Tag Archive for: pet urine

If you’ve had hardwood floors in your home for longer than about five minutes, you’ve probably heard or read about all kinds of solutions and ways to get and keep your floors, cleaner, shinier, better, etc.

It’s pretty tough to mention hydrogen peroxide while suppressing the urge to sing its praises. Its use as an antiseptic on topical cuts, scratches, and abrasions is widely known. Where oral care and hygiene are concerned, its benefits are touted by dentist and ear, nose, and throat specialists.

However, depending on your reasons for using hydrogen peroxide on hardwood floors, and the results you’re after, there might be a downside.

Read on to learn about cleaning hardwood floors with hydrogen peroxide, its benefits, and drawbacks.

The Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Wood Floors

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), hydrogen peroxide is an effective antiseptic that also kills fungi, mold spores, yeast, viruses and bacteria.

Because these dangerous organisms are known to be present on floors the world round, using hydrogen peroxide as a homemade wood floor cleaner is an excellent choice.

Moreover, although the term, “homemade” suggests that some sort of alchemy or mixing of substances, is involved in creating hydrogen peroxide, in truth, having a jug of it on hand is as easy as picking it up on the next trip to the supermarket for only a few dollars.

Among the other benefits of hydrogen peroxide — when applied to floors and other surfaces, it’s a very effective and environmentally safe, kid-safe, and pet-safe cleanser and antiseptic.

Also, most people who use hydrogen peroxide to clean hardwood floors report that their floors look new.

Still, cleaning hardwood floors with hydrogen peroxide can have unintended results.

Will Hydrogen Peroxide Damage Hardwood Floors?

No, it won’t.

The word, “damage” might be a bit over the top because unless full-strength hydrogen peroxide is applied, there are very few negative effects that can’t be remedied. So the worst that can be said is, “hydrogen peroxide can be something of a trouble-maker.”

One of the negative effects is clouding. The chemical properties of hydrogen peroxide can have a bleaching effect. Thus, people with floors that are polished with wax or oil, or sealed with acrylic or urethane coating might find that using hydrogen peroxide caused the finish to become cloudy and dull — but this is very rare.

When applying hydrogen peroxide to unfinished floors to remove pet, food, or other types of stains, it’s possible for some of the surrounding wood to also become involved in the process. Hence, the result can be an unintentionally lightened area of wood.

However, a cloudy finish can be screened and recoated, and bleached wood can be stained to match the color of the rest.

Another negative aspect ─ prolonged exposure to moisture can cause hardwood floors to cup, buckle, lift, or become water-stained. Moisture can even cause mold growth or wood rot.

Yet, although hydrogen peroxide is a watery substance, if used to clean the floor’s surface, it isn’t necessary to apply very much of it. If you work in small sections, the floor can be clean and dry long before moisture has time to do any damage.

If used in the right concentration and in the right way, the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide to clean hardwood floors outweigh the risks.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors With Hydrogen Peroxide

Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether you want to clean your hardwood floor or just the surface layer of your floor, e.g., wax, oil, or lacquer-type finish.

Sometimes only the surface layer of the floor needs to be cleaned. This is usually characterized by a dull, dingy, or scuffed-up appearance.

In other cases, the wood itself might be stained. There are too many types and causes of stains to list them all, but pet urine is one of the more common types. Pet urine is characterized by an area(s) that is/are blackened.

This blackened look usually indicates a chemical reaction has taken place where uric salts or crystalized urine came into contact with the hardwood’s tannin. Because there’s less tannin in softer woods, the stain may be a grayish color.

To Clean The Surface Of A Finished Hardwood Floor:

Firstly, whatever you do, whatever you try, test it in a small, inconspicuous area.

Next, you’ll want to remember to clean the floor in sections.

Stuff You’ll Need To Have:

  1. Cleaning-grade hydrogen peroxide (35%)
  2. Spray bottle
  3. Microfiber mop and several extra mop heads.
  4. Vacuum with floor accessory attachment. (It’s that sort of flat one with little, tiny rollers and a fringe or felt on the bottom. …Yes, that one.)

