Pet StainsEven the best pets have an “accident” once in a while, and usually right on an expensive carpet or rug. It’s certainly normal. It can also be serious. The key to effectively removing pet stains is to treat them immediately, and treat them properly. Improper cleaning methods may set a pet stain permanently. Inadequate removal of pet stain odors may lead to repeat offenses and additional damage. Pet stains can often be tricky to remove due to the chemical makeup of pet stains. When an animal has an accident there are things to consider such as:
- Uric Acid
- Other electrolytes
- Bacteria – typically 5 different strains
Not only are these things found in pet urine they are also found in human urine because we are mammals and we carry a lot of the same acid’s and bacteria’s that our animals carry. This Is caused from the digestion process. When urine dries, the urea is broken down by the bacteria. This is what makes it smell like ammonia. As it decomposes further, it releases thiols that make the odor worse. (It is the thiols in skunk spray that make it SO potent and difficult to remove).
The urea and urobilin/urobilinogin are not hard to clean. Urea, urobilin/urobilinogin, creatinine and the pheromones are water soluble (urobilin is the pigment that causes the color/stain). Traditional household or carpet cleaners will deal with these, and this is why hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and/or baking soda also appear (initially) to be effective at eliminating the problem. But the problem has not been solved! Uric acid and its salts have been left behind. Uric acid is not water soluble and bonds tightly to whatever surface it touches.
Due to the uric acid component of urine, the urine has a half-life of six years. This is why it is absolutely essential to use a cleaner that can break down the uric acid. Soap, vinegar, baking soda, ammonia, chlorine, and hydrogen peroxide (to name the most common cleaners) simply are not chemically capable of breaking down the uric acid in cat pee. These cleaners and deodorizers only temporarily make the smell go away and appear to work because they do clean up the other components of the cat urine. But when exposed to humidity, the uric acid salts cause the uric acid crystals to reform. This process releases the smell again; not always at levels detectable to the human nose, but animals with more sensitive noses can smell it. And the scent of their urine outside of the litter box or in the home encourages many animals to continue urinating outside ofwhere they are supposed to, often with their families left scratching their heads wondering why.