For the average Joe, if their cat or dog pees in their house, this is a dreadful accident in need of immediate attention. It’s a disgusting problem and not their favorite topic of conversation. Not so for me. As a Professional Carpet and Upholstery cleaner, I love to chat about dog and cat urine. For folks such as myself, these accidents are a fascinating challenge and job security too!
As you can imagine, our office phones ring regularly with these smelly problems in need of a solution. The customer’s side of the conversation usually flows (ha ha ha) something like this: “Kitty Van Meowmeow peed by the couch, and I tried to clean it up a couple of days ago, but now it looks worse.” Or: “My prized French Poodle, Captain Picard, peed here last summer and now I’m smelling it again.”
So, why is urine so difficult to clean out of carpets?
Urine is acidic, but it becomes alkaline and ammonium salts form in the residue it creates. Typical cleaning solutions will not break down these salts, and they can not be rinsed away with hot water. Salts, as you’ll remember from science class, retain moisture, so urine can stay moist in the backing and pad of your carpet for years, even when it appears to be dry on the top. This is why, particularly in the humidity of summer months, the ghost of an old spot may come back to haunt your nose.
Before we talk about how professionals get urine spots clean, I should say that if more than 20% of the carpet in a room has been affected, the carpet needs to be replaced. Furthermore, even if it is one single urine spot, if a pet heavily wet it or had multiple “accidents,” the problem will be down into the padding and maybe even to the floor underneath. In these instances, carpet must be pulled up, both sides must be cleaned, padding needs replaced, and the floor needs to be cleaned (maybe even sanded and sealed).
These extremes are one thing, but your average spot cleaning is another. The trick to successfully combating these spots is to use a combination of two chemicals, one of which breaks down the salts to allow for a hot water extraction and one of which uses enzyme producing bacteria to battle the odor (Cool!). As an added bonus, the chemicals used by Randy’s Carpet Care technicians to perform this job are pet friendly – and Earth friendly too, for that matter!
In some cases, a second treatment and cleaning may be required, but most of the time one visit is sufficient. The bacterial odor fighting chemical will actually continue waging war with the smell for up to two weeks, so you need not fret if odor lingers after your cleaning. This is normal, and it will probably go away. However, if a second appointment is needed to address remaining or returning spots, the remainder of the problem may be solved using a concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution with an anti-resoiling agent. This is a simple and quick fix.
If you’re the DIY type, check out this article about using household hydrogen peroxide to clean small organic spots such as pet urine. If a male cat is the source of your pungent carpet woes, check out this one. If you now find the subject of pet urine fascinating and you want to keep chatting with me about it, shoot me an email or call our office to schedule your free estimate today!