From Start to Finish: Effective Pet Odor Removal ( Part One – “Theory” )

From Start to Finish: Effective Pet Odor Removal ( Part One – “Theory” )

[The follwing is Part One of a 3-part series.]

In today’s market, carpet cleaners are finding that it is only prudent to diversify a little. One of the add-on services that cleaners should consider is pet odor removal. Pet odor removal is one of those services that many of our existing clients can use, as well as potentially generating for us new clients. In my carpet cleaning business, I have chosen to “specialize” in pet odor removal. I decided to specialize in this area because of the large number of pets that I see in client’s homes, and the lack of any other carpet cleaners in my area advertising such a service.

For me, it seemed that entering the pet odor removal market would give me a “leg up” [no pun intended] on the competition, and we could all use that in our businesses! But, even if you don’t specialize in this area, it is still a potentially profitable add-on service.

There are many different processes out there for pet odor removal, and many of them give the technician satisfactory results. There are dozens of chemicals out there for the technician to use, each one bringing unique benefits to the pet odor removal field. Which chemical you use and what process you settle on, is entirely up to you.

I encourage you to try different chemicals and different processes; you will eventually find a process and a chemical that you like best. Also, remember to keep your mind open to new ideas. There is always something new just around the corner, “The Cure!”, “The Best of the Best!”, “The Neatest Thing Since Sliced Bread!”, at least that’s what the manufactures tell us.

Give that great new product a try. It just may be a great product. On the other hand, if it really isn’t “the neatest thing since sliced bread”, I say, chuck it and never look back! The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of pet odor removal in general as well as the process that I have gravitated towards.

When we speak of pet odor removal, most of the time we are speaking of cat or dog urine. Urine is typically acidic when it arrives on the carpeting. Over a period of time, it becomes alkaline. Urine also has a lower surface tension than water, which means that when it is applied to the carpet, it will penetrate further and farther than water itself will. Urine also breaks down the carpet fiber’s natural surface tension; when the pet returns and applies more urine, it will penetrate the wet carpet even farther and faster.

The actual area of contamination on any one urine spot is always larger than the visible stain; as it penetrates to the sub floor, it spreads out. Urine is “protected” by the carpet and the pad, which can sometimes make it difficult to properly treat. In order to properly treat urine odor, you absolutely must get your product in “direct contact” with the urine itself to achieve the desired results. This is true with every product that I have ever used.

Other than carpet and/or pad removal, there are basically two methods of treatment:

#1) Encapsulation
#2) Bio-enzymatic digestion

Encapsulation is the application of a product to the urine that contains ingredients that dry to a crystalline form. Once dry, the crystals (in theory) will encapsulate the urine and prevent the odor from being released.

Bio-Enzymatic Digestion
The bio-enzymatic digestion method is the application of a product that contains a bacteria enzyme mixture that digests the components in the urine that cause the odor. Both of these methods are used with success by odor control specialists, and carpet cleaning professionals.

The bio-enzymatic method tends to be a little more forgiving in that, the bacteria will feed and multiply until the food source has been consumed. So, if your product doesn’t quite reach out all the way to the edge of the urine spot (under the pad), the bacteria still may consume it through it’s natural process, anyway.

I, personally, use the bio-enzymatic digestion method and have found it to be more effective than the encapsulation method, at least for me.

Some manufacturers tell us that in order for their products to work effectively, they should be injected into the carpet and pad. I have found that I can effectively flood the contaminated area from the surface and achieve the same result with less time and equipment. – – [ I am referring to the bio-enzymatic method here, the encapsulation method should be injected. Using the bio-enzymatic digestion method, I have found the injection process to be very time consuming with no better results than flooding the area from the surface. ]

The injection method works by making at least 64 injections on the contaminated area, alternating the depth of the injections between the floor, pad, and back of the carpet.

The intention is for the injections to cause the product to “link up”, thereby achieving complete coverage of the contaminated area.

Dave Roderick
Stay tuned for Part Two, “Effective Pet Odor Removal – Application”