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How To Remove Cat Urine Odor from Wood Floors


Drum Floor Sander

Drum Floor Sander

© The Home Depot
Any kind of impermeable surface affected by cat urine odor simply takes cleaning. But when you've got a porous surface, it make take floor sanding. As long as these are solid hardwood floors, you can sand them down with a drum sander or disk sander.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 12 hours

Here's How:

  1. Before you take any drastic measures, try cleaning the hardwood floor with a cat urine odor removal product. If the wood floor has a nice, solid finish, with no seams between the boards, there is no reason why these products will not work.
  2. If your floor has "gappy" seams or a poor finish, you may have to sand. The cat urine odor will have sunk down into the seams and/or porous surface. Determine if your floor boards have enough thickness left for another sanding. Pulling up a threshold is a good way to see how much (if any) floor has been sanding down. If the flooring has been sanded at or just above the tongue-and-groove, it is too thin to sand.
  3. For minimal sanding, rent a vibrating floor sander or floor disk sander. If you need deeper sanding, rent a drum sander.
  4. For sanding close to baseboards and trim, rent an edge sander. Or you may choose to buy a random-orbiting sander.
  5. Be sure to remove quarter-round with a flat pry bar before sanding. Baseboards usually do not have to be removed, and in fact damage may result if you try to remove baseboards.
  6. It is easy to cause irreparable damage to your floor with a drum sander so be careful. Never let any sander rest in place while running; always keep them moving. Always start with coarser sandpaper, working down to finer grits.
  7. Thoroughly clean the floor with a broom, followed up by two thorough damp mops.
  8. Lay down the finish. Shellac, varnish, and lacquer are rarely used on wood floors anymore. Instead, look for a water-based urethane finish, which is easy to apply and fairly odor-free.
  9. Finally, ban cats from your house!


  1. Don't sand until you have tried everything else to remove the cat urine odor.
  2. That said, floor sanding is a surprisingly easy DIY project.
  3. Be sure to contain dust with plastic sheeting taped to doors, windows, and other avenues where dust might escape.

What You Need

  • Drum sander or floor disc sander or vibrating floor sander
  • Edge sander or random orbiting sander
  • Plenty of extra sandpaper for all sanders
  • Hammer
  • Flat pry bar

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