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Case study #1
Pet urine odor in carpeting

Click on the pictures for a larger version of the picture.

The Story:

  • One cat with a continuing urinary tract problem.
  • The carpet had been cleaned several times, treated with several odor control products including vinegar and OdorXit.
  • The carpet stains were no longer an issue.
  • The urine odor level in the room was acceptable to the owner except when the contaminated areas were sniffed at very close range revealing both urine and vinegar odors.

This picture is of the recently cleaned (multiple times) high quality carpet that was contaminated with cat urine from only one cat. The modeling in the carpet is from the nap not all leaning in the same direction not discoloration from staining or dirt.

Additionally, this carpet has been treated with various odor control products, carpet shampoo, vinegar and finally OdorXit. After the OdorXit treatment, most, but not all, of the odor of urine and vinegar was gone.

This view is of the area just to the right of the picture above. It shows some very slight yellow staining near the right side of the door. The larger version shows this somewhat clearer. The point is that the carpet looks very much like any relatively new high quality plush carpeting found in any home.

The carpet has not been professionally cleaned.

With the carpet pulled off the tack strip and folded back, the urine contamination is clearly visible . The small orange dots (rust marks) along the edge of the carpet are where the urine contaminated tacks in the tack strip stained the carpet backing.

Notice the holes in the padding. Granted this is a high traffic area by an entry door, but the padding fell apart when the carpet was folded back, not when the padding was moved!

Removing the padding that was not stuck to the floor reveals the extent of the urine contamination in the flooring, tack strip and molding. The only portion of the tack strip that is not discolored with urine is the 2 or 3 inches on the left side of the corner. Notice that when the carpeting was installed the toe strip was not removed. To completely eliminate the odor in this area, both the tack strip and toe strip will need to be removed to reveal the contamination below. The area should be washed with TSP or Spic&Span. When dry, both the floor and the back of the carpet should be sprayed with 1:32 OdorXit Concentrate and water.
On the opposite of the same room, there was another contaminated area. The cleaning process had completely removed the stains in the carpet nap in this area but, as you can clearly see, the carpet backing, padding and flooring were all badly discolored (contaminated with urine). To completely eliminate the odor here, the tack strip and padding will need to be removed and replaced. The floor cleaned, and both the floor and carpet backing sprayed with 1:32 OdorXit Concentrate and water solution.

A close up of the picture above shows two additional elements that merits mention.

  1. The notch in the molding provides clearance for a heat duct. In cases like this the chances are very good that the fittings and pipe below are contaminated with urine and will need cleaning and spraying with OdorXit solution to eliminate the odor.
  2. Close inspection of the dark stains show that a joint in the hardwood flooring run right through the middle of the worst of the contaminated area. More aggressive treatment (below) of this area is necessary to eliminate the odor from the urea salt between the board.

A spot like the one pictured here may require more aggressive treatment because a joint in the flooring runs through the worst part of the spot. Drill a 3/32" hole 1/4" deep near the center of the spot and into the joint between the floor boards. Use a carpenters glue injector (otherwise known as a 15 or 30 cc syringe) to inject 1 or 2 ounces of 1:32 OdorXit solution into the hole. This will cause OdorXit to fill the joint and neutralize any urine residue that is between the boards.
Any time the tack strip is stained like this, you can be sure that there is urine under the tack strip as well as under the molding and probably under the wall. Removing the tack strip and (in this case) the toe strip will give access to the flooring covered by these components and also give access to the area under the larger molding. Spraying the floor and under the molding will, in most cases, eliminate the odor produced by the urine residue that is in these areas. In extreme cases, more than one application may be necessary

Case Study: The Rest of the Story

Treating even a moderate carpet contamination problem from the top of the carpet is not necessarily going to be enough to completely solve the problem. The contamination shown here was the work of just one cat over a period of several months. If the cat had been using only one area (which is normally the case), the contamination and resulting damage would have been considerably worse and the carpet backing would probably have been rotten and unrecoverable.

Please do not take this case study or its conclusion as an indictment of cats or pets in general. IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE ONE! I have a dog and 2 cats pictured on this site, and would not trade any of them. It is simply meant to demonstrates that what appears to be a small problem can be much larger than expected. Pet urine contamination of carpeting is a serious and often expensive problem that is very important to detect and correct as soon as possible.

Updated April 2013

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