Cat urine is particularly difficult to deal with — worse, even, than dog urine, according to Jessika James, senior trainer for Learn to Restore (learntorestore.com), which offers classes for cleaning professionals that are sanctioned by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) of which Single Source is a trained and certified member.
The reason cat urine is so confounding: It contains hormones and pheromones in addition to urea, uric acid and more. On hard surfaces, it’s easy enough to wipe away the urine. On carpets or porous surfaces, it makes sense to blot up as much liquid as you can as soon as possible, but even if you work quickly, enough urine will probably remain to trigger a process that can result in smells from the same family of chemicals that makes skunks stink. If cat urine isn’t cleaned up immediately, bacteria grow which releases an ammonia smell into the environment. Further decomposition emits mercaptans, which are sulfur-containing molecules found in skunk spray, rotting meat and other obnoxious things.
The most effective way to keep cat urine from stinking up a home is to use an enzyme cleaner. The enzymes speed up decomposition and break the urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia, which evaporate quickly, preventing the reactions that can lead to skunk-type smells.
These cleaners include Urine Away stain and odor eliminator and Nature’s Miracle advanced stain and odor eliminator. But there are a few caveats about using these products; even if the label says it’s both an odor eliminator and a stain remover, it usually isn’t, because the two types of chemistry are incompatible. Enzymes prevent smells but don’t remove stains. Stain removers tend to be oxidizers, using cleaning agents such as hydrogen peroxide.
Start by fighting the odor, then the stain. It’s important to begin with an enzyme cleaner, not a carpet shampoo because detergents can leave a residue that can interfere with the enzyme’s efficiency. Urine Away’s label says it works even if soaps and detergents have been applied, but using soap first doesn’t make the urine easier to clean up, so why risk it? Nature’s Miracle warns that using other cleaners and detergents first may chemically “set” stains that will then be impossible to remove.
Also, read the label for surfaces where the enzyme cleaner should not be applied. These typically include bare wood, leather, suede, silk or wool specialty fabrics. This is especially important to know if your carpet is a costly or heirloom oriental rug that was hand-woven using silk or wool. Labels often suggest testing a small patch of carpet in an out-of-the-way location first to ensure the color isn’t affected. This is a particular issue with nylon carpet, which is more prone to losing color and becoming stained than other carpet fibers.
For an enzyme cleaner to work, it needs to saturate the fibers and penetrate as deeply as the urine did. Don’t just spray or sprinkle it on lightly; pour it on. If the urine soaked into the pad, that needs to be soaked with the cleaner, too.
To prevent this, the area needs to be thoroughly rinsed with clean water after the enzymes have worked. . For homeowners trying to treat pet accidents on their own, the best way is to sponge on clean water, then blot it out by spreading a clean, dry towel over the area and pressing down. Rotate the towel as needed. Do not rub back and forth, because this might make the fibers fuzzy or pilled.
For the best results call in a professional carpet cleaning expert, like Single Source who has the necessary equipment that can flush area and oriental carpets with water, extract the moisture, and dry thoroughly.
Article Source: Washington Post, July 18, 2022.
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