Removing cat pee smell from carpet
If you’re reading this blog post you’re no doubt asking yourself “How do I get this cat pee smell out of my carpet”.
First, Why trust anything we have to say?
Removing the strong cat pee smell or urine from carpet is challenging and there are a million websites with ten million people telling you secret family recipes that will remove cat pee smell permanently. Understand that Cleaning Heroes is a professional service company with a fantastic reputation and we are highly recommended for our high quality work. We’ve been helping clients remove cat pee smell form their carpet for decades and have mastered the simple techniques needed to get the best results.
Why removing cat pee from carpet is challenging
1. Gravity wins!
Cat pee smell is subject to gravity and travels downward. Depending on the amount of cat pee and frequency of accidents in a particular area there may be a small concentration of cat pee smell causing urine or there might be a VERY heavy concentration of cat pee smell causing urine. The only proper way to identify the severity of the cat pee source is to do a visual inspection from the back of the carpet. The back of the carpet will clearly show the area that has been affected and the depth to which the cat pee has reached. Unfortunately getting to the back of the carpet is not easy. Thus why you have a big challenge on your hands. CAUTION! (No doubt some of you who are reading this have heard of or been told that a black light is an effective inspection tool. This is partially true, but let us just spare you the expense and time to go down this road. You’re not a CSI and even highly trained professionals cannot always rely on blacklights. If your problem is this severe, simply call your local flooring retailer and ask for a referral to quality cleaning company.)
2. Absorbs into everything
Carpets are absorbent, some more and some less, but they all absorb to some degree, including odors like cat pee. This means that the instant a liquid comes into contact it begins penetrating the fiber. The deeper the penetration the more difficult it is to remove. Not only is the carpet itself absorbent, but the backing of most all wall-to-wall carpet today is made from latex, a highly absorbent glue. Once the cat pee contacts the glue it also absorbs the odor causing liquid. Not only are the carpet and the latex backing absorbent, so is the foam/rubber cushion on the back of the carpet. It is by far the most absorbent of the three primary components of wall-to-wall carpet installations.
3. Odor that doesn’t give up easily
Pee of any kind is typically quite pure when it is expelled from the body. However over time mother nature begins her work of breaking urine down and it is during this process that the distinct “ammonia” odor that we all associate with urine begins to develop. If you have strong cat pee smell, that means that this cat pee has been there for quite some time as this process is not fast. Again fresh pee isn’t strong, old pee is pungent and rancid.
During the “bacteria” breakdown of mother nature the “ammonia” we smell is actually a VERY powerful chemical. It is so strong that it can weaken, degrade and destroy both natural (wool, cotton, silk, jute) and synthetic (nylon, polyester, olefin or polypropylene) fibers AND the dyes that are used to color them. Some fibers are colored in such a way that they are less likely to be immediately affected by decomposing urine, but all fibers over time will weaken.
Is it any wonder why it is so difficult to remove? Don’t feel bad, removing cat pee smell from carpet is by far one of the most difficult cleaning challenges you will ever tackle. So when you get it right, you AND your nose will celebrate!
Put our proven method to work for yourself!
First, you need to understand that there is no magic potion or wand you can wave. Follow these simple steps, honed over decades of experience, for the best results.
What do you need to know before you start attempting to remove cat pee from your carpet?
You need to understand that the age, depth and concentration with determine the amount, intensity and level of work needed to remove the cat pee thoroughly.
1. It’s rarely on the surface
Cat pee is RARELY just in the surface. So you can clean the surface (not the latex or the cushion) for years and never get 100% results. In fact we highly recommend you do not attempt to treat spots that are visibly below the face yarns. Again you’re wasting your time. This is when its time to call a professional. We have tools, knowledge, experience and training you just don’t have access to and you’re far better off with a reputable company who has experience than making a huge mess AND THEN asking for help.
