Cat lovers know that sometimes the odor associated with cats can be offensive, especially with cats who mark, spray, or pee in areas other than the litter box or outdoors. If you need to remove the smell of cat urine from your carpet, we have a few things you can try.
Remove The Smell of Cat Urine from Carpet
First, you must make sure all of the cat urine has been removed. Visit our cleaning old pet stains from carpet blog post for full details on old spots, or visit our cleaning fresh pet pee from carpet blog post for details on fresh spots. Removing all bacteria and food sources for bacteria is the only way to beat an odor issue.
If you have completed the removal process and still have an odor, you must be sure you removed all traces of urine from the carpet. Once you are positive the urine has been removed, you will need to find the source of the odor.
If the odor is still coming from the carpet, there are a few things you can try. Depending on where in the room the issue is, you may try these in different orders or approach them in different ways.
Address Odors In The Padding and Sub-Floor
Many times, the padding under the carpet has urine in it. Your best bet is to remove the pad and replace it with new pad. This is easier in a corner than in the middle of the room and easier in a vacant area than trying to work around furniture. While you have the carpet pulled back to remove the pad, the sub-floor should be inspected.
Often we find that the wood or even concrete has soaked up urine and is giving off an odor. If this is the case, you will either replace the wood sub-floor (in more extreme cases) or clean the sub-floor and seal it with odor blocking paint primer.
Once you inspect and deal with the sub-floor and the padding and are sure the carpet has no more urine in it, your only recourse is to continue to use a professional quality odor eliminating product and flush it through the smelly area allowing as much dwell time as possible. We use Fresh Wave and can supply it for you.
Handling Stubborn Odors
There are times that the odor will NEVER be removed from a textile, and this is especially true in the case of area rugs with glued on backings or carpets with thick glued on backings. Sometimes the item will need to be replaced.
If the pee spot is not in an easy to work with corner, you may still pull the carpet all the way back, but it will need to be stretched back into place after it is loosened and the job complete. If you would rather not pull back that much carpet, you can use enzymes to digest any remaining bacteria or use odor eliminating products such as Fresh Wave. You can flush the area as described in our cleaning old pet stains from carpet blog post.
The area can be saturated with enzymes and allowed to dwell for DAYS. As long as there are odor causing bacteria in the carpet, pad, or sub-floor, the enzymes will continue to reproduce and consume the bad bacteria. The odor will increase as the enzymes kill the bacteria but dissipate as the process works. You must be sure to use enough enzymes to complete the job, and then rinse the area afterwards.
You can also use a syringe and inject deodorizers directly into the affected area.
Maybe It’s Not The Carpet
If the odor is not coming from the carpet, these are some of the steps you will want to try, not necessarily in this order.
Inspect the areas with an ultraviolet light to find all urine deposits. Clean each deposit found.
Clean and deodorize all baseboards, walls, bottoms of shelves, ceiling, behind the refrigerator, in the closets, anywhere that odor, dust, hair, and dander can accumulate, or areas that the cat can spray, urinate, or mark.
Have all soft items cleaned with urine removal in mind, such as drapes, upholstery, blankets, mattresses, stuffed toys, clothing, etc.
Have air ducts cleaned.
Utilize an air scrubber, ozone machine, hydroxyl generator, or other device to clean the air.
Remove and replace items that are physically damaged and holding an odor. Sometimes baseboards or furniture can absorb urine and hold onto odor forever. The only remedy is to cut the damaged area out and replace it.
Use an odor blocking primer to prime the walls. Then trim and repaint the area. A properly prepared coat of primer and paint can do wonders to help remove odors from an area.
Final Thoughts
It is also important to note that if the cat is still present, the cat may mark the area as soon as you finish cleaning it. Keep this possibility in mind before you spend lots of money on extensive repairs.
We should also point out that in some circles bleach is recommended to remove the smell of cat urine from hard surfaces. We strongly advise against using bleach to remove cat urine odors. Urine deposits can develop high levels of ammonia, especially true with cat urine. Mixing bleach and ammonia can kill you or at least create gases that can cause respiratory and other mucus membrane damage. If your urine situation is so bad that wagering against death is an option for you… you should probably call a professional!

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