How To Remove Cat Urine Odor From Carpet
Nothing says you have a pet cat more than cat urine odor. Add humidity to the equation and the odor can be unmistakable, even unbearable. A real source of embarrassment when guests come to visit.
To correct the problem, cat owners try many remedies. They scrub the affected areas, use various air fresheners to mask the odor, use baking soda mixtures or even scented candles.
Pet store products designed to eliminate the odor can provide some relief. Finally, a professional carpet cleaner is consulted which can produce varying degrees of success.
Frustration drives some cat owners to just resign to live with the problem. Others replace the carpet hoping the cat will not wet again.
No question about it, this is a tough odor to remove.
Why is urine odor from a cat so strong and difficult to remove?
A cat's urine contains higher levels of uric acid and urea than other mammal urine. The high concentration of protein in their diet coupled with the fact they don't drink much water makes for strong cat urine odor.
Its the uric acid that forms uric acid crystals otherwise known as urine salts, and is the reason for the pungent odor.
As the liquid content of the urine evaporates, the odor from the urine salts is minimized. When the uric acid crystals absorb moisture from humidity in the air or from a cleaning product the urine salts give off the foul odor.
Unless the cat has an infection, its urine comes out odorless and is on the acid side of the
As the urine dries, however, the urine changes from the acid side to the alkaline side of the pH scale.
This is important to know because most carpet cleaning products are
formulated on the alkaline side of the pH scale. Alkaline based cleaning products have little cleaning ability on alkaline based soils. Acids neutralize alkalines and vice versa.
What are the procedures to remove cat urine odor?
- locate the odor source: Cats tend to excrete against a border such as a wall or piece of furniture, not in the middle of the room.
remove the odor source:
- Look for visible evidence in the form of spots or
discolorations. Visible evidence is not always present in urine contamination odors.
- Use a "black (ultraviolet) light" to locate the odor source. In a darkened room, the salts found in urine become fluorescent in the presence of ultraviolet light.
- The use of an electronic moisture detector is helpful in locating the sticky residues and moisture found in urine deposits.
- The black light and moisture detector are two tools common in the carpet cleaning industry for finding urine deposits. The most available and practical method of locating urine problems is your nose. Don't be afraid to get down on your hands and knees to seek out urine problems.
The average sized cat can excrete enough urine to wet the carpet face, the backing, the padding (if present), the wooden tack-less strip (if present on wall to wall carpet installation) and the sub-floor (hardwood, plywood or concrete).
The extent of the cat urine contamination will determine the course of action taken to remove the cat urine odor source.
- In cases of isolated contamination, the problem can usually be effectively treated without the need to remove and replace the padding, tack-less strip or seal the sub-floor.
This article is a reference to correct the isolated contamination odor problem.
- In cases of large area and overall contamination, the carpet should be disengaged from the tack-less strip and inspected from the back to determine the scope of the problem.
Once the severity of the contamination is evaluated, the cost to correct verses the cost to replace the carpet can be determined. If correction is more cost effective, discard the contaminated padding and tack-less strips.
The scope of treatment to correct cases of large area and overall contamination is more involved than an isolated incident. Complete procedures can be found in the article entitled How to remove severe urine odor contamination
clean the surface where the cat urine odor exists:
The process of cleaning the surface begins by removing the urine salts which cause the odor.
apply a suitable deodorizer to eliminate any remaining cat urine odor:
- For fresh (wet) urine an alkaline cleaning solution (pH 9-10) namely Procyon Spot & Stain Remover
can be used. Before any product is applied to the urine contamination, remove as much of the urine by blotting with an absorbent cloth, or use an extraction machine such as a "wet/dry vac" or professional carpet cleaning equipment.
- For dried urine an acidic product such as acetic acid (vinegar) should be used.
- saturate the affected area with the appropriate alkaline or acetic acid solution. Enough solution needs to be applied to reach all the contamination. Apply enough to recreate the "crime". The purpose is to liquefy the urine salts so they can be rinsed away.
Use Caution as to not overwet the carpet when dealing with a wood sub-floor.
Generally, the urine contamination is not discovered until it is at least partially dry. Treatment with an acetic acid solution for dry or even wet urine deposits would be beneficial.
- Remove as much of the moisture from the saturated carpet as possible by blotting, or through extraction.
clean face fiber of carpet
- The most popular types of deodorizers for urine odor are enzyme based and oxygen based.
Enough chemical must be applied to completely wet out the contaminated areas. Follow the manufacturer's directions for proper results.
- Due to the sererity of cat urine odor, treatment may need to be repeated.
- some types of deodorizers leave a residue which should be cleaned to return the carpet to a healthier condition. Clean with an alkaline cleaning solution (pH 9-10) such as Procyon Spot & Stain Remover, blot to remove as much moisture as possible and allow carpet to dry.
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