lose hope! With the right cleaning methods and products, you can get rid of cat urine stains and make your wood floors look brand new again.

Understanding Cat Urine and How It Damages Wood

Cat urine contains high levels of ammonia, which acts as a corrosive agent and can alter the color and damage the finish of wooden floors. Here are some key things to understand about cat urine and wood floors:

  • Uric Acid – Cat urine contains uric acid, which can form crystals that etch into unsealed wood. This leads to damaged areas that allow urine to seep deeper into the wood.
  • Bacteria – Bacteria feed on the proteins present in cat urine. As the bacteria multiply, it leads to a strong, stubborn urine odor and stain.
  • pH Level – With a pH ranging from 5.5 to 7, cat urine is on the acidic side. This higher acidity breaks down the uric acid into ammonia, which is damaging to wood.
  • Salts – Salts like calcium oxalate and magnesium phosphate remain behind once cat urine dries. These salts have a crystalline structure that enables the urine to penetrate deeper into wooden materials.
  • Color Change – The acids and salts present in cat urine react with the tannins in wood, leading to color changes and dark stains.

Clearly, cat pee contains some highly corrosive and staining elements that can wreak havoc on wood floors. So the sooner you can clean it, the better chance you have of saving your floors.

How to Remove Fresh Cat Urine from Wood Floors

When cat urine is still wet or fresh, it is the easiest to remove from wood floors. Here are some effective methods:

Blot Urine Immediately

As soon as you notice the cat pee, grab some paper towels and blot up as much of the urine as possible. Blot gently and avoid rubbing, which can spread the urine further into the wood grain. The quicker you can absorb the fresh urine, the less of it will seep into and under the floor’s finish.

Use an Enzyme Cleaner

Enzyme cleaners work well for fresh cat urine stains on wood. They contain bacteria that feed on the organic compounds in cat pee and break it down. Some popular enzyme cleaner options include:

  • Nature’s Miracle – This is a trusted pet stain and odor remover safe for use on finished wood. It contains bio-enzymatic formulas tailored for cat urine.
  • Simple Solution Pet Stain and Odor Remover – This non-toxic cleaner with pro-bacteria and enzymes starts working as soon as it makes contact with cat urine. It’s safe for all floors.
  • Bissell Pet Stain Eraser – Containing activated oxygen, this spray breaks down stains and leaves behind a fresh scent. It’s designed for new pet messes.

Spray or blot the enzyme cleaner directly onto the cat pee spot. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes before blotting and scrubbing with a damp cloth. The enzymes will break down the uric acid in cat urine as they eat away at the stain. Follow up by rinsing the area with clean water and allow the floor to fully dry.

Use a Vinegar Solution

White vinegar is mildly acidic, which helps counteract the alkaline salts in cat urine that damage wood. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and spray or pour it over fresh cat pee on wood floors. Allow it to soak in for 5-10 minutes. Use a clean cloth to blot and scrub away the vinegar solution. Rinse with clean water and thoroughly dry the area. The vinegar smell will fade as it dries.

Sprinkle Baking Soda

Baking soda can be used to deodorize and neutralize cat urine right after it happens. Sprinkle a good layer of baking soda over the fresh pee spot. Allow it to sit and absorb for 10-15 minutes before vacuuming up. Baking soda will help freshen the area and soak up remaining moisture from the urine.

With prompt blotting and cleaning, you stand a good chance of removing a fresh cat pee accident from wood floors without too much trouble or permanent staining.

Tackling Dried or Old Cat Urine on Wood

The most challenging scenario is dealing with an old, dried out cat urine stain that has set into the wood floorboards. Here are some of the most effective cleaning solutions and techniques to remove stubborn dried cat pee.

Use a Stain Remover with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can help lift dried cat urine stains from wood floors. Look for a specialty stain remover made for pet stains that contains hydrogen peroxide, such as:

  • Biokleen Bac-Out Stain+Odor Remover – This cleaner uses plant enzymes along with hydrogen peroxide against tough pet stains like old cat pee.
  • Clorox Urine Remover for Stains and Odors – Formulated with hydrogen peroxide, this Clorox product breaks down old urine stains.

Apply the hydrogen peroxide cleaner directly on the stained area and let it soak in for 10-15 minutes. Use a scrub brush or sponge to gently agitate the area and lift the staining. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. The hydrogen peroxide will bubble and fizz while destroying the stubborn urine salts and stains.

Use a Poultice Paste

For really set-in cat urine stains, a poultice paste is one of the best ways to draw out the staining from wood. A poultice paste is formulated to break the bonds between the stain and the wood fibers. Here’s how to make and apply a urine stain poultice:

Materials Needed:

  • Bentonite clay powder
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Distilled water
  • Plastic wrap
  • Plastic bag

Mixing the Paste:

  • In a bowl, make a thick paste using 1 part bentonite clay powder to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and just enough distilled water to form a spreadable paste.

