How cute is it to see your cat or dog all dressed up in a Halloween costume? With just a little bit of fabric and stuffing, your pet is transformed into a dragon, diva, or super hero. It's adorable! The end of October presents all pet owners with the opportunity to appreciate their fur-covered family in a whole new way, and to laugh while doing so.
As much fun as they can be, pets can easily become the arch enemy of your floors. In addition to the varying degrees of fur they shed, their...messes...can cause long-term problems. Mercilessly, cat and dog urine will leave your floors stained and smelly. Your family, your guests, everyone who enters your home will have to endure the more unpleasant evidence of your pet's presence in the house. It doesn't matter how charming Fido is, the offensive odors and unsightly stains are never a welcome addition to the atmosphere in your.
The tricky thing is that animal messes have a tendency to last far past the moment you clean them. Like all other liquids, urine easily makes its way down into hard-to-reach places. If carpet is the victim, it will seep into the fibers that can't be conquered by a vacuum. For hardwood floors, those minuscule spaces between each board provide a safe haven for excess liquid. You really can't escape the problem fully, BUT you can take action to minimize the effects. Here's how:
1) Clean Quickly and Correctly
While it may not be the most pleasant job, you'll still be saving yourself a lot of time and money by cleaning up your pet's accident as soon as you spot it. The sooner you do, the less damage you'll face later on. There are a large number of store-bought cleaning solutions you can buy to make the process easier, but if you're caught without one on hand, you can do this:
For hardwood floors, use a dry cloth to soak up as much of the mess as possible. With that done, sponge the spot with a mixture of water and vinegar. Go back over the spot with your dry cloth and you're done!
If your tiles (or any sealed floor) have taken a hit from your pet, go over the mess with a paper towel. Combine 3/4 of a gallon of warm water with 1 cup of baking soda and 2-3 cups of vinegar. Mop the spot with a liberal amount of the mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Dry it up to finish.
Carpet can be a pesky opponent, but you can face it with the same mixture mentioned above for tiles. The difference is that you'll have to repeat the process several times. Be patient with it and make sure everything is nice and dry when you're done.
2) Neutralize Odors
Sometimes cleaning your floor is not enough to get you out of the woods with pet problems. The smell of urine has a tendency to linger (in carpet especially), so you have to combat it! Rid yourself of lasting smells with the following solutions:
To get as much of the smell out of your carpet as possible, pour baking soda over the spot, let it sit, then spray it with distilled white vinegar. Wipe it up from there and let it dry. If that doesn't work, you can also just pour peroxide over the spot, have it sit for a few minutes, and soak it up.
If a smell persists in your hardwood flooring, you may have to take some more drastic measures. Pour peroxide over the spot, then cover it with a peroxide-soaked cloth. Let it sit for about 8 hours. There's a chance this will lighten your floor, which means some refurbishing may be necessary afterward. Still, ridding yourself of odor may be worth the effort. Just make sure you test this solution on an inconspicuous section of your floor first so you can get a better idea of what you're up against.
In addition to these tactics, you can always take a less abrasive approach to tackling the smell. Hide small amounts of coffee grounds near the spot for a few days. Ventilate the room well. Plug in an air freshener. Do what you have to to restore the homey atmosphere to you crave.
4) Repair the Worst of It
Depending on how bad the problem is, you may have to completely remove affected boards or tiles. This, of course, is not an easy fix, but it will provide you with a much better outcome than just trying to hide the issue. Plus, it will keep you from having to completely replace your floor.
5) Make the Investment
When all else fails, you'll have to bite the bullet and invest in a new floor. Some damage is just too great to do otherwise. Consult a professional before making the final call, however. There may yet be a way around complete renovation.
Pets are wonderful additions to any home. Whatever damage their natural functions may cause, the happiness they bring to your life is undoubtedly worth the trouble of cleaning up after them. Never let the state of your floors get in the way of that. Together, we'll get your floors taken care of so you can get back to adoring your fluffy friends!