Pet Urine on Hardwood Floors, Any Solution?

17 Replies

I will be closing on a property next week that was previously a rental for the past 8 years. The apartment smells horrible due to the tenant allowing her pets to urinate all over the place. Their was carpeting on top of the hardwood floors that has been ripped out, but the smell has not gone away. 

The floors themselves are in pretty good condition with the exception of a few spots which we planned to removae and patch. I would love to just be able to sand, stain and refinish the hardwood floors, but Im concerned that the smell won't go away. 

Ive looked into enzyme cleaners, and other chemicals, but havent found anything suitable for floors. 

Does anyone have any experience dealing with this sort of issue? What was the solution.

We had a back bedroom of a 3/2  ranch with the same problem.  We sanded the urine spots with a hand sander and applied BIN Shellac Base Primer (White) on the entire floor.  It took 3 coats before the smell was gone.   We put carpeting down in all 3 bedrooms.  No smell.  There was no chance of saving the hardwood floor.  I hope this helps, and good luck.  I know what you're going through! 

Baking soda is a good odor remover. Sprinkle on the floor and let sit overnight. Vacuum up the next day.

If that doesn't work, try mopping with 1 cup vinegar to 1 bucket of water. As the floor dries, the vinegar smell should evaporate.

If neither of those work, a 3% hydrogen peroxide sprayed on the floor and left to dry might work. This is great for stains, by the way.

Finally a 1-4 bleach-to-water solution may help.

Good luck.

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

I had a similar thread elsewhere and earlier here - someone recommended an ozone cleaner (available on amazon); another Nature's Miracle 3  in one odor destroyer (Pet Store).  I didn't buy the house I had made the query on so I can't advise except to say I do use Nature's Miracle for my own dogs in my own house and love it.

Some times the urine is in the floor molding. 

Make sure you state NO PETS in your rental advertisement. Plenty of people out there without pets to rent to. Pets are NOTHING but a problem. Not worth it. 

Yea I'm thinking we will have to tear up the old hardwoods, treat the subfloor and lay down new hardwoods. Was hoping for an easier solution.

We plan on selling the property for $600-$650/sf so any solution that doesn't completely eradicate the smell will not be sufficient.

Its a shame though the current hardwoods have great character and are in good shape aside from the smell.

My friend had a tenant with a cat that left cat pee smell and said the ozone machine was the only thing that worked and that it was amazing. Might be worth trying before you have to rip out beautiful old hardwoods. 

@Laura Williams

 do you mean one of these type of machines?

http://www.amazon.com/A2Z-Ozone-A7K-Air-Generator/dp/B00K7120B4/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1434682806&sr=8-22&keywords=ozone+machine&pebp=1434682834860&perid=0P7QRGG131TK1X4D7Y4F

I think something like that she used. She said it wasn't very expensive. She's on BP so going to ask her :) 

@Johanna R. Was this the kind ozone machine you said you used and liked??

I had a real bad smell.  We used Nature's Miracle, Odor X-it, and ultimately painted over it with a primer.  We then put flooring over it.  No more smell, but I just don't think we could have done it without sealing the smell in...

I had a bad case and successfully used the ozone machines. I didn't buy one, the company that has done some fire restoration for me charged me $100 to leave several for 24 hours. 

Originally posted by @Garrett Hogan :

Yea I'm thinking we will have to tear up the old hardwoods, treat the subfloor and lay down new hardwoods. Was hoping for an easier solution.

We plan on selling the property for $600-$650/sf so any solution that doesn't completely eradicate the smell will not be sufficient.

Its a shame though the current hardwoods have great character and are in good shape aside from the smell.

 Tear up the hardwood floors? It'd have to be industrial amounts of urine for that to be the case.

We have one house, distressed purchase, and someone had allowed their dog to pee in one place, in the kitchen of course, nice and sanitary, (how do these people live), and it gets into the baseboard, and does soak into the wood. However, polyurethane, several coats does seal it in.

