I've been doing some research to find a way to clean cat urine from my carpet, and various sources say diluted vinegar works well. I've used vinegar as a weed killer, but I'm skeptical it will work as a cleaner. Is there science behind this, or is it an old wives' tale? Can vinegar really be used to clean cat urine from carpeting? Once the vinegar has eliminated the urine, does it rot/spoil causing additional stains/odor?

  • As cat urine dries out, it becomes basic (alkaline). Technically, the acidity of vinegar should counter this and take out the smelly stuff. But in real life, unless you test for actual pH levels, you really wouldn't know if any actual neutralization will happen. Also, note that any acid damage (as in wet urine = acidic) to your carpet's fibers will likely stay on and can't be corrected.
    – alt
    Jan 14, 2014 at 15:40
  • @alt So what you're saying, is that I should measure the pH of the stain, and then choose a chemical based on that?
    – Tester101
    Jan 14, 2014 at 16:20
  • in an ideal world, that would work, yes. But it's not only acid content, right? You also have stains (and other smell-causing compounds) that may have set in to your carpet fibers, and looking at pH alone won't really work. I mentioned testing pH as a way to figure out whether vinegar (and its dilution) would help.
    – alt
    Jan 14, 2014 at 20:44

2 Answers 2


I use it quite a bit on dog urine in my carpet. I recently purchased a device to remain nameless to help with this, but the white vinegar works well. I wouldn't say it eliminates it, but you'd have to stick you nose it the carpet to smell it.

I soak up as much urine as I can and then drench the area with undiluted vinegar and let it evaporate over a few days.

  • 1
    If you can smell it, the animal can defiantly smell it. If the animal can smell it, they will likely mark the spot again. Also I'd like to note that dog urine and cat urine are not equal, at least when it comes to smell.
    – Tester101
    Jan 14, 2014 at 14:00
  • Keyword: undiluted.
    – Mazura
    Jan 12, 2016 at 16:24

No. No, it's not. Even after cleaning the carpet with vinegar (and other "biological" cleaning agents), the odor still persists.

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