We all love our furry family members. Unfortunately, our homes require extra care when pets live indoors. Pets can cause three conditions in your carpet: odor, contamination, and stains. I will go into detail about all three conditions below. 

Initial Contamination...

Oils and dander transfer from the pet's fur coat daily onto the the carpet fibers. These organic materials cause the initial odor-causing bacteria. Vacuuming on a regular basis can help prolong the need for professional cleaning due to these materials. 

Urine Contamination layer by layer...

Layer One- Small animals, five pounds or less, deposit two ounces of urine per visit. The first of the liquid is absorbed by the face fibers of the carpet. 

Layer Two- When the fibers are fully saturated, the urine comes in contact with your carpet backing. It then spreads along the backing about double the size of the visible area on the surface. When the liquid can no longer spread out, it then seeps through the backing into the carpet pad below. (I have yet to see it in action, but Shaw has created a waterproof carpet backing called LifeGuard.)

Layer three- When larger animals are the culprits, the urine tends to reach the subfloor every visit. Smaller animals can have these results as well. Which is especially true when they have a "favorite spot". 

Urine Stains...

The principal ingredient in urine is uric acid. It is also made up of urochrome (yellow pigment), fatty acids and cholesterol (lipds), urea, and various other components that depend on diet. Uric acid begins to be broken down into free ammonia and carbon dioxide. Alkaline salt crystals are formed as the acidic urine reacts with ammonia. These crystals draw moisture from the air and remain chemically active. When dried, the salt crystals are remoistend, therefore giving off more ammonia gas. The high alkaline state can damage carpet dyes and cause permanent color loss. 

The main reason urine stains reappear is due to treatment that did not properly break down the urine components, or it was not treated deep enough to the source. The urine then wicks back up from the subfloor or carpet pad as the carpet dries. 

ODOR caused by urine...

The odor experienced is one part ammonia and one part off-gassing from bacteria that grow in warm, dark places with a infinite food source. Pets provide this bacteria a free buffet that doesn't close! Unless the chemical make-up is broken down in the urine, it will continue to have the ability to produce odor. 


Well that is the basics. Feel free to comment if you have any specific questions. Thanks for reading!


Michael LaFarlett