I shampooed my carpet and now it smells like urine

Small brown and white dog

Among the more common things we hear at MSS Cleaning is some variation of the phrase “I shampooed my carpet and now it smells like urine”. We’re going to break down the reasons why this common phenomenon occurs. Then we’re going to give you some tips on what to do about it.

Did your carpet smell like urine before you shampooed it?

The first question to ask is did the carpet already smell like urine before you shampooed it, or only afterwards? Many times, someone may not even realize there is urine in the carpet until an effort has been made to clean it. That’s because during the cleaning process, hot water is typically used (or at least it should be if the job is being done right).

Reactivating the urine odor in carpet

Hot water reactivates the bacteria and urea that give urine it’s foul odor. Many times, if urine has been sitting in the carpet for a long time (perhaps even years) it has been dormant and the smell has gone away. Other times, a home’s occupants have just become accustomed to the faint odor. Lastly, a deodorizing agent is being used to disguise the odor.

Urine is in the carpet pad, not just the carpet    

Many people don’t realize that carpet pad acts kind of like a giant sponge. Many carpet cleaning methods, such a shampooing or encapsulation only clean the carpet surface. They don’t address problems with the underlying pad.

Even certain “professional” carpet cleaning companies do nothing to treat the pad. Store bought pet urine shampoos and sprays don’t remove that urine from the carpet. However, they can mask it’s odor with deodorizers.

Pet urine on the underside of carpet and in the carpet pad

Shampooing the carpet only cleans the surface

Within the carpet cleaning world, shampooing a carpet is considered an ineffective, old school method. The reason for this is twofold: it leaves behind a soapy residue. Also, it only really cleans the carpet surface, not what lies beneath.

Similarly, a Rug Doctor or other store rented machine doesn’t really apply enough solution to clean beyond the carpet and into the pad.

What To Do About The Pet Urine and Odor

How do you find urine spots?

You probably would prefer not to have to crawl around on the floor and use your nose to smell for pet odor and urine. We understand.

Use a Black Light

Instead, a black light is going to be your first tool in identifying where the urine is. Shine a powerful black light on the carpet and urine will light up. This is most effective at night but can be done during the day by pulling the shades or using a powerful enough black light.

Pulling back the carpet

Most carpet cleaning companies won’t pull back the carpet to truly identify the severity of the pet urine issues. This, however, is the best way to find out just how bad the problem really is. All of the technicians at MSS Cleaning frequently use this method to identify the severity of the problem. When they are done, they stretch the carpet back into place.

Removing the urine odor

Hot water extraction to the rescue

Since shampooing pet odor is ineffective, and store bought products mostly just deodorize the urine, what can be done to actually solve the problem? The answer is truck mounted carpet cleaning using a hot water extraction machine.

This powerful machine, coupled with the correct solutions can usually fully rinse and extract the urine from the carpet and the pad.

Depending on the severity of the urine issue, we treat each pet urine case differently. Dog pee and cat pee also require different treatments. 

Hot water extraction carpet cleaning truck mount effective in removing pet urine
advanced pet odor removal with a flood extractor
Basic pet odor treatment

Sometimes a topical solution applied broadly over an area, followed by hot water extraction will be enough.

Advanced flooding pet odor treatment

In areas that are more saturated in urine, we will have to “flood” an area in solution. Then we extract it with a flood extractor before completing the cleaning.

Carpet pad replacement

Lastly, in really bad cases, it can make more sense for us to pull up the carpet, replace the carpet pad, then clean the front and back of the carpet. Once that is completed, we can reinstall the carpet again.

Hiring a professional

In our area, the sad truth is that there are a lot of Denver carpet cleaners. Many of them don’t know the first thing about properly treating pet urine. They may still even be using the old school carpet shampoo machines to try and remove pet urine odor. Similarly many people want an easy DIY carpet cleaning solution.

The truth of the matter is that unless you’re talking about a small, really minor pet urine spot or two, you’re going to want to get professional help.

We have effectively cleaned pet urine out of countless homes throughout the Denver area. If you need carpet cleaning services in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Centennial, or anywhere in the Greater Denver Area, give MSS Cleaning a call. We’re experts that won’t just deodorize pet urine, we’ll remove it.

Why Does a Carpet Stain Keep Coming Back?

Causes of Reappearing Carpet Stains and How to Deal With Them

If you’re reading this, you’re already probably frustrated with that carpet spot you’ve been working on but the carpet stain keeps coming back. As a professional carpet cleaning company, we understand your frustrations. Sometimes even for the pros, as much as we hate to admit it, a carpet stain keeps coming back.

carpet stain that keeps coming back

The Carpet Pad is Often The Problem

Almost always, the answer to this problem lies not in the carpet itself, but in the carpet pad. Carpet pads are kind of like a big sponge. They are typically a porous foam material.

