Santa Fe Floor Care


How to Treat Pet Urine Odor in Carpet

How to Treat Pet Urine Odor in Carpet

Have you ever visited the home of a friend or family member and noticed first thing as you walked through the front door the unmistakeable smell of cat or dog urine? Chances are your loved one is either unaware of the problem or already aware but unable to find a solution. This article explains the dangers of pet urine odor, as well as how to eliminate the problem.

Why People Don’t Notice Pet Urine Odor

There’s a reason people can become oblivious to the smell of pet urine in their homes. The human sense of smell adapts and loses sensitivity over time with consistent exposure to certain odors.

Pamela Dalton, a cognitive psychologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center, explains,

When our odor receptors are repeatedly exposed to the same smells, they stop responding. Spending so much time in the same environment means that we are constantly smelling the odors within our homes. Odor adaptation differs from such other senses as hearing. Most people can tune out a noisy street sound, but if they pay enough attention, they can bring those sounds back into their awareness. On the other hand, when we adapt to an odor, it smells much weaker or not at all, and we cannot will ourselves to smell it again. In fact, depending on how long we’re exposed to the odor, we may need days or weeks to recover our sensitivity to it.

People may be fully aware of a pet urine odor problem, but they do not have success in treating pet urine odors. Eliminating pet urine odor is easier said than done. A pet accident may look like a small spot on the surface of carpet, but the urine can spread out in the carpet padding underneath, and even the subfloor can get saturated. No amount of carpet cleaning can eliminate this problem, especially if this type of contamination is present in multiple areas throughout the home.

Dangers of Pet Urine Odor

All urine contains ammonia. Obviously, in an ideal situation, pet urine in a residential environment is prevented or eliminated before it becomes a problem. In homes with carpeting, pet accidents may be cleaned improperly or go unnoticed altogether. Whether one has cats, dogs, birds, rodents, or other animals, the presence of urine in a residential setting can cause the same irritation to humans as that of an open container of ammonia. Symptoms may include a burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat, along with coughing and allergy symptoms. In addition, pet urine odors can worsen the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems.

How to Eliminate Pet Urine Odor

In very extreme situations, carpets, carpet padding, upholstery may need to be replaced. In cases of animal hoarding or neglect, even the subfloor may need to be replaced. Most of the time, pet urine odor problems can be resolved with two basic steps. First, identify and eliminate the cause of the problem (while keeping the pet), and second, treat the affected areas. Let’s take a closer look at each step.

Identify and Eliminate the Cause of the Problem

Pets have accidents for various reasons, including improper training, urinary tract problems, and stress or excitement. Consult with your veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist, if needed. Once you are sure that the cause of the problem is resolved, you can then treat the affected areas.

If your pet continues to urinate on the carpet, then the only way to eliminate the pet urine odor problem will be to replace your flooring. Nonporous flooring will not hide or absorb pet accidents. As long as pet accidents are thoroughly cleaned as soon as they happen, then there should be no problem with lingering pet urine odor.

Treat the Affected Areas

Note: Do not use carpet powders and air fresheners that mask pet urine odor. Do not use baking soda, because although it may help neutralize odors and clean the carpet, it leaves an abrasive residue that can damage carpet fibers.

If you are treating the pet urine odor yourself, follow these steps.

  • Identify the contaminated areas. If trouble spots are not obvious, purchase a UV light, black out the windows or wait until evening, and then examine your carpet under the UV light. Urine-affected areas will glow yellow or green.
  • Thoroughly vacuum the carpet, if it is dry. When urine dries, moisture evaporates and salt crystals are left behind. Vacuuming will remove some of that solidified material from the carpet fibers.
  • Use a digestive enzyme on the spot. Digestive enzymes can be purchased at your local pet supply store. This will neutralize the odor using beneficial bacteria that break down organic matter.
    Clean the spot. Select a spot cleaner that is appropriate for your type of carpet by comparing details from the carpet manufacturers information with the spot cleaner product label. Follow the directions on the label precisely. Use the appropriate amount of cleaner, because too little can be ineffective and too much can leave a film that attracts and traps dirt and contaminants.
  • Use a clean, dry white towel to blot up any excess moisture. Let the carpet dry thoroughly and vacuum once more to fluff up the carpet fibers.

