Smelly Carpet After Cleaning

Cleaning smelly carpet in Denver
Woven carpet design

Smelly Carpet After Cleaning

Why Does My Carpet Smell Worse After Carpet Cleaning?

You just had your carpet cleaned (or cleaned it yourself) and now you have a smelly carpet after cleaning. Wasn’t the idea to make the carpet smell better, not worse? Let’s explore the likely causes of the smelly carpet issue and come up with a plan. If your carpet smells worse after cleaning, there’s clearly something wrong.

The Primary Causes of Smelly Carpet After Cleaning Are:

  • Over-Wetting the Carpet (Musty Smell)

  • Water Damage (Moldy Smell)

  • Pet Odor and Urine (Urine Smell)

 

infant with dog lying on smelly carpet

Cleaned Carpet Now Smells Like Wet Dog

There are a few possible reasons your carpet now smells like a wet dog. Firstly, most carpet cleaning uses water. The gold standard method for cleaning carpets is a process called Hot Water Extraction.

In this method, a significant amount of water and solution is applied to the carpet. It’s then extracted with a powerful vacuum.

The best variant of this type of cleaning uses a truck mounted carpet cleaning. This is because it has superior power, water heating abilities, and stronger vacuum.

The typical issue is that too much water has been left in the carpet by someone that doesn’t know what they are doing. Now the carpet to smell like wet dog.

Too Much Water Left in the Carpet

Have you ever washed a cycle of laundry but forgot to take it out of the washer and throw it into the dryer? Upon discovering your mistake you realize that the clothes now smell musty.

What you’re smelling could be microbial growth. Similarly, carpets that are left soaked for a long period of time will make the carpets smell like a wet dog.

This is one reason why you want to hire a professional with quality equipment to clean your carpets. You don’t want to, instead, try and save a few bucks hiring the discount hack with the 30 year old truck. Or the rental machine on the shelf at the store.

Old or Weak Machines Don’t Suck Up Enough Water

For homes, it’s not uncommon for a professional carpet cleaner to apply as much as 25-50 gallons of water. In a normal situation, the vacuum in the truck mounted machine extracts 90-95% of this water back out, leading to quick dry times.

But, either due to operator error (usually moving too fast or turning up the water pressure too high), inferior beat up old equipment, or modern cheap equipment, that extraction phase doesn’t get out as much water as it should. This over-wetting is also common with the rental machines people rent from the grocery or hardware stores.

Obviously we’re biased, but you should always get your carpets cleaned by a professional vs. a do it yourself option to avoid these issues.

Drying Carpet After Cleaning

In addition to extracting the water during a carpet cleaning, you also want to get some air moving. Drying carpet after carpet cleaning should always be a focal point to keep things from smelling musty.

Use Fans and Carpet Grooming to Help Dry Carpet

We use high speed fans that we move room to room to help with airflow while we are cleaning customer’s carpets. We also use what’s called a carpet rake to groom the carpet. This tool lifts all the carpet fibers up and aligns them vertically again. Doing so allows for faster drying.

Other Ways to Improve Carpet Drying

Beyond using professional fans and carpet grooming equipment, there are plenty of other things you can do to help things dry out.

  1. Open up the windows in your home (assuming it’s a nice day with a comfortable outdoor temperature). The airflow will speed drying
  2. Run the fan on your HVAC system. If it’s summer time and you have an AC unit, feel free to use that, or heat in the winter. Otherwise, just the fan mode works well too. The idea is to circulate air and few things circulate air through your house as well as your HVAC system.
  3. Use your own fans – box fans or otherwise – to help move air around on the especially damp areas.

 

 

high speed air mover fan pointed up carpeted stairs to speed drying time after carpet cleaning
carpet grooming speeds carpet drying after cleaning

Water Damage Causing Microbial Growth

Typically when we get called to a home to investigate a complaint that a carpet smells musty or moldy it’s because… well, it’s moldy. We don’t like to use the word “mold” since technically that can take many forms. Instead, we prefer to use the phrase “suspected microbial growth” so as not to overgeneralize.

You Can’t Just Clean Moldy Carpet

All too often, someone will call asking if we can clean their water damaged carpet. When we get to the point in the conversation where we ask about any particular issues, the caller will say “well, I had some water leak into my basement a week ago and I just want to get the musty smell out”.

Unfortunately, in most of these circumstances, a more aggressive approach is going to be needed than just a simple carpet cleaning service.

Getting The Musty Smell Out of Carpet

Removing the musty smell from carpet typically starts with a visual inspection of the underside of the carpet and carpet pad. Soggy or damaged carpet pad typically needs to be replaced. In many cases, however, the carpet can usually be saved. The carpet is cleaned both on the backing and the face of the carpet and an anti-microbial solution such as Microban is applied.

Next, carpet repair and carpet stretching work is needed to reinstall the carpet. Then, you’re good as new. Failing to replace the pad when the carpet has been soaked is almost always going to be a mistake you don’t want to make and will lead to having a smelly carpet after cleaning.

Does Carpet Cleaning Cause Mold?

