Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Pet Urine Stain & Odor Removal

  • Do you guarantee pet stain / odor removal?

No, because 100% of the odor source must be treated which can be a difficult task because of the multiple layers and surfaces that may be the cause of the odor.  We have had great success with our cleaning & deodorizing treatment options but the only 100% guaranteed option is replacement of up to everything down to the subfloor ultimately depending on severity.
  • What items can be treated for pet urine odor/stains?

Any carpet/fabric such as wall to wall carpet, wool oriental rugs, sofa cushions & furniture.  Hard surfaces such as concrete, drywall or wood can be cleaned and sealed unless it is unsalvageable then it will need to be replaced.  Tile & Grout can be deodorized and cleaned using the same solution.  If urine contamination is severe on an upholstered piece of furniture the foam/stuffing may have to replaced to remove odor 100% but we have had success with our cleaning & deodorizing treatments.
  • Can Pet urine cuase permenant damage to carpet and fabrics?

Yes, Urine can cause permenant staining, weakening of dyes causing color to run/bleed, and bleaching of the color. High alkalinity PH can cause color damage. The fiber type has a big effect on if urine staining will clean out or if it is permenant.
  • Do you have a product to ‘repel’ or keep my pet from resoiling an area?

  • How do you treat spots from my dog / cat?

It depends on your main concern.  Is it a visible stain, a urine odor, a ‘dog’ smell or a combination?  Our cleaning process is very different for each.  If it is a visible stain click here to see how we treat it.  If it is a urine odor click here to see how we treat it.  If it is a “Dog” smell usually a thorough carpet cleaning or upholstery cleaning cleaning will fix it.
  • What should I do after you finish?

The areas treated for pet urine odor will take longer to dry since the carpet and pad were saturated.  It could take a couple days to dry 100% depending on drying conditions in your house, airflow from fans will speed up the dry time.  Remember just because it feels dry on the surface of the carpet does not mean the pad is dry.   Until it is 100% dry children, pets and you should avoid the treated area if possible.
  • Can’t you just spray some deodorizer on the carpet and clean it to remove the odor?

To properly remove the odor (not mask) it requires more than just a carpet cleaning or lightly spraying a deodorizer on the surface that has a pleasant fragrance.  A good example is after a hard workout at the gym you are sweaty and stinky.  You could mist some cologne or perfume on yourself to mask or cover up the bad odor.  Or you could take a shower and remove the source of the odor so that you are clean and fresh.
  • Do you sell a ‘do it yourself’ product I can use for odor?

You can try Vet’s Trust Enzyme on our products page.  Or visit for other do it yourself solutions. If the problem persists we recommend a professional cleaning and treatment.
  • How do I prepare for pet odor removal?

For best results when using a black light to inspect for pet urine the room needs to be as dark as possible.  Please close all blinds and shades to block out sunlight.  If you don’t have blinds, you can put a sheet or a blanket over the window.
  • Are all “deodorizers” the same?

No, most odor control formulations will utilize one as the primary component with other mechanisms blended in to broaden the scope of the product. Due to the complexity of the formulation and the costs of active ingredients you will find significant differences in the performance of products offered in the market place. Depending on the situation Referral will choose the proper product to remove odors. Here is a brief description of the primary odor control chemistries in use today.

  1. Biological agents, often referred to as an enzyme, eliminate odors by metabolizing (eating) the odorous material.   This is the chemistry used in many ‘do it yourself’ products.  Enzyme’s performance varies based on their temperature and if they get to hot they are killed.  Usually their is a surfactant mixed in with them which can leave a dirt attracting residue.  Enzyme’s may require up to 72 hours to be effective.  Referral would use this chemistry on an installed wall to wall natural fiber carpet that can’t be immersed like a loose rug.
  2. Pairing agents eliminate odors by bonding to the odor molecule. Thereby altering the shape of the odorous molecule so the olfactory senses no longer recognize the odor.
  3. Molecular encapsulation utilizes multiple bonding mechanisms to pull the odorous molecule into the active molecule and thereby absorb the odor much like a sponge absorbing moisture.
  4. Physical encapsulation occurs when a film-forming agent engulfs the odorous substance and physically prevents the release of odor.
  5. Molecular cleaving (oxidation): Reactions that chemically change (break apart) the odorous molecule and combine with it to form different substances.  This is the chemistry used in the product Referral uses to remove odor from synthetic carpet and fabric fibers.
  6. Odor modification is based on the Zwaardemaker Conjugates theory where two different odors will cancel each other out. In odor control, fragrances are formulated that cancel out the most common odors encountered such as urine, feces, and mold.
  7. Emulsification: Acid based products designed to dissolve urine salts and neutralize ammonia and suspend the contamination so it can be rinsed away.  This is the chemistry we use when immersing wool area rugs to remove pet urine odor.
  8. Masking agents simply provide a pleasant fragrance that mutes the malodor so as to make it more tolerable.
  • Why does Urine Odor Return?

