How To Get Old Urine Smell Out of Carpet
A fragrant, fresh-smelling carpet is one of the telltale signs of a well-kept home. However, homeowners frequently face a common and persistent challenge: getting rid of old urine odor from their carpets. This unpleasant situation can arise from several sources, including your new puppy still learning the ins and outs of house training, an older pet with incontinence issues, or even human factors such as elderly care. Here is the complete guide for ‘how to get old urine smell out of carpet’.
While dealing with a fresh accident is relatively simple, dealing with old stains is more difficult because the urine has had enough time to seep deep into the carpet fibers, sometimes even reaching the carpet padding. The urine dries and crystallizes, emitting a strong odor that can linger long if not properly addressed.
This guide aims to provide comprehensive solutions to this age-old issue. We’ll explain why urine smells so bad and then move on to effective preventative measures. We’ll then review practical, step-by-step methods for removing old urine stains and odors with store-bought and homemade cleaning products.
Getting rid of urine odors may appear daunting, but with the right knowledge and techniques, you’ll soon be on your way to enjoying a fresh, clean carpet once more.
Stay with us as we navigate this difficult terrain and learn how to restore the freshness of your carpets effectively and efficiently.
Why is Urine So Hard to Remove?
Urine comprises water, urea, urobilin/urobilinogen, uric acid, sodium, creatinine, and other waste compounds. Urine is normally odorless when it exits the body, but a chemical process produces the distinct urine odor as it decomposes.
The importance of uric acid in our discussion of urine cannot be overstated. Uric acid is extremely resilient. Urine crystallizes and sticks to carpets as it dries.
Uric acid crystals are not flammable. They instead stick to your carpet and stink when wet. A urine odor may return after cleaning on humid days or steam cleaning.
Untreated urine spots leave crystals in your carpet fibers, backing, and floor. Their offensive odor lingers, rendering traditional cleaning methods ineffective.
Uric acid crystals are not removed by surface cleaning or vacuuming. Traditional carpet shampoos and deodorizers may mask the odor but rarely include the ingredients needed to dissolve these crystals. As a result, the odor returns after the masking agent wears off, frustrating and perplexing homeowners.
Identifying Soiled Areas
You must find the soiled areas before removing the old urine smell from your carpet. You’ll miss some of the offending spots without knowing where to clean them, leaving a lingering smell. Here are steps to find old urine stains:
- Use Your Senses: The senses of sight and smell are the simplest. Urine-soiled carpets are typically yellowish or pale green. Affected carpets may feel stiffer because of urine crystals. Your nose can also be useful. Sniffing out the problem can lead you to its root cause.
- Employ a Blacklight: If visual inspection and sniffing don’t yield clear results, or you’re dealing with a large area, using a blacklight can be incredibly helpful. Urine stains, even old ones, will fluoresce (glow) under ultraviolet (UV) light, making them easier to identify. Here’s how to use it:
- Wait until evening or darken the room as much as possible for the best results. The darker the room, the easier it will be to see the glowing urine stains.
- Turn on the blacklight and hold it about one to two feet from the carpet. Slowly scan the entire carpet area.
- Any urine stains will appear as a luminescent spots. It might be helpful to mark these spots with something easily removable, like sticky notes or chalk, so you’ll know where to target your cleaning efforts when the lights return.
Eliminate Pee Smell with Commercial Cleaners
Commercial cleaners that remove urine are available. Enzymes and bacteria break down uric acid crystals. There are sprays, powders, and carpet cleaning machines available.
When purchasing a cleaner, look for these key features:
- Enzyme-based: In “bio-enzymatic” cleaners, enzymes or non-pathogenic bacteria break down urine compounds. When microorganisms come into contact with urine stains, they produce enzymes that break down uric acid into simpler, odorless substances.
- Pet and Child Safe: It’s important to choose a non-toxic and safe product for children and pets. While most enzyme cleaners fall into this category, always check the product label.
- Scent: Many cleaners also come with a pleasant scent that helps mask the odor while the enzymes work. However, avoid products with overpowering fragrances, as they could merely mask the urine odor without effectively eliminating it.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use these commercial cleaners:
- Pre-test the cleaner: Before you apply the cleaner to the soiled area, test it on a hidden area of your carpet to ensure it won’t cause discoloration or damage.
- Apply the cleaner: If the test goes well, generously apply the cleaner to the soiled area. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product label. For heavy stains, it’s often recommended to saturate the area to ensure the product penetrates deeply into the carpet fibers and padding.
- Let it sit: Allow the product to sit for the recommended time per the instructions. This dwell time is crucial as it allows the enzymes or bacteria to effectively break down the urine compounds.
- Blot or vacuum: Blot the area with a clean, dry towel to absorb any excess moisture after the recommended time. Some products might require you to rinse the area with water and then blot dry. Others may need you to vacuum the area after the product is dry, especially in powder form.
- Allow to air dry: Let the treated area air dry completely. Depending on the product and how much was used, this can take a few hours to a couple of days. Keep children and pets away from the area until it’s fully dry.
- Inspect and repeat if necessary: Once the area is completely dry, inspect it visually and by smell. You may need to repeat the process if you still notice an odor or stain.
Clean Old Pee Stain With Natural Home Remedies
If commercial cleaners are unavailable or you prefer a natural approach, several household items can help eliminate urine odor. Baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are all effective. Before applying these substances to your carpets, you should know their advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Using Natural Home Remedies:
- Availability: These items are common in most households, meaning you can tackle the problem immediately without purchasing specialty products.