The short answer is that proper carpet cleaning does not cause mold. Proper carpet cleaning, performed by the vast majority of companies, does not cause mold. However, If your carpet is still wet the day after you have it professionally cleaned, typically this is an indication that the company you hired did something wrong.

To over-wet your carpet to that extent, either they have a weak machine, the user was rushing and wasn’t “dry stroking” the carpet to get the most water out of it, or you have a high pile carpet or extra thick carpet pad. Even so, this is probably not an issue as mold takes more than a day to propagate.

We’d recommend that you call the company back to extract any remaining water and set up fans or dehumidifiers if necessary.

Your Carpet Shouldn’t Smell Musty After Cleaning

Things should never get to the point where your carpet smells musty after cleaning. It’s generally a myth that carpet cleaning can cause mold. It’s feasible, but it would indicate complete negligence or incompetence. No reputable company that actually knows what they are doing would over wet things to the point that mold occurred.

Pet urine showing through on the underside of carpet and carpet pad responsible for pet odor in home

Pet Urine or Other Pet Odors in Carpet After Cleaning

Another leading cause of having smelly carpets after cleaning is pet urine or other pet odors. While standard carpet cleaning should do a good job of removing pet dander and general odors, removing pet urine from carpet requires more than just a basic carpet cleaning. We offer a variety of pet urine removal options based on the severity of the problem.

You should be aware that a basic carpet cleaning will not fix a pet urine issue. In some cases, the odor may actually initially get worse after a carpet cleaning since the urea and urine salts have been reactivated with hot water!

Proper Pet Urine Assessment and Treatment is Vital

Cleaning pet urine requires special products and techniques beyond basic carpet cleaning. We may flood areas with a special solution and extract it with a certain tool. Or, we may have to replace a portion of carpet pad. It may even involve sealing the subfloor.

If your carpet smells like pet urine after a carpet cleaning, it’s probably best to call a professional carpet cleaning company.

Still Have Questions About Your Carpet Smelling Bad After Cleaning?

In summary, if your carpet is smelly after cleaning, or just smelly in general, it’s probably best to hire a professional carpet cleaning company. MSS Cleaning comprises a team of experts that can handle all kinds of smelly carpet issues. Give us a call or shoot us an email. We’d be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

How to Get Coffee Stains Out of Carpet

How to get coffee stains out of carpet in Denver

How to Get Coffee Stains Out of Carpet

Safely and Effectively Remove Coffee Stains From Your Carpet

How to Get Coffee Out of Your Carpet

Coffee is great for a morning pick me up. However, it’s not so great for clean looking carpets. If you’re like most people, at some point you’re going to spill some coffee on your carpet. Then you’re faced with a situation where you need to know how to get coffee stains out of carpet. The good news is we’re here to help you with that.

Among the various things spilled on carpets, coffee presents plenty of carpet cleaning challenges. So, if you’ve found this page, you probably need to know how to remove coffee stains from carpet.

Clean up Coffee Stains Quickly!

Like most stains, efforts to remove coffee stains from carpet are best done when the coffee has been recently spilled. Fresh spots are easier to remove than dried set in stains that have been there for months. Trying to remove old coffee stains from carpet is always going to be harder than removing them when they are fresh.

Coffee Stain on Carpet

A Note on Carpet Protection and Coffee Stains

While this may be too late now that you have a coffee stain on your carpet, it’s good to know for the future. Carpets come from the factory these days with pre-applied carpet protectant. This is usually good for 12-18 months before it needs to be reapplied. Most people know the name Scotchgard, but in our opinion better options exist. Teflon products like Maxim Advanced work great. These protectants cause liquids to bead up instead of penetrate the dye sites. Applying carpet protection typically allows for much easier clean up, especially for acidic solutions (hint: coffee stains). As an added bonus, other dry and wet soils are easier to clean up as well. Whether for protection against coffee stains, or otherwise, professionally applying carpet protection to your carpets is a good idea.

How to Remove Coffee Stains – Dish Detergent and Vinegar

Step 1: If the coffee stain is fresh, try and absorb as much of the coffee as you can with a dry rag, towel, or paper towel.

Step 2: Mix up about a tablespoon of dish detergent, a tablespoon of vinegar and 2 cups of warm water in a bowl.

Step 3: Dip a white rag or cloth into the bowl of solution until it’s saturated. Liberally dab the solution onto the stain, working from the outside of the stain to the middle. Rinse the cloth periodically in the bowl of solution. Remember, don’t scrub the carpet, instead blot it. Scrubbing risks damaging the carpet fibers or pulling fibers out of the backing.

Step 4: Rinse the area with warm water and use a wet vac, if you have one, to suck up the solution. If you don’t have a wet vac, use a different dry towel and use it to absorb as much of the rinse water as possible. Repeat this step a few times with the goal of getting as much solution and coffee laden rinse water out of the carpet.

Bottle of Dawn dish soap

What Happens if the Coffee Stain Reappears?

Normally when a coffee stain resurfaces after you have cleaned the area, it means that the coffee stain went past the carpet. It’s gone deeper and really saturated the carpet pad. When this occurs, you likely need to get a professional carpet cleaning. Here’s why: Carpet pad does a nice job of keeping the carpet feeling comfortable to walk on. However, the foam material it’s made of is also quite absorbent. Kind of like a sponge. Liquid spills, like coffee, that get past the carpet, hit the top layer of the carpet pad and then soak in over a large area.

