I’m a big fan of beanbag chairs! While the classic beanbag chair was a staple of the ’90s, it’s coming back! The comfortable design has also been incorporated into dozens of modern furniture pieces so even if you aren’t rocking the classic beanbag chair there’s a good chance you have something in that house that’s based on the same concept.
And I’m not the only one who likes beanbags! Cats love to lounge on these form-fitting pieces of furniture!
But a few months ago I made the mistake of letting a foster cat get access to my favorite beanbag chair and unfortunately he decided to pee on it. It turns out that removing cat urine from a beanbag chair isn’t an easy or simple task. There’s also surprisingly little information about it online so I decided to create this post explaining what I did and what you can do.
So what’s the best way to clean a beanbag chair that’s been exposed to cat pee? First, make sure not to move the chair as much as possible to keep the filling in place. Then quickly soak the affected area with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle.
You’re going to need to give it plenty of time to dry and you may need to repeat this process a few times. But let’s take a closer look at all your options in case this simple method doesn’t work.
But first, let’s break down the tried and true method into simple steps.
Step 1: Don’t Move The Bag!
Once you discover the cat urine, one of the first things you might want to do is move the bag somewhere else. But if at all possible, resist the urge (at least at first). That’s because moving the bag around will only spread the urine around and make it much more difficult to clean later.
You’ll also want to try and figure out what kind of filler your beanbag uses. The majority of beanbags contain expanded polystyrene which does absorb liquids (like cat pee) but isn’t nearly as absorbable as the increasingly popular memory foam-filled beanbag. With these types of materials, the absorption is going to happen pretty quickly and it’s best to just let it happen.
The exception would be if you see the cat actually pee on the beanbag. In that case, you may be able to quickly (and carefully) flip the beanbag over to prevent the urine from spreading out through the bag.
The other case for flipping the beanbag is if there are polyethylene microbeads instead. You might have seen microbeads instead of an exfoliant cleanser and the ones used in beanbags are pretty similar although a lot larger. Polyethylene microbeads absorb very little liquid and so you may be able to limit the spread or remove a good portion of the cat urine by flipping the bag over.
However, microbeads have a lot of environmental issues and as a result, they’re a lot less common than they once were so if you’ve got a newer beanbag it’s likely that it contains either memory foam or expanded polystyrene.
Finally, even though moving the beanbag isn’t a great idea in most cases, you also need to make sure that your cat can’t get access to the beanbag again. We’ll go into more detail on this later but once a cat pees in an area once they’re a lot more likely to do it again so you’ll want to make sure the beanbag is out of reach to prevent more peeing.
Step 2: Gently Blot
If the urine is relatively recent, you can try to blot the area to absorb the excess urine. Just be careful because you don’t want to accidentally move the urine around and push it further into the bag. Use something that’s highly absorbable, ideally, a paper towel but toilet paper will also work in a pinch.
Unless the area is wet to the touch (or if you can see that it’s wet if you’re afraid to touch the cat pee), you should skip this step.
Step 3: Apply an Enzymatic Cleaner (Or Vinegar In A Pinch)
When it comes to cleaning any cat of cat urine removing the actual smell is critical. Cats have an exceptional sense of smell (and even have an extra organ just for smelling) and just because we can’t smell the urine anymore doesn’t the actual smell is gone.
One of the best ways to make sure the smell is actually gone is by using an enzymatic cleaner. Enzymatic cleaners help remove the smell at a molecular level through a chemical reaction. There are multiple types of enzymatic cleaners that are effective against different types of stains so make sure you get an enzymatic cleaner that is specifically designed for pet stains.
My favorite option (especially for beanbags) is Nature’s Miracle which you can find here on Amazon.
Why is this one my favorite?
It’s got a great budget-friendly price, more than a thousand five-star reviews, and can work without blotting or scrubbing. This is especially important since we’re talking about keeping a beanbag clean and we won’t be able to scrub the filling unless we open it up.
So as soon as you notice the cat urine, get started with the enzymatic cleaner!
But what if you don’t have any on hand? There’s always Amazon prime but if that is still too long for you, Nature’s Miracle is also sold at most major stores like Walmart or Target.
And if you’re really in a pinch, you can consider using vinegar. Even though vinegar is a bit stinky on its own, the smell will fade…but can’t pee smell generally won’t. As the folks at PetMD explain, vinegar can remove the smell of cat urine because it’s “an acid that neutralizes the alkaline salts that form in dried urine stains.”
If you go the vinegar route, dilute it with about 50% water before applying it to your beanbag.
Step 4: Vacuum the Beanbag (Optional)
If you’ve got a wet/dry vacuum that can handle it, you can try to vacuum the beanbag at this point to remove excess liquid. This will also remove some of the enzymatic cleaner but you can always reapply that. Hopefully, your cat doesn’t decide to reapply urine too!
If you don’t have a vacuum then you can skip this step but if you want to invest in one, check out my favorite handhelds for keeping the litterbox area nice and tidy. There are a few wet/dry options on that list that will work for all your kitty related needs.
