- by NE Pro-Maids
Cat or dog urine in carpet or upholstery can make the entire room smell. We found a product that gets the smell out.
Back in December, my 23-year-old daughter adopted a small dog from the Providence Animal Rescue League that she named Bear. Bear is a Poodle/Lhasa Apso mix and they estimated her age to be around 18 months old or so. As cute as Bear is, she is what my family calls a "piddler", a term my family uses to describe small dogs who sneak off to piddle (pee) in the house when they think they can get away with it. The problem with dog urine is that it's easy enough to clean up if you can catch it while it's still wet. Let it dry and you've got a real smelly problem on your hands and that is what happened to us. I had babysitting duty a few weeks ago and I "thought" I was doing a good job keeping an eye on her but apparently, that wasn't the case. I started noticing a horrific smell coming from the dark blue area rug in our formal living room about a week later. Sure enough it was dog urine. I turned the rug over and found SIX areas where the dog had used the rug as a toilet. Nice!
As if that wasn't bad enough, around the same time my elderly 15-year-old female cat came down with a urinary tract infection which presented itself when her bladder let go on our couch. It was a flood of cat urine all over half of one cushion and into the crease where the two cushions meet. Somehow I got lucky because the urine sort of puddled on top of the cushion cover and into the crease between the cushions but didn't actually get into the foam of the cushion (if it had it would have been game over for the couch!). I was able to get the foam cushion out of the casing, but because the casing is sewn into the back of the sofa there was no way to throw it into the washing machine. I wound up taking a portable carpet cleaner to it but I couldn't get the smell out. So now I had two big smelly problems on my hands and there is nothing that grosses me out more than the smell of animal urine.
When cleaning up pet urine out of carpet or upholstery you should use cold water and a wet/dry vacuum or a carpet machine like a Bissell portable carpet cleaner. Hot water and cleaning solutions can set the odors and it is recommended that you do not use carpet shampoo or any other type of solution that is not made specifically for pet urine odors and stains. I used gallons and gallons of cold water. There is no doubt that the rug and cushion fabric were cleaner than they had been in a long time but the urine smell remained. I tried soaking the areas in hydrogen peroxide after reading that it works by killing the bacteria that is causing the odor. Don't try this if you are not sure the area you are treating is color safe! This did seem to work on the fabric of the sofa. That was until my son spilled a glass of water on the couch a week later and the cat urine smell came back with a vengeance.
I must admit that at this point my inclination was to throw the couch out and just go buy another one. My husband wasn't too keen on that idea since the sofa was only a year old. So out of desperation, I went on Amazon to find a product to get rid of the odor. The first product I purchased was an enzyme cleaner called Pet Stain & Odor Miracle which cost around $20 for a 32-ounce spray bottle. Although the product got good reviews on Amazon, to me it was no miracle. It didn't get the urine smell out of the carpet or the sofa and the strong stench of perfume the product left behind was enough to turn your stomach. The perfume smell is supposed to subside after a few days but I can tell you that two weeks later the stuff was still giving me headaches. Now I had a carpet in one living room, and a couch in the other, that smelled like urine mixed with perfume. When the sun shone in the window of the room with the sofa and heated that area of the room, the smell was too much to bear.
So, I went back to Amazon and searched for a "scent-free" enzyme cleaner and found a product called Odormute. The product is a powder that you mix with warm water which activates the enzymes whose job it is to "eat" the source of the odor. The cost is around $5 for 3 ounces or $15 for 15 ounces. I mixed a tablespoon to 2 quarts of warm water and placed it into a squirt bottle. I used the squirt bottle to saturate the cushion cover on the couch and there was an almost immediate improvement in the odor. After 4 hours there was only a faint odor remaining. After a second application the odors were gone! Odormute got out the smell of the urine and it also removed the awful perfume smell the other product had left behind. The sofa was saved! The best part is that the product is unscented so it leaves no perfume smell behind.
Of course, I'm being optimistic that the odor won't come back. The real test will be when summer rolls around bringing the heat and humidity with it. Hopefully the problem has been resolved but only time will tell. I'll come back to the blog and update it when the heat and humidity arrive. If the smell does come back, though, that sofa is being kicked to the curb!
UPDATE: This stuff REALLY works! It's been one year and the odor never came back even with the heat and humidity of summer. The product worked well on both upholstery and carpet. We've also used the product on a customer's hardwood floors in a last ditch effort to get the cat urine smell left behind by the previous tenants. It worked to get the urine smell out of the floors and the client was very pleased with the result.