For Cleaning Stains From An Unfinished Floor, Add:

  1. A roll of cellophane and
  2. A roll of paper towels or several terry cloth rags.  

Stuff You’ll Need To Do:

  1. With the floor accessory attached, vacuum the floor. Be sure to get close to the baseboards to remove any hidden dust and debris.
  2. Mix a solution of ½ cup peroxide and ½ gallon of water.
  3. Fill the empty spray bottle with the solution. Set the rest aside.
  4.  Spray a thin film of solution over the first section of floor.
  5. Use your microfiber mop to wipe the section dry.
  6. Spray and mop the next section and the next until you’re done. If your mop head         becomes too wet to dry the floor, replace it with a fresh, dry one.         

There. All done. Feel free to invoke your bragging rights in the comments section below, before and after photos, the whole shabang.

Huh? What? Oh yeah! The rest of the solution. Use it to clean and disinfect the rest of your home’s surfaces, of course!

To Clean An Unfinished Hardwood Floor

Assuming you’ve sanded the floor down to the raw wood, you’ll be pleased to know the toughest part of the job is behind you.

  1. Saturate several layers of paper towels with hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Lay the towels over the stain or a section of it.
  3. Lay cellophane over the towels. Use something heavy to keep the cellophane in place over the soaked towels.
  4. Check the underside of the towels occasionally to be sure they haven’t become too saturated by the stain to keep absorbing it. If they have, replace them with fresh ones that have been soaked with the peroxide solution.
  5. Allow the towels and cellophane to remain in place up to eight (8) hours.
  6. Remove the towels and repeat the process for each section of floor or stain to be cleaned.         

Note: There’s no requirement of completing the entire eight hour process before starting the next section. To clean several sections or an entire room full of sections, the work can proceed in phases.

Once the floor is completely dry, it will need to be stained to match the color of the rest before a new finish is applied.

Of course, if you’re unsure of your proficiency at color matching or of any of the steps in the process, you can always let a professional flooring expert do the job.

Everything about puppies, kittens, and other baby animals is adorable.

Sure, but here’s the qualifier: “until you get them home”.

Admit it — Whatever reasons you had for bringing home a puppy or kitten, not everything about pet ownership has been sunshine and flowers. Why? Because puppies and kittens seem to have a way of eating two ounces of puppy or kitten chow and turning into two pounds of… Well, you know the rest and the “rest” doesn’t quite bring flowers to mind.

As to sunshine, if there had been more of it when you got out of bed this morning, you might have been able to see the “rest” before stepping in it. But step in it, you did.

Welcome to Day One

It won’t necessarily keep Day Two from being as eventful, but a few words about how to manage these “events’ might help.

When you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have some insight as to how to remove dog/cat urine, stains, and odor from hardwood floors.

Remove Urine Quickly

It’s best to remove urine before it’s had a chance to sit. As contact with water or a watery substance becomes prolonged, the more at risk your hardwood floor becomes. It doesn’t take long for urine, especially, to eat away at a floor’s finish.

Once this happens, the wood is apt to absorb water and become swollen. The pieces no longer fit neatly into the space they were collectively intended for. If the floorboards were installed with glue, prolonged contact with water can cause loss of adhesion. If not, your hardwood floor could still be left with an ugly stain.

It’s important to remove any type of liquid from your floor as soon as it’s discovered. This is especially important if the liquid is urine. If you can only smell urine, but don’t see any, you’ll need to hunt it down. The sooner it’s found, the better.

It helps to use a blacklight to detect urine. You can buy one of these at most pet supply retailers for about $10.

WARNING; before using any product or solution on your floor, be sure to test it first in an inconspicuous area. The following suggestions assume the urine hasn’t penetrated your hardwood floor’s finish or seal.

Remove Dog Urine and Urine Smell

  • A pair of disposable latex or vinyl gloves are recommended.
  • Bring a roll of paper towels and a plastic bag (a supermarket shopping bag will work) to the location of the first puddle.
  • Lay as many paper towels over it as necessary for the urine to be completely absorbed.
  • Gather the paper towels in a single wad so that it fits easily into the plastic bag.
  • Use more paper towels as necessary to wipe off any residual moisture. These go in the plastic bag as well.
  • Move on to the next puddle and repeat the process.
  • Set the plastic bag in a garbage receptacle located outside your home.
  • Apply a no-rinse floor cleaner that contains a disinfectant.
  • Follow the directions/recommendations of the floor cleaner’s manufacturer.

