How to Get Cat Urine Out of Wood Subfloor

Cat lovers, we know how much you adore your furry friends. But we also know how frustrating it can be when they pee on your wood subfloor. Not only does it smell bad and look ugly, but it can also ruin your wood subfloor. Cat urine can penetrate the wood and cause stains, odors, bacteria, mold, and damage that are hard to fix. Don’t fret. We have some solutions for you.

This article will teach you how to get cat urine out of wood subfloor using natural and effective methods. We will also show you how to get cat urine out of wood subfloor in the first place.

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Why is cat urine a problem for the wood subfloor

Cat urine is a problem for the wood subfloor because it can seep into the wood and cause stains, odors, bacteria, mold, and damage. Cat urine contains uric acid, which can last years in carpets, fabrics and wood. Uric acid forms crystals that can reactivate and emit a strong smell when exposed to moisture or humidity. Cat urine can also discolor or bleach the wood, especially if it is dark or stained. Cat urine can also weaken the structural strength of the wood subfloor, as it is acidic and corrosive. Cat urine can cause swelling, warping, cracking, or rotting of the wood subfloor over time. Therefore, it is important to locate and remove cat urine from wood subfloors as soon as possible.

How to Locate Cat Urine on Wood Subfloors

If you have a cat that pees on your wood subfloor, you may be wondering how to find and clean the urine spots. Here are some methods you can use to locate cat urine on wood subfloors:

1. Trust Your Nose

Cat urine has a strong and distinctive smell that is hard to miss. You can use your nose to sniff out the source of the odor in the suspected area. Once you find the spot, mark it with tape or chalk to clean it later.

2. Visual Inspection

Cat urine can also leave visible stains on wood subfloors. You can look for dark or yellowish patches on the floor that indicate dried urine. Mark any spots you find with tape or chalk as well.

3. Use a Black Light

Another way to locate cat urine on wood subfloors is to use a black light. Uric acid, a component of cat urine, glows under a black light. You can scan the floor with a black light in a darkened room and look for glowing areas. These are likely urine spots that need to be cleaned. Don’t forget to mark them for later.

How to Remove Cat Urine from Wood Subfloors

Method 1. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Cat urine can be stubborn, but you can remove it from wood subfloors with the right approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively using hydrogen peroxide for this task:

1. Safety First

  • Wear gloves and ensure the room is well-ventilated.

2. Identify the Affected Areas

  • As previously discussed, use your nose, eyes, or a black light to locate urine spots on the subfloor.

3. Blot Up Fresh Spills

  • If the urine is fresh, blot it up immediately with paper towels or an absorbent cloth, ensuring you don’t spread it further.

4. Pre-Clean the Area

  • Before applying hydrogen peroxide, clean the area with water and a mild detergent. This helps remove debris and ensures the hydrogen peroxide works directly on the urine stain.

5. Prepare the Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

  • Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to avoid bleaching the wood. You can mix a drop of dish soap into the solution for added cleaning power.

6. Test a Small Area:

  • Apply a small amount of the solution to an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the wood.

7. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Dampen a cloth with the hydrogen peroxide solution and gently blot (don’t rub) the affected areas. Ensure the cloth isn’t overly saturated to prevent the wood from absorbing too much liquid.
  • You can leave the damp cloth on the spot for about 10 minutes for deeper stains.

8. Wipe and Dry

  • After treating the area, wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth to remove any leftover hydrogen peroxide.

9. Neutralize the Smell

  • Once cleaned, if any odor remains, sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum or sweep it up afterwards.

10. Air Out the Room

  • Open windows or use fans to ensure the floor dries thoroughly and to help air out any lingering odors.

11. Re-check the Area

  • After the floor is dry, inspect the area to see if the stain and smell are gone. If not, you should repeat the process.

12. Seal the Wood (Optional)

  • After ensuring the stain and odor are completely gone, consider sealing the wood to protect it from future accidents and make cleaning easier.

Method 2. Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

Combining baking soda’s absorbent power and vinegar’s acidic cleaning capabilities can be effective against cat urine stains and odors on wood subfloors. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Safety First

  • Wear gloves and ensure proper ventilation to avoid inhaling any strong odors.

2. Identify the Stained Area

  • Locate the urine spots using your senses or a black light.

3. Blot Fresh Urine

  • If the urine is recent, blot it with paper towels or a cloth without rubbing to avoid spreading it.

4. Pre-Treatment with Vinegar

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution onto the affected area, ensuring it’s damp but not soaked.
  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Vinegar helps break down the uric acid in cat urine.
  • Blot the area with paper towels or a dry cloth.

5. Apply Baking Soda

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the dampened area. Baking soda is a natural odor absorber that will help remove any remaining stench.

6. Mix Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • In a small bowl, make a paste of baking soda and vinegar.
  • Spread this paste over the area, ensuring it covers the stain completely. This combination will help lift the stain from the wood.
  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, but avoid letting it dry completely, as it can become difficult to remove.

7. Clean the Area

  • Use a cloth dampened with water to wipe away the baking soda and vinegar mixture gently.
  • Ensure all residue is removed so the floor doesn’t become slippery.

