Cleaning Up Accidents: The Best Enzyme Cleaner for Cat Urine

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TL;DR: If you’re looking for the best enzyme cleaner for cat urine, then the Thornell Cat Odor-Off is your best bet.

Price is not a good indicator of how effective these enzyme cleaners are. You’ll need to find the right one for the cleaning job.

There are many reasons why house cats develop inappropriate bathroom behavior. If your cat urinates outside of the litter box, and this behavior is sudden, then you’ll need to pay closer attention. The reason could range from litter box hygiene to urinary tract health problems. 

Talk to your vet about how you can help your cat get back into proper toilet behavior. Never punish your cat for these accidents. It may worsen the situation, and it is never really the right solution. 

Here are some tips on how you can clean up cat urine more effectively and efficiently.

What is the best way to clean up cat urine?

Clean it asap: Whenever possible, clean up the cat urine as soon as possible. If you’re able to catch it before the urine starts to decompose, you won’t need to deal with the awful odor. Fresh urine never smells as bad as old urine. It is the process of decomposing of the compound urea that gives off the stale urine smell. But the catch is that fresh urine doesn’t give off much smell, making it harder to spot. 

Use a black light: If you missed the train on cleaning the urine while it’s fresh, fret not. Shining a black light around the area will help you spot the urine spots. Black light touches are fairly inexpensive. A good quality one will be able to shine the spots brighter, making it easier to notice them even if they are fading as you’re cleaning them. Often, you’ll need multiple passes to eradicate all traces of urine.

Use enough cleaning solution: Always start with blotting the spot. You would want to get as much of the urine out of the surface/material as possible first. Then apply the enzyme cleaning solution to the cat urine spot according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Apply liberally. You’ll need to saturate the spot in order for the enzymes to work effectively. In the case of absorbent materials like carpets or rugs, urine spots are like icebergs. What is visible at the surface is just the tip of the iceberg. A good general rule of thumb is to apply twice the area size of the spot.

To fully eliminate cat urine from porous and absorbent materials like carpets, you’ll need to flush the urine out. To do that, you’ll need equal or more volume of liquid to flow into the material to flush out the urine.

Allow to dry thoroughly: After applying the cleaning solution, always allow the spot to dry completely before attempting to assess the result. If you’re dealing with old dry urine, the smell can sometimes worsen when you apply the enzyme cleaner. This is because the dry urine crystals are activated by moisture, and will start releasing malodor. 

Keep a wet-dry vacuum on hand if possible. This allows you to apply a good amount of enzyme cleaner and not damage the carpet. You’ll be able to extract the cleaning liquid out and help quicken the drying process.   

Do enzyme cleaners work on cat urine?

There are many cleaning solutions in the market that are advertised for getting rid of cat urine stain and odor. Enzyme-based formulas are becoming much more common these days and for a good reason. Enzyme cleaners remain one of the most effective solutions for getting rid of cat urine. It works to eliminate both the odor and stain. 

Effectiveness: Enzyme-based formulas that specifically target urine often are very effective. What you gain in effectiveness, you lose in versatility. Enzymes are highly specific. A specific type of enzyme is needed to break down a specific type of soil. 

Safety: You should always dilute the solution accordingly. This is a safety measure you can and should follow. Using a more concentrated solution that called for doesn’t necessarily translate as more effective cleaning. Use the enzyme cleaner safely and stick to the advised dilution ratio. 

According to a 2012 risk assessment, enzyme cleaner poses two main risk concerns. One, incorrect dilution ratio (i.e. too concentrated) causes eye, skin and respiratory system irritation. And two, proper ventilation is necessary. With that in mind, you should keep your pets away from while cleaning. Allow airflow into the space by opening up the windows. 

What to look out for: Fragrance is one of the biggest complaints of pet urine cleaners. Manufacturers sometimes use them to mask odor, which is an ineffective method. Other times, fragrance is added to the formula to give the room a ‘fresh’ clean smell. 

But if the enzyme was not effective with breaking down and ‘eating’ the soil (urine, in this case), the fragrance just adds another layer of weird odor to it. A good formulation will not need to hide behind fragrance, the enzyme itself should do the trick. Plus, fragrances are generally not good for our pet’s sensitive sense of smell.    

Thornell Cat Odor-Off

Best professional-grade enzyme cleaner for cat urine

The Thornell Cat Odor-Off is one of the best in class if you want a very hard working cleaning solution. Like the Bissell Professional Pet Urine Eliminator, this formula also doesn’t use enzymes as the base. It’s formulation is not your typical run-of-the-mill enzyme-based cleaner, and it actually contains essential oils. 