To Be Sure There’s No Lingering Urine Smell

To be sure there’s no lingering odor or that your pet doesn’t smell any ammonia that would cause it to instinctively leave a fresh calling card,

  • Sprinkle some baking soda over the area.
  • Use a broom to work some of the baking soda into the seams of the hardwood floor.
  • Allow the baking soda to remain for eight hours before sweeping it into a dustpan

Instead Of Baking Soda, Apply An Enzymatic Cleaning Solution

Enzymes consume the problem, whereas baking soda works by neutralizing it. 

However, a solution that can seep into the cracks between the boards of a hardwood floor can deliver enzymes to these places. The enzymes will work to clean any hidden urine. Thus, the cause of urine smell is eliminated.

So while enzymatic cleaning solutions are more costly than baking soda, they’re also far more effective in eliminating hidden urine and its associated smell.  

When the facts are weighed, enzymatic cleaning solutions are the best way to eliminate lingering odor and prevent stains that could form later.

Remove Cat Urine and Urine Smell

Cat on Wood Floor

Removing cat urine presents more of a challenge compared to dog urine.

Cats tend to be more private than dogs when eliminating urine. Because of this, finding a puddle isn’t always easy, despite the much stronger smell of cat urine.

If you do find one, then as with dog urine or any spill, it’s important to remove it right away.

The same process for removing fresh dog urine can also be applied in the case of cat urine.

As with dog urine, to prevent lingering smell, an enzymatic cleaning solution is your best bet.

Remove The Pet Urine Stains From The Raw Wood

If your hardwood floors have urine stains on them, it means urine has penetrated the floor’s finish or seal.

Whether it’s dog or cat urine, these stains are usually indicated by areas of the hardwood floor that have turned a color ranging from light gray to black, depending on the type of wood your floor is made of.

When uric acid comes into contact with the tannins in the wood, the chemical reaction is a sort of burning of the tannins. Hence, when wood has characteristic stains, this indicates that it has come into contact with urine.

Because a hardwood floor’s finish doesn’t contain tannins or tannic acid, we can assume that the characteristics of these urine stains mean that the urine has penetrated the hardwood floor’s finish.

Given that the floor’s finish has been compromised anyway, you might as well sand the floor down to the raw wood.

To Remove Pet Urine Stains And Odor

We know that urine odor is present whenever and wherever urine is also present. The same is true of stains. Although a urine stain won’t leave when the urine does, it’s important to eliminate all traces of uric acid to eliminate odor and to keep stains from returning.

Firstly, now is as good a time as any to dispel a myth

Somehow, there’s one myth in particular that has all but attained urban legend status. Call it a social climbing myth. For pragmatists, it still rates no better than folklore.

As with most myths, this one probably started innocently enough even if we don’t know the specifics surrounding its beginnings, but no doubt we’ve all heard the one about vinegar.

Here’s the reality; there is nothing that vinegar in combination with something else or on its own, can do so effectively or uniquely that it could possibly outweigh the potential for negative consequences associated with its application on hardwood floors. 

Don’t believe it? That’s your right. There’s no reason or rule that requires anyone to stop believing something doesn’t work until there’s proof that it doesn’t …er …right. 

Okay. So according to the wisdom of the ages, if you mix some water with vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap, you’ve got yourself a bottle of (wait for it) water, vinegar, baking soda and dish soap. THAT’S ALL. . 

Granted, the disinfecting properties of vinegar are indisputable. Vinegar is acidic and as such it’s very good at killing germs, bacteria, and even some types of mold. 

As for baking soda, it’s alkaline properties make it an effective odor eliminator.

However, alkalis and acids neutralize one another. When this happens, salt and water are the result. What purpose do these serve? It’s not like water doesn’t already have a starring role in this concoction.  

This leaves the dish soap. Dish soap is a surfactant. As such, it breaks up water’s surface tension so that the water is better able to penetrate whatever it’s applied to.

So, basically, surfactants make water wetter.  

Scientifically, this business of combining vinegar and baking soda doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why so many people swear by it is anyone’s guess, but if this recipe does work, the soap and water should take the credit.    

