Leather is a natural, porous fiber that tends to absorb stains and odors. If your cat has urinated in or on your leather shoes or boots, you can remove the stains and odor using supplies found in the home or online. The quicker you can tend to the urine-stained shoes, the less time the urine will be able to absorb into the leather.
There are several ways to clean cat urine from leather shoes, including using cat urine enzyme cleaner, baking soda, or vinegar. Once you remove the odor, you will be able to enjoy wearing your leather shoes again. However, avoid the temptation of placing soiled leather shoes in the washing machine. The leather will be destroyed, and the shoes will no longer fit.
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Using baking soda to clean leather shoes
Baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate, is the safe, natural solution to many odor problems, including those involving cat urine. If it helps reduce odor by sprinkling it into the kitty litter box, it will help reduce odor in your shoes.
First, place newspaper on your work surface to keep it clean and put your leather shoes on top of the newspaper. Next, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the inside and uppers of your soiled leather shoes. Finally, allow the baking soda to sit on and in the shoes for at least two hours and then vacuum to remove all the baking soda. You can follow this process with a vinegar cleaning.
Using vinegar to clean cat urine
Vinegar is the other natural odor neutralizer to keep on hand in the house, especially if you have pets. To clean stained shoes or boots, mix one part vinegar with two parts warm water. Then, add several drops of scented mouthwash, essential oil, or scented dish soap. Apply this mixture to the parts of the leather shoes that smell of cat urine. Rub the solution into the pores of the leather using an old toothbrush or a cleaning cloth.
Wipe the area on the shoe with a clean, damp cloth. Wipe the shoes with another clean, dry cloth and allow the shoes to finish drying in a well-ventilated location. Leave them outside for an hour or two if possible assuming they aren't in a location where they'll attract more unwanted attention from cats.
Using cat urine enzyme cleaner
Water alone will not clean cat urine, or at least it won't remove the odor. Uric acid in urine causes the smell, and it's not water soluble. Enzymatic cleaners designed specifically to clean cat urine might be the best option for urine-soiled leather footwear because these cleaners break down uric acid, removing rather than covering the urine odor.
Spray leather shoes with enzymatic cleaner and follow the instructions on the label. Often, the cleaner must sit for at least 15 minutes to be effective. Note that enzymes in the cleaner can change the color of leather, so opt for a natural enzymatic cleaner if possible and first test any cleaner on a small patch of leather, especially on boots.
Using leather shoe conditioner
Finally, whether you clean your shoes using cat urine enzyme cleaner, baking soda, and/or vinegar, condition your shoes using a leather conditioner. Follow the directions on the package or bottle. Once you've cleaned your shoes, place aluminum foil over them. Cats usually don't like the smell or feel of foil and will not bother your shoes again.