How to Remove Cat Pee Smell from Leather

Remove Cat Pee Smell from Leather

When you have a cat in your home, especially a senior cat, accidents will happen. There will come a time when you sit down to relax only to catch a whiff of something you dread: cat pee. 

The smell is unmistakable. 

Pets have a variety of reasons for urinating outside of permitted spaces, including:

  • Incontinence
  • Accidents
  • Health Reasons
  • Rebellion
  • Marking Territory

No matter what the reason is, you will need to do what you can to get the smell out of the surface your cat peed on before it becomes a lingering problem. 

The smell of cat urine often signals to other cats that it is a territory marker, causing those cats to also mark their territory in that same location. 

Before you know it, your sofa might become ground zero for an epic cat pee war!

Assessing the Cat Pee Problem

Getting cat pee out of a surface can be troublesome enough, especially when it is a surface that is delicate and needs to be treated carefully. What’s even more problematic is getting rid of the smell, especially when you do not have as sensitive of a nose as cats do. 

This problem is made infinitely worse when you are working with a porous surface such as leather. The leather will absorb the urine, holding its scent faintly, causing your cats to be more inclined to pee there again. 

Because of this, you need to do what you can to remove the smell as quickly as you can once you know that it is there. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can go about doing this with simple household materials and cleaners. 

Does Cat Urine Smell Ever Go Away? 

The smell of cat urine is quite potent and won’t dissipate on its own for a long time. For this reason, it’s often necessary to use a variety of different methods to remove the odor and make sure it doesn’t become a persistent problem. 

In order to get rid of the smell of cat pee you will need to:

  • Clean the source of the cat pee odor
  • Use odor reducers and filters to trap and remove odor

How to Get Cat Pee Odor Out of Leather

Getting the smell of cat urine out of leather can be a troublesome process because of its a porous material which absorbs and holds odors more than other materials. To completely get rid of it, you will need specific products designed for this purpose. 

You need to get stain and odor removers that are not only enzyme cleaners, but are designed to be safe on genuine leather surfaces. 

You should also purchase leather conditioner to aid you in this process. 

Note: Always remember to test any products that will touch the leather in an inconspicuous area to ensure they won’t stain or cause any other adverse problems. 

Step-By-Step Guide to Removing Cat Pee Stain from Leather Sofa

Step 1: Remove Covers & Wash

First things first, you will want to disassemble the couch and remove the covers from the cushions, assuming that the cat urinated on the cushions. Washing the cushions thoroughly will remove urine that has soaked into them and help to get rid of the smell for both you and your cat.

Step 2: Soak Leather in Enzyme Cleaner

Soak the urinated area with an enzyme cleanerOpens in a new tab. that is deemed safe for leather surfaces. Unless the instructions on the cleaner indicate otherwise, you typically want to put as much of the cleaner down as there was urine so it can soak equally as far into the leather as possible.

Step 3: Let Dry

You should leave time for this product to dry and also determine if you need to apply another helping of the product to the leather to further get rid of the scent. In some cases, it may be worth doing anyway as your cat can smell things that you cannot, so it won’t hurt to go through another cleaning. 

Step 4: Reassemble and Apply Leather Conditioner

After you have finished with this and the leather and cushions are fully dried, you can reassemble the couch. 

From here, you will want to apply the leather conditionerOpens in a new tab. to the area that was urinated on. This conditioner helps to prevent drying from the urine evaporating, preventing cracking in the leather. 

Different types of leather may require different conditioners, so be mindful to purchase one that is designed to work with your kind of leather sofa. You can buff out the area afterward to remove any excess conditioners or oils that are left behind. 

Can You Use Vinegar on Leather to Reduce Cat Pee Odor? 

You can typically use a diluted vinegar on leather furniture, which is good news. Vinegar is a very common and very effective product for neutralizing bad odors and cleaning areas. 

Note: Always be mindful to dilute the vinegar with water so that it is not too harsh on the leather surface, and also make sure to test the diluted vinegar on a small area before applying it to the area where there was urine. 

Ideally, you should mix the vinegar in a solution of one part vinegar and one part water. You should use white vinegarOpens in a new tab. for this process as it is the safest for the leather couch and also one of the most effective types of vinegar for neutralizing odors. 

Once you have mixed the diluted vinegar together, you should take a clean washcloth and apply it to the area where the cat urinated. 

Naturally, the smell of this area will change from urine to vinegar, which will be unpleasant at first but it will ensure that the cat will not be smelling the urine either. If the smell of vinegar is particularly strong or bothersome, you can wipe down the area with a damp washcloth after the vinegar has had some time to absorb into the leather. 

This will reduce the smell of the vinegar, although if you have a strong sense of smell, there’s a good chance you will be smelling vinegar for a few days, which is arguably better that the smell of urine. 

How to Neutralize the Smell of Cat Urine

There are very few products that are specifically designed to neutralize the smell of cat urine, but there are a number of deodorizers out there that are designed to absorb bad smells of all kinds. 

Because odors are caused by microscopic particles of whatever the scent is coming from, deodorizers work to absorb those particles first so that they don’t reach your nose. Here are some common household items that can help neutralize the awful smell of cat pee:


Charcoal is one of the most well-known and effective deodorizers around. Charcoal is easy to obtain and often come in little bagsOpens in a new tab. that you can hang up around the affected area. 


Vinegar is another common odor neutralizer that is readily available in your pantry. As mentioned earlier, as long as you use diluted vinegar, you can generally use it safely on a leather surface to help absorb some of the smell. The one downside is that the area will then smell like vinegar, which is not a pleasant smell to most people. 

Other Household Deodorizers

Other common deodorizers are baking soda, lemon juice, fruits, and bread. 

Cat litter is meant to be a deodorizer, but a cat may be confused and think that litter on the couch indicates an area to urinate on, which is not the solution to getting rid of the smell of cat pee. 

Other than this, these products can be positioned near the offending area and will help neutralize the smell to ensure that you won’t have a urine-scented couch forever. 

Additional Resources: 

How to Get Rid of Cat Pee Smell: A Guide

It’s all fun and games until the cat pees in your house. Kitty tinkle is one of the most unique and pungent smells on the planet, perhaps rivaled only by the notorious durian fruit. Cleaning cat pee isn’t very intuitive either – it’s actually sort of like a science experiment.

Life Hack: Clean your leather furniture with vinegar

Life hack: Get rid of stains and brighten up dull-looking leather furniture with a mixture of water and white vinegar. How it works: Combine one part white vinegar and one part water and apply to a clean, soft cloth. Blot or gently wipe the stain on the leather and let dry.

Lara Kitt

When we aren't scooping up droppings to ensure a luxurious litter box experience for our fur babies, we are writing all sorts of stuff about cats for your enjoyment and knowledge.

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