What’s That Smell? Questions and Answers About Carpet Odor

Q. Why do pet odors seem to be stronger in the Spring and Summer than in the Fall and Winter?

A. Heat and moisture are the main contributors to activating pet odors in carpets. Alkaline salts from body fluids remain attached to the carpet fibers once the liquid has evaporated. When exposed to heat and high humidity the alkaline salts attract moisture which activates the odor.

Q.  Why doesn’t carpet cleaning solve the problem?

A. Carpet cleaning actually makes the odor worse because plain cleaning cannot remove the attached alkaline salt residue from the multi-layered surface of carpet.

Q. How can the odor be removed from the carpet?

A. True removal of pet contamination involves a multi-step process. Generally the carpet is only one of many contaminated surfaces.  Carpet cushion, sub floor, drywall, base boards, wall studs and floor joists may also be contaminated. If all areas are not addressed than the odor will return regardless of how much cleaning was done to the carpet.

Q. Isn’t it cheaper to deodorize than it is to replace the carpet?

A. It depends on the level of exposure. If the contamination covers over 33% of the carpet than replacement may be cheaper than deodorization. If the contamination is confined to one or two areas than deodorization may be cheaper than replacement of all carpet to maintain a uniform color match throughout the home.

Q. How can I know the level of contamination in my carpet?

A. The only way to determine level of contamination is with an actual on-site inspection performed with a high-intensity, ultra-violet inspection lamp and pulling up the carpet to see what’s in the backing.

Q. Why is it important to pull the carpet up?

A. What is seen on the surface is only a fraction of what is in the carpet. The backing system of a carpet contains as much material as the surface. When liquid contacts the carpet surface gravity pulls it down and the liquid spreads out in the back of the carpet. Evaporation may bring the liquid part way up the fiber but it may not be visible during a surface inspection. Rule of thumb—If you have a gallon of contamination it will most likely require equal amounts of deodorization treatment in order to neutralize the odor. Any thing less will be ineffective and the result is usually a fouler odor than the initial contamination. If sub surfaces are not addressed the odor will breathe back up through the carpet.

Call 719-391-0623 for any question you may have regarding pet odor contamination.

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