How to Get Rid of Pet Odors for Good

How to get rid of cat urine odor

How to Get Rid of Pet Odors for Good

Trying to deal with pet odors, but frustrated because all the over-the-counter and do-it-yourself products you’ve tried have not gotten rid of the pet smell? Perhaps you moved into a new home that has pervasive pet odor from the previous owners, or recently lost a beloved pet who in its old age had bladder or bowel problems. Or maybe you’re about to put your home on the market and know the pervasive pet odor will prevent you from getting top dollar. Whatever the situation, we understand how frustrating pet odor removal can be.

Understanding the Problem of Pet Urine Odors

how to get rid of cat urine odorLet’s start with animal urine, the cause of so many stinky carpets and sofas around the globe.

Dog and cat urine both contain similar amounts of the following:

  • Water
  • Urea
  • Uric acid
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Creatinine

The difference between the two species (cats and dogs) lies in factors like the types of hormones, metabolites and bacteria, that are present in each species’ relative urine sample. However, both species share two components that make their urine smell as awful as it does: uric acid and urea.

Uric Acid

Uric acid is a compound comprised of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. It has a crystal structure and is not very soluble in water. As a result of its low solubility in water, it is very notorious for reverting back to its crystal/salt form, which is resistant to soap, water and most homemade pet urine solutions.

What happens is this: your dog or cat pees on the carpet, and the uric acid seeps into not just the carpet, but also the carpet pad and the subflooring, where it seeps into the pores of the fibers and flooring materials. Then it reverts to its crystal/salt form, which naturally binds with the carpet fibers or flooring materials, where it remains forever. You may soak that carpet with a steam cleaner and remove some of the components of the urine, but the uric acid (which is mighty stinky) remains there. Uric acid is less smelly when dry and more stinky when moist. This is why the room in which your pet had accidents smells better on a dry sunny day than on a rainy day.

In order to completely remove uric acid, you need to get enzymes such as ureases into the fibers of the carpet, carpet pad, subflooring or upholstery fabric in a way that is specific to the break down or hydrolysis of uric acid into carbon dioxide and ammonia. After the uric acid has been broken down into carbon dioxide and ammonia, it can be evaporated and permanently removed from the contaminated materials.


Urea plays a significant role in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds by mammals, and it is the main nitrogen-containing substance in the urine of mammals. While urea is typically colorless, odorless and soluble in water, it releases nasty-smelling ammonia as a metabolic by-product. Urea is more easily removed than uric acid and can be destroyed by hot soapy water, but the problem is that it can be hard to reach once it soaks into the carpet pad and subflooring, or into the foam of your upholstery.

Puppy Poo

If you’ve ever housebroken a puppy, you know how awful puppy poopy accidents can be. You scrub the carpet, but you can’t be sure if you got all the poo out of the carpet. This is especially worrisome if the dog had loose stools or if you dumped water onto the mess, which probably soaked bacteria-filled water down into the carpet pad and the subflooring. You may have used a steam-cleaner on the spot, but steam cleaners are not powerful enough to extract all the water and bacteria out of the subflooring and carpet pad (they don’t even come close to removing all the moisture and bacteria from the carpet).

In reality, steam cleaners just clean the top surface (if even that) and spread the bacteria around all over the carpet. The moisture may dry up, but the bacteria remains.

Understanding Dog Odors

That distinctive “dog smell” realtors dread when showing a home is caused by the yeast and bacteria that lives in your dog’s fur. That bacteria in particular is both unsanitary (which is why you should wash your hands every time you pet your dog, especially before preparing food) and, unfortunately, stinky, and it easily attaches itself to the fibers of carpet, upholstery, and other cloth materials.

In order to remove odors caused by bacteria, you must actually kill the bacteria, which is harder than it sounds, and is also why your home smells like Fido even though you consider yourself a pretty good housekeeper. The weekly cleaning you do isn’t deep enough or powerful enough to remove all the bacteria your pup is grinding into the carpets and sofas every day. After all, you have a job and life to attend to… Fido isn’t busy at all. He’s just rolling around on the carpet, having a good time smelling up your home.

Eliminate Pet Odors for Good

When removing pet odors, you need to accomplish the following:

  • Use pet odor removal products that actually work on uric acid, urea and kill the bacteria
  • Get those pet odor removal products deep into the affected areas (carpet, carpet pad, subflooring, upholstery fabric, foam inside upholstered items) so they can remove the uric acid, urea and kill the bacteria
  • Properly dry out the cleansed materials so other bacteria does not grow

This can be accomplished on a small scale if you have access to the proper cleaning products. However, if pets have had repeated accidents or the pet urine has soaked into the upholstery foam or the carpet, carpet pad and subflooring, only a professional can adequately remove the uric acid, urea and bacteria.

This process involves the use of enzyme-based cleaners (which bind uric acid to the enzymes so they can be removed from the affected materials) and antimicrobial agents to kill the bacteria.

Need Charlotte Odor Prevention Services?

If you’ve got a new home and are worried about the sanitation of a carpet that has been the favorite pet peeing spot, or if you’re listing a home that smells like dogs, you may need professional help. While E.R Services does not offer odor removal services, we can put you in touch with technicians that can provide removal options. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.

Article Summary

Quick question & answer: How can I get rid of pet odors in my house?

You can eliminate pet odors from your house by using pet odor removal products that kill bacteria, while also working on uric acid and urea. Make sure the products go deep into the surface to fully remove those nasty properties. Then, dry out the newly cleaned material to eliminate the potential of future bacteria growing.

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