- Affordability: Household items like vinegar and baking soda are usually less expensive than commercial cleaners.
- Non-toxic: These natural remedies are safe for use around children and pets.
Cons of Using Natural Home Remedies:
- Effectiveness: While helpful, natural remedies may not be as effective as commercial cleaners, particularly for older or more severe stains.
- Risk of Damage: Some natural cleaners, like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, are acidic and can potentially discolor or damage certain carpet types.
Instructions for Use
Vinegar and Baking Soda:
- Pre-test: Start by testing a hidden area of your carpet with a small amount of vinegar to ensure it won’t cause discoloration.
- Vinegar application: If the test goes well, saturate the urine-stained area with white vinegar, allowing it to penetrate the carpet fibers.
- Let it sit: Allow the vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer that can neutralize the urine smell.
- Blot the area: Using a clean, dry towel, blot the vinegar to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Apply baking soda: Once the area is dry, sprinkle it generously with baking soda. Baking soda is excellent at absorbing odors.
- Let it dry: Allow the baking soda to dry completely, which can take a few hours or more, depending on how wet the carpet is.
- Vacuum: After the baking soda is completely dry, vacuum the area thoroughly to remove all the baking soda.
- Pre-test: Always test a hidden area with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide first. Hydrogen peroxide can have a bleaching effect on some fabrics.
- Application: If the test goes well, apply hydrogen peroxide (usually a 3% solution is safe) to the urine-stained area.
- Blot and Dry: Blot the area with a clean, dry towel, then let it dry naturally. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down the odor-causing urine components and can help remove lingering stains.
Professional Cleaning Services
Commercial cleaners and home remedies can remove old urine odors from carpets, but some exceptions exist. For stubborn stains or urine odor, at-home solutions may not be effective. In these cases, professional carpet cleaners can assist.
Professional carpet cleaners use industrial-strength equipment and powerful cleaning solutions to remove stains and odors from carpet fibers, backing, and padding. They can remove many stains and odors, including old urine.
Consider professional cleaning if the urine smells in a large area or multiple rooms or if the carpet material is delicate or expensive. Professionals can clean delicate carpets without causing any damage to them.
Here’s a brief overview of what professional carpet cleaning might entail:
- Pre-Inspection: The professionals will first inspect your carpet to identify the areas of concern and decide the most effective cleaning method.
- Pre-Treatment: They may pre-treat the affected areas with special solutions to loosen the urine stains and begin breaking down the odor-causing compounds.
- Deep Cleaning: Hot water extraction (sometimes called “steam cleaning”) injects a solution into the carpet and extracts it along with dirt, urine crystals, and other debris using high-powered cleaning machines.
- Post-Treatment: After cleaning, they may apply post-cleaning treatments, such as deodorizers or protective treatments, to leave your carpet smelling fresh and help prevent future stains.
- Drying: Most professional services also have high-speed fans or other equipment to speed up drying and prevent moisture-related issues like mildew.
Lingering Smells: Prevention is Better than Cure
The best strategy for managing urine odors in your carpet is preventing them from happening in the first place. Here are some measures you can take:
- Pet Training: Train your pet to avoid urine stains. Online guides and dog trainers can be of assistance. Please be patient. Most pets can be house-trained with time, consistency, and positive reinforcement despite accidents.
- Elderly Care Management: For elderly care-related urine accidents, use adult diapers, bed pads, or waterproof furniture covers. Accidents can also be avoided by taking bathroom breaks. If the problem persists, see a doctor.
- Immediate Clean-Up: Accidents happen, but prompt action is required. If urine accidents are not cleaned immediately, they leave odors and stains. Cleaning fresh urine:
- Blot the area immediately with an absorbent cloth or towel to soak up as much urine as possible.
- Rinse the area with cool water and blot again to remove more urine. Avoid hot water, as heat can set the stain and the odor.
- Apply a commercial cleaner or a home remedy as described earlier. Even though the stain is fresh, it’s essential to neutralize any urine that soaked into the carpet fibers thoroughly.
- Regular Carpet Cleaning and Maintenance: Carpets last longer and look better when cleaned regularly. It removes urine particles before they dry and become embedded in the carpet, which aids in odor control. Vacuuming is essential, but deep cleaning your carpets every 12-18 months is recommended.
Carpets Due for a Deep Clean? Get in Touch!
The odor of old urine in carpets can be difficult to remove, but it is possible with the right knowledge and techniques. Whether you use commercial cleaners, natural home remedies, or professional cleaning services, addressing the source of the odor is critical.
Remember to mark all urine-contaminated areas, use enzyme-based cleaners, and consider hiring a professional cleaner for large or deep stains.
Your best prevention tools are house-training pets, proper elderly care, immediate accident clean-up, and regular carpet maintenance. These precautions prevent urine spills and make clean-up easier.
Remember that if removing urine odors from your carpet appears to be too difficult or time-consuming, you can seek assistance. Maintenance One specializes in deep carpet cleaning and has the necessary equipment and knowledge to clean your carpets.
Don’t let stale urine odors ruin your home. Allow us to revitalize and clean your space so you can enjoy it. Begin your odor-free home by requesting a free carpet cleaning estimate from Maintenance One.
Our consultation is FREE.
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