On top, it looks like a small spill, but below it can be much larger. With pet urine stains, for example, a 6 inch visible ring on the top of the carpet often is 18-24 inches on the pad once you lift back the carpet to have a look beneath it. A professional is going to have FAR stronger, specialized carpet cleaning equipment than what you can find at the store. They will be better equipped to remove coffee stains from carpet that are too hard to clean yourself. That carpet cleaning equipment has massively stronger vacuums than even the most powerful shop vacs. They’ll have more effective solutions than you can buy in the store, and they’ll have specialized sprayers and tools to flood the areas for complete cleaning, while still allowing for effective drying so your carpet isn’t left soaking.

Still Having Trouble Getting Coffee Out of Your Carpet?

If you’ve tried out recommended solution to remove the coffee stain from your carpet but it still won’t budge, it’s probably time to call the professionals. If you are in or around Denver, CO, give us a call or schedule an appointment with us online. We’d be happy to tackle that coffee stain for you.

How to Get Blood Out of Carpet

How to get blood out of carpet in Denver
Carpet pattern icon with stain on it

Here’s How to Get Blood Out of Carpet

Quickly and Safely Remove Blood Stains From Your Carpet

Removing Blood Stains from Carpet

You’ve had an accident and you cut yourself. Or maybe your dog cut its paw and you didn’t realize it before he/she tracked blood all over your carpets. One way or another, now you need to know how to get blood out of carpet. Regardless of how you got blood on your carpet, we’re here to provide some helpful tips on how to remove it.

If the blood stain is fresh, act quickly. It will be easier to remove if the blood stain is still wet/fresh. The cleaning steps are going to more or less be the same, you’ll just likely experience better success with cleaning a fresh stain instead of cleaning a dried blood stain from your carpet.

A Professional Tip on Blood

Blood coagulates with warm/hot water, allowing it to penetrate further into the carpet fibers. Because of this, use cold water for cleaning. Ideally, this will help keep the blood from further entering the carpet fibers.

Getting Blood Out of Carpet

Unless you caught it quickly, you’re probably looking at removing dried blood from the carpet. However, if it’s still wet/fresh, skip the first step, since you won’t be able to scrape wet blood off of the carpet. Here’s what we recommend for cleaning:

Method 1 – Use Dish Soap to Remove Blood from Carpet

  1. As with most stains, your first step with how to get blood out of carpet should be to try and remove any dried material (blood in this case) from the carpet fibers. The less dried blood you remove, the harder the job will be. A stiff brush can be used to try and groom the dried blood out of the carpet. Vacuum up the remainder.
  2. Fill up a spray bottle with cold water and a few squirts (a half ounce or so) of dish soap (don’t use hot water, as detailed in the pro tip above). Moisten the blood stain thoroughly. Don’t overdo it on the dish soap. You don’t want to leave a dirt-attracting soapy residue in your carpet.
  3. Blot the blood stain with a paper towel or clean rag. Don’t scrub it. Scrubbing only drives the blood deeper into the carpet fibers.
  4. Rinse with a bit of cool water. If you have a wet vacuum, use it to suck out as much fluid as possible. Cycle rinsing and suction a few times to get as much material removed as possible. If you don’t have a wet vac, you can use an old towel to try and absorb as much of the fluid as you can.
  5. Ok – the stain has been removed, its now recommended to set up a fan to blow air across the cleaned area to help it dry.
  6. If the blood stain has not yet been removed, repeat steps 2-4 as needed. Once you’ve made a few efforts and the blood is still a stain on the carpet, try the next method.
Bottle of dawn dish soap
bottle of hydrogen peroxide

Method 2 – Using an Oxi Product to Get a Blood Stain Out

  1. As with the previous method mentioned, try and remove any dried material (blood in this case) from the carpet fibers. The less dried blood you remove, the harder the job will be. A stiff brush can be used to try and groom the dried blood out of the carpet. Vacuum up the remainder.
  2. Apply an oxi product to get blood stains out of carpet. Keep oxi products of all kinds away from natural fibers like wool or silk.  Assuming you have a standard synthetic nylon or polyester rug, proceed with this step. We like Proxi Spray and Walk Away but something like Oxiclean should work too. Good old Hydrogen Peroxide in a 3% solution works as well, but be careful to spot test it in a closet or low visibility area, since it can bleach carpets. Apply the solution on to the stain. Allow it to dwell for a minute or two.
  3. Blot the blood and solution mix with a paper towel or clean white rag.
  4. Rinse with a bit of cool water. If you have a wet vacuum, use it to suck out as much fluid as possible. Cycle rinsing and suction a few times to get as much material removed as possible. However, if you don’t have a wet vac, you can use an old towel to try and absorb as much of the fluid as you can.
  5. If the stain has been removed, use a fan to blow air across the cleaned area to help it dry.
  6. However, If the blood stain has not yet been removed, repeat steps 2-4 as needed. Once you’ve made a few efforts and the blood is still a stain on the carpet, try the next method.