So get the floors refinished professionally, change out all baseboards, and that should be it.

If that doesn't solve it, the smell wasn't in floor or baseboards.

When it comes to pet odors, apartments deal with this all the time and you may want to research their tricks of the trade. My experience has been if you can't take the odor out, then you need to look at ways to lock the odor in. I had a place with really bad cat odor. Cats tend to pee along the walls. We pulled the carpet but also took out the baseboards alone with the sheetrock behind the baseboards. We then used several coats polyurethane to coat the border where the carpet tacks were to lock in the remaining smell. We then put a taller baseboard in and replaced the carpet and pad. I would suggest doing something similar with the borders for hardwoods. Then sand down the hardwood floor, stain the wood a darker color to hide any remaining stains, followed by locking the odor in with polyurethane. I hope this helps.
Originally posted by @Tammy Vitale :

I had a similar thread elsewhere and earlier here - someone recommended an ozone cleaner (available on amazon); another Nature's Miracle 3  in one odor destroyer (Pet Store).  I didn't buy the house I had made the query on so I can't advise except to say I do use Nature's Miracle for my own dogs in my own house and love it.

We are currently renovating a duplex where we had a serious Cat oder problem in one Bathroom.  The cat must have been using the bottom of the bathroom Vanity as a Litter box.  The oder was mind blowing.  We removed the Vanity.  There was plywood below the vanity and the rest of the floor  was nicely tiled.  We were afraid we would have to pull up the tile and the sub floor.  

We went to Home Depot and bought one of those above Ozone Cleaners.  The directions said not to use any product like Clorax before using the cleaner.  We painted the floor 2 times with the Ozone cleaner and left the windows open and the oder just went aay. It was like a miracle.  Hope it works just as well for you.

If you put down enough poly that should get it sealed in... You most likely won't ever get it out. I had the same thing with a brick floor once and never got the smell out. Even used kennel cleaner. Finally a coat of sealer sealed it in.

Here are some direction from the internet on how to use an enzime cleaner:

  • Use a product (whether shop-bought or homemade) that breaks down the urine, not just kills the microbes that are acting on the urine. If you just kill the microbes, but don't break down the urine, more microbes will move in later and work on the urine, generating a new smell. Anything labelled as an "enzyme cleaner" should do this.
  • Soak the area thoroughly. A common problem with home urine removal is that people don't soak the soiled area as thoroughly as the original urine soaked it. If you think about it, there is no way that anything that doesn't penetrate as far as the urine did can possibly remove all the smell, because it simply doesn't get far enough to remove it! So whatever you use, use a lot of it.
Originally posted by @James DeRoest :
Originally posted by @Garrett Hogan:

Yea I'm thinking we will have to tear up the old hardwoods, treat the subfloor and lay down new hardwoods. Was hoping for an easier solution.

We plan on selling the property for $600-$650/sf so any solution that doesn't completely eradicate the smell will not be sufficient.

Its a shame though the current hardwoods have great character and are in good shape aside from the smell.

 Tear up the hardwood floors? It'd have to be industrial amounts of urine for that to be the case.

We have one house, distressed purchase, and someone had allowed their dog to pee in one place, in the kitchen of course, nice and sanitary, (how do these people live), and it gets into the baseboard, and does soak into the wood. However, polyurethane, several coats does seal it in.

So get the floors refinished professionally, change out all baseboards, and that should be it.

If that doesn't solve it, the smell wasn't in floor or baseboards.

 I tend to agree with this, modern polyurethane is very durable and forms almost an epoxy-like seal.  If the pet odor can't diffuse into the room air, you won't smell it anymore.  I would pull the baseboards first, then do the floor so you get the poly down all the way up to the wall edge.  Then put a couple of coats of paint on the room and glob it on where it meets the floor urethane.  Cover that up with a new baseboard and base shoe and you're done.  

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