How to get rid of a cat urine smell in a car seat

Updated June 19, 2018

When cats urinate on your car seat, it leaves a horrible smell that becomes worse in the confined environment of a car, even with the windows open. You need to take special measures to completely remove the urine and its odour, especially if the urine has seeped into the padding of the car seat. Remove the odour using natural, nontoxic ingredients. Follow a few steps to remove urine stains on your car's upholstery, along with the odour, to make your car smell fresh and clean.

Find cat urine stains using a black light if you do not know where your cat has urinated on your car seat, but can smell an odour.

Blot fresh urine stains with paper towels or a chamois. Press down on the cloths to get as much of the urine as you can to prevent it from seeping into the padding. For older stains, wet the stain with cold water first and then blot.

Wet the area with cold water and blot with fresh paper towels or other absorbent cloths again. Alternately, use a wet vacuum to absorb the liquid.

Soak the area with an enzymatic pet cleaner, like Nature's Miracle or Urine Gone, which naturally breaks down the urine and eliminates it. You can also use a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vinegar. Allow the area to dry overnight.

Scrub any remaining stains left with a solution of 1 tsp dish soap or Castile soap and 1/2 cup water. For hard to reach nooks in the seat, use a toothbrush. Sprinkle baking soda over the area after scrubbing. Allow the area to dry and vacuum up the residue.

Soak the area once more with cold water and either blot or use the wet vacuum to remove the water.


Test the upholstery for colour-fastness by trying the vinegar solution on a small area of the seat. Add a few drops of clear essential oil (such as peppermint or lavender) to the water used to soak the area. This will pleasantly scent your seat. If you let your cat out inside your car, have a small, portable litter box available for use to prevent it from urinating on your upholstery.

Things You'll Need

  • Enzymatic pet cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Cold water
  • Dish detergent or Castile soap
  • Wet vacuum
  • Baking soda
  • Scrub brush or toothbrush
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About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.