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Pet Urine and Carpet 03/01


Owners of even the best-trained pets will occasionally encounter pet urine accidents.
Often, the urine is not discovered until long after the accident. The types of damage from pet
urine can be diverse and are dependent upon the makeup of the urine. Urine content will
change over the pet’s life because of the pet’s diet, medications, age, health, sex, and
reproductive cycles. Because of these variations, some urine stains may not be removable.
To treat urine-damaged areas, blot damp areas as soon as the urine is detected, with
plain white paper toweling. Apply a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent
(non-bleach and non-lanolin) with one cup of lukewarm water. Do not use automatic
dishwashing detergent or laundry detergent. Absorb the moisture with paper towel, rinse with
warm water and repeat the application of detergent. Continue rinsing and blotting with the
detergent solution and water as long as there is a transfer to the toweling or improvement in the
spot. Follow the detergent application with a solution of two tablespoons of ammonia with one
cup of water. Rinse with warm water and repeat. Blot dry. Blot the area with a solution of one
cup white vinegar to two cups water, and blot dry. Apply a half-inch layer of paper towels to the
affected area, and weigh down with a flat, heavy, non-fading object. Continue to change paper
towels until completely dry.

Urine can affect the dyes used in carpet, although not all occurrences will result in a
permanent stain. Success is dependent upon the content of the urine, the dyes and finish used,
and the time elapsed after the deposit. Some urine spots may be immediately noticeable, while
others may take weeks or months for a reaction. The dyes may change color immediately after
contact with urine. Color can sometimes be restored by treating the area with a solution of two
tablespoons of a clear, non-sudsy ammonia in one cup of water. While this treatment is not
always successful in restoring color, the ammonia can be effective in removing urine content
and reducing objectionable odors. When urine spots develop slowly and are noticed after much time has
elapsed, the dyes and carpet fibers may be permanently damaged. In beige carpet, blue dyes are attacked
by pet urine, leaving behind the red and yellow dyes with a resulting stain appearing red, yellow, or
orange.

Pet urine, left unattended, can damage carpet in several ways. Moisture can weaken
the layers of the carpet, allowing separation or delamination of the backing material. Seam
areas can be particularly damaged and can separate. Another problem, especially with cats, is odor. Unless
the cat urine can be completely removed, complete odor removal is unlikely. A number of products are
available to combat odor, but may simply mask the odor and in times of high humidity, the odor may
reappear. Recently, enzymes, available at pet stores and veterinary offices, have been developed that are
more effective; but they may be better used by a carpet cleaning professional. If odor cannot be
removed, the damaged area of the carpet can be replaced with a piece from reserved scrap. If
carpet replacement is necessary, then replacement of cushion and even subflooring may also
be necessary. Some carpet manufacturers have developed backings that resist spills and even prevent
the spillage from penetrating the carpet into the carpet cushion and perhaps, the subfloor.
Check with your carpet dealer about these products.

Pet Urine and Carpet
Technical Bulletin # 115

Still have questions ? Feel free to give us a call, in many cases we can offer a free evaluation. We try to
schedule these on a day that we will be doing service work in your area, feel free to give us a call!
Tips for Treating Pet Spots, Cleaning Tips
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