One of our most commonly asked questions is “How do you get the urine out, and what about that smell!”. This article will discuss what causes the odor from urine, and the methods of treating it.
The odors associated with urine are not directly caused by the urine itself. So, what is it then? Bacteria are present everywhere- on surfaces, in the air, you name it. Bacteria eat organic compounds. What is in urine? Organic compounds! When the bacterium finds, and begins to consume these organic compounds, the natural byproduct is- you guessed it- ammonia! This is the unpleasant, offensive odor filling your home after Fido decides to lift his leg in the house. So, technically you aren’t smelling urine- you are smelling the waste created by the bacteria that have come to feast on it. It all sounds so….unclean! So, how do I handle this, you ask? There are 2 key ways to handle urine outlined here: enzymes, and disinfectants.
The role of enzymes is to speed up the activity of bacteria that will consume the organic material helping cause the odor….until the bacteria has consumed all of the organic material and can no longer produce waste from it. Enzymes require very specific temperature and humidity to thrive, which most homeowners are unwilling to provide as it is not conducive to comfortable living. When using enzymes, you must first apply a cleaning agent that dissolves the uric salts that bind the contaminants to the fibers. Although a necessary step, you run the risk of the cleaning agent changing the PH of the enzyme, rendering the enzyme useless. That being said- success rates vary tremendously. Well, THEN what?
We prefer to use an EPA Registered disinfectant, because they offer a known success rate, and they do not require the home owner or occupant to take any action. First, we apply an agent that dissolves the uric salts. Then, we extract to remove as much of the contaminant/s as possible. If the problem is severe, subsurface extraction may also be used, which also helps remove contaminants from the carpet pad. Normally, you would not want to have wet pad under your carpet, however, the cleaning agent used is an EPA registered disinfectant, so there is no risk involved. When applied, the disinfectant kills the bacteria that are consuming the organic material, causing the odor. By killing them you stop the cycle of them creating waste and odors.
The last step is to then apply a “pairing deodorizer”. The pairing deodorizer has its own odor, that when combined with the offending odor, produces a third odor that is pleasant.
There are some dangers to be considered when considering handling urine, or any stain, on your own. The main issue is the inability to properly remove any water and cleaning agents used. Without proper suction, you really can’t remove all of the moisture from the carped pad- leaving it open for bacteria or mold to blossom. If unnoticed, the problem can become quite severe and costly, molding the subfloor beneath. Additionally, cleaning agents available to homeowners can be unpredictable. The best cleaning agents to use are typically only for use by trained professionals, who understand the chemistry of stain and urine removal. When in doubt, always call a professional.