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Old 07-06-2009, 06:05 AM  
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Default Pet urine smell in subfloor - carpet is out

I have a 12x14 carpeted room with really smelly cat pee and possibly dog pee smell from the last 1-4 years. I removed the entire carpet and pad and removed the carpet tack strips so all I have is plywood subfloor.

I have Nature's Miracle "Urine Destroyer Just for Cats" and I searched the room with a black light to find the worst areas which are corners, along the walls and one 6'x8' area. I saturated those spots and wetted down the entire floor twice.
The problem was the product was drying too fast I thought. So here is what I did, I put towels down in the corners and the worst areas, then saturated the towels and covered them with plastic and then put another towel to hold down the plastic so it could stay wet longer. On the bottle it says (with carpet) it may take 2 weeks to dry.

My one question is how long do I need to keep the plywood wet? the exposed plywood dries in a few hours is this ok? Do I need to keep rewetting it? Can I rewet it with plain water? I have already used 2 gallons in this room.

How long should I leave the wet towel/plastic down?

When can I paint with Zinsser BIN primer?

Last edited by mjzraz; 07-06-2009 at 06:27 PM. Reason: typo in title
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:57 AM  
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Default hmmm

What do the directions say?
I would call the consumer product line and ask those questions. They are on the bottle and usually are the question and comment 1-800 numbers.

Pet urine is hard to get rid of, it may take a couple of soakings regardless of what they tell you. Let it dry for a week, and do it again.

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Old 07-06-2009, 06:29 PM  
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The instructions on the bottle assume there is carpet and padding. I'll try calling them and asking.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:28 AM  
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Quite honestly, when it comes to cleaning products, I have nothing but distain for the people at the end of a 1-800 number called "Customer Service". My hunch is that companies hire these people straight off the street, teach them what's on their product labels and sit them down in front of a telephone. That same man/woman could have been selling used cars or insurance last week.

And, I say that because I've never had one of them tell me something that would require an in-depth knowledge of the product or substantial experience using the product to know.

And, of course, the fact that they get annoyed if you ask them a question that's not already answered on the directions label is a dead give-away.

What I would do instead is to open your Yellow Pages phone book to "Janitorial Equipment & Supplies" and phone around to the places there to find a family owned company that caters primarily to the carpet cleaning contractors in your area. All Janitorial Supply companies will try to cater to everyone, but some carry lines that are better respected by those who clean carpets than by those who clean hard surface floors. For example, I would never buy an S. C. Johnson Wax (now called "Johnson Professional") product to clean a carpet with, but they'd be the first choice in my books for cleaning and finishing a vinyl composition tile floor.

Anyhow, your local carpet cleaning contractors will have faced exactly the same problems you're facing, and the only ones they would have had available to turn to for help would have been the people they buy their cleaning chemicals from. In fact, it's the chemical companies that make all these different kinds of cleaners, but they make consumer brands with lots of fragrances and dyes in them and packaged in very attractive containers to make them look and smell good, and they make the same stuff without the dye and fragrance and packaged in simply labeled gallon jugs for the professional cleaning contractors.

By going to a family owned janitorial supply company to buy your cleaning supplies, not only do you get a better price on the same active ingredient you're buying from a grocery store, you also get all the tech support you need or want tossed in for free from someone who's spent a carreer in the cleaning business. And, being a distributor of his company's products, he has unfettered access to the company's sales rep, who in turn has unfettered access to the company's chemists (if they have any chemists).

(Truth be known, most companies that produce any sort of "chemicals" , like paint, floor maintenance products and detergents, buy those chemicals from major manufacturers and simply dilute and repackage them with their own name slapped onto it. They keep a chemist on staff merely to continually test the products they buy and sell and call him or her their "quality control" department, and of course they need someone who can speak chemistry-ese to the other company's chemists if there's a problem to be resolved and who can understand what's being said. The vast majority of company chemists don't do any chemistry; they spend their day testing the products their company buys and sells for quality control to identify problems in order to avoid class action law suits. It's very much like the pharmacist who goes to university for 5 years only to end up spending his day counting from 1 to 30 to fill prescriptions.)

So, get to know the nice man at the local family owned Janitorial Equipment and Supply company in your area. You'll get quality products and all of the technical support on what to use on what and how tossed in free. Those Janitorial Supply companies will sell to the general public because there's no such thing as a "cleaning products retailer" that buys from them and resells to you who's going to bark at them for stealing their business. (The closest thing would be hardware and grocery stores, and they only market the consumer brands with the dyes and fragrances, and they buy from different suppliers anyhow so it won't matter to the local janitorial store if the hardware or grocery store gets all twisted out of shape cuz they're selling to the general public.)

Non-family owned companies have knowledgeable people on staff too, but family owned business make a greater effort to better satisfy their customers because they benefit more directly from the growth of the company. People who get paid the same whether they do a good job or a great one will do a good job for you. And, doing a great job means learning as much about the products they're selling as possible, even if it means doing it on their own time.

