If you have ever had a new puppy or an elderly cat, you have probably experienced the following scenario. Your pet wees on the carpet, but you found an exciting new enzymatic cleaner that seems to get the smell out. But a few weeks later, you feel like you can faintly smell the urine again. You search for a spot on the carpet, maybe even with a black light from the pet store, but no signs of a new mess. You wonder if maybe you are imagining the smell and decide to live with it for a while. But is your carpet really clean? In this blog, we explore why pet owners should consider professional carpet cleaning to keep those odors and stains at bay.
The scenario above is not just a hypothetical, it happened to Sarah S. in Champaign this past year. She had an elderly cat who battled chronic kidney failure for four years, not always making it to the litter box in time. Living with a cat lacking bladder control led Sarah to investigate the most effective types of spray carpet cleaners, and she landed on an enzymatic cleaner that seemed to do the trick. It neutralized odors quickly, and when she used a black light to check if the area was clean, everything looked good.
But every once in a while, Sarah would get a faint whiff of kitty pee around the apartment. The exact location was hard to pinpoint. The black light did not seem to lead to any answers, and even when Sarah got down on her hands and knees to sniff the carpet closely, she could not locate the source of the smell. The odor would also come and go, and sometimes she wondered if she was imagining it. She was also concerned that her two new kittens might pick up on the odor and start to make those spots on the carpet their own personal litter boxes.
Sarah finally decided it was time to call in the professionals, and she reached out to KleenRite for an estimate. They sent a representative over to assess the carpets, and mystery solved. With a much more powerful blacklight they were able to locate a number of key areas where deep seated urine deposits had taken hold. Urine had seeped through the carpet into the padding, which the topical enzymatic cleaners simply were not able to neutralize. Because the urine was down in the padding, though, the odor was not constant, which is why she could never quite nail down where the smells were coming from.
We recommended a sub-surface extraction to get those long-term stains out of the carpet for good. We used a moderately strong acidic solution [SS2] and completely saturated the most contaminated areas to break down the urine solids in both the carpet and padding. The mixture was left to break down the enzymes in the urine deposits. We then used our professional tools to extract the solution and water before cleaning and deodorizing the rest of the carpeting.
Heavy duty contamination can sometimes require more than one visit in order to fully eliminate urine spots from the carpeting and pads, but fortunately in this case it just took one try. Sarah has not noticed any more phantom kitty pee odors, and the carpets looked great after cleaning.
Keeping your carpets fresh and clean with pets is no small feat. When pet urine spots dry—or have been cleaned with a product that only gets the carpet, not the pad—a dehydrated reservoir is left behind. When the reservoir comes back into contact with moisture or humidity—particularly during those steamy Central Illinois summer days—the urine solids left behind become “activated” leading to unwanted odors. Because your pets will often urinate when no one is watching, detecting urine spots can be difficult, particularly if they are located near a litter box that may already give off odors.
A periodic inspection is recommended to gauge if your carpet is in need of cleaning and deodorizing, and to what degree. Whatever type of pet mess you might have, a thorough deep clean or sub-surface extraction can save you money in the long run, keeping your carpets and flooring fresher longer. By consulting with a professional, you can keep your home healthy and clean for yourself, your family, and your furry friends.