Besides, soap and water won’t leave your entire house smelling like you’ve spent the last few days preparing nothing but Caesar salad.

The recipe is said to be equally effective for eliminating cat urine stains and odor. 

All things being equal, the recipe could also be said to be equally ineffective.

The Best Way To Get Dog And Cat Urine Stains And Smell Out Of Hardwood Floors  

Since you’ve sanded your floor down to the raw wood, there’s no harm in sanding a little more to see if the stain is just a shallow one. If lighter colored wood begins to appear with just a few strokes of sandpaper, you’re on the right track. You won’t need to apply the following method.

Sanding Wood Floors

If the stain is too deep for a few strokes of sandpaper to take care of, this method is for you:

Hydrogen Peroxide Is The Answer

Note: This method will lighten the color of the wood surrounding the stained part and it will also cloud the finish. So work in small sections for optimum results.

If any stains are located near a wall, remove the base shoe to be sure the floor underneath isn’t also stained. Check the base shoe as well.

Once you’ve sanded your hardwood floor down to the raw wood:

  • Saturate a heavy cloth, such as felt, terry cloth or several layers of paper towels with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Place the saturated cloth over the affected area.
  • Place some clear plastic wrap over the cloth. Use something weighty to keep the wrap in place, e.g., a sealed jug of water.
  • Look underneath the cloth every hour or so to check on the stain’s progress. If the cloth becomes saturated with the dark color of the stain, replace it with freshly soaked, clean one and lay plastic over this as well.
  • Repeat this process if necessary.
  • Allow the covered, saturated cloth to sit over the stain for about eight hours. Longer if necessary.
  • Soak up any excess and be sure to dry the area as completely as possible.

This method takes time, but it does work.

There’s just one solution left to apply. Spray it onto the floor you’ve just dried.

It’s possible for urine to be located in places on your hardwood floor or nearby that you don’t know about or can’t see. Male dogs and cats lift their legs when they urinate. By the time you see a puddle, the urine on the wall could be dry. This doesn’t mean it isn’t doing damage and it doesn’t mean the smell is going anywhere. Any urine that might have made its way behind the base shoe or under the floor boards will also be troublesome later.

Given this, an enzymatic cleaning solution should be applied to these areas.

Here’s some science without all the nerdy stuff

We understand that what digestive systems eliminate isn’t truly digested or it would hardly present itself. So the trick is in causing a kind of further digestion.

Because digestion requires enzymes and bacteria, these become key ingredients in eliminating what a digestive system doesn’t fully eliminate before giving it the old heave ho.

When an enzymatic solution is applied to organic compounds, the digestive process continues. That’s right. The solution doesn’t merely neutralize or combat urine, it eats it. It continues to do this until nothing is left.

When Enzymes Are Delivered In A Water-Based Solution, They Can Eliminate Urine In Places We Can’t See 

When the urine is gone, the source of urine smell is also gone.

Enzymatic cleaning solutions are used in a variety of applications. Garbage chutes, dumpsters, grease traps, and dog kennels. They are so well-proven that standard equipment on the next vacuum you buy could very well be and enzyme-treated HEPA-Filter.[1]

Enzymatic Cleaning Solutions Eliminate Dog And Cat Urine. 

It’s really just that simple.

Enzymatic cleaning solutions also eliminate other stains and smells. Examples are vomit, feces, sweat, blood, grease, mustard, ketchup, and wine.  

Cat Urine Smells So Much Stronger Than Dog Urine — Isn’t Cat Urine Harder To Get Rid Of?

The reason cat urine smells stronger than dog urine is because it is stronger. 

That doesn’t mean it’s harder to get rid of. Cat urine is more concentrated, but cats don’t produce as much urine as dogs and they don’t urinate as frequently. With cat urine the area to be cleaned is smaller, but the process might need to be repeated several times.

Dog urine is more dilute than cat urine. But because dogs produce more urine by volume and they urinate more frequently, the area to be cleaned is significantly larger.

There’s really no difference between cleaning a very large area once, or a very small area a few times. It’s a half-dozen of one and six of the other.

Best Enzymatic Cleaners For Cleaning Pet Urine

…and don’t worry. You got this!