This is rather unusual given how dangerous essential oils can be to pets. And although it contains a proprietary blend of essential oils, it is still a very safe formula. So safe that you can actually spray it directly on the animal’s bodies (not at the eyes, of course). 

This formula is recommended for both residential and commercial use. It can handle smells in vet hospitals and kennels, and it can certainly handle a household of a few pets. The scent is noticeable, but it is still not as overwhelming as the Nature’s Miracle or Sunny & Honey formulas. 

The manufacturer notes that the scent is not to mask the smell, but the Thornell Cat Odor-Off is certainly one of the strongest smelling options in the brand’s lineup. It makes sense for the Cat Odor-Off to be formulated as such considering that it can neutralise even tomcat spray.  

This formula can be used in almost all types of surfaces, including carpets and upholstery. Use a dilution ratio of 4oz solution to 1 gallon water. There is another very similar formula but it’s meant for soaking old spots.

The Cat Odor-Off Soaker is ideal for both carpet and upholstery. It works straight out of the bottle, there’s no need for dilution. Simply squeeze the solution straight onto the spot and saturate the area. And for both versions, let it air dry. Repeat the process if necessary.

Pros: Very effective with cat urine, even tomcat spray

Cons: Scent can be overwhelming for some

Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator 

Best spot treatment enzyme cleaner for pet urine

This enzyme-based formulation is one of the popular pet stain and odor eliminator. It is versatile and can be used in many different areas around the house. From the floor to the laundry, and everything in between. It can come very handy when you’re living in a highrise, and you use astroturf or artificial grass as your dog’s toilet. 

It of course works wonderfully on cat litter boxes as well. Our cats like to pee on the edge of the box, and urine will drip down the sides of the box. These are perfect occasions for this spray. Just a quick sprint, and wipe away the residue. Voila! Good as new.   

This formula is powerful as a spot treatment for any cat urine stains or odor. It comes in a ready-to-use formula in a spray bottle. The gallon bottle is also a ready-to-use formula. It’s convenient to use and there’s no need to dilute. However the cost does add up. If you’re planning to use it for mopping the floor or give the entire carpet a do-over, there are more economical options for that.

The Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator also works on tomcat spray. You can spray it directly on the wall and wipe away any residue. Tomcat spray has a much stronger odor and stickier consistency. This spray can be used to deter them from re-soiling the area. 

When using this on old stains, you’ll need to saturate the spot well. Let it sit overnight if possible before blotting up any access solution. Similar to the TriNova Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover Eliminator, if you’re using this on the carpet or rug, it is advisable to vacuum the area after it has air dried. 

Pros: Effective and versatile against all types of pet soils

Cons: Pricey, long wait time

Bubbas Super Strength Commercial Enzyme Cleaner 

Runner up: Enzyme cleaner for pet urine

Bubbas specializes in enzyme-based cleaning solutions for pets. The brand is family owned and operated and their products are made in the US.

They have 2 main products: the Super Strength Commercial Pet Stain and Odor Enzyme Cleaner and the Super Steamer Carpet Cleaner. The Super Strength is the more versatile of the two. It can be used in various areas of the household. 

The stain removing capability extends beyond just pet stains. It can be used as a laundry pretreatment. This formula can be used to spot clean cat urine spots on carpets and upholstery. But if you’re looking to give the entire carpet a good clean, then opt for their Super Steamer Carpet Cleaner. That product is meant to be used in carpet cleaning machines.

This formula can be used to treat cat urine odor as well. But often, by the time we notice the cat has gone toilet somewhere he shouldn’t, the damage is already done. Old cat urine is not the same as fresh urine. The urine decomposes and seeps further into the surface (if it’s a porous surface). The urine will dry up and form crystals, and these crystals are the culprit of the smell. 

You’ll need a large amount of the enzyme cleaner for this type of cleaning job. You’ll need to clean it multiple times, so get the gallon size bottle in that case. You can use this cleaner as a concentrate or as-is.

For mopping hard non-porous surfaces, like hardwood floors and tiles, you can dilute the enzyme cleaner quite liberally. But for spot cleaner cat urine spots, for example, you’ll have to use it full strength with no dilution. 

The dilution ratio varies depending on the situation. On the product label, there is a number to text the manufacturer to get instructions. If you’re unsure how to tackle a specific cleaning job, then you can get in touch with them.

Pros: Versatile

Cons: Need a good amount for cleaning cat urine spots

Nature’s Miracle Just For Cat Stain and Odor Remover 

Budget enzyme cleaner for cat urine

The Nature’s Miracle Just For Cat Stain and Odor Remover is the brand’s original product made for cats. This original formula is scented with a citrus smell.