The structure of carpet is such that fibers are effectively glued onto a carpet backing during manufacture. This leaves plenty of porous holes where liquid (or oil or grease) can seep through.

When a substance penetrates through the carpet fibers and the backing and then into the carpet pad, the “big sponge” traps the substance in it, and beneath it.

Usually this problem is more common when there is a large amount of something spilled. For example dog urine, dropping a full cup of coffee, a plate of greasy chicken wings, and so on.

Wicking From the Carpet Pad

When an effort is made to clean up whatever caused the spill, there may be initial success in getting the spot to lift. However, as it dries, the carpet fibers wick the staining substance back into them. Soon, what looked like a successful spot clean up, is back to looking terrible.

What’s the Solution to Carpet Spots That Keep Coming Back?

Once again, the answer lies in the carpet pad. If you can’t get the spilled substance out of the carpet pad, the spot is never going to go away. Most of the time, if you have a spot that keeps coming back, it’s time to call in the pros.

Three Professional Options

The answer to the problem lies deeper than your home spot cleaner is going to be able to clean. There are three professional level options to deal with reappearing spots and stains.

Professional Carpet Cleaning to Remove a Spot That Keeps Coming Back

Carpet cleaning reoccurring spots is typically where we start. Sometimes a good thorough cleaning will provide enough “oomph” to get the spot out. We can then apply a product called an encapsulant that will seal any remaining stain from coming back up through the carpet backing into the fibers.

Sealing in the Spot

For something that doesn’t have an odor, sealing in the spot with an encapsulant after cleaning can be a viable option. On rare occasions, we do get called back to a customer’s property when the stain reappears the next day, however.

carpet cleaning dirty stairs in Denver
Using a flood extractor to remove stubborn reappearing carpet stains wicking up from the carpet pad

Carpet Flooding to Solve a Reappearing Spot

I know what you’re thinking… I don’t mean an actual flood. What we refer to as “flooding” means that we take a bucket of solution and apply it to the stain. This has to be specific to what we’re trying to remove.

Pet urine carpet cleaning, for example, requires a different solution than a spilled tray of greasy chicken wings. The idea here is that we want to fully saturate the spot with something that will break it down.

For the chicken wing example, that’s probably a powerful citrus-based degreaser. For pet urine, it’s going to be a pet specific product that neutralizes odors and eliminates color.

Break Out The Flood Extractor

Once this solution has gone to work for an adequate period of time, we use a flood water extractor (just like we’d use on soaked carpet) to extract the water, cleaning solution, and whatever is left of the stain.

Carpet Pad Replacement

For the worst carpet stains that keep coming back no matter what you try, we usually opt to replace a piece of the carpet pad. For this carpet repair to be done, we’ll first pull back the carpet and clean it while it’s not pressed against the pad.

Next, we’ll cut out the affected area. Sometimes it’s also necessary to seal the subfloor with a special paint. Normally subfloor sealing is only needed for things like pet urine removal, with cat urine being the number one perpetrator.

Finally, we replace the piece of padding we cut out with a similar piece with the same density and thickness and we reinstall the carpet. Lastly, we stretch the carpet back into place.

Before, during and after carpet cleaning and carpet pad replacement to treat difficult carpet stains that keep coming back


Another potential cause of a carpet stain coming back is residue that has been left in the carpet. There are many kinds of residue. For example, a low cost, low quality carpet cleaning company may only rinse the carpet with water, leaving behind a soapy residue that attracts soil.

Another case may be if you used over the counter carpet cleaning spray and didn’t thoroughly rinse it.

A more fringe case, but one we still run into, is where people read online that using WD-40 on their carpets is a good idea. Yes, it is a solvent. It will break down some spots, like removing slime from carpet. However it leaves mineral oil behind in your carpet that turns into a dirt magnet.

This can make it look like the stain reappeared and make you feel like the stain keeps coming back when it’s actually a “fresh” stain attaching to residue left in the carpet.

carpet cleaning traffic lanes in a bedroom

Traffic Patterns: The Reappearing Stain May Not Be a Stain at All

It’s always a disappointment to customers when we have to inform them that what appears to be a stain is actually permanent damage to their carpet caused by wear and tear. Worn out carpet can often have the appearance of looking “dirty”.

Traffic lanes are the places in your home or business that get walked on over and over. Hallways, turns around a couch in the living room, or the spot your feet land when you sit down in your favorite arm chair to watch TV every night for 5-10 years.

Traffic Patterns May Be Dirty As Well

These spots may actually be dirty as well, and will clean up to some extent, however the only cure to create new looking carpet in these spots is to either patch the carpet (which can be tricky trying to patch new carpet into old carpet), or replace the whole carpet to achieve a uniform look.