Method 3 – Using Ammonia and Water to Remove a Blood Stain

  1. As with the other methods, try and remove any dried material (blood in this case) from the carpet fibers. The less dried blood you remove, the harder the job will be. A stiff brush can be used to try and groom the dried blood out of the carpet. Vacuum up the remainder.
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon of ammonia with a half cup of cold water. Beware – DO NOT USE ANY BLEACH. Bleach and ammonia form a toxic gas. You should never put bleach (even diluted) on your carpet anyway, since it will, you know, bleach it… but it’s still a caution that must be shared.
  3. Apply the solution liberally to the blood stains. Allow it to dwell for 5 minutes or so.
  4. Blot (don’t rub) the blood stain with paper towels or a clean rag or towel.
  5. Rinse with a bit of cool water. If you have a wet vacuum, use it to suck out as much fluid as possible. Cycle rinsing and suction a few times to get as much material removed as possible. If you don’t have a wet vac, you can use an old towel to try and absorb as much of the fluid as you can.
  6. If the stain has been removed, set up a fan, if you have one, to blow air across the cleaned area to help it dry. However, if it hasn’t maybe now is a good time to call in the professionals (MSS Cleaning).
Vinegar in a Beaker

Still Having Issues Getting the Blood Out of the Carpet?

If you’ve tried out tips on how to get blood out of carpet and you haven’t had the success you want, it may be time to consider a professional cleaning. Blood can be tough to remove without professional equipment and solutions. If the steps we provide don’t do the trick, we have plenty of experience in professionally carpet cleaning blood stains and we’d be happy to do the job for you if you live in or around Denver, CO.

How to Get Slime Out of Carpet

Girl lying on clean white carpet in front of white couch holding TV remote
blue woven carpet icon

Here’s How to Get Slime Out of Carpet

Removing Slime From Your Carpet Safely Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Uh oh. Slime! Everywhere we look, kids are obsessed with Slime.

It’s fun the play with, we don’t blame them. But now, as a parent, it’s a little bit less fun because the stuff gets everywhere and you’ve got to figure out how to clean it up!

Is Slime Your Worst Carpet Cleaning Nightmare!?!

Someone spilled some slime on your carpet and now you’ve got to figure out how to remove it. Don’t fret, it’s probably not as big a deal as you think. You’re not going to have to rip up your carpet. Even if you need to remove dried slime from the carpet, it shouldn’t be a problem.

teal slime divider

Let’s First Dissect What Slime is Made From

Slime is typically going to be a mixture of:

  • glue
  • food coloring
  • water
  • starch
  • glitter

Fun to play with, not as fun to clean up. The glue is going to bond to your carpet fibers and food coloring is going to initially stain them. So, you need something that’s going to break down the glue, first and foremost, as well as to remove the pigment from the food coloring.

bottle of glue with orange cap covered in white glue

First Things First, Let’s Tackle the Glue

You’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to solvents (which is what you’re going to need to break down the adhesive glue). You could use vinegar, rubbing alcohol, Goo Gone (or something like it), etc. There are plenty of other things that would dissolve the glue as well that you DON’T want to use. Like gasoline or WD40. We recommend vinegar as a safe solvent that’s easy to work with. It won’t potentially damage your carpet backing (like a Goo Gone type product could). Besides, you probably already have it in your kitchen. Before we move on… a quick but important tip on why you don’t want to use WD40!

A Quick Note On WD40 Before We Move On

WD40 seems to be all the rage for the magic all-in-one carpet cleaning miracle if you ask Pinterest or a number of online blogs. Take it from a carpet cleaner; you don’t want to put this stuff on your carpet!

We get calls all the time from people who “cleaned their carpet spots with WD40 and now have a stain.

Here’s the issue: while WD40 does a good job of removing some spots, it leaves behind an oily residue (the SDS sheets show that approximately 25% of the makeup of WD40 is mineral oil). This residue is going to attract dirt like a magnet and your “clean” spot is now going to be a permanent dirt magnet until someone professionally cleans the very hard to rinse oil spot. Choose a solvent without oil in it to clean your carpet spots, or you’re going to just trade one problem for another!

 

Oil Can
teal slime divider

Step by Step Guide on How to Get Slime Out of Carpet

Step 1 – Carefully Scrape Away Any Excess Slime

Take a spoon or similar blunt edged scraper and remove as much of the slime as you can. Be careful not to be too aggressive so as not to rip up the carpet fibers.

Metal spoon to be used as a scraping tool

Step 2 – Apply Vinegar

Take your standard white vinegar and apply it liberally to the slime spot. You don’t need to drown it, but we’re not talking a few drops here either. Your goal is to remove the slime from the carpet, so get after it! Allow the vinegar do it’s thing for 3 minutes or so.

Vinegar in a Beaker

Step 3 – Agitate and Remove Excess With a Scraper… A Spoon Works Well

Whenever you’re dealing with carpet spotting and stains, you don’t want to aggressively scrub the carpet. Your goal is to gently remove the substance from the carpet. This time is no different. Using a metal spoon, gently scrape the vinegar slime mixture to one side of the slime spot. Pick up the slop and wipe it off on a paper towel or white rag. Repeat until you’ve picked it all up.