Step 5: Repeat As Needed
There’s a good chance you’re going to have to repeat this process a few times before you can safely say that the beanbag is clean. After the first couple of cycles, you’re probably safe to move the beanbag to another area if that makes it easier to clean. At that point, the urine that’s already in the bag isn’t going to shift too much but you still don’t want to go crazy with it and throw it down the stairs or anything!
What If That Doesn’t Work?
There’s a chance that your beanbag is too far gone and that even though the enzymatic cleaner is effective, it can’t quite penetrate far enough to get the job done. In that case, you’ve got a few options.
Option 1: Soak the Beanbag In A Vinegar Solution
If you really want to keep the beanbag but you just can’t seem to get the cat urine smell out, you can try to soak the entire bag in a solution of vinegar and water. You could also use an enzymatic cleaner but since we’re dealing with much bigger volumes here, that can get pretty expensive. Amazon sells gallons of vinegar at a budget-friendly price even if we are talking about filling half a bathtub up with it!
Just like with the spot treatment, you’ll want to go for a 50/50 solution but that can be understandably difficult to do without spending a fortune on vinegar so just get the best concentration that you can.
Ideally, you use an extra bathroom to do this as the process can get messy and be a little time-consuming. Obvious everything is going to smell like vinegar, too!
The idea here is to make sure that the cat urine deep inside the beanbag comes in contact with the vinegar and water solution so spend a few minutes really working it into the beanbag by flipping it over and spinning it around a few times.
Once that’s done, drain the tub and let it air dry as much as possible. Yes, the beanbag will smell like vinegar but it will fade over time. Just know that it’s going to take at least a few days depending on how strong the solution was. If it becomes a problem you can always follow it up with a rinse.
Option 2: Replace the Beanbag Filling
If you still can’t get the cat pee smell out but you don’t want to go through the process of filling a bathtub with vinegar then you can always try to replace the pee-soaked beanbag filling.
This option will make the most sense for folks that have skill with fabrics and sewing- which is certainly not me!
Your best option for beanbag filling is going to be the refill kit from Posh which you can find here on Amazon. This big bag of expanded polystyrene will help you revive your stinky beanbag and there’s a very good chance that it’s the same material your beanbag was originally filled with. And if you want to go for a filler upgrade instead you can check out the memory foam option here.
The great thing about going the refill and replacement route is that you can clean the heck out of the beanbag shell when it’s empty. While it can be tempting to just run it through the wash and call it day, make sure you still use an enzymatic cleaner or vinegar on the shell to really neutralize (and not just cover up) the cat pee smell.
Option 3: Get A New Beanbag!
This is by far the easiest option and between buying bags of beanbag filler or gallons of vinegar, it can actually be one of the more cost-effective options!
If you want the best of the best, I suggest going with the Chill Sack Bean Bag on Amazon. This thing is way better than the vinyl bean bags that I had as a kid! But more importantly, it has a removable liner that makes it easy to keep clean even with pets.
Why Do Cats Pee on Beanbag Chairs?
It’s not exactly normal for cats to pee on beanbags- or anywhere besides the litterbox. Cats instinctually want to use the litterbox and most kittens will quickly learn that the litterbox is the right place to go to the bathroom.
Besides worrying about how to get your beanbag clean after a cat pee incident it’s also important to figure out why your cat is peeing on the beanbag in the first place.
So why would a cat pee on a beanbag chair? Usually, inappropriate urination habits fall into two categories: behavior and medical.
It’s always important to rule out medical reasons first and peeing on beanbags could be related to conditions like a urinary tract infection or a complex and varied condition called feline lower urinary tract disease. Your veterinarian can look for signs of both conditions and in many cases treating the underlying condition will resolve the urination.
Especially if it’s addressed quickly and long before it becomes a habit for your cat.
Behavioral reasons for urinating on a beanbag chair can be pretty varied but usually it comes down to a litterbox issue. Your cat really does want to use the litterbox instead of a beanbag but there’s some reason that they’ve decided it’s not a good option.
The most common is litterbox cleanliness. You aren’t excited when you walk into a disgusting gas station bathroom and neither is your cat! If the litterbox isn’t being scooped and cleaned regularly some cats will decide to find a new bathroom- like your favorite beanbag chair.
Another common issue is the litterbox location. If you have other pets, they may harass your cat when they try to approach the litterbox, and again your fluffy friend will decide it isn’t worth the hassle. But oftentimes it can be a lot more subtle. Maybe the litterbox is near your noisy washer and dryer and your cat doesn’t like the noise of machines.
While the reasons can be varied, you can usually make some progress just by adding some additional litterboxes around the house. That way, whatever the problem is with the original there’s a good chance you can solve with a new location.
But remember, before you start trying to figure out behavioral reasons why your cat might be urinating g on your beanbag chair always start with your veterinarian to rule out possible medical causes.
Everything you ever wanted to know about cat pee and beanbag chairs!
I hope you were able to successfully get the cat pee smell out of your favorite beanbag chair. If not, I hope you learned a lot more about why this might happen and how to prevent it in the future!