How to Get Cat Urine Out of Wood Subfloor

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how to get cat urine out of wood subfloor

Wondering how to get cat urine out of wood subfloor?

Cats are entirely a bliss to have especially when they’re not peeing on your flooring.

If you have a cat that is not house trained, you can attest to the difficulty of getting their pungent pee out of the house. Even a kitten’s urine causes a lot of damage in the odor department.

However, consistent urination on a wood floor over an extended period of time will make the urine leak beneath the regular flooring into the subfloor. That’s why we need to figure out how to get cat pee out of subfloor.

Why cat pee on subfloor?

This could be caused by several factors.

  • The cat could be improperly house trained.
  • The litter box could be leaking.
  • You might be locking them indoors for too long. 
  • To the cat, it might just be marking its territory on your ‘strange’ new carpet for other cats and you to know who is the boss.

What is a Subfloor?

A subfloor is the main structural layer of the floor that bears weight. A subfloor is beneath the finished top layer and it is usually the thickest wood. A concrete floor is less susceptible to cat and dog urine leaks than a wood floor. The absorbent nature of all types of wood including OSB, particleboard, laminate, and plywood makes it retain the smell of urine more than other floor types.

Should I replace subfloor damaged by cat urine?

Some people will have to replace the entire region subflooring in homes due to the damages caused by pet urine. This is because most homeowners do not know how to properly remove cat pee smell from the home.

Besides the extremely nauseating smell of the cat or dog’s urine, the urine stain on the carpet and floor, the cost of buying an expensive cleaner, this article will walk you through how to get a cat and other pets’ urine stains and for out of wood subflooring.

There are different methods and you will be taught how to use most of these methods.

How to get cat urine out of wood subfloor

Method 1: Using An Enzymatic Cleaner and Sealing The Wood with a Primer.

All types of urine are composed of enzymes like ammonia, nitrogen, uric acid, bacteria, and hormones. Some of the enzymes get absorbed and almost always leave crystal residues that stink in the wood after the urine has dried. The residues are what we smell most times.  You might not always smell it but on hot days, those enzymes are going to react with the heat and make your home smell like hell.

An enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle, Zero Odor, Anti-Icky-Poo, Odorban, Odornil, Nilodor, and Cat-Off break down the enzymes in the urine and get the smell out of your home.

Last update on 2022-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The sealing like B-I-N pigmented shellac primer is to ensure that the potential residues are not leaking out.

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Here are the Steps to follow: 

  1. Take out all carpeting and floor coverings (including vinyl plank flooring) entirely from the affected parts of the floor.
  2. Apply the enzymatic cleaner in a generous but moderate amount to the affected region and allow it to dry thoroughly for 24  hours.
  3. If the pet urine odor remains after the application, repeat this step.
  4. Coat the sub-floor areas with a  mildew-resistant, oil-based primer or sealant that prevents odors and stains from escaping the wood.
  5. If this does not work, you might have to replace the flooring.

Method 2: How To Get Cat And Dog Pee Out Of Wood With Home Remedies

Recent Stains

This is great for recant stains, you can:

  1. simply wipe the pee off the urine spot.
  2. pour hydrogen peroxide on the floor.
  3. If the pet urine odor is particularly strong, add white vinegar to the mixture.

Old Smell And Stains

  1. First, remove all floor coverings like carpet and carpet padding.
  2. Proceed to sand the floor to open the wood pores to allow the cleaning agents to permeate deep into the wood.
  3. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. Apply hydrogen peroxide on the spot and let it sit for about thirty minutes. Soak up the excess fluid with a dry clean cloth.
  4. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE AND BAKING SODA. You can mix 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and a dessert spoonful of baking soda. Apply this solution and let it sit for thirty minutes; then dry with a clean cloth.
  5. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE AND WHITE VINEGAR. mix warm water with 25 to 30 percent vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Spray this mixture on; let it sit for a few minutes; then blot dry.
  6. Coat the sub-floor areas with a  mildew-resistant, oil-based primer or sealant that prevents odors and stains from escaping the wood.
  7. Enjoy your floor.

P.S. Avoid products that contain ammonia because the odor of ammonia is similar to urine. Put simply, ammonia is the main chemical enzyme in urine.