Metal spoon to be used as a scraping tool

Step 4 – Rinse With Hot Water

Apply hot water to the slimed area and blot up the remainder. Use a clean white towel or even paper towels. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat as needed.

Pouring hot water out of a glass

Step 5 – Repeat if Needed

If there is still slime after the rinsing, go back to step one and repeat the process again.

Step 6 – Tackle the Food Coloring (if Needed)

If color remains on the carpet from the food coloring, you have to tackle that. If there isn’t any color left, skip this step.

What to Use to Remove Color

Option 1

If you’ve got some of our Home Pro Spotter that we hand out to our customers for free, this is the right stuff to use. As an alternative, Spray and walk away works pretty well too. Apply the solution, agitate into the carpet, blot with a towel and rinse. Blot the rinsed area with a clean towel, then put a fan next to it to help the spot dry.

Option 2

If you don’t have Home Pro Spotter and don’t want to buy it/wait for it to arrive, you can use your standard carpet cleaning solution spray available at the store. Resolve, Oxi, whatever… with this one caveat… RINSE IT OUT. As much as these companies claim their solution will not bleach out your carpet or leave a residue, if you leave the solution in your carpet without thoroughly rinsing it out, it may. We’ve seen it. Frequently. Also, when you do go to clean your carpets, that dried residue foams like crazy and your carpet cleaning company is going to be really annoyed. So when you use these products, apply, blot, and then rinse it out a few times. If you’ve got a little handheld spot cleaner, like one of these this is probably a good choice for this project. If this doesn’t work, jump to the next step. If not, go to step 8.

green sparkly slime

Step 7 – Try Rubbing Alcohol if Color Remains

Try rubbing alcohol. Use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth. Rinse with water after each application of alcohol.

Bottle of rubbing alcohol

Step 8 – Give Hydrogen Peroxide a Shot

If the alcohol doesn’t work, you can try hydrogen peroxide. Be very careful and test a discrete area for colorfastness. Hydrogen peroxide can occasionally bleach certain carpets. If you’ve got a wool carpet, for example, don’t even think about putting peroxide or anything “oxi” on it. Apply the hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for 10 minutes or so. Blot with a clean cloth. Rinse with warm water, repeat.

Bottle of hydrogen peroxide

Step 9 – Give that Former Slime Spot Some Air

Set up a fan next to the area you cleaned to help it dry. Leave it there for 12-24 hours. There’s no point in leaving your carpet and carpet pad soaked for days. Besides, you don’t want to invite mildew or mold, right? Then you’d have a much bigger problem to address than removing slime from your carpet!

speed drying carpet cleaning fan
MSS Cleaning employee carpet cleaning stairs with a stair tool

None of This Worked / It Sort of Worked But I Still Need Help!

If this process didn’t work, it’s probably time to call in a professional carpet cleaning company. Likely this won’t be necessary, but who knows… Maybe your kid made slime with construction adhesive or something instead of Elmers Glue (somewhat kidding here, but we’ve seen some crazy things so I won’t count this out!).

Professional Carpet Cleaners have more tools and solutions at their disposal than you could ever imagine. We’ve been able to remove spots and stains from carpet that people never thought would come out. Furthermore, for those things that can’t come out, we can always cut out damaged areas and perform a carpet repair using carpet from another area or a spare piece of carpet. Carpet repairs are nearly invisible and will no doubt look far better than a bunch of glittery, colored glue spots all over your carpet.

Removing Dog Urine From Carpet

Dog sitting on carpet
dog urine stain on carpet icon

Help! I Can’t Get Dog Urine Smell Out of My Carpet

Here’s why you, and the carpet cleaner you already hired, can’t get the dog urine smell in your carpet to go away

Internet Pet Urine Remedies

The internet is full of ideas on how to remove dog urine from carpet. Hand-held steam cleaners. Vinegar. Ammonia. Various pet enzymes. Magical promises of DIY solutions all over Pinterest… you name it.

Perhaps you’ve tried some of these techniques, or perhaps not. If you have, and they haven’t worked, you’re looking for another solution. This should involve bringing in a professional carpet cleaning company. Here’s what you should know in order to make an informed decision for getting dog urine out of your carpet. Read this before you hire a company that doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Unscrupulous or Otherwise Clueless Carpet Cleaning Companies

Unfortunately, the carpet cleaning industry has become somewhat synonymous with unscrupulous business practices and sketchy companies. These companies are, frankly, unqualified to be selling the services they sell. Never is this more apparent than with treating pet stains.

Out of the Loop

Many carpet cleaning companies really don’t know what they are doing. They haven’t kept up with the major technological improvements in solutions, techniques and applied principles surrounding pet urine removal. Further, many companies try to cheap out by applying mediocre or poor pet treatment solutions. These are in every way inferior to the solutions used by those of us doing the job right.

This article should help you understand the right way to treat pet urine (dog urine specifically in this article) in your carpets.

