How to Get Cat Urine Out of Potting Soil

The ammonia in cat urine can kill houseplants.
The ammonia in cat urine can kill houseplants. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Cats like to urinate in houseplants because the soil is usually soft and moist. The smell of the ammonia in the urine isn't appealing to the noses of most homeowners and so the soil must be cleansed of the stench. The soil can be cleansed of the urine by rinsing it with water and some white vinegar, but a control method should be put in place to keep the cat from repeating the offense.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose or sink
  • Self-draining pot
  • White vinegar
  • New potting soil

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Set the pot outside on the lawn or in a sink. The pot needs to be self-draining.

Allow clean water from the tap or a garden hose to run through the water for an hour to rinse the soil of the urine.

Add a capful of white vinegar to the surface of the soil while the water is running to counteract and neutralize the ammonia buildup in the soil. Rinse the soil for another hour.

Remove the plant from its pot and replant it in a new pot. Add new potting soil to re-establish the soil lost during the rinsing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cover the surface of the soil with large rocks to keep the cat from urinating in the pot again.
  • Keep the cat's litter box clean and fresh so the cat doesn't go looking for planting pots.
  • Urine will kill plants if the levels are too high and the soil isn't rinsed.


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