How to Remove Cat Litter Stains & Smells from Carpets?

If you’ve ever been a cat owner, then you already know that if the litter box isn’t clean, your furry feline friend will find another place to defecate. If you forget to clean the litter box, you’re more likely to find a pile of cat litter on the floor.

That’s not too bad; If you have tiled floors and can pick up fresh cat litter, sweep, mop, and disinfect, then replace the litter box. What’s really bad is when the cat poops on your carpet, and what’s even worse is when the cat becomes a repeat offender. Even if you can get the dirt out, it will stain, and over time, the stains will start to smell bad.

Whether it’s a new kitten, an old cat who just can’t get into the litter box, or your cat just gets grumpy because he’s mad at you, no pet owner wants the dirt and smell of poop out of their carpet. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the stain and odor. We will cover some tips and tricks in this blog.


Steps to Remove Cat Litter Stains from Your Carpet (10 Steps)

There are several steps you can use to remove dirt stains on the carpet. We’ll go through those steps in our section below.

1. Safety First and foremost

You should never clean cat litter or attempt to remove stains and odors without first taking the proper safety precautions. The following items must be obtained before you start cleaning.

  • Latex gloves: Cat litter can make you sick, especially if your cat is already sick. Cat litter contains bacteria and parasites that can be passed on to you if it touches your skin. Latex rubber gloves will allow you to clean dirt without worrying about touching you.

  • Paper towels: You will need a tissue to clean the dirt.

  • Trash can: Make sure you bring a trash can with a liner in it to take out the dirt after you pick it up. You don’t want to have to carry dirt across the carpet and into the kitchen to dump it in the can there.

  • Bucket of white vinegar and pre-mixed dishwashing liquid: You want to get a bucket and add the mixed solution to it, so you don’t have to go back and forth in the sink.

  • Baking soda powder

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Old clothes: It’s not a good idea to do this task with work clothes or clothes you want to keep. Instead, opt for older clothes if you spill the mixture on them.

Now that you’ve gathered all the materials you need to clean cat litter and odors from your carpet, you can safely proceed to the next step in the process.

Cleaning supplies stored on shelves

2. Finish the Mess Before it Starts Dry

While you’ll want to collect all of your supplies and be completely safe while performing this task, it’s important to try and clean up most of the mess before it dries up. The longer dirt is allowed to sit on the carpet, the harder it is to remove. The dirt particles themselves will come off and start sticking or sinking into the carpet, and that’s when your hands really fall apart.

3. Clean Small Areas with DIY Solutions

Now that you have removed most of the dirt from the carpet, you should test a small area of ​​the carpet with the DIY solutions below.

Vinegar and Dish Soap Solution

  • Basic dish soap
  • Add a tablespoon of white vinegar

This mixture will work on most carpets. However, you’ll want to test it on a small, concealable area first, just to make sure it doesn’t damage or bleach your carpet. Never use bleach or anything containing bleach to remove stains from your carpet, as bleach will leave bleach stains behind.

Also, regardless of what myths are out there, bleach doesn’t effectively remove cat litter odors from carpets.

4. Spray DIY Solutions Directly on Stains

Once you’ve determined that the DIY solution isn’t staining or bleaching your carpet, spray the solution directly onto the stain you want to remove while trying not to get the solution anywhere but the affected area.

It’s a good idea to let the solution soak into the stain for a few seconds so that any dry dirt left on the stain can be removed.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Solution

5. Overall Blot Area

After the spray has soaked into the stain, about five minutes, gently and thoroughly clean the area to absorb the liquid. At this point, you should be able to see dirt coming off the carpet.

6. Repeat until the stain is lifted

Continue adding the solution and vacuuming until the dirt is lifted from the carpet. The best way to tell if the carpet is clean is when the paper towels you use have no residue after wiping.

7. Do a Water Rinse

Once you are satisfied that there is no dry dirt remaining on the carpet, you can also remove the DIY cleaner from the carpet. The best way to do this is to rinse the area with clear tap water. Then, after you’ve wiped the area one more time with a paper towel, leave it alone and let it dry before moving on to the next step in the process.

Carpet Cleaning

8. Place the Baking Soda in the Stain Area

Most people already know that baking soda is a great neutralizer. This is great for everything, including carpets. So, take a little baking soda, sprinkle it on the stained area, and leave it for an hour to soak in.

9. Vacuum Area

Once the baking soda has had time to sit, clean the area and the rest of the room completely. This will leave carpet dirt, stains, and odor free.

cordless vacuum cleaner

10. Use Deodorizer

There are also some fragrances that you can use to make the room smell nice. Plus, there are scents made specifically for cat smells, essential oils, and any other scent you can imagine.

We’ll give you some of our top picks for odor-blocking products in the next section.


Odor Blocking Products to Try

If your furry cat is used to using your rug as a litter box, then you might want to try some of the tough odor-blocking products below to deal with the smell.


There are candles specifically designed to help block cat odors. Try one of these candles to make your home smell good and prevent cat litter odors.

Enzyme Cleaner

Enzyme cleaners work to break down the source of stains and odors. Many cat owners use it to clean their homes of urine stains and odors, but enzyme cleaners also work to remove messy litter stains and odors.

Carpet Cleaning

Absorbent gel

There’s also a gel you can dispense to absorb the cat odor before it has time to spread throughout your home.

Aroma Diffuser

Most people know the value of a good aroma diffuser. However, there are diffuser formulas designed to prevent cats from using the bathroom anywhere but in the litter box.

In most cases, if your cat is constantly using the rug instead of the litter box, there’s a reason. However, if the problem persists, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your vet to determine the cause of the problem and see if he or she can help you find a solution.


Final Thoughts: How to Remove Cat Litter Stains & Smells from Carpets

Cleaning cat litter off the carpet is not the best part of being a cat owner. However, it is bound to happen at some point. Following the tips above and using an excellent odor blocking product will solve your problem. If not, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for an appointment to see if there is an underlying problem with your poor cat.

Featured Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

How to Remove Cat Litter Stains & Smells from Carpets?
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