Will Steam Cleaning Get Rid of Urine Smell?

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Cats and dogs are amazing companions. However, accidents happen and you will have the occasional need to clean pet urine stains and odors from your carpet or upholstery. One cleaning tool that can potentially be effective is a steam cleaner. This begs the question: will a steam cleaner get rid of urine smell?

Will steam cleaning get rid of urine smell? Steam cleaning alone will not get rid of urine smell. To effectively get rid of urine smell by steam cleaning, you have to pre-treat the stain first. Without pre-treatment, steam cleaning will permanently set the stain and odor by bonding the protein into any man-made fibers. 

Moreover, if the stain is not immediately and thoroughly removed, it can be a smelly disaster. Steam cleaning is a good option, but there are specific steps you need to follow. In this post, let’s talk about how to get rid of cat and dog urine smell from carpet and upholstery using a steam cleaner. Let’s get started. 

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Facts About Pet Urine

Two of the most common culprits that cause bad smell in carpet and upholstery are urine from cats and dogs. After all, dogs are only canine. And even the best-behaved cats sometimes think outside the litter box. If you are a pet owner, you will inevitably need to clean pet urine from carpet and upholstery.

Pet urine contains proteins that create strong odors. They also attract bacteria, which encourages mold to form. Over time, both the proteins and the mold can damage carpet, upholstery, and even your subfloor. This is why it is especially important to clean pet stains immediately and thoroughly. 

Does steam cleaning get rid of cat and dog urine smell?

As it turns out, steam cleaning alone will not remove the urine smell left by cats and dogs. To completely remove the odor, the stain has to be pre-treated accordingly, vacuumed, and then steam cleaned. Without pre-treatment, the proteins can bond with the man-made fibers, making it more difficult to remove.

What neutralizes the smell of urine?

Several household products, like hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent can neutralize the smell of urine. Additionally, easy-to-find cleaning and pet care products which include natural enzymes, carpet cleaning solvents, and air fresheners may also help neutralize the smell of pee and urine.

However, these products are merely treatment, not a cure. While these products can help neutralize the smell of pee, the result may be temporary. They may not reach the urine that might have soaked through the carpet and completely remove the stains left behind. The solution: pre-treat the stain.

How to Remove Cat and Dog Urine Smell With Steam Cleaner

Remember, steam cleaning an untreated pet stain can bond the proteins to carpet or upholstery, making it more difficult to remove the stain. Additionally, pets may be more eager to mark that spot because a steam cleaner will only mask the smell of proteins partially. Here’s how to remove urine smell with a steam cleaner.

1. Soak up as much urine as possible

If the stain is still wet and relatively fresh, soak it up as much as possible. Place a thick layer of paper towels on the wet spot and cover that with a thick layer of newspaper. Stand on the newspapers for at least one minute. If possible, put newspaper under the soiled area as well. Repeat until the surface is as dry as it can be.

Additionally, if the stain is quite deep, you can soak the problem area together with an enzymatic cleaner. It’s important to use enough enzymatic cleaner to penetrate deep into the carpet or upholstery to make physical contact with the urine. Allow it to dwell for 15 minutes before letting it dry.

2. Apply enzymatic cleaner

If the stain has already set, you need to apply an enzymatic cleaner. Enzymatic cleaners work by releasing active bacteria that feed on ammonia residue left behind in pet urine and other organic materials, resulting in a clean carpet and upholstery. Thankfully, most pet supply stores carry enzymatic cleaners.

Use enough product to ensure thorough penetration. The best practice is to soak the stained area with the same amount of enzymatic cleaner equal to the urine. This allows the product to penetrate deep not just into the carpet, but into the subfloor as well, allowing it to come in full contact with the urine.

To save you the trouble, we’ve scoured the marketplace and found the best pet stain and odor eliminator on the internet. Not only is this stain and odor eliminator (link to Amazon) child and pet friendly, it's so safe on carpets it earned approval from the trusted Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).

3. Let it dry

After the initial treatment, remember to let the enzymatic cleaner dry. One hour is the recommended minimum time for existing stains and/or severe odor problems. The longer the treated area can soak, the better. In some circumstances it might be beneficial to allow the affected area to soak overnight.

Additionally, you can fold a highly absorbent pad or towel, and place it over the treated area with a weighted object on top to wick the residual liquid out of the affected area. Doing so ensures stains and odors are completely eliminated, leaving carpet and upholstery ready for the next step of the cleaning process.

4. Vacuum and steam clean the area

Once dried, vacuum and inspect the treated area. The stain and odor should be gone. If not, repeat the above procedure. It’s important to thoroughly vacuum the area you wish to steam clean. Do this in one direction and then again perpendicular to the first strokes, to make the carpet fibers stand up.

Next, fill the steam cleaner's tank with an enzymatic cleaner according to the manufacturer's instructions. Push the steam cleaner away from you to release the cleaner, and pull it slowly toward you to extract moisture from the area. Do this in two directions, the same way you vacuumed, and allow everything to dry properly.

PRO TIP: If you are a pet owner, consider investing in this super powerful portable carpet cleaner (link to Amazon). Its combination of great suction, scrubbing action, and professional cleaning solution effectively removes stubborn pet stains and dirt, making it the quintessential carpet cleaner for pet owners.

Bottom Line

And there you have it, a simple post to answer the question: will steam cleaning get rid of urine smell? After all, as a pet owner, you know that pet accidents are bound to happen. By understanding how to get urine smell with a steam cleaner, your carpet and upholstery will always be clean and fresh, anytime. 🙂

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