Within the cleaning industry, the people that work in the Janitorial Supply stores are really the troubadores of the 21st century. Back in the middle ages, troubadores would travel (at great personal risk) across countries and spread news to people who couldn't read before there were such things as newspapers. It's much the same thing nowadays in the cleaning industry. Cleaning contractors don't have anyone to turn to for advice on a difficult problem except the people they buy their supplies from. Those suppliers, in turn, learn from other contractors what worked well in a similar situation, and they remember those things cuz that info can come in useful in the future in helping out a different cleaning contractor. And, they in turn will contact the company's sales rep who in turn has his own experience to go on and can always contact the company chemist who is there to help if he can. By regular contact with cleaning contractors and their problems, the people working in Janitorial Equipment & Supply stores soon learn a great deal about the product they sell, how best to use them, how to best use them and where they shouldn't be used.

And, all of that knowledge is available to everyone free of charge if they only buy their cleaning products at a Janitorial Supply store instead of a grocery store or a hardware store where all you get is a 1-800 number to turn to for help. In fact, I expect just about anyone in a janitorial supply store would be more than happy to share his knowledge with you, but they would appreciate your business as well.

I own a 21 unit apartment block, and the vast majority of the work I do is cleaning. Not painting, not carpentry or drywall or plumbing or wiring, or, Thank God, exterminating pests. Most of what I do is cleaning up after other people. I can assure you that I know more about cleaning than just about any home owner, and the people that taught me much of what I know all worked in Janitorial Equipment & Supply stores or worked for companies who's products those stores sold. And, I can assure you that I didn't spend my time typing this post in the hope of misleading you.

you can see pictures of my building at:

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-08-2009 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:10 AM  
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vinegar adn water will get rid of it... Look it up on the internet like 'vingegar pet urine.... I just got home from a 16 hour shift or I'd do it for you... also, walmart sells a product called odoban, it comes in a larger maroon bottle for use in carpet cleaners but I am sure you could try it as long as there is no chemical reaction...........

ps.... I have crazy cat lady living with me, so pet odors I know a little about......

hope this helps, have a good day.... think I'm gonna go pass out now......
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:39 AM  
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I feel your pain - Do everything you can to get the smells out of the plywood. Pay particularly close attention to any seams in the plywood. Is this above a basement or crawl space? If so, go under and inspect for seepage through to he underside too.

Oh, and look for saturated drywall, especially at the lower edge, behind the baseboard.

What i did when I bought a house with this problem in one area....

I removed the lower two feet of drywall, removed the baseboards, used a product (natures miracle as I recall) to clean as you are.

I then used a shellac based primer (BIN was the brand) and sealed everything. The under side too. I then caulked the seams of the plywood. My thinking was I would kill as much odor as possible and then seal in the rest. I then patched the drywall, put in new baseboards and primed painted and installed new flooring on top of the subfloor.

Think all that solved the problem??? Maybe 95%. On warm, humid, days I still occasionally got a whiff of the vile smell.

I once read about a house that was soooo bad that the owner donated it to the fire company to burn down as part of a training exercise! They had to rebuild from scratch.

Good luck.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:53 AM  
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Default What worked for me

Hi! I know this is a month after you asked your question, but if you are still working with the problem, here is what worked for me.

I tried all the liquid stain/odor removers and all they did was seem to make the wood floor wet and kept it damp, it never really dried right. What I ended up doing was putting down dry clumping cat litter. It absorbed both the wetness and the smell. I could actually see the urine soaking up into it.
I did this a few times until the litter would no longer get wet.

Unfortunately, I did have one spot that was so bad that it wouldn't clean up and I had to cut that part out and replace it with a new piece of plywood.

Ten years later and no odor!
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:02 AM  
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Here are a few links for you to read on pet urine in carpets. I would think it would also work for plywood but I have no direct experience with plywood problems for cat urine. I have had dog urine and painted with Zinsser Sealer as you refer. We did not notice any odor after painting the floor and recarpeting.

The Natures' Own products are fairly expensive. I have used 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water which is quite cheap. It is used with baking soda as an absorbent as the following articles refer. Take a read of these links and good luck!

Cat Newsletter - How to remove cat urine, cat urine stains, clean cat urine</

Cat Urine - How to Clean & Remove Cat Urine & Cat Urine Odours from Carpets & Furniture

Removing Pet Urine Stains
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:51 PM  
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A little trick that I use is:

-clean the whole room, vacuum it up good.
-Get bottles of mouth wash
-pour a few inches into a bucket
-add a bit of hot water
-mop up the whole floor with that solution
-repeat as necessary
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:38 AM  
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You can paint the floor with shellac, it will kill urine smell. Did you know that a tomcat can spray urine on the ceiling?

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