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Remove Pet Odor from Carpeting

by Matt Goering

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The challenge to remove pet odor from carpeting is one of the most perplexing tasks any homeowner can meet. Whether you've moved into a home where pet odors and stains are prevalent, or are a pet owner who has to meet these challenges on a daily basis, here are a few suggestions for tackling the task to remove pet odor from your flooring.

Eliminating Urine Smells
When it comes to urine odor, removing the smell from your flooring and home can be an almost insurmountable task. To remove pet odor from carpeting, there are few proven techniques. Perhaps the only truly effective measure is to purchase an enzymatic based pet odor remover from your local pet supply store. These cleaners are composed of natural enzymes that eat away at the natural materials that cause urine smells in the first place. Pour the cleaner on the offending area (be sure to soak it good in order to saturate the carpet pad as well), and cover it with a piece of cardboard or other material. Do not attempt to dry out the offending spot quickly. Time is your friend when it comes to removing urine smells, and the longer the enzymes have to work, the better. Other common wives-tales when it comes to removing pet urine odors include soaking the area in vinegar, applying a baking soda solution, and using color safe bleaches.

If Nothing Seems to Work
There are cases, especially with cat urine, where getting rid of the smell is almost impossible. In such cases, you're best bet is to remove the flooring and replace it. For carpet, this is a fairly easy task, and a sound home improvement to begin with. Make sure the urine hasn't saturated the flooring beneath, however. If so, and you still have pets, your animals will still be attracted the area, and will likely re-soil the new flooring. As terrible as it sounds, you may need to replace the subflooring altogether in order to get rid of both the smell and your pet's inclination to urinate in the same spot over and again.

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Getting Rid of Other Pet Odors
Pet urine is king when it comes to offensive pet odors, but it certainly isn't the only offender. Pet odors can seriously affect your ability to enjoy a living space, and it's important that you take measures to eliminate the problem. From a localized perspective, sprinkling baking soda on high use pet areas, and letting it sit before vacuuming, can work wonders for freshening up a room. For a true deep cleaning, however, you can't beat a deep steam cleaning by a carpet cleaning professional.

Hire a company that uses the hot water extraction method, with truck mounted units, to ensure your carpets get the deepest clean possible. And make sure they are aware that pet odors are your primary concern, since they have special measures they can take to help eliminate the smells. Don't be fooled by other cleaning methods, however. Any other carpet cleaning process is probably only going to bring out odors more, as opposed to actually removing the smells from your carpet pile.

Pet Stains on Carpet
When it comes to pet stains on carpet, the hot water extraction cleaning process is your best bet as well. There simply isn't any comparison, even among other professional carpet cleaning methods. Of course, spot cleaning is also a viable option. The key is to hit the stain as soon as it occurs. Soak up the stain first, apply a carpet cleaning solution second, and remember never to scrub vigorously at the stain. Deep scrubbing only drives stains deeper into your carpet fiber. Repeating the process of saturation, soaking, and light scrubbing, is the only way to truly get rid of pet stains on carpet.

Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.