Applying the Paste:

  • Use a plastic card or putty knife to spread poultice paste to about 1⁄4 inch thick over the urine stain.
  • Cover the paste with plastic wrap.
  • Put a plastic bag over the wrap to seal and prevent drying.
  • Leave the poultice paste on for 24-48 hours. It will slowly draw out the urine salts and stains.
  • Remove plastic and peel off the dried poultice. Rinse the floor thoroughly.

The poultice paste should remove even stubborn, dried-in cat urine stains from wood floors. Reapply if needed for tough stains.

Sand Away Stains

For etched-in cat urine stains where the finish is damaged, sanding may be required. Use 120-150 grit sandpaper to gently sand and buff away just the top stained layer of the wood flooring. Try to only sand the minimum area needed to remove staining. Avoid sanding too aggressively, which can lead to uneven spots.

Once sanded, vacuum and wipe the floor to remove all dust. When dry, apply a new coat of wood floor finish, such as polyurethane. Follow the finish directions for proper drying time. Sanding should only be done as a last resort for deep-set stains.

Refinish Heavily Damaged Areas

For sections of wood flooring that are extensively damaged or warped from cat urine, a full refinishing may be required. This involves sanding down the stained boards fully and reapplying 3-4 fresh coats of polyurethane or varnish.

Consider calling in a professional hardwood floor refinisher for big damaged areas. Refinishing is intensive work but can ultimately restore wood floors that seem beyond saving.

Helpful Tips When Cleaning Cat Urine

Here are some additional tips to make cleaning cat urine from wood floors more effective:

  • Always use a damp cloth for blotting and scrubbing stains – dry cloths can spread the urine deeper into wood.
  • Rinse cleaned areas thoroughly with clean water to remove all urine residue and cleaning solution.
  • Run a fan or dehumidifier to accelerate drying after water cleaning urine spots.
  • For stubborn odors, seal cleaned areas with an odor-blocking wood primer.
  • Avoid harmful cleaning products like ammonia and bleach that can damage wood floors.
  • If stains remain after cleaning, sanding and refinishing may be needed to restore the wood floor’s appearance.
  • Prevent future accidents by making sure your cat has enough litter boxes and keeping their location clean.

Common Questions about Removing Cat Urine from Wood Floors

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting cat pee stains out of wood flooring:

How long does cat urine take to stain wood floors?

Cat urine can soak into and stain unfinished wood floors within hours. On newer wood floors with a protective finish, staining may take 1-2 days to show. The quicker you clean cat pee, the less time it has to damage floors.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove cat urine smell?

Yes, hydrogen peroxide is highly effective at removing odors from cat urine accidents. It oxidizes the ammonia and helps break down the bacteria in cat pee that causes lingering odors. Be sure to rinse hydrogen peroxide cleaners thoroughly.

What removes old cat urine stains and smell?

For old dried cat urine stains and smells, use an enzymatic cleaner containing hydrogen peroxide. Let it soak 15-20 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. Baking soda and vinegar also help deodorize. Worst stains may need sanding and refinishing.

Will cat pee eventually come out of wood floors?

No, cat urine will not come out of wood floors by itself over time. The acidity and salts penetrate and bind to the wood, causing permanent stains if not promptly cleaned. Use the right pet stain cleaner to remove cat pee.

Can you use Clorox wipes on wood floors to clean up cat urine?

Avoid using Clorox wipes and bleach products directly on wood floors. The chemicals can react with the wood and cause discoloration. Use enzymatic cleaners formulated for pet stains on wood instead.

Preventing Cat Pee Accidents on Wood Floors

While cleaning up the occasional cat urine accident is expected, you’ll save your floors by taking some preventative steps:

  • Use a cat repellent spray on wood floors around litter boxes and high-traffic areas.
  • Restrict access to rooms with wood floors using baby gates until litter training improves.
  • Make sure cats have easy access to multiple, regularly cleaned litter boxes.
  • Clean accidents immediately with an enzyme cleaner to remove odors that attract repeat urination.
  • Consider a litter attractant powder or catnip spray to make litter boxes more enticing.
  • Take cats to the vet to rule out medical causes if urination outside the litter box persists.
  • Protect floors with vinyl carpet protectors or a tarp when litter training kittens.

With vigilance and the right cleaning methods, even longtime cat owners can save their wood floors from urine damage. While challenging, almost any cat pee stain or odor can be conquered with some persistent effort.


Cat urine can wreak havoc on beautiful wood floors by causing ugly stains, etched surfaces, malodors, and even permanent warping. Thankfully, with immediate blotting, enzymatic cleaners, hydrogen peroxide solutions, poultice pastes, sanding, and refinishing, you can successfully tackle both fresh and old cat pee accidents on wood. Stopping cat urine damage quickly and using the proper cleaning techniques for wood floors will allow you to eliminate those pesky cat pee stains and smells for good. With a little knowledge and elbow grease, you can get back to enjoying your home’s hardwood floors once again, pee-free.