Urine Damage Treatment
Between 30% and 40 % of U.S. households have at least one cat or a dog in residence. Cumulatively at Chase we have 20 dogs and cats. And although they may be our best friends, they may not be the best for the carpet, rugs, draperies and upholstery. Animal related issues and stains can be challenging to remove, so it’s best to attack them while they are fresh.
There are two types of reactions that can take place between the chemicals in an animal’s urine and those in the dyes and fibers of textile furnishings. The first type of reaction is immediately noticeable. The yellow color of the urine can change the color (s) of the fiber or fabric (especially light colors) as soon as it comes in contact with them.
The other reactions develop slowly over several days to several months and can result in permanent changes to the dyes and fiber. Not only can the dyes change but some fibers may become weakened or destroyed by the aged urine. The decomposing urine can also produce an objectionable odor. After cleaning, these areas are more obvious because the soils that hid the changed color and damaged fibers have been removed. Also, dyes weakened by urine may bleed especially on your fine wool rugs so if you see color transfer as you’re blotting up the urine, bring the rug to Chase as soon as possible.
Remember, pet issues, if forgotten or never discovered, will return to haunt you. Dried urine will smell like strong ammonia when humidity is high or when the spot is rewetted. Feces and urine can contain harmful bacteria. A spot that is small on the surface is often many times larger on the underside. The urine can damage both dyes and textile fibers. Unfortunately, the change usually isn’t noticed until the textile furnishing is cleaned. The damage caused by aged urine generally required professional restoration, possibly color tinting, color removal, and sometimes removal of the contaminated carpet and cushion, and subfloor resealing.
Urine Decontamination and Damage Treatment
Pet urine can cause permanent damage to your floors and fabrics. It can also create an unhealthy indoor environment. When urine is first deposited onto a floor or fabric, it has a pH of about 4 or 5, which is on the acid side of the pH Scale. It is easier to remove right then when it is fresh. Once it dries it turns “alkaline” or to a high pH between 10 to12 on the scale and it becomes more difficult to remove. The warm acid state of the urine offers a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which begin to flourish almost immediately. In this original acid state the urine begins to oxidize and react with the carpet to create a color change, which will become permanent if the urine is not removed immediately. Some of this color change can be attributed to the strong ammonia that forms as the urine passes through bacterial and chemical change. If left for days or weeks, depending on the fabric or floor type, it will change the dye structure, therefore causing permanent staining. Even if the soluble deposits are removed, the damage to the dye structure may already be done.
There are two sources of odors associated with urine. The first comes from bacteria that grow abundantly in dark warm places with a never-ending food source. A pet can feed the bacteria daily! This bacteria growth and breakdown of the urine creates amino acids. These complex organic compounds will often work deep into the fibers to a point of becoming part of the fiber. This can present a challenging situation. The waste materials and gases from the decomposing urine create an unpleasant odor. When dried urine is remoistened, it gives off an ammonia gas. If smelled once it is seldom forgotten.
The second source of odor is chemical odor that is present even when the bacteria have been killed. This explains the reason that more than sanitizing is necessary to neutralize odors from urine. Urine also presents additional odor problems when the relative humidity is high. The salts and crystals that are left behind as the urine dries are hydrophilic and draw water to them. Dried urine is often easy to smell in the humid months because the salts attract the moisture, the moisture evaporates putting out a greater proportion of odorous ammonia gas. You must get rid of the urine salts in and under the carpet to get rid of the odor. That’s why cleaning existing urine spots WILL NOT remove any associated odor. In fact, it could INCREASE the odor in the air space for a temporary period of time.
Do-It-Yourself Pet Urine Removal
The best tool to have is a small one gallon wet vac or small spot removal machine. A small wet vac can be purchased for under $30.00. We recommend a small machine because the more convenient, the more likely you are to get it out for an accident.
If you can get the urine up while it is fresh you will have a better chance of 100% removal. Simply suck the urine right out of the carpet. Then apply some of Chase Carpet Care’s Home Pro Spotter and let it sit a few minutes. Then pour a measuring cup of warm water on the spot and suck it out to rinse the carpet. Always dry the carpet as much as possible and never scrub or rub the carpet. This will distort the face fiber and break down the fiber protection and allow for easy staining.
If the urine spot is older than 24 hours, apply Chase Carpet Care’s Home Pro Spotter, rinse the carpet with warm water and wet vac. Then you can mix 1 part white distilled vinegar with 2 parts water and apply it to the spot, rinse with warm water, and wet vac. Do not use the vinegar on fresh spots as the acid from the vinegar can not counter the acid from fresh urine. The vinegar works best after 24 hours when the urine has become alkaline.
Normal pet feces tend to be easier to deal with than urine. Compact deposits can be quickly removed with a plastic bag. The surface should then be cleaned with the neutral detergent solution and blotted. Rinse the area with water and blot again. Follow this treatment with a mild disinfectant like dilute liquid Lysol®. A word of caution: some disinfectants may cause color loss. Test the area first!
Loose feces or vomit require the same clean-up procedure as described for fresh urine removal. This should also be followed with an application of disinfectant. If your pet’s food contains red dye to make it “look meatier,” this could leave a red stain at the site of the “accident” because it contains an acid dye which colors both nylon and wool fibers. We may be able to remove this with a specialty spotting chemical. The good news! If immediate action is taken to remove the animal deposits, little or no change in color should occur and that “accident” will not become apparent after your carpet or other textile has been professionally cleaned.
The Best Cleaning Agents For Urine
Some enzymes are good cleaning agent for urine, vomit and feces. An enzyme is a cleaning agent digests the bacteria from the contamination. For the best results use an enzyme spotter after you have rinsed the carpet, especially if the spot is not a fresh one. We recommend Nature’s Miracle, which can be purchased at any local pet store. Always read the directions before use!
Products to Avoid
Try to stay away from products with high pH such as ammonia, Resolve and oxygen bleaches. These products will leave the carpet with a residue and in a high pH state, which will enable the carpet to attract dirt like a magnet. In some instances the use of the wrong product can cause the urine stain to be permanent. Please call Chase Carpet Care first if you are not sure about a product you may want to try.
How Professionals Remove Odor
Remember, in order to remove the odor, all of the alkaline salt deposits the urine leaves behind must be completely removed. This can be quite extensive and time consuming. In worse cases, all of the following steps will be done. When damage is not so bad a few steps are left out.
- Step 1: Pull up carpet.
- Step 2: Remove affected pad.
- Step 3: Clean back of carpet.
- Step 4: Treat floor with an enzyme treatment.
- Step 5: Seal floor if needed with an odor barrier.
- Step 6: Treat back of carpet with enzyme treatment.
- Step 7: Install new tack strip.
- Step 8: Install new pad.
- Step 9: Re-install carpet.
- Step 10: Clean carpet.
- Step 11: Topically apply enzyme.
Disclaimer: Use these techniques at your own risk. Always read directions on any spotter before using. Pre-test each spotter in an inconspicuous area before using. If the stain or odor persists, call Chase Carpet Care.
Chase has cleaning methods available to disinfect the contaminated area, reduce the odor and minimize the discoloration.
Unfortunately, it is often impossible to completely restore the original appearance of a textile that has been damaged with untreated or aged pet urine. We’re here to help! Call us to schedule a consultation or appointment. 303-753-9171.