Cat urine is bad. A male cat’s “spray” is worse. While it might seem the same, your cat reserves his special stink for the spray. It’s a mix of urine and fatty secretions that is unmistakably odorous, especially if it ends up in your nice clean basket of laundry. There are home remedies and expensive products, but the key is to act quickly if you want to get that terrible smell out of your clothes.
Identify the stain. Invest in a black light if cat spraying is a recurring problem. You’ll be surprised at how much surface area a spraying male cat can cover. Untreated spots that dry are easy to find generally because of the odor, but difficult to pinpoint specifically. Shine a black light on any suspected fouling, be it in the laundry basket or the corner of a room, so you are sure to hit the entire stain with your solutions.
Pretreat the soaked clothes with a mix of one part white vinegar to four parts water. It’s easiest to mix the solution in a spray bottle and thoroughly soak the affected areas. Let it dry then rinse the garments with warm water and wash with your chosen laundry detergent.
Mix 15 oz. of hydrogen peroxide with 2 tbsp. of baking soda and a couple squirts of liquid dish soap. Test the garment for colorfastness, and then dunk it in a bucket. Really get your hands in there and agitate the fabric. Pinch the fabric from each side of the stain and rub it together.
Wash the stained garment and any other clothes that were nearby (even if some of the other laundry in the pile is not wet, it will still pick up the smell) and wash them with your regular detergent adding a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar to the load.
Use an enzymatic solution if you prefer to buy a treatment rather than rely on home remedies. Perfumes and deodorizers will only mask the odor. Products that contain enzymes really work wonders, but they are a little pricey. You can buy spray bottles, squeeze bottles or even gallon jugs. For laundry, completely soak the stain and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash in cold water only and hang to dry but not in the direct sun. Heat will weaken the enzymes and render them ineffective.