Perhaps you had a spot that smelled so you cleaned it and you assumed the problem was solved.  Then one day the odor mysteriously comes back.  Why?Urine is made up of three different parts. Many cleaning products remove the first component – the sticky liquid content. Some can even remove the second component – the stain-causing pigmentation. But nothing removes the third component – the uric acid crystals or “urine salts” that cause odor.  You could clean this spot all day long, even our professional carpet cleaning will not remove the odor.  You must use a specialized deodorizer to remove the odor.When you clean or treat the spot, it may seem like the urine is gone because the stain and odor disappear. But the urine salts are still there.  If 100% dry, urine salts have no odor.  But when humidity levels change, or conditions are damp or humid, the urine salts attract moisture and reactivate causing the terrible odor to return, sometimes the odor smells like ammonia.
Humidity levels can change for a number of reasons but here are two major reasons:

  1. Change in Seasons.  In the winter the air is very dry, but in spring and summer there is naturally more humidity.  So even though nothing about the spot has changed, the change in seasonal humidity levels may cause you to not notice urine odor during the winter but in the spring and summer the odor comes back.
  2. Carpet Cleaning.  Cleaning the carpet will change the humidity level in the house, especially if the areas affected by pet urine are cleaned only and not treated for odor.  Odor from pet accidents may become more noticeable for a period of time after the cleaning because of the elevated moisture content.  Generally it will return to the same pre-cleaning condition after it has dried completely.  We cannot be held responsible for such odor producing deposits unless we are able to identify, treat and neutralize such odors.
  • What is Urine composed of?

Urine leaves the body (man or animal) in an acid state, with a pH of about 5 to 6. It is rather pure and generally contains no harmful bacteria, pathogens or microorganisms. However, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for those things as soon as it leaves the body. The main ingredient in urine is uric acid. It also contains yellow pigment, urea, cholesterol, enzymes, and small amounts of other chemicals. The uric acid begins to change immediately upon leaving the body. The warm acid state of the urine offers a friendly environment for bacteria, which begin to flourish almost immediately. In this original acid state, the urine begins to oxidize and react with the carpet to create a color change, which may become permanent if the urine is not removed from the carpet. As urine begins to dry, it changes its hydrogen content and forms crystalline salts, which take on an alkaline pH.  Then The Smell Begins!  When dried urine is remoistened, it gives off an ammonia gas.
Odors associated with urine come from two sources:

  1. The first source is bacteria that grow abundantly in dark warm places with a never ending food source (the dog feeds the bacteria daily!). This bacteria growth and breakdown of the urine creates amino acids. These complex organic compounds work deep into carpet fivers until they’re nearly part of the fiber. This can present a challenging situation. The waste materials and gases from the decomposing urine create an unpleasant odor.
  2. The second source of odor is chemical odor that remains even when the bacteria have been killed. This explains the reason more than disinfecting is necessary to neutralize odors from urine. Urine also presents additional odor problems when the relative humidity is high. The salts and crystals that are formed are hydrophilic and draw water to them. As the salts are reactivated by moisture, they give off a greater proportion of odorous gases.
  • Will urine stains still glow under a black light after cleaning?

Yes. A black light will cause urine contamination to glow in the dark. Most black lights operate at a wavelength between 380-415 nanometers. Most bodily fluids including tears, saliva and semen will also fluoresce under a black light. The glowing part of these bodily fluids is called porphyrin. Porphyrin is actually a group of organic compounds that has an attraction to metals. In the blood stream these compounds attract iron and are one of the building blocks of hemoglobin but they are also present in other body fluids. Other fluids such as the quinine in club soda, many vitamins, petroleum jelly, antifreeze, optical brighteners found in many consumer carpet spotters and laundry detergents also glow. To understand why some substances glow under a black light and some do not we have to look at the atomic level. These compounds have an available electron orbiting it’s nucleus. When energy in the form of ultra violet light from your black light encounter these electrons, that energy is absorbed and excites the electrons to the point where they jump to a higher orbit around the nucleus. However, this energy is unstable and is quickly released by the electrons as visible light. This reaction happens super fast over and over again and this is the glow seen when using a black light. These photo reactive compounds penetrate carpet fibers and are nearly impossible to remove. Even after deodorizing and removing visible stains and odors, the previous stains will continue to glow under a black light. This does not mean the procedure failed or that there is still ‘urine’ in the carpet.

General Frequently Asked Questions