Renovating an old home with hardwoods and trying to get rid of cat odor from previous owner. Is there a natural solution?

Asked by Robert
Bainbridge Island, WA

We have purchased an older home which was owned by a family with LOTS of cats. The house has all hardwoods and we are trying to restore the floors and get rid of the cat odor. Is there a natural/green solution? People have suggested all sorts of toxic -- but very few nontoxic -- options. Any advice appreciated!


Randy Potter

Answered by Randy Potter

Alameda, CA

June 10, 2010

Lingering cat urine smell can be a horrible problem in a house. However, many times the lingering effects of the toxic chemicals found in industrial cleaners can be far worse.

I always recommend (as well as use myself) a simple vinegar solution for cleaning hardwood floors, especially when they have the smell of pet urine. Try a solution of between 1/4 and 1/3 vinegar with water for the initial cleaning. Simply mop the floors as you would with a cleanser, rinsing the mop frequently.

For the second cleaning, try to reduce the concentration of vinegar. I like around 10% for everyday cleaning. This vinegar solution should neutralize the urine and eliminate the lingering smell, and it is 100% chemical-free and safe for your home and your family.

If the vinegar solution still does not do the trick, try some peroxide. Again, this is a more natural solution that will not negatively affect your indoor air quality or leave toxic residues on your floors.

Tagged In: home air quality, pets, wood flooring

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