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Is it Dangerous to Clean Cat Urine with Bleach?

If you have ever smelled stale cat urine, for example, if you have behavioral problems with your cat (Click here for 3 Best Pheromone Collars for bad behaved Cats)  you may be tempted to clean it immediately with bleach. As tempting as this is, don’t do it. it can be dangerous (Click here to for the best solution to clean up cat urine). Let me explain…

Is it dangerous to clean cat urine with bleach? Yes, the reason for this is because bleach and ammonia, which is found in the cat urine, causes a chemical reaction. It will cause the bleach to foam up and create toxic fumes that can be strong enough to make a human pass out.

Now you know what will happen, let me explain to you why this happens, other items you should avoid when cleaning cat urine, how to clean it up safely and more, read on…

Why Does Bleach React in This Way?

The reason for this chemical reaction is due to the hypochlorite. This is in the chlorine bleach however, normal domestic bleach has this but a smaller percentage. It is still strong enough to cause the same reaction.

Once this hypochlorite mixes with the ammonia in the cat urine it causes a chemical reaction which generates gases and fumes.

These gases and fumes that it creates is called chloramines. And if a human consumes this, especially in a confined space, it is very dangerous.

What Should You Avoid Using to Clean Up Cat Urine?

There are three things that you should avoid when cleaning cat urine:

  • Ammonia
  • Bleach
  • Any kind of homemade remedy

Let me give you a reason why you should avoid using each of these…

Homemade remedies

Homemade remedies, such as vinegar, peroxide and random home cleaning detergents may make you feel that you’re doing something. But, in reality, it’s not really dealing with the issue.

Don’t get me wrong, they do work to some degree but, they won’t get rid of that persistent odor that is causing you problems, are you with me?


As discussed earlier, bleach mixed with the ammonia in cat urine is dangerous. However, in addition to this, it’s only really a disinfect. It doesn’t deal with the awful odor that’s lingering around your home. On top of this, it is also toxic when inhaled by pets or even humans.


Ammonia should be avoided because, as discussed earlier, ammonia is actually the ingredient within urine which causes the bad smell.

Adding more ammonia will make matters even worse. It will compound the problems you are having with the unbearable smell left behind by the urine.

Why Does Cat Urine Have a Really Bad Smell?

In this section, I am going to explain why cat urine has such a disgusting, unbearable smell. This will help you understand why it’s happening.

Left to decompose

Firstly the biggest issue is the cat urine decomposing and decaying. You may be thinking how is it possible that it decomposes or decays so quickly? The problem is it goes unnoticed. This is until it is too late and starts to smell really bad. Let me explain…

Cat urine is typically hidden away from us. The reason its hidden away is that cats typically spray their urine to mark their territory. Usually, this is outside of the litter tray, hidden behind a cupboard or an area which we may not see on a day-to-day basis.

Once it goes unnoticed for a while, it will move onto the second stage of decomposing. It will emit what is known as “mercaptans”. These mercaptans are the same culprits responsible for making a skunk smell so bad. So, you can see why, over time, how this simple urine can escalate into a real domestic problem.

Bad Kidneys in Mature Cats

Another reason which causes this really bad smell is bad kidneys. Slightly older cats may find that their kidneys do not operate as efficiently as they did when they were younger. If this is the case the urine that comes out of them carries a really bad smell.

Why do cats spray?

Cat spray for a few different reasons. Such as:

  • Anxiety.
  • Unhappy with their environment.
  • Territorial issues with neighborhood cats.

If you find that your cat is in dispute with a neighbor’s cat it’s important that you try and stop it happening. Try to break up them up or calm down your cat. The idea is to stop them being so aggressive.

You can also calm your cat down by offering them pheromone related products such as a diffuser plugin or a cat collar (Click here for 3 Best Pheromone Collars for Aggressive Cats).

More extreme techniques, to stop your cat spraying include neutering for a male or spayed for a female cat.

Related Questions:

Can you use bleach to clean your cat litter tray? Yes, you can use bleach to clean a cat litter box. However, you need to make sure that you dilute it. Ideally at least one part bleach and nine parts water.

To do this you need to first get some non-scented soap. Use it to clean off the surface dirt. Then follow up with the diluted bleach and thoroughly clean it out. Then rinse with water thoroughly and leave it to dry.

Bleach is ideal for this purpose. Because it is fairly cheap, easy to use and a great disinfectant. Can be used to get rid of fungus, germs and other related issues.

How do you clean up spilled cat litter? To do this, first, you should just get some paper towel to clean up the majority of the mess. However, when you do this, do not wipe the paper towel into the carpet or flooring. Simply pick up the obvious pieces and discard it carefully.

Then be patient and let it dry. It’s not a good idea to try and wipe it up while it is wet. This is because it will just work into your carpet and you will never get rid of it.

Once it is dry you can then use a bristle brush and remove the dry feces and debris. Then give the carpet a good clean to finish off. Cleaning the carpet is tough though, especially when urine is in the mix, this is why some cat owners use a wet vacuum for cat urine (Click here to see why I rated this one the best).

Are cat urine fumes harmful? They can be, as discussed earlier if urine is left and starts to decompose it will produce ammonia. This can flare up allergic reactions in some people. Depending on the person this could be mild symptoms like sneezing or an itchy nose.

However, in some severe cases, especially if the ammonia is highly potent, it can cause more serious symptoms such as pneumonia. Hence the reason why it is important to clean it up as soon as humanly possible.

Is there an easy way to get rid of cat smells? Yes, (Click here for tips on getting Rid of Cat Smell In Your house). Ultimately the best way is to prevent it from happening. But if that is not an option for you at this stage check out my article for tips on this. Many cat owners swear by enzyme cleaners (Click here to the best one) to break down the urine and eradicate the odor.

Do cats typically keep themselves clean? Yes, in reality, cats are very tidy animals. Although they have a tendency to pee in your house, in general, they are very clean (Click here to see Why Cats Lick Their Paws then Wipe Their Face).

They are not like dogs, they like to keep themselves clean as much as possible. They also hate water, which may sound weird, but its mainly because they love to keep themselves clean using their own methods.

Lindsey Browlingdon

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