There are two frequent questions that prospective clients have asked us in regards to odor related issues on carpeting. The first question is, “Do deodorizers work?”. This questions is presented to us when another carpet cleaning company has made the claim that they are able to remove odor from carpeting with the use of a deodorizer (at an additional charge). The quick and direct answer to this question is no, they do not work. The second question that immediately follows is, “How do I get rid of bad odors from carpeting?”. If deodorizers are not the answer, what is?

Do Deodorizers work?

In answer to the first question, unfortunately, most deodorizers are simply temporary odor masking chemicals. Odors such as dog or cat urine, did not magically appear. The act of spraying or applying an over the counter “deodorizer” onto smelly problems does not remove the source, rather it merely masks offending odors by “adding” a topically applied chemical to try to temporarily fool the olfactory gland (smell receptor) with an odor we may find more pleasant. The “new” temporary masking chemical can never overpower the offending odor, but itself will eventually be over-powered by the odor producing source.

For an illustration. Imagine for a brief moment, as disgusting as it may sound, a 1/2 cup containing fresh cat urine. The odor produced from the cat urine cannot be successfully removed by adding or even pouring any topical “deodorizer” atop of the urine. All you’d be left with is a strong potpourri smelling urine. The only sure solution is to COMPLETELY remove ALL of the urine first. Deodorizers are unnecessary if the odor causing source is removed. It is not possible to have an odor if there is not a source for the odor. How to remove an odor is dependent upon the type and location of the odor’s source. “What” is being cleaned is not as important as “how” it is cleaned when removing odor sources. Most carpet cleaning companies will offer deodorizers or sanitizers as an up charge. Most carpet cleaners typically do a poor job of removing the source of odors, and then ask you to pay even more money to apply a temporary odor masking chemical, leaving your home with the original source of the odor still present plus a newly applied chemical into your home’s environment. Oh joy! Just as there is no such thing as a spot remover, (remember spot removers are “adders” by definition, therefore, a spot remover is not a remover, but an “adder”), there is no such thing as deodorizing that does not first include the removal of the entire source of the odor.

How do I get rid of bad odors from carpeting?

Answer to the second question, to remove cat urine from carpeting; first locate all of the cat urine stains, remove all furniture from the room, disengage the carpeting and pull it back from the wall, the stains will be evident on the carpet’s backing, which will line-up with the padding (cushion), remove any affected padding, clean the sub-floor with a 10% bleach solution (wear a respirator and PPE), let the floor dry completely, then seal with paint such as oil-based Kilz, install new padding replacing the affected areas, clean the carpet’s backing with the correct chemistry and plenty of rinse and extraction, re-install the carpeting, then clean the face fibers of the carpeting with the correct chemistry to address the ammoniated salts, metabolized proteins, calcium oxalates, and urates. Believe it or not, this was a brief version of all the steps required. Simple right? Or you can spray a masking chemical to temporarily cover up the offending odors.

This is important. Once the source of the odor has been thoroughly diluted, rinsed, and extracted from the carpeting, it is a good idea to introduce ozone into the environment to “scrub” and “oxidize” the remaining odor causing molecules which have penetrated nearby and exposed porous surfaces and materials, such as walls, clothing, textiles, and upholstery. Note: Always consult a professional with the correct procedure for introducing Ozone into an environment.