The easiest and best way to treat affected areas is to schedule services with us. Your professional carpet cleaning technicians have the knowledge, tools, and experience to locate and treat problem areas. When you contact us, be sure to mention the pet urine odor problem. Your technician can examine your carpeting and, if possible, resolve the problem. Be aware that replacing portions of carpet padding may be necessary, depending on the severity of the problem.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

How to Remove Shower Calcium Deposits

How to Remove Shower Calcium Deposits

Do you have a white film or scaly buildup on your tile or stone shower? This is caused by calcium deposits, which can be difficult to remove. Here are some DIY solutions you can try yourself before you reach out for professional services.

Why Calcium Deposits Are Usually Found in Showers

Water with a high mineral content can deposit calcium carbonate on your natural stone or tile surfaces. Over time, these deposits build up.

Natural stone and tile applications that get no or minimal water exposure rarely ever get calcium deposits. Examples include entryway walls, fireplace surrounds, damp-mopped floors, and areas of countertops that get little use. However, surfaces that are constantly being wiped may slowly, over a long period of time, become cloudy looking with calcium deposits. Examples include high-use countertop areas (usually near sinks), commercial bar tops, and restaurant table tops.

Bathroom showers are the major problem area for calcium deposits. Every time someone showers, the surfaces are exposed to an average of two gallons of water per minute!

Be Careful

The challenge in removing calcium deposits is avoiding damage to the surface. If you have porcelain or ceramic tile, you can use harsher cleaners than those that can be used on natural stone. You might be able to get away with using mildly acidic cleaners on silicate-based stones, such as granite, sandstone, slate, and quartzite, but if you have calcium-based natural stone, your options are limited. Polished stone may be more likely to require professional refinishing after DIY calcium deposit removal methods than honed stone.

Solutions to Remove Calcium Deposits

The following are DIY suggestions for removing calcium deposits from your natural stone or tile surfaces. WARNING: As alluded to previously, some DIY methods can cause dullness or etch damage to natural stone. You may want to reach out to your stone restoration technician before proceeding.

Use a plastic putty knife to scrape off the excess buildup. Be sure not to use a metal knife, as it can leave marks or scratches.

Saturate the surface with the appropriate cleaner. Allow enough dwell time to soften the buildup. Clean using a white cloth or soft nylon brush.

For tile or stone, rinse thoroughly to remove any cleaning residue. For stone, especially if you used sulfamic acid, follow up with a pH-neutral cleaner prior to the final rinse.

Porcelain or Ceramic Tile

The glazed finish on porcelain and ceramic tiles cannot be ruined with most acidic cleaners, such as lemon juice, white vinegar, soap film remover, and other acid-based cleaners. The exception is hydrofluoric acid. Avoid heavy duty acids, such as HCL and CLR, which pose numerous health risks. If necessary, you may also use a green scrubbing pad on porcelain or ceramic.

Marble and Other Calcium-Based Stone

Stone-safe, pH-neutral cleaners can be used on both polished and honed natural stone. Do not use a green scrubbing pad on polished stone. You might be able to get away with using it on stone with a honed finish, but do so at your own risk knowing that some honed finishes have a higher polish than others. If the desired results are not achieved, use a heavy-duty, non-acidic soap film remover.

Granite and Other Silicate-Based Stone

For granite and other silicate-based stone, use the same methods as mentioned above for marble and other calcium-based stone. If the desired results are not achieved, use sulfamic acid (not to be confused with sulfuric acid), available at home improvement centers.

Professional Cleaning and Restoration May Be Necessary

DIY methods are valuable for regular cleaning and in some cases, more intensive cleaning, but professional stone and tile services achieve dramatic results that cannot be achieved using DIY methods. If you choose to try DIY methods first, feel free to contact us for specific product recommendations. If DIY methods fail to produce the desired results or leave your stone looking dull, we are here for you. Perhaps reading this article makes you realize you have better things to do than spending hours cleaning your shower. Contact us if you would like to schedule professional calcium buildup removal services.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.