The Consumer Pet Urine Treatment Industry

There is an entire industry built on selling deodorizers and pet enzyme products to consumers. And that’s fine. Some of them even work reasonably well. Deoderizers can cover up the smell of pet urine long enough that you forget about it. Enzymes can actually consume the pet urine and help to remedy the issue somewhat. Once it gets warm and sunny and the house heats up though, there it is again… the smell of dog urine. Gross.

 

MSS Cleaning dog, Steve, who was responsible for many dog urine stains

I’ve Been There – My Dog Urine Story

Before I got into the carpet cleaning business, my wife and I went away on a trip for a few weeks and left our dogs in the care of a friend.

Well, you know how this story goes.

We came home to find the carpeted rec room covered in dog urine spots. We tried everything we could to clean the urine from the carpet., including:

  • The home remedies and Pinterest solutions
  • Renting a rug doctor with the pet specific pet urine treatment
  • Doused the spots beyond liberally with Nature’s Miracle
  • Rented the rug doctor again and tried a different detergent.

It didn’t work. It got a bit better, but it was still driving us crazy.

 

We Hired a Carpet Cleaner to Help

Failing to remove the dog urine ourselves, we hired a company to clean the carpets. They really didn’t know what they were doing, in retrospect. That didn’t work either. We hired them to come back and replace portions of the carpet pad. That helped, but it didn’t fully solve the problem. Oh, and they also installed a different density and thickness of carpet pad. This made it noticeable walking from one area to another.

Wow, was that whole experience was frustrating.

So we lived with it until, well, I bought a carpet cleaning business. Yes, this experience actually helped lead me to buy a carpet cleaning business. Is that hard-headed, or what?

You’ve Already Tried Removing the Pet Urine Yourself

Chances are, like most of our customers (and like me from some years ago), you’ve already tried the commonly available products and home remedies. You rented a rug doctor. Then you tried applying Nature’s Miracle. You’ve probably thrown a whole lot of time, energy, and money at this problem. And you’re still frustrated.

At this point, you may have even hired a carpet cleaning company to clean up the pet mess. But if you did, and you’re here… they didn’t know what they were doing and now you’re reading this article.

A surprising number of carpet cleaning companies can’t treat dog urine correctly. The rest of this article will hopefully share some insights on this problem. It should help you figure out what you need to do from here and who you need to hire to get it done right.

So, What Actually Removes Dog Urine Odor From Carpet?

As I previously alluded to, the carpet isn’t the big problem. Pet urine can be cleaned from most standard carpet relatively easily. The issue is actually the carpet pad and the subfloor. Carpet pad is basically a giant sponge that traps and holds on to dog urine until it dries, leaving a nasty, stinky mess.

Furthermore, the specific treatment regimen is going to depend on whether we’re talking about a cat or a dog. Cat urine is (believe it or not from my story above) actually harder to remove from carpet than dog urine. Let’s keep this post to dog urine, but I’ll leave a handy link here for what we recommend for getting cat urine smell out of carpet. Check out our pet stains and odor page.

Removing Dog Urine from Carpet

The first thing you need to do is to identify the dog urine spots with a black light or by peeling the carpet off of the tack strips and looking at the underside. If you are trying to DIY the blacklight, you probably will need to wait until its dusk/dark. This will be needed to see the spots since you need a pretty powerful blacklight to show the spots during they day. When feasible, we prefer to pull back the carpet. It really allows you to look at the carpet pad and very obviously shows the dog urine stains on the backing of the carpet.

 

Dog urine stains showing through on the back of a piece of pulled back carpet

Next, after the carpeted areas affected by the urine have been identified, it’s time to make a judgement call on the carpet pad.

 

Applying topical dog urine treatment to carpet with a power sprayer

Topical Treatment

If the spots are not too severe, a professional grade topical treatment can be applied. This will break down the dog urine and allow for extraction. A plastic coated carpet pad like a Stain Master pad can also afford some added pad protection. The carpet and the pad can both be treated topically. If price is an issue, topical dog urine treatment is typically the way to go. Topical pet treatment does an OK (but still far better than you could do yourself) job of cleaning the carpet, but there are certainly more advanced options.

If a topical treatment isn’t going to cut it, the carpet is going to need either a flood treatment or it’s going to need a new piece of pad seamed in.

Advanced dog urine removal treatment using a carpet flood extractor

Advanced Pet Urine Treatment – Carpet Flooding

In recent years, someone in the carpet cleaning industry discovered an effective way to rinse both the carpet and the pad. This technique is called “flooding”. The idea is to apply a whole lot of neutralizing solution to the affected urine area. Sometimes this could be up to a half gallon or a gallon of solution.

This solution saturates the pet urine stain, breaking down the urea and urine salts in the carpet and the carpet pad to allow for extraction. The pad is particularly important because it’s basically a big foam sponge and it holds liquid (hint: dog urine).

Allow it Time to Work

Once the solution has been applied, it needs to sit for 30 minutes or so. This allows it time to do its thing and break everything down. Once the time is up, a flood extractor is used to suck up all the solution from through the pad, through the carpet and then out to the truck for eventual disposal. The area is then thoroughly rinsed and a post treatment is applied.

