Education and news for smart DIY landlords!
Advertising your apartment as pet-friendly can open up your doors to 82% of tenants who have trouble finding a rental unit.
But you’re worried about that awful smell.
Yup, cat pee stinks! More so if your tenant’s cat was male, unspayed, unneutered, or a cat frequently in heat. Wet dog smell is no better.
Alright, you smelled it and know it’s bad. So how do you get it off and how do you know which areas to treat so you don’t waste thousands of gallons and dollars cleaning the unit before turnover? Here’s a quick guide:
Not all pets do their thing in the litter box. Cats in heat spray urine on walls, doors, and furniture, too. Cats and dogs mark their territory with pheromone.
Turn off the light and use a black light flashlight to detect problem areas. Dried urine crystals are visible this way. When you see spots that glow in yellow or green, that’s where the cat did their business. Don’t forget to check every nook and cranny, even closets.
However, as a landlord, you can’t just use a black light to know for sure if your tenants broke a no-pet policy. Other stains can show under UV light too including laundry detergent, tonic water, glue, and some carpet cleaning products.
Also, stains on carpets with UV damage-protection won’t glow under black light.
While not the fanciest way, you can tell for certain a pet peed on something even from a safe distance as it smells pungent like ammonia.
Keep in mind that dogs and cats can smell pheromones better than humans; and when they do, this can encourage accidents to happen on the same spot.
When a pet urinates unnoticed on carpets, the urine crystals can set deeper in the carpet fibers. This causes discoloration or yellow stains on the fibers. Lift the carpet to see the damage underneath as well.
Pet urine can also stain hardwood floors.
Dried pet urine can attract moisture from the air which can lead to mold growth over time. And mold exposure can cause respiratory problems. Moisture probes can detect pee stains on carpets even years after being contaminated.
There are natural and commercial ways to remove pet stains from carpets, wood, and concrete. Some of these work only with new stains that have not yet set on the carpet fibers. Others work even on deep-set stains.
You can call for carpet cleaning professionals to come in and do a urine mapping test of your rental unit. More often than not, they will do the steps we listed above. If you want to save on cash, you can find and get rid of pet stains yourself.
This is something the tenant can do at once when accidents happen. Paper towels can be used to soak up the puddle of urine on carpets and rugs. Then, they can sprinkle baking soda on the damp area overnight to neutralize the odor. Finally, run your vacuum on the carpet to remove the odors completely.
An enzymatic formula like the one found in Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer packs active enzymes that work to break down urine crystals and its yellow sticky residue.
It comes with an Accushot Spray so you don’t waste a lot of product. Keep in mind that you will need to soak the affected area full strength and leave it on for 10 minutes to allow the enzymes to work. If the urine has reached under the carpet, be sure to soak the other side as well.
This commercial formula works on stained carpet, tile, linoleum, and hardwood flooring (except untreated hardwood). It does have a strong smell which should be gone once it dries completely.
For older and deep-set stains, you can use a combination of an enzymatic formula with cold water and vacuum to dry. Warm or hot water can cause the urine to bond to the fabric making it harder to remove; cold water is the way to go. Finish off by vacuuming dry.
When you’ve taken care of the urine stain on the carpet but the smell still lingers in the room, then consider getting an ozone machine.
It can speed up the drying process and improve air circulation. It also works to remove tough odors that linger in the air. It can even work to remove the smell of mold and mildew.
Use this in combination with an enzymatic formula to get the best results. Keep in mind that it can take 120 minutes for a single session. Pets and humans are not allowed inside the room during this time and at least 30 minutes after the 2-hour timer goes off.
For tough odors like mold and old urine stains, you may need to use the ozone machine twice a week. It does have an odor that others don’t like but should dissipate in 1-2 days.
Finding pet stains requires a thorough process using different methods. From visibility and sniff tests to using devices like a black light, you will be able to spot the damage caused by pet urine.
Baking soda can be used for new stains but for older stains, an enzymatic formula with wet vacuuming and an ozone machine work best.
Don't forget, check with your CPA to see if these purchases are tax-deductible as business expenses!
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