As delightful as pets are, animals (especially young animals) are prone to accidents which may leave unpleasant odours in their wake unless timely action is taken. By using the right carpet cleaning chemicals and techniques, you can ensure that your carpets stay free of both lingering smells and potential damage; click here to find out more.
Understanding Why Urine Leaves Stubborn Odours
While urine is acidic in its liquid form, it leaves behind alkaline salts. As such, you have to use the right carpet cleaning chemicals at the right time: The same chemical which removes a stain in its liquid form may “set” the same stain when it has dried, and vice versa.
The alkaline salts are what is responsible for creating the pungent odour associated with pet urine; these salts pull moisture from the air, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive (the more moist the climate you live in, the stronger the odours will be), and the bacteria is what is actually responsible for the smell, not the urine itself. The urine also provides food for this bacteria, as it contains fats.
Dealing with Odours Caused by Pet Urine
To completely remove odours caused by pet urine, one must neutralise the salts, balance the PH of the carpet fibres, get rid of the fats feeding the bacteria, and employ some manner of antimicrobial take care of any remaining bacteria.
The first step to treating carpets which have been soiled by pet urine is to make sure you have located all the sites where an accident has occurred. If you don’t want to get down on your hands and knees and try to detect the stain by scent alone, you can call in professional carpet cleaners, who will use a black light or special type of sensor (designed to locate even years-old urine) to detect the exact location of each and every accident.
If there are many small sites where a pet has urinated, it’s usually advisable to treat the entire carpet with the appropriate carpet cleaning chemicals; professional carpet cleaners will generally use enzyme deodorants or powerful oxidising agents to effectively remove each and every stain.
If a particularly large animal, such as a dog, has been urinating in the same area for a long time, more drastic action may be required. In this instance, professional carpet cleaners will usually “flood” the area of the stain with powerful digesters and odour killing oxidisers, which will often be left on the carpet for a period of time in order to fully break down the accumulated fats, bacteria, and alkaline salts.
Sometimes there is, unfortunately, nothing even professional cleaners can do; if the urine has been left to saturate the carpet for a very long time and the saturation rate has reached over 50 per cent, the carpet will need to be replaced. The floor below it will also need to be cleaned and usually sealed with a special odour-barrier sealant. If the floor is not thus sealed, odours which have leached below the flooring’s surface may continue to emanate from the contaminated area, even if the flooring is replaced. Such extreme damage is, however, quite rare; in most cases, the carpet can be saved.
Once the professional cleaner has applied the stain and odour specific products and let them sit as required, he or she will bring in a commercial-grade hot water extraction machine (usually vehicle-mounted). These powerful machines will be able to completely flush out any and all dissolved residues from the carpet, so that once the carpet dries, it will be stain and odour free. (Hot water extraction is also an excellent method for removing pet dander and hair from deep within one’s carpets, reducing the presence of allergens and dust mites.)
If the stains were especially severe, the cleaner might use a tool known as a “water claw”, which is designed to reach even deeper and remove bacteria from the floor, pad, and carpet. Additional chemical treatment may be required to take care of any lingering stain, but after several hours, the carpet should look like new again.
What to do When Your Pet Has an Accident
In order to make carpet cleaning easier and prevent damage, you should always gently blot urine stains immediately after they occur. Do not use anything other than water on a fresh stain, as anything other than water may alter the chemical composition of the stain and make later removal more challenging.
Generally, dampening the affected area with water, depositing a large number of paper towels, and then weighting them down overnight will help to absorb the vast majority of the urine.
If you have used a chemical cleaning product on a fresh stain, let your carpet cleaner know before he or she gets to work, so that the cleaning method can be adjusted accordingly.