The vast majority of time, flooding works great. After the urine spot dries, typically you can put your nose right down next to it and you won’t be able to detect a urine odor.

Replacing carpet pad in an area affected by dog urine

Carpet Pad Replacement

We recommend carpet pad replacement as a final step or when pet urine damage is so widespread that it would end up costing more to flood many spots than to just replace the carpet pad in the room. A good carpet cleaning company should have a pretty good feel for when this is going to be necessary. We’ve done more than enough of these jobs to know before we even begin the work what we should recommend to our customers.

How to Replace the Damaged Carpet Pad

Replacing carpet pad is a bit of a headache. All the furniture must be removed, then the carpet must be taken off the pad and set aside. The old carpet pad is thrown out. If the subfloor is damaged by urine, we strongly recommend sealing the subfloor with Kilz or an odor blocking oil-based paint. There is a fire and water restoration paint that also works amazingly, though it’s costlier and not necessary. New pad is then installed as well as new tack strip in any areas where the tack strip has been compromised by the dog urine.

We’ve actually been to jobs where the subfloor has been so saturated with urine that it has rotted, and we’ve had to call in a carpenter to repair the area before we could do our carpet cleaning work.

New pad is installed and then the carpet needs to be cleaned, both on the front of the carpet as well as the backing of the carpet. Once all of this has been completed, the carpet can be stretched back in and reinstalled after it’s dried out.

 

What Can I Do Myself?

We understand that our customers probably don’t have a stack of $100 bills in the closet and that sometimes people like to DIY whatever they can. Some things can be DIY and some really can’t. As you may have already experienced, home products and rented machines just don’t cut it. Nothing beats a powerful truck mounted machine, like the ones we use. Our equipment generates far more suction, pressure and heat than anything not purpose-built, and it’s necessary to remove dog urine from carpet properly.

We’re Happy to Save you Money

But, if you want to save some money, we’re happy to help you do that. When it comes to pad replacement, we’re happy to let you move furniture, pull back the carpet, remove and dispose of the pad, rip up damaged tack strips and paint the subfloor yourself. These are all easy tasks that we don’t need to charge you labor to do. Of course, we’re happy to do it for you as well, but if you’re trying to save some money, we’re happy to work with you.

Is This Approach to Removing Dog Urine from Carpet Foolproof?

The only method for removing dog urine from carpet that’s truly foolproof is going to be a carpet pad replacement and floor sealing service. With that said, we do many, many dog urine carpet cleaning jobs each week and have very rarely ever been called back on any carpet flooding work. We always recommend flooding treatment if you can afford it because of its effectiveness. Topical dog urine treatment is even generally effective when done in the right circumstances for minor pet urine issues, it just doesn’t do quite as good of a job since the pad isn’t fully saturated and rinsed.

We Hope This Helped!

We know that removing pet urine odors and stains from carpet is not an easy task. Hopefully this information has been helpful for you, whether you live in the Denver area and would like to hire us to help you with your carpet dog urine woes, or if you live elsewhere and can use this information to find a reputable carpet cleaning company in your area that knows what they are doing with removing dog urine from carpeting. If you do live along the Colorado Front Range and need out help, feel free to either schedule online or give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.

Or Call: 1-720-233-0761

Deep Carpet Cleaning in Denver

A lot of companies say they can provide deep carpet cleaning services. The truth is, at least by our quality standards, they can’t. Restorative, deep carpet cleaning requires more than showing up with a van (or worse, something better resembling a station wagon) and spraying some water on the ground and sucking.

This, or using only a brush machine or bonnet machine does not provide restoration carpet cleaning. They may make your carpets look better, but they won’t make them look great. We aim to make them look great, regardless of the condition they are in when we start.

restoratation carpet cleaning is needed for heavily soiled areas like this one. Jobs like these call for a deep carpet cleaning that isn't just simply a basic hot water extraction

Restoration Carpet Cleaning Process

True restorative carpet cleaning requires a more complete process as well as a few really important steps that many companies skip. In our view, the first step for deep carpet cleaning is a thorough vacuuming with a high powered, commercial vacuum, equipped with a beater bar.

Some estimates put the quantity of dry soil in the carpet as high as 74-79%. We want to remove that instead of adding water and turning it to mud. After we vacuum, we move on to the hot water extraction process.

The Hot Water Extraction Deep Soil Removal Process

Here are the four major components of a restoration carpet cleaning, hot water extraction process that most companies only partially complete. These are specifically mentioned by the IICRC. As an IICRC Certified firm, we involve all of these important pieces to do the job right. Chemical, Agitation, Temperature and Time.4 components needed to properly deep clean carpets

A Practical Example of How These Components Work Together

If you have a greasy pot, you fill it full of hot water (temperature), you add dish soap (chemical), you let it soak (time). Usually this does a decent job of loosening and removing things. However, if this was enough, no one would own a sponge or a scrubber pad, right?

That final step of agitation is vital to getting things as clean as they need to be. If any of the 4 components are skipped, the cleaning is not going to be as effective. Let’s look at each deep cleaning component individually.

Temperature

The proper temperature is important for proper deep carpet cleaning. When you clean your dishes, you use hot water. When you clean your laundry, you prefer to use hot water.

