Tis the season for indulging in the joy that comes from dressing your pet up in Halloween costumes. How cute is it to see your pup transform into your favorite monster, diva, or superhero? Honestly, you can't beat it.
As much fun as they can be, pets can cause some serious damage to your floors. If not cared for properly, cat and dog urine will leave your floors stained and smelly. Everyone who walks into your house will immediately know that an animal lives there and you'll be left apologizing for how strong the smell is.
The thing about animal messes is that they have a tendency to smell long after you've attempted to clean them. As a liquid, urine easily makes its way down into the hard-to-reach parts of your flooring. It will seep into the carpet fibers that a vacuum can't reach; into the spaces between floorboards. 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
The sooner you clean up pet messes, 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, 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 particularly troublesome, but you can face it with the same mixture mentioned above for tiles. You'll just have to repeat the process a few 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 be proactive about getting those scents out.
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.
For a less abrasive approach, 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. They may be able to find 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!