Pet Stains and Your Carpet
It is not unusual for homeowners who have household pets to have urine stains on their carpet. When left alone, pet urine can seep through carpet, into the padding and down to the floor beneath. Pet urine can delaminate a carpet and can cause rotting of the backing. Even after a thorough cleaning, pet urine stains and odors often remain.
Pet urine staining is not limitedto rugs and carpets. It can also stain and damage wood floors, tile and grout, furniture legs, baseboards, and upholstery. Dogs especially like wood surfaces, any wood surfaces. Cats also “spray” in a vertical direction so look out couches and walls.
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.
Pet urine is an amber-colored liquid waste fluid excreted by the kidneys and is composed of waste products of protein metabolism. The color of pet urine and its staining potential will often depend on dietary habits, age and sex of the pet, whether the pet is on medication, and the health of the pet. Older urine stains often require replacement of the part and pad of the affected areas and can necessitate cleaning the subfloor with a disinfectant. Typically, because cat diets are richer in protein than dog diets, their urine will produce harsher odors and are more likely to cause stains.
Another consideration is the age of the pet. The older the pet, the more renal function diminishes, thus producing urine that contains more plasma proteins. Because less uric acephalia is secreted in this urine, it is less likely to stain a carpet; however, it will produce an even stronger odor. In almost all cases, cat urine is the worst perpetrator for pet urine stains and pet urine odors.
Urine stains can be identified in several ways, the most obvious means being smell. Because pet urine is so concentrated, it will initially emanate a strong ammonia odor, which after several days develops into a musty odor. Because of its mineral content, pet urine will fluoresce under a black light.
A final concern for carpet stains from pets is vomit. Hydrochloric acids found in the stomach of pets will be present in any vomitus material. The degree of acidity of these materials and their potential staining of carpet will be based on stomach content. Foods disgorged from the stomach tend to dilute the hydrochloric acid content, reducing the chance for staining. On the other hand, reflux of bile from the small intestine, which is more common with dogs, can be highly acidic. Typically, stomach acids are very acidic at pH 2, which explains why vomit is much more likely to stain carpet than food. Like urine, the effectiveness of cleaning vomit is based on expediency. The first step is to scrape up as much of the disgorged matter as possible.
Next, it is important to elevate the pH of the stained area. This should be accomplished by blotting using a solution of one part non-sudsing ammonia to five parts water, followed with blotting with a damp towel until the spot is as dry as possible. It is also recommended that you place a weighted layer of colorfast towels folded one-half inch thick over the spot and allow it to sit overnight to allow residual matter to wick up into the towel.
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