Chemical reactions increase dramatically with greater heat. This means that the restoration carpet cleaning solutions we apply to your carpet will work better when they applied hot and removed hot. They don’t call it hot water extraction for nothing!

At the same time, certain carpets suffer under too much heat, so careful regulation is important. To have adequate hot water and a consistent temperature, a powerful truck mounted carpet cleaning system is important. This article doesn’t touch on what we think of dry cleaning, but if you’re interested, read more about the general ineffectiveness of dry carpet cleaning here.

Chemical

We have a wide variety of different detergents and solutions that we carry on our truck. We custom formulate our solutions at each job depending on what we see. If you have white carpets, we may apply a certain booster.

If you have pet stains or odor, certain different solutions and techniques can be applied. Heavy traffic lanes, or carpet that’s covered in grease, different solutions still.

Then we get to the topic of spotting and the myriad solutions we can apply to treat everything from rust to tar to ink to kool aid and paint. For restoration carpet cleaning, you need a company (and technician!) with a deep understanding of the proper chemistry of which solutions to apply to which carpet types and in which situations.

In general, a mid to high pH solution is applied to the carpets, agitated in, allowed time to dwell, and then extracted with a mildly acidic solution to neutralize the fibers and return them to their natural, slightly acidic, state. Here’s a dirty little industry secret: many companies do not even apply a pre-spray or they rinse the carpet during the extraction phase using only water in order to save money.

Agitation

Agitation is also really important for deep carpet cleaning. For a lightly soiled carpet, this step may not be entirely necessary, but with deep carpet cleaning, it absolutely is. After the pre-spray has been applied, it needs to be deeply scrubbed into the carpet.

Back to the dish washing example: if you take a greasy pot and put dish soap in it and rinse it out, it’ll get you most of the way there, but there are still bits of food and grime that didn’t come out. Its for this same reason that carpet restoration cleaning requires agitation to do the best job.

How is This Carpet Agitation Achieved?

There are a number of different pieces of equipment that provide agitation. Recently, you have probably started to see companies advertise “restorative carpet cleaning with a rotary machine” or something like that.

These machines have spinning water jets (unlike the fixed jets on most wands) and some provide a mechanical scrubbing action to the carpet as well as they turn. The purpose of these machines is to provide, you guessed it, agitation.

What do We Prefer for Agitating Carpet? The Counter Rotating Brush Machine!

We own a machine called the RX-20 that most consider the grand daddy of the rotary machines, and still one of the best available. You know what? It sits in the shop unused.

The reason? We’ve thoroughly tested it against our counter rotating brush machine and the counter rotating brush is hands down the better deep carpet cleaning tool!

The gist of this tool is that it contains two 20” brushes that rotate towards each other five times a second. This provides a deep carpet scrubbing action as well as it has the added benefit of lifting up hair, pet hair, and deeply embedded soil.

Some companies use this machine alone for their cleaning (the aforementioned vehicles that look like a station wagon… this is probably what’s in it). But alone, it’s not enough to do a thorough, deep carpet cleaning.

Counter Rotating Brush Machine is Vital to the Deep Carpet Cleaning Process

Time

Also often overlooked in a carpet cleaning process is time. Assuming all of the other steps have been followed, dwell time is really important for deep carpet cleaning. I hate to keep beating the dish washing example to death, but after you apply soap and hot water to a heavily soiled pan, what do you do? You let it soak!

Similarly, carpet cleaning solutions need a bit of time to work. Certainly not overnight like your greasy pan, but 10-15 minutes is usually a good idea. Too long of a soak and the solutions can actually lose their effectiveness. When you are talking about restorative carpet cleaning, you really want to maximize every cleaning power you’ve got.

Immediately rinsing after applying solution or waiting 30 minutes or an hour after rinsing for the pre-spray to dry doesn’t do the carpet cleaning technician (or your carpets) any favors.

Our Deep Carpet Cleaning Process

So, after this lengthy discussion, what is our process for restoration carpet cleaning?

  • Pre-vacuum with a commercial vacuum equipped with a properly adjusted beater bar
  • Pre-spray all areas with a high pH solution
  • Apply spot/stain pre-treatments to anything that looks like it needs it
  • Agitate pre-sprayed areas with a counter rotating brush machine
  • Allow adequate dwell time for solutions to work
  • Perform hot water extraction with hot water of the appropriate temperature for the carpet type
  • Re-address and spots or stains that did not come out during the hot water extraction phase
  • Place plastic or Styrofoam tabs underneath legs of furniture (steel, urethane coated wood, etc.) that pose a risk for bleeding into the carpet
  • Speed dry with fans
  • Apply carpet protectant (Scotchgard, Maxim, etc.) or additional deodorizer as desired by customer
  • Groom carpet to remove any impressions and align carpet fibers

 

Final Thoughts

As far as we’re concerned, the details above provide the right way to perform a deep carpet cleaning restoration service. It takes a bit more time than a lot of other companies are willing to spend, but seeing the smiling faces of our customers when we’re done is more than worth it. At MSS Cleaning, we deep clean carpets right!

Or Call: 1-720-233-0761