Get Rid of Cat Dog Urine Smells and Stains
If you’ve ever wondered how to get rid of cat urine smells in your home or how to remove dog urine from carpet, then you’re not alone—not by a long shot. Here at Chem-Dry, we have thousands of people ask us the same questions every year. To try to help solve this problem, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to removing unpleasant pet urine odors and stains. If you’re already prepared to dive in and get the mess cleaned up, though, we’ve got you covered. Just select one of the options below to let us know whether you’re looking for a cleaning solution so you can clean up a smaller mess yourself or whether it’s a bigger situation that requires some professional care.
Step #1: Diagnose the Problem
If not treated properly, the odor from pet accidents can travel through the entire home and impact your health and your happiness. The smell emitted from an accident area also often leads to repeat incidents in the same area until it is properly eliminated.
The first thing to do when determining how to get dog pee smell out of carpet (or cat pee smell—we don’t discriminate!) is to locate the source of the smell. Once you’ve found the stained area(s) ask yourself the following questions:
- How long has the stain or odor been there?
- Is it still wet, or has the stain set in?
- What type of material is the stained surface made of?
- How large is the area that needs to be treated?
- Have you verified that this is the only problem area?
Of course, most of these questions only work under the assumption that you know where the odor is coming from. If you cannot find the source of the urine smell, then your best option is to contact a professional cleaning technician. At Chem-Dry, we use black lights to quickly find any areas in your home that need to be treated.
The Science Behind Black Lights and Urine
How exactly does a black light help us to find the problem area? Urine—and cat urine more than most—contains a substance called phosphorus. When it’s in the presence of oxygen, phosphorus will glow a yellowish green. The phosphorus absorbs energy and releases it in the form of visible light. (This is true whether it is under a black light or not.) Usually, this glow is rather dim, but a black light provides additional energy, which makes the light much brighter and easier to see. Under a black light, any areas that have been exposed to urine will glow.
Step #2: Remove the stain or odor
Once you’ve located all the areas that need to be cleaned, it’s time to get rid of the stain or odor. Pet urine leaves an unsightly blemish on your carpet, often accompanied by an unpleasant odor, but it doesn’t stop there. It penetrates the fibers and contaminates, not only the carpet, but the floor underneath, as illustrated in this diagram:
Because of this, some carpet stains can require specialized cleaning, well beyond just a simple cleaning and treatment. As time passes without treating the affected area, the urine penetrates deeper into the floors, into the walls, and eventually, even into your home’s framework and foundation. As your pet’s urine dries, the liquid portion of the stain evaporates, but the remaining crystals become even more concentrated, leading to a stronger smell. To remove this odor, you’ll need something a step beyond just a simple cleaning.
TIPS: A Few Words of Warning Before You Begin
When you are removing a pet stain, there are some practices you should avoid. Here are a few tips to help you to avoid making the situation even worse:
TIP #1: Don’t use a steam cleaner.
While a steam cleaner might seem like the just the tool to administer a deep clean for a stubborn stain, it’s quite the opposite. When you use a steam cleaner on a pet stain, the heat can actually make the stain even more difficult, or even impossible, to remove.
Just as the name suggests, steam cleaners use extremely hot water as they clean. The heat from the steam cleaner can actually cause the stain and odor to set, making them essentially permanent.
TIP #2: Avoid using strong-smelling chemicals—especially ammonia.
When you are cleaning up a pet’s accident, be very careful about which products you use. Strong-smelling cleaners—particularly ammonia and vinegar—can turn a single accident into a recurring problem.
When pet urine degrades, bacteria break it down into uric acid, uric salts, and several other components. Eventually, it converts into ammonia. Your pets are creatures of habit, and they often mark a specific spot in which to do their business. To your pets, the smell of ammonia is basically a signal to reinforce that scent, so using ammonia is basically an invitation for them to mark the exact same spot.
TIP #3: Stay away from enzyme-based products
If you take a look at Chem-Dry’s competitors, you’ll notice that most of them use some sort of enzyme-based product to remove pet urine odors, most of which are virtually identical to the same products you can buy over the counter.
There are a few problems with enzyme-based products, though. In order for an enzyme product to be effective, it needs to stay in contact with the source for several hours. Not just stay in contact but also stay wet in order for the enzymes to be effective. This requires some constant watching and frequent re-application. Enzymes are also fragile and can be killed easily, so even after leaving the cleaner on the stain for hours, it may not have any noticeable effect.
When you notice your pet has had an accident on your carpet or floor, the very first step to take is to gather paper towels and blot. Try to soak up as much of the urine as possible to keep the stain from spreading and soaking in further. Not only will this help you to keep the area that needs to be treated small, but it will make it easier for the odor remover to do its job later.
Once you have cleaned up the initial mess, take a closer look and identify just how big the problem area that will require deeper cleaning is.
For Smaller Areas and Recent Stains
If the mess is small and hasn’t had the chance to set too deeply, we recommend using our Pet Odor Extinguisher. This is a small piece of the same process our technicians use when they come to perform a larger-scale cleaning. It is designed to lift fresh odors from your carpet and neutralize them without the use of harsh solvents or bleaches that could damage your carpet or leave dirt-attracting residues. It’s also safe to use around pets and children.
For Large Stains, or Particularly Pungent Odors
If the stain covers a wide area, has had time to set in, or smells particularly strong, you should consult with one of Chem-Dry’s professional technicians. Once the urine has been given a chance to soak into the carpet, it can go deeper, permeating the padding and backing, or even into the sub floor. There’s only so much that you can do with a spot clean, and Chem-Dry’s professionals are trained to do more than just remove the urine from the face of the carpet. Chem-Dry has been doing this for a long time, and our technicians know very well how to get urine smell out of carpet. They can go deeper and eliminate the bacteria that produce the odors.
When our technicians arrive, they will use special UV glasses and black lights to make sure that they don’t miss any spots that may not be visible to the naked eye. It can take up to five years for dog or cat urine to decompose on their own, but our Pet Urine Removal Treatment (P.U.R.T.) accelerates the process and completes it in a fraction of that time, reducing what would take years to a matter of hours. Our P.U.R.T. process has been tested and proven to remove 99.2% of bacteria from pet urine in carpets, as well as 99.9% of pet urine odors from carpets which is why we think it's the best carpet cleaning for pet urine.
The P.U.R.T. Process