8. Dry the Floor

  • Use dry cloths or towels to blot up any moisture.
  • Allow the area to air dry completely. You can speed up the process using fans or by opening windows.

9. Check the Area

  • Once dried, check the area for any remaining stain or odor. If needed, repeat the process.

10. Seal the Wood (Optional)

  • After ensuring the stain and odor are completely removed, consider sealing the wood to protect it against future accidents and facilitate easier cleaning.

Method 3. Using Commercial Products

There are several commercial products designed specifically to tackle pet stains and odors. These products often contain enzymes that break down the compounds in urine, effectively neutralizing odors and lifting stains. Here’s a step-by-step guide using these products:

1. Safety First

  • Wear gloves, and ensure the room is well-ventilated. Always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions when using commercial products.

2. Identify the Stained Area

  • Use your senses or a black light to pinpoint the urine spots.

3. Blot Fresh Urine

  • If the urine is recent, blot up as much as possible with paper towels or a cloth to prevent further penetration into the wood.

4. Choose a Commercial Product: 

Some popular and effective options include:

  • Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator
  • Simple Solution Extreme Pet Stain and Odor Remover
  • Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator

5. Apply the Commercial Product

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Typically, you’ll saturate the affected area with the product.

6. Allow to Sit

  • Most commercial cleaners need time to work. Depending on the product, this could be anywhere from 5 minutes overnight.

7. Blot and Clean

  • After letting the product sit for the recommended time, blot up any excess moisture. Some products may then require you to clean the area with water.

8. Dry the Floor

  • Thoroughly dry the treated area using towels, then allow it to air dry completely. To speed up the drying process, use fans or open windows.

9. Re-check the Area

  • Once dried, check the spot for any remaining stain or odor. Some stubborn stains might require a second application.

10. Seal the Wood (Optional)

  • Once you’ve ensured the stain and odor are completely gone, consider sealing the wood to offer protection against future incidents.

11. Prevent Future Accidents

  • Commercial repellent sprays like Four Paws Keep Off! can deter pets from re-soiling areas.

Tips and Tricks to Effectively Remove Cat Urine from Wood Subfloors

Be Persistent

  • Why It’s Important: Stubborn cat urine stains and odors might not vanish after just one treatment, especially if they’ve been there for a while or have penetrated deep into the wood.
  • What to Do: Don’t hesitate to repeat the cleaning process as needed. But always wait until the treated section of the wood subfloor is entirely dry before reapplying any solution, whether hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or vinegar.

Always Test First

  • Why It’s Important: Hydrogen peroxide, although a great cleaning agent, might not be suitable for all wood types and finishes.
  • What to Do: Before treating the affected area, dab a small amount of the hydrogen peroxide solution on an inconspicuous spot. This will help ensure compatibility with your subfloor and prevent unexpected reactions or discolorations.

Choose the Right Tools

  • Why It’s Important: The tools you use can influence the cleaning process’s effectiveness and the wood’s final appearance.
  • What to Do: Opt for a microfiber cloth or mop when treating and cleaning the wood subfloor. These are soft, won’t scratch or streak the wood, and can distribute cleaning solutions evenly. Plus, their absorbent nature ensures effective dirt and stain removal.

How to Prevent Cat Urine from Reaching Wood Subfloors

Prioritize Litter Box Training:

The primary step in preventing unwanted accidents is to ensure your cat reliably uses its litter box.

Implementation: Equip your cat with a clean, comfortable, and easily accessible litter box tailored to its preferences. Whenever your cat uses the box correctly, offer praise or a treat as reinforcement. Gently redirect and dissuade any attempts to urinate outside of the box.

Shield Your Subfloors

Protective materials can be a barrier, saving your subfloors from potential accidents.

Implementation: Consider installing carpets, rugs, or mats. If you expect frequent accidents, waterproof plastic sheets might be more suitable. Ensure these materials are secure to prevent trips and slippages.

Apply Protective Coatings

Sealants or coatings can repel liquids, preventing them from seeping into the wood.

Implementation: Opt for a sealant or coating compatible with your wood type and finish. Follow the product’s instructions closely to ensure it’s applied effectively.

Understand Your Cat’s Behavior

Addressing the root cause of inappropriate urination can significantly decrease or eliminate the behavior.

Implementation: Understand that stress, medical issues, or territorial disputes can lead to accidents. If you’re unsure about the cause, consult a veterinarian or cat behaviorist for insights and remedies.

Prompt Clean up is Key

Immediate action can prevent urine from seeping into the wood and deter repeat incidents.

Implementation: Cats are attracted to familiar scents, so thorough cleaning is vital. Use an enzyme-based cleaner or a homemade solution comprising hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and vinegar to effectively eliminate the odor.


Navigating the challenge of cat urine on wood subfloors can be daunting, but it’s not insurmountable. The key is a blend of prompt action, effective solutions, and understanding your feline friend’s behavior. Whether you’re reaching for household remedies like baking soda and vinegar or commercial products tailored for tough stains, the goal remains: preserving the integrity of your subfloor. But prevention is the ultimate win. Ensuring your cat is well-trained and its needs addressed will significantly reduce the chances of future mishaps. Remember, pristine subfloors and a happy cat coexist beautifully with the right knowledge and tools!

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