We love our pets! But let’s face it, they do have odours and occasional accidents. Pets and kids are the nest clients. Most home owners have a difficult time removing pet urine stains and odours from their carpeting. However, cleaning pet urine, pet feces, and pet dander are all part of a day’s work for professional carpet cleaners. Dealing with pet urine is a common occurrence to these professionals. Here is a quick synopsis of why urine has an odour and why it can be difficult to remove;
- When the accident occurs the urine is a acid in its liquid form, but once it dries it leaves behind alkaline salts. So it begins as an acid and ends as an alkaline (high pH)
- These alkaline salts draw humidity from the air which activates the bacteria – which is why pet odours are so much worse on damp and humid days and in basements. A/C and the use of dehumidifiers help reduce the odours.
- Then there is all the fats in the urine which is what the bacteria lives on.
- The actual odour is not caused the urine itself but the by-products of the bacteria
So for complete removal, all these issues have to be dealt with. Neutralizing of the salts, Ph balancing of carpet fibers, the removal or digestion of the fats, and anti-microbial to deal with bacteria.
The first and by far the most difficult step of dealing with pet urine, is to identify its location(s). There are several methods we use to locate where a pet has urinated. Black lights are effective, as well as special sensors that can detect moist or even crystallized (old) urine, urine stains can be “active” or wet for years after the incident. It is sometimes possible to look at the back of the carpet where the urine stains are easy to see. You can also use your nose to locate the urine. It’s disgusting, but getting on your hands and knees and putting your nose to the carpet is actually very effective at detecting the urine.
The next step is to treat the urine. If a pet has urinated small quantities in many locations it is sometimes impractical to try to identify each and every location. In these instances it may make sense to treat the entire suspected area with a general topical pet treatment. To digest or destroy odor-causing protein and/or bacteria that are the source of urine odour, professional carpet cleaners typically will use enzyme deodorants or powerful oxidizing agents.
In the event a large dog has – over time – deposited gallons of urine in the same area, more drastic steps may be required. Such as re-flooding with digesters and powerful odour killing oxidizers, this is time intensive work to allow for proper dwell times. In these severe instances, (more than 50% saturated) the carpet and pad may need to be replaced and the floor may need to be cleaned and sealed with a special odour barrier sealer, to prevent odours from the sub floor from contaminating any new flooring. Excessive urine can cause the carpet backing to delaminate requiring the replacement of the carpet. Fortunate it is more common that the carpet and sometimes even the pad can be saved.
After applying any number of odour and/or stain specific products that soak the affected area to counteract the urine and bacteria, we use a commercial extraction machine in the truck that is able to flush suspended and/or dissolved residues from the carpet to leave it residue and odor-free. In the case of severe urine, spots are flooded with products and extracted with a tool called a “water claw” which is able to pull out suspended product and odour causing bacteria from the floor, pad, and carpet. Once the urine odour causing residue has been treated, what remains is the chemical after effects of the urine stain. These stains have to be removed through chemical action – to allow the original color to return to your carpet it may take several hours.
Because pet urine and pet dander react with water, the odor may be worse after the carpet has been cleaned. Therefore it is critical to inform us of the presence of a pet (past or present) – otherwise the effected areas may continue to smell & fester. Renters frequently attempt to withhold the presence of a pet from their landlords to avoid having to pay an extra cleaning deposit. What they don’t realize is that even if the pet has not urinated (which they all do at some time) or defecated on the carpet, the pet dander and sometimes the pet hair will expose the presence of the pet. In that instance, it is a good practice to treat the carpet with a general topical pet treatment.
Over the last several years, a few new industrial products have been developed that work on contact to neutralize pet odors. These products along with professional training yield impressive results. Obviously the sooner the owner calls and has us treat the areas the better the result and the less damage to the carpet itself. But we have great success even with pet stains and odours from old crystallized urine. So if you have pet stains and/or odours give us a call, we would be happy to give you a free evaluation of your situation.
So what can you do if your pet has an accident?
- Urine should be blotted up and feces removed as soon as possible.
- Do not apply anything beyond water on the carpet – rewetting the area with water, placing a large number of paper towels over top and then placing a heavy plastic weight on top over night, will help to absorb the urine from the pad and rug backing. Applying any other product may change the chemical composition and may make it more difficult for us to restore the affected area. If you have already used a cleaning product on the area please let our tech know so that they can neutralize the effect of the product used.
- Call us to perform pet treatments or just for advice – we are here to help.