They’ve since launched two other scents: lavender and melon burst. The formula is made up of 4 main components:  isopropyl alcohol, surfactants, enzymatic blend and odor counteractant. 

Isopropyl Alcohol is used for disinfecting, but it’s not the star of the show in this formula. If you’re looking to disinfect, you’ll have better luck elsewhere. The enzymes break down the soil and it can be lifted away from the fibers by the surfactants. The scent can be overwhelming for some, but it usually improves once the spot is completely dried.

This cleaning solution can be used on most flooring like tile, sealed hardwood, carpet, linoleum and vinyl. But avoid more delicate upholstery like leather, silk, wool or suede. Keep it away from unsealed or unfinished flooring like untreated hardwood or unsealed concrete. The solution works on

To use, blot the spot dry as much as possible. Spray directly on the cat pee spot, use it as-is, without diluting the solution. For carpets or upholstery, saturate the spot with a good amount of solution. You can refer to this guide on the right amount to use in each case. Let the solution sit for at least 10 minutes. 

To remove stain, blot the stain with a cloth. But if you’re removing urine odor, you won’t need to blot off the solution. In both cases, you’ll need to allow the spot to air dry completely for at least 24 hours. Only after the spot has dried off completely, you’ll be able to assess if the stain or odor is completely removed. Repeat the process if necessary. 

Pros: Low cost per user

Cons: Scent can be overwhelming

TriNova Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover Eliminator 

Natural enzyme cleaner for pet urine

The TriNova Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover Eliminator is an enzyme based spray for spot cleaning. According to the manufacturer, this formula uses a blend of essential oils.

Main ingredients include water, mint essential oil, bamboo essential oil, natural surfactant blend and other proprietary ingredients. Natural ingredients don’t necessarily translate as harmless.

The manufacturer assures that the essential oils are heavily diluted, to the point that’s safe for pets. It is very effective on cat urine, especially on carpets. However, when used on carpets, it is advisable to vacuum up the area after the solution dries up. We should err on the side of caution and remove all residue.

One of the biggest disadvantages is the scent. This formulation has a very strong scent. It has some masking capabilities. You’ll need to take precaution when using it, make sure to maintain good ventilation.

The scent can linger on even days after the solution has dried. The scent is overwhelming and not recommended if you’re sensitive. This scent will only worsen when the weather is warm and humid. 

This formula works on all types of surfaces and areas. It can be used on most types of flooring and upholstery. It can work on pet areas, including their beds and litter boxes. Keep your cats away from the area when you’re applying this solution. Let it air dry completely before letting them back into the area. We would recommend this only when you’re dealing with a difficult case of tough urine stain. 

This product doesn’t seem to prevent the cats from using the same spots. It doesn’t stop recurrance. It is always advisable to clean the urine stain as soon as it happens. Fresh urine stain is much easier to get rid of because the urine has not decomposed.

Pros: Effective on cat urine stain but not so much on odor

Cons: Very overwhelming smell

What is the best enzyme cleaner for dog urine?

In most cases, you’ll be able to use the same formula for dog urine as for cat urine. According to the International Renal Interest Society (IRIS), cat urine is usually more concentrated than dog urine. But data shows that it is not by much. Typically, normally hydrated dogs will have an USG of 1.015 to 1.045, and cats have an USG of 1.035 to 1.060. 

The USG (urine specific gravity) gives an approximate guide on the “urinary solute concentration” of the animal. It helps assess renal function. Unless the animal has abnormal renal function, the urine concentration between dogs and cats are fairly comparable. We can infer that enzyme cleaners that work on cat urine will perform similarly with dog urine. If however you would want a specific product for just dogs, Thornell’s Dog Odor-Off Carpet Concentrate is a very good option. There’s also a soaker solution and sprayer in the same product line.

Homemade cleaning solution for pet urine

Homemade enzyme cleaner: What about homemade enzyme cleaners for pet urine? Do they work as efficiently as store bought one? Generally speaking, homemade recipes are not as effective. Unless you have a lot of knowledge of the exact type of enzyme needed, the chemical process of breaking down the urine won’t happen effectively.  

Homemade vinegar cleaner: Does vinegar remove cat urine odor? Yes, it does a fairly good job. But only on hard non-porous surfaces. It doesn’t help with cat urine stains on carpets and bedding. Dilute 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water into a spray bottle. Some homemade recipes call for equal parts of each, but we find that a 1:2 ratio is sufficient as well. Spray on the surface and wipe it off with a paper towel.