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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 cat urine, cause 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?

is it dangerous to clean cat urine with bleach

Cleaning utensils.

The reason for this chemical reaction is due to 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 that 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 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 that 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’s 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 it’s 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 that 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 you must try and stop it from happening. Try to break them up or calm down your cat. The idea is to stop them from 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.

How to clean a litter box with bleach

what are cat litter mats made of?

A cat on a mat next to its litter box.

Now that you know it’s not safe to mix cat urine with bleach, you may be wondering if it is ok to clean your litter box with bleach and if yes, how to do it, right?

You can clean the litter box with bleach. To do it you need to remove the litter first, wash it with soapy water. Then dilute 0.75 of a cup of normal bleach per gallon of water. And, fill the litter box with it. Then leave it for approx 5 minutes. Then thoroughly rinse and clean the bleach out.

So, now you know how to clean your litter box with bleach.

Can you clean up cat pee with bleach?

Believe it or not, some people persist with urine and bleach, but can you clean the cat pee with it.

No, you cannot clean cat pee with bleach, because it will emit dangerous gases. Instead, you should be using a dedicated cat pee cleaner (Click here for the price, on Amazon) which is purposely made for this. This will be safer for you and your cat.

So, now you know that you should not use bleach with cat pee and a better solution.

Bleach for cat urine – does this exist?

You may have heard rumors about bleach for cat urine. But, is this true or just an incorrect rumor?

You cannot get bleach for cat urine because it is not safe. So, it would not exist as a product. Instead of this, you should be using a cat pee cleaner (Click here for the price on Amazon) to do a good clean-up job and make the urine-stained area smell better after.

So, now you know that bleach for cat urine does not exist and a suitable alternative.

Does bleach get rid of cat urine?

If you went ahead and applied the bleach to cat urine would it get rid of the urine?

No, the bleach will not get rid of the urine. It will smell bad and cause harmful gases. It is not a suitable solution. Instead, you need to prevent your cat from peeing in the first instance. Then look for a better solution to clean up the pee after.

So, now you know that bleach does not get rid of cat urine and what you should do instead.

What should you do if you accidentally mixed bleach and cat urine?

If you accidentally mix bleach with cat urine you should dispose of it safely rather than continuing. The reason is the reaction from this mix can cause chlorine gas that can cause irritation, your eyes to water, or even make your nose run.

In some severe cases, it could be worse, so it’s worth being safe, rather than sorry and disposing of it as soon, and as safely as you can.

What does bleach do to cats?

Bleach is known to cause a physical change in a cat’s behavior. These behavioral changes, from inhaling, are often seen with catnip. This may be the reason why some cats like the smell of bleach. But, regardless of their reaction, it is not advisable to offer to them because it is a chemical that can be dangerous.

So, if you have ever seen your cat trying to smell bleach or acting weird (could this be connected to a lady’s cycle? click here) after smelling it you know why this may happen.

Can bleach and Pee kill you?

Mixing bleach and pee can kill you. It is the mixing of bleach and ammonia that can cause this to happen. Chloramine gas is released when they are mixed which can then cause damage to your airways or, in extreme cases, death.

Although this sounds frightening, it is known to be quite rare to be this bad, but it is possible and precautions will be required from you.

Is it safe to clean a litter box with bleach?

You can clean a litter box with bleach safely if it is done correctly. The mistake often made is putting bleach directly into a soiled litter tray that can react with the urine. To get around this it will need to be rinsed, getting rid of all traces of urine, then disinfected.

This way you can stop the bleach from making contact and reacting with the cat urine. If you are unsure it’s best not to attempt it to be safe.

Do cats hate the smell of bleach?

Some cats are known to enjoy the smell of bleach. One theory is that the smell of bleach has some connection with their pheromones and may trigger a pleasurable reaction. But, either way, there is some interest from a cat when bleach is around.

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some questions commonly asked by researchers of cats and the effects of bleach:

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 towels 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 them 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 for 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 tend 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 it’s mainly because they love to keep themselves clean using their own methods.

Lindsey Browlingdon