Carpet Cleaner  123
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Carpet Cleaner 123

Man’s best friend can be your carpets worst enemy. Pet owners sometimes struggle with the task of keeping their home clean and odor free. As a professional carpet cleaner with over 25 years of experience, I have seen (and smelled) the damage caused by our beloved four legged friends, over and over. When I get called in as an expert to solve a pet odor problem, my first question to the home owner is, “have you used anything yourself, to clean it with?” and the answers I get represent the frustration pet owners experience as they reply, “I’ve tried everything”; three specific home remedies I hear about are baking soda, vinegar, and enzymes-the problem is that when the “everything” approach is taken these remedies cancel each other out.

 Baking soda can work as a deodorizer because of its ability to adsorb odors (No it’s not a typo, it is adsorb with a d) vinegar can help, because as an acid, the acidification slows down the bacteria action that gives urine a putrid smell, the logy behind enzymes is that the area is actually seeded with non-pathogenic bacteria that “theoretically” consumes the proteins in urine that cause the odor. In order for this process to work, the area must be kept wet for up to 48 hours and in a slightly alkaline condition.

 If enzyme products, like natures miracle are used in conjunction with vinegars, the acidity of the vinegar the alkaline created by baking soda will neutralize the acidity of the vinegar. It is no wonder why homeowners become frustrated by pet odors with so many conflicted ideas about how to get rid of odors. So what is a pet lover to do? Luckily there is hope.

 The key to removing the odor is removing the urine, by rinsing it out. No urine equals no more odor. Hot water extraction carpet cleaning is essential to removing urine from carpet. A professional carpet cleaner can use subsurface extraction tools, to remove contaminates from the carpet backing and cushion underneath as well. Instead of adding bacteria with products like Natures Miracle, I want to kill the bacteria, and rinse it out.



      Mountain View, Los Altos, and South Bay Residents Can rely on The Rug Expert, for tough carpet cleaning jobs, including pet odor removal.

    Rande Machell is an IICRC Certified Master Cleaner, Master Restorer, and Senior Carpet Inspector. He is a past director of the Carpet and Fabricare Institute, and nationally published author on cleaning technologies.
He has over 25 years of experience cleaning over 15 million feet of carpet. He can be reached at  The Rug Expert 408 836-2137 or 

                       "How To Remove Pet Odor From Carpet". The Water Claw, and O.S.R. to remove dog and cat urine from carpet. The Rug Expert 408 836-2137 

Pet Urine Odor 
Many cleaners struggle in their attempt to deodorize urine damaged carpet.

For years many pet owners and carpet cleaners attempted to remove this concern but with little or no success! It was frustrating and something needed to be done, since the success rate was low most cleaners stayed away from offering this much needed service. At that time the best that could be done was a topical treatment, but that only covered up and masked the concern for about 2 to 3 days.

 A Tricky Problem


          The first step in removing urine odor is to locate all affected areas. This can be tricky because pets will urinate behind furniture, under furniture, and even on furniture. Urine deposits will glow under florescent light, so a helpful method for locating urine on furnishings is to use a black light. Another tool used for locating urine is a moisture detector.

 Freshly voided urine is acidic, but rapidly changes pH, as the proteins in the urine degrade to form ammonia.  The potential causes of ammonaical odor include urea, which has been degraded to ammonia by enzyme producing bacteria. When a pH change occurs a salt is formed which is dessicant, that is to say, it will pull moisture out of the air. For this reason, urine in carpet, padding, sub floors, and tack less strip can remain wet for months after contamination. This condition creates an unhealthful environment.




In a study published in the Journal of American Veterinary Association, the following bacteria were found in the urine of clinically normal cats: Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus spp, Streptococcus spp, Cornebacterium spp, Pasteurella spp and Flavobacterium spp.  


A “putrid” smell in urine is an indication of bacterial growth. For this reason it is  highly advisable to treat the area with a germicide. The treatments that you can buy at the pet store will often contain enzymes and bacterial cultures. The logic being that the introduced bacteria will rapidly consume the food source in urine and hence consume the source of odors. For this approach to work, the area must be kept moist and warm for 24-48 hours while maintaining a narrow pH range, conditions difficult to sustain on carpet in the home, and the same conditions that promote mold growth. In addition, enzymes and bacteria, even dead and non-pathogenic bacteria, can cause allergic reactions and illness (see, The Truth About Enzymes, on this page).

 New Chemistry And Cleaning Technology Lets You Love Your Pets Without Worry.

        The complete restoration of urine-damaged furnishings will depend on the level of damage. Cleaning alone will not eliminate odors from pet urine. The application of a germicide will help to eliminate the “putrid” smell of urine, from the result of a recent or single accident, and create a more healthful environment.


The Next Step

When more extensive urine damage occurs, affecting the carpet backing and padding as well, a “flush-cleaning” can be done to provide a higher level of restoration. “Flush-Cleaning” involves saturation of carpet and pad with a safe oxidizing agent, to remove urine deposits from the carpet backing and padding. The oxidizer not only has a high biocidal activity, but will also break the bonds of odor-causing molecules, rendering them odorless, by reducing them into the most elemental forms. This process should be the second step, when a biocide treatment and normal cleaning do not eliminate a urine odor problem.



  Severe Damage


Sometimes complete restoration requires treatment and cleaning, of sub floors, padding, tack-less strip, baseboards, and walls and other furnishings. For extensive damage, due to repeated accidents over long periods of time, it may be necessary to pull up the carpet to treat the sub floors and other materials. Even the replacement of new carpet, or hard-surface flooring may require the services of an expert Urine Damage Restorer. This is an extreme case though, and is not likely to happen with the arrival of a new puppy.



The Truth About Enzymes


By Rande Machell

If enzymes are used in carpet cleaning, hot water extraction (HWE) is essential to make sure the enzyme residue is rinsed from the carpet.

In fact, in a joint study by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Research Triangle Institute, HWE carpet cleaning has been proven to help improve indoor air quality.

Some carpet cleaning companies tout the use of enzymes as the best way to clean and deodorize carpet. It's even been said enzymes actually eat dirt, oils, bacteria, mold, mildew and odors.

Enzymes are not alive and they do not eat anything. Enzymes are proteins created by living organisms. They are simply a chemical catalyst that speