Pet Odor

Man's Best Friend
Can Be a
Carpet's Worst Enemy.

The first step in deodorization is the removal of the source by cleaning.

Your IICRC Certified Odor Control Technician, from The Rug Expert, can remove odors caused by pets, smoke, and organic matter. 

       Pet Urine Odor

Many cleaners struggle in their attempt to deodorize urine damaged carpet. For years many pet owners and carpet cleaners attempted to remove this concern but with little or no success! It was frustrating and something needed to be done, since the success rate was low most cleaners stayed away from offering this much needed service. At that time the best that could be done was a topical treatment, but that only covered up and masked the concern for about 2 to 3 days.

A Tricky Problem


          The first step in removing urine odor is to locate all affected areas. This can be tricky because pets will urinate behind furniture, under furniture, and even on furniture. Urine deposits will glow under florescent light, so a helpful method for locating urine on furnishings is to use a black light. Another tool used for locating urine is a moisture detector.

 Freshly voided urine is acidic, but rapidly changes pH, as the proteins in the urine degrade to form ammonia.  The potential causes of ammoniacal odor include urea, which has been degraded to ammonia by enzyme producing bacteria. When a pH change occurs a salt is formed which is desiccant, that is to say, it will pull moisture out of the air. For this reason, urine in carpet, padding, sub floors, and tack less strip can remain wet for months after contamination. This condition creates an unhealthful environment.




In a study published in the Journal of American Veterinary Association, the following bacteria were found in the urine of clinically normal cats: Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus spp, Streptococcus spp, Cornebacterium spp, Pasteurella spp and Flavobacterium spp.  


A “putrid” smell in urine is an indication of bacterial growth. For this reason it is highly advisable to treat the area with a germicide. The treatments that you can buy at the pet store will often contain enzymes and bacterial cultures. The logic being that the introduced bacteria will rapidly consume the food source in urine and hence consume the source of odors. For this approach to work, the area must be kept moist and warm for 24-48 hours while maintaining a narrow pH range, conditions difficult to sustain on carpet in the home, and the same conditions that promote mold growth. In addition, enzymes and bacteria, even dead and non-pathogenic bacteria, can cause allergic reactions and illness (see, The Truth About Enzymes, on this page).

 New Chemistry And Cleaning Technology Lets You Love Your Pets Without Worry.

        The complete restoration of urine-damaged furnishings will depend on the level of damage. Cleaning alone will not eliminate odors from pet urine. The application of a germicide will help to eliminate the “putrid” smell of urine, from the result of a recent or single accident, and create a more healthful environment.


The Next Step

When more extensive urine damage occurs, affecting the carpet backing and padding as well, a “flush-cleaning” can be done to provide a higher level of restoration. “Flush-Cleaning” involves saturation of carpet and pad with a safe oxidizing agent, to remove urine deposits from the carpet backing and padding. The oxidizer not only has a high biocidal activity, but will also break the bonds of odor-causing molecules, rendering them odorless, by reducing them into the most elemental forms. This process should be the second step, when a biocide treatment and normal cleaning do not eliminate a urine odor problem.



      Severe Damage


         Sometimes complete restoration requires treatment and cleaning, of sub floors, padding, tack-less strip, baseboards, and walls and other furnishings. For extensive damage, due to repeated accidents over long periods of time, it may be necessary to pull up the carpet to treat the sub floors and other materials. Even the replacement of new carpet, or hard-surface flooring may require the services of an expert Urine Damage Restorer. This is an extreme case though, and is not likely to happen with the arrival of a new puppy.

For Severe Odors Caused By Smoke 
And Other Sources...

I can do an Air Space Deodorization Treatment with Ozone. This process permanently removes odors by actually changing their molecular structure.

How Ozone Is Manufactured

   With specialized equipment, I can reproduce natures air cleaning process indoors. Here is how my machine works....

Regular oxygen that we breathe is 02. My machine splits 02 into 0or nascent oxygen. 01 will pair up with 02 to make 03 (ozone). The ozone will impart it's extra oxygen atom to the chemical make-up of any odor, to oxidize the odor, so that it no longer smells!


The Truth About Enzymes

By Rande Machell

If enzymes are used in carpet cleaning, hot water extraction (HWE) is essential to make sure the enzyme residue is rinsed from the carpet.

In fact, in a joint study by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Research Triangle Institute, HWE carpet cleaning has been proven to help improve indoor air quality.

Some carpet cleaning companies tout the use of enzymes as the best way to clean and deodorize carpet. It's even been said enzymes actually eat dirt, oils, bacteria, mold, mildew and odors.

Enzymes are not alive and they do not eat anything. Enzymes are proteins created by living organisms. They are simply a chemical catalyst that speed up molecular change. An important characteristic of enzymes is their specificity. They can only act on one substance.

For instance, the majority of detergent formulations use enzymes. The protease enzyme acts on protein-based stains only. The enzyme amylase acts on starch-based stains only. Enzymes have a limited effect in cleaning because they are a highly specific catalyst.

The use of enzymes in detergent formulations became prevalent in the 1960s, but the safety of enzymes use was questioned when workers became ill from the production of those detergents. The bacteria Bacillus spp., used to create enzymes for detergent formulations, have been implicated in outbreaks of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP), and the enzyme protease from these bacteria have been linked to several HP outbreaks (Institute of Medicine 1993). The American Conference of Governmental Hygienists (ACGIH 1997) lists it as a hazardous chemical.

Today, the process for producing laundry detergents with enzymes has been made safe. When you wash your clothes with them, your washing machine rinses the enzyme residue from your clothes.


Rande Machell is certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, (IICRC) as a Master Cleaner, Master Restorer and Senior Practicing Carpet Instructor. He is a past director of the Carpet and Fabricare Institute (CFI) and a member of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). He operates a carpet cleaning and inspection service in Mountain View, CA, and can be reached at 408 836-2137