by Jeremy Strickland
First: The bad news…
Many a conscientious parent and grandparent attempts to avoid the use of chemicals in their homes. Despite best intentions, when Fido has an “accident,” you can not clean urine out of a carpet without cleaning products, and I don’t recommend that you attempt to clean it yourself.
Urine forms ammonium salts in the residues as it dries, and these salts have to be broken down in order to clean the spot (otherwise, the salts will potentially keep the urine moist under the carpet for years). This requires an enzymatic cleaning solution. If the spot goes deep, you may also need to clean the back of the carpet with this solution, replace the padding, and scrub the sub floor.
Now, some good news…
If you have an elderly yellow urine spot on your carpet which is posing an aesthetic problem but doesn’t stink, it may be possible to remove the spot with hydrogen peroxide. Put a clean spray nozzle right on the brown bottle, mist the spot, then rake the chemical in with your fingers (or an old brush if you’re squeamish). If the spot remains after eight hours or so, try again. The peroxide will turn into oxygen and water after it’s exposed to life outside the bottle, so you’re not going to hurt anything unless your carpet is wool (don’t use hydrogen peroxide on natural fibers).
That said, peroxide is no magic bullet. It may work, it may not. There’s quite a few factors involved in its success, but think of it like that time you got ketchup on your vintage Smurfs t-shirt and didn’t get it treated and cleaned right away. That ketchup spot became a permanent stain, didn’t it. Sad too. You loved that shirt.
If this old urine spot hasn’t been professionally cleaned in the past, it may still be damp underneath, depending on how old it is and what or who peed there. If it was your pet chihuahua, Randall Tiberius Montgomery III, there’s probably not much of a problem, his bladder is quite small and timid so there was probably not enough urine to penetrate the backing of the carpet. However, if your neighborhood Sasquatch lumbered out of the woods behind your house to borrow garlic to ward off the mosquitoes (he doesn’t like chemicals either), and then you told him a joke that made him laugh so hard that he peed… Well, Sasquatch’s monster bladder definitely produced enough urine to penetrate the carpet backing where it may remain moist under the carpet for years to come.
When there’s enough urine to penetrate the carpet backing, it will hit the padding underneath and spread. A urine spot can be like an iceberg, where you only see 1/5 of it above the surface. Because the salts that form in the residues will keep the spot damp under the surface of the carpet, treating it is a much bigger issue than making the visible spot go away.
The moral of this story is, if Bigfoot peed on your carpet, skip the peroxide, and call a professional carpet cleaner. If you’re in West Michigan, Randy’s Carpet Care specializes in pet spot removal. Call today to schedule your free estimate!