Strong pet odor can ruin a showing, so what can you do to avoid this problem?
First the bad news: Not all urine stains are removable. The types of damage caused vary according to the urine content. This is determined by the pet's diet, age, sex, and any medications being taken. If it is removable, the following steps may get it out.
1. Blot up the urine as soon as you discover it. Use plain white paper towels to avoid dye transfer.
2. Mix 1/4 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent (non-bleach and non-lanolin) in a cup of warm water. Apply this to the spot.
3. Blot up the moisture, rinse with warm water, and apply more of the detergent mixture. Rinse, and continue the process until you don't see any urine transfer to the paper towels.
4. Mix two tablespoons of ammonia in a cup of water. Apply this to the spot, blot it up, rinse with warm water, and repeat. Blot the area dry.
5. Mix one cup of white vinegar with two cups of water. Apply this to the spot, blot it up, rinse, and repeat. Rinse well when you are done, and blot the area to remove as much moisture as possible.
6. Put a stack of plain white paper towels on the spot and weigh them down with something flat and heavy (something that won't lose its color if it gets wet). Change the paper towels occasionally, until the spot is dry.
The faster you get to the spot, the more likely it is that it can be removed. When urine spots develop over time, and are not noticed right away, the dyes and carpet fibers may be permanently damaged. In beige carpet, the stains will appear red, yellow or orange. Color can sometimes be restored by treating with a solution of two tablespoons of clear, non-sudsy ammonia in a cup of water.
To get urine odor out, it's often necessary to remove virtually all the urine - especially in the case of cat urine. Many products simply mask the odor, and fail even at that during times of high humidity. Some pet stores and veterinary offices now have enzyme treatments that work better, and professional carpet cleaners can apply these for you if you aren't sure how to do it.
If odor persists, you may have to remove that section of carpet. You can replace it with scraps if you have saved them, or cut a piece from an area that isn't visible. Unfortunately, sometimes the padding and even a section of flooring has to be removed to totally eliminate odor from old urine stains.
From Scott Larson of Towne Square Realty in Monroe, Wisconsin
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