2. Stopping treatment makes life harder
Remember until a spot is touched it is easy to see and address. As soon as you start cleaning and working on it you will alter it and it will become more difficult to diagnose if you call a professional. So weigh out whether it is best to do this on your own first or if you should just get professional help right away.
How to remove cat pee from your carpet
Forget everything you read on internet forums and “how-to” websites. Most all, if not all, of this is a waste of time. Stop using “DIY methods” and quite wasting money on products and chemicals labeled “Cat pee remover” or anything of the sort. You’re making a huge mess, wasting time and not making your life any better.
Here is a simple procedure that works very well with most all spots, but is quite effective when removing cat pee from your carpet:
Tools you’ll need:
We recommend a WET/DRY Vacuum such as this one on Amazon.com. We have used this exact model for years with great success. Bigger vacuums aren’t better here because you want them to reach maximum suction quickly, which smaller vacuums do better. Mininum size to be useful is 1.5 gallon, though 2.5 gallon is recommended as you’ll be lifting a lot of water.
Products you’ll need:
HOT WATER and lots of it. That’s right, leave the soaps, peroxides, bleaches, chemicals, spotters, enzymes and all that junk in the chemical cabinet. Hot water alone will do more work to dissolve the pee, salt and other yucky stuff. Also hot water will cause the fiber to expand and encourage it to release whatever it has absorbed. Water that is close to boiling is recommended (around 200′ F). You will want to be careful to not exceed this temperature as olefin melts at 218′ F. Nylon and Polyester are well over 500′ F. But likely if you are reading this you may not be sure which fiber your carpet is made from. SPECIAL CARE FOR WOOL: If your carpet is wool you will want to keep the water around 140-160′ F.
Simple. Have your vacuum plugged in and next to the area you want to treat. Have your HOT WATER next to your work area. Define a SMALL work area perhaps the size of your hand that you will work on first. After you have completed this spot you can move on to the next “hand sized” spot. Do not try to treat a large area at one time. You need your water to stay hot and working in small areas will make this work better.
What to do:
Turn your vacuum on and apply small amounts of the hot water directly to the area you want to treat. Immediately vacuum the water out with your vacuum. Continue applying water and extracting. Over and over. Do not do this once or five times. Repeat this process as many times as it takes to use as much as 1 gallon of water per hand sized spot. This may seem excessive and if you get impatient you will get poor results. This process will slowly dissolve the cat pee and the smell and will extract it into your vacuum. Remember to keep your water hot. Empty the vacuum into your toilet and flush.
What NOT to do:
Remember gravity + liquids = downward flushing. You need to be careful not to over apply the water. You are working in small amounts so that you don’t just end up washing the cat pee smell right into the back of the carpet and into the cushion. You must work in small amounts.
Watch us perform this technique
After you have repeated the above process over and over on all of the areas that you can visually see need treated do one final vacuum over all areas you worked on. Be thorough and patient. You want to extract the maximum amount of moisture from the carpet as possible. As a final step for those who are chemically sensitive, repeat the same process above with at least 3% hydrogen peroxide, but do not heat it up. If the area you are treating is in the direct sunlight, close the blinds as peroxide + sunlight can have an unwanted bleaching effect. Again apply and extract. For those who are able to tolerate fragrances, repeat the above process with a Febreeze concentrate. Again apply and extract. With the Febreeze spray it on liberally, enough to saturate the area you are working on, but not enough to flood it. Allow it to dwell for at least 15 minutes and then vacuum the area thoroughly. To be safe repeat this process at least 3 times. Allowing dwell time between extractions. Febreeze is a proven odor counteractant and has the ability to denature malodors, however it contains masking fragrances which some folks cannot tolerate. After you have completed the treatments vacuum the area thoroughly and place a small fan on the area to help accelerate the drying.
You have successfully removed the cat pee smell from your carpet. Please feel free to send us any feedback or comments you have on this method, how it worked for you and any insights you have that could help us inprove this helpful post!
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