Sometimes during a professional carpet cleaning (or even a DIY carpet cleaning), when the carpet is wet, it will look like the problem has been solved. Once it dries, though, there are those pesky traffic lanes again.

Need Help Getting Rid of Spots That Keep Coming Back?

If you are in or around Denver and need professional assistance getting rid of those stubborn reappearing carpet stains, give us a call. We’ve tackled just about every kind of stain you can think of. Even those rare stains that can’t be removed can be patched with a different piece of carpet. Regardless of your carpet cleaning or carpet repair needs, trust the pros at MSS Cleaning.

Or Call: 1-720-233-0761

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. If you haven’t yet, you may want to try using baking soda to treat dog urine before moving further.

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

How To Remove Pet Odors From Your Carpet

How to Remove Pet Odors from Your Carpet

Owning pets comes with many joys. Walking through the door and seeing your puppy wag his tail in excitement as you are tackled with love might be one of the highlights of your day. Unfortunately, with our furry friends often comes unsightly stains and less than desirable odors. You’ve tried burning candles, spraying odor killers in the air. Still you cannot seem to rid your home of that pesky pet odor. Check out our guide to combating pet odors in the home. If your carpet is starting to show the wear and tear of your four legged friend, or if a pesky odor from your pet seems to persist, this post is for you. We are here to help you learn the best tactics for removing pet odors and stains from your carpet safely and effectively.

Stay On Top Of Cleaning

dog lying next to vacuum cleaner on cream pattered rugOne of the first things you should do to help combat the odors associated with owning pets is to clean frequently. Even if you have a pet that doesn’t seem to visibly shed much, you need to vacuum your carpets frequently. Pets not only shed their fur throughout your home, they also leave behind dander and dirt. Make it a point to vacuum carpeted rooms more than once every week. When you vacuum, don’t quickly sweep over the area. Start with one corner of the room and work your way through the room with slow motions. Focus on slowing down when you pull the vacuum back towards you as this is when the most suction occurs. Vacuum similar to the style you would mow a lawn, with straight overlapping lines. Once you have made your way through the entire room, go over it again but reverse the direction of your lines so you hit the carpet fibers from a different direction.

Treat Stains Immediately

Is your pup still learning the ropes of potty training? Do you have a cat that likes to express their disdain for you being gone all day with urine marks? It is important to treat all stains as soon as possible. You can use an over the counter solution, or make your own. A simple DIY natural solution can be made by first soaking the stain with vinegar, then adding a little baking soda. Be sure to put the vinegar down first or you’ll be reliving your elementary school science class volcano.

Baking soda can also be used on a weekly basis sans the vinegar. First vacuum your carpet thoroughly. Then sprinkle baking soda across the area. With a small brush work the baking soda gently into the carpet. Let the baking soda sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then vacuum up the baking soda. This will help pull out any grease or lingering odors.

Check back soon for Part 2 removing pet odors and stains from your carpet. Use the form below to reach out for more information about our carpet cleaning services. We can help you tackle your hard to remove pet odors and stains.

Keep Your Furry Pals Groomed

Boxer dog lying on white carpetAnother way to prevent odor build up is to ensure your furry pals are clean. Groom them frequently. Dogs who are not bathed will be more prone to shedding dander along with excessive amounts of fur. If your dog spends time outside, make sure you clean all four paws before letting your pal run around the house. During muddy seasons, keep a towel by the door to ensure you don’t wind up with dirty prints on your carpets.

Change Your Air Filters

When was the last time you changed your HVAC filter? Although this may seem unrelated to your carpet, it can contribute to that musty dog or cat smell around the home. Your home’s air filter should be changed a few times a year. If you have noticed your allergies getting worse, it could be due to the build up of dander and fur in your HVAC system. Changing your filter is simple and cheap, but will improve the quality of your indoor air greatly.

Schedule Carpet Cleaning

Keeping up with ongoing cleaning, including ensuring your pets are well groomed, will help a lot towards keeping your home fresh. However, if you own pets, you need to schedule regular, professional carpet cleaning on a frequent basis. Over time, even well behaved pets who never have accidents and allow you to groom them frequently will contribute to the buildup of grime, dirt, dust, and dander in your carpet. Regular vacuuming and cleaning cannot reach the deepest parts of your carpet fibers. Steam cleaning will target the deepest parts of your carpeting, and the high powered extraction methods we use will pull out odor-inducing pet hair, dander, and urine. This will leave your home smelling fresh and looking clean. It will also improve the longevity of your carpet, which means lowered costs for you in the long run.

Reach Out Today For Help With Pet Odor Removal

If you have tried all the methods listed above, all the methods from Part 1 of this blog series, and your carpet still has a lingering odor, contact our technicians. We can assist you with high powered steam cleaning for your carpet. 

Or Call: 1-720-233-0761