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Tips & Advice: How to Remove Urine Odor and Stains from Hardwood Floors
Urine stains on hardwood flooring can be the most difficult stains to remove. Repeated urine soiling will turn the area black. Black staining indicates that there is a heavy build-up of dried uric salt crystals. Black stains also indicate wood damage has taken place (the acidic urine has burned the tannins in the wood).
Enzyme based cleaners can remove the urine odor entirely, and can also remove the buildup of dried uric salt crystals with repeated application. The damage to the wood tannins cannot be reversed! After the black stains are removed, the wood may remain a stained gray to black consistency, which shows a permanent burning caused by the uric acid. If this is unacceptable, refinishing will be necessary. In many cases sanding can remove the damaged wood so the flooring can be refinished.
Treat the affected area with a stain remover before refinishing. The heat of sanding and refinishing can bake the urine crystals into the wood and make odor and stain removal much more difficult if sanding and refinishing is done first. Use multiple applications to remove as much of the staining as possible first, then less wood will need to be removed during the finishing process.
We carry two products that work great on hardwood floors.
Urine-Erase uses a two-step process. First, a dry enzyme powder is mixed fresh with water. This solution is poured onto the surface of the stain and allowed to sit for 8 hours. The second step is to pour the accompanying gentle peroxide solution over the stain. This solution changes the stain and odor into an evaporable gas of water and oxygen. Once the area has air dried, any remaining enzyme on the surface is vacuumed away and the area is clean and odor-free.
Another effective enzyme-based urine remover is OdorZyme. This product consists of a super strength plant-based surfactant, which digests the uric acid crystals at the source of the odor and stain. It does not simply cover or mask the smell, it actually attacks the uric acid crystals—the source of the odor. Its one step design makes it useful to immediately neutralize stains and treat small spots with the easy to use spray on applicator. It comes in both a spray-on trigger bottle and a large money-saving economy size. As with all enzyme based urine removal products, it is important to use the amount of product that is equal to the amount of urine that originally caused the stain. This is especially important when using a spray bottle because the tendency is to just wet the surface. If the urine has soaked into your carpet, the cleaner must also "soak" in. The spray-on trigger bottle is convenient for quick spot clean-ups, or small stains.
Specific Directions for Hardwood Floors
Use the following procedure for severely stained floors! Less severe problems will not require as extensive a treatment.
When Using Urine-Erase:
- Step One: Mix the enzyme powder according to the instructions and saturate the area you are treating. Use plastic to keep the area moist to permit the solution to dry slowly - allowing more time for the enzyme to work. Wait at least eight hours (or overnight) before moving on to the next step.
- Step Two: Pour the solution from the bottle onto the same area and let dry.
- Reapply as needed.
When Using OdorZyme:
- Treat the perimeter of the problem area first.
- Next treat the entire affected floor area until it is completely saturated.
- Cover the wet floor with plastic sheeting to slow the evaporation speed and allow the product to work longer. As the product loosens the uric crystals from the wood; the plastic will also help to draw the urine to the surface. NOTE: Expect the urine odor to become stronger at this point.
- After 30 minutes, remove the plastic and blot the floor dry with paper towels or cloths.
- Re-apply Odorzyme, but do not use plastic sheeting this time. The urine will continue to be drawn to the surface. After 30 minutes, blot the floor dry with paper towels or cloth.
- Continue to apply Odorzyme, wait 20-40 minutes and blot up until all odor is removed. Each treatment will improve the condition of the surface, as evidenced by the stains becoming lighter and smaller in diameter, until all urine residue is removed.
- Spot-treat stained areas as needed until stains are gone or have ceased to grow lighter, indicating that all urine has been removed. Allow to air dry.
- After the final treatment, rinse with water and wipe or mop dry.
Once odor is removed, use a sponge mop and a minimal amount of water to remove residue from the surface.
Used according to instructions, these products will remove the odor, reduce the staining, and provide a better starting point for refinishing or covering with new flooring. In some cases, the results can be so good the floor can be used as is!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens if I still smell an odor after treatment?
A: First, remember that the smell usually gets worse before it gets better. This means that the cleaner is working. The solution probably penetrated the seams or cracks in the wood and reached the subfloor so it may take several days to completely dry. If the odor still persists, then you probably need to use additional product. You must reach all the dried urine for products to work effectively. Sometimes, especially for urine on the edge of the room, the urine penetrates the baseboard on the wall. These are stubborn areas that may require additional treatment.