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Method 3: Home-Made DIY Cat Pee Be Gone

If you need a quick, temporary fix, you can make a DIY cat pee be gone. In a small spray bottle, mix about 1 liter of warm water with 3-4 tablespoons of peppermint extract. If you can’t seem to already have some peppermint extract, you may also use about 15-20 drops peppermint essential oil. Use this formulae on your wood subflooring and the urine odors will be gone in a couple of hours. 

Using this formulae may require that you test it on a small piece of your subflooring material and see the effect after a few hours. This is to make it doesn’t bleach or discolor the material.

Method 4: Replace the flooring

This should be the last resort. At least one of the first 3 methods should work for you. However, if you aren’t satisfied with the result, then you should call a professional to work on replacing the flooring.


Cats and dogs are animals and it might be taught to properly train them to respect your territory but before then, you can mitigate the damage and prevent new ones from happening by using the methods described. 

P.S: While you can’t control new kittens or puppies to respect your space, if your pet starts peeing all of a sudden in areas that it shouldn’t, it might be trying to tell you something. Perhaps, that it needs a new bedding.

FAQs on getting cat urine out of wood subfloor

Q: Should I replace the subfloor damaged by cat urine?

A: Sometimes. If your cleaning methods have failed, it is best that you replace the damaged flooring.

Q: How to treat a plywood subfloor for urine before laying a new carpet.

A: Just coat the sub-floor areas with a mildew-resistant, oil-based primer or sealant and let it dry.

Q: What are products to remove cat urine smell from wood subfloor

A: To remove and seal in cat urine smell on wood subfloor, enzymatic cleaners like Nature’s Miracle, Zero Odor, Anti-Icky-Poo, Odorban, Odornil, Nilodor, and Cat-Off break down the enzymes in the urine and get the smell out of your home. The sealing like B-I-N pigmented shellac primer is to ensure that the potential residues are not leaking out.

Q: Does Kilz Primer work on all subfloor surface and does it have any side effect?

A: Yes, you can.  For example, In case of buying an old house with tons of pet urine odor; if properly applied, it will not affect your flooring options in the future. You can try the following steps;
1. Roll Kilz primer onto the floor, taking special care to cover well on the trouble spots.
2. After all cat urine subfloor covered in a coat of Kilz primer, open windows, and go outside.
3. A few days later, determine whether the odor has gone or not. If somewhere is still detectable in the bad spots, do a second coat on all urine-infected floors.
4. Finally, cover with your desired flooring.

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  • Topcoat with latex or oil-based paint. Use on properly prepared interior surfaces, such as: brick, ceramic tile, drywall, glass, masonry, painted metal, plaster, stucco and wood. Performance of oil and shellac / Blocks tough stains (heavy water, grease and typical interior stains) and odors. Dries hard, sands easily - a great enamel undercoat
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Q: Will these methods keep animals from urinating on the same spot?

A: Cats are inherently territorial. The reason why they spray at odd spots in your home is that they want to mark their territory. This behavior is completely natural – although you might want to see the vet if the cat has been urinating in short intervals. The methods used to get cat urine out of wood floors, sadly, don’t keep animals from returning to the place. And there still exists a chance that your cat may pee on the same spot.

Q: Is there any way to keep cats from peeing all over my newly bought carpet?

A: Cat accidents on your furniture are frustrating especially when the accident occurs on recently bought furniture items. While there is no formula for keeping cats from urinating across your home, you can use items like cayenne pepper to keep cats away from a secured place. Take crushed pepper in a bowl and keep it near the no-cat-allowed area. Cats hate the smell of the pepper and they are likely to avoid the area.

Q: What type of cleaners should I buy for cleaning pet urine?

A: Use enzymatic cleaners (like Nature’s Miracle, Zero Odor, Anti-Icky-Poo) to treat the area affected by cat urine. Instead of just masking the odor, the enzymes in these cleaners are effective in breaking down the odors caused by cat urine. Apply the cleaner to the affected area and leave it for 24 hours. After that, check whether the odor is gone or not. Also, be careful about harsh cleaners. Try to avoid them as they are quite damaging to your floor and may end up causing serious damages to your subfloor or other furniture items.

Q: How can I inspect the area for urine signs?

A: A blacklight is an effective way to see if all the urine has been removed from the subfloor or the carpet. Pet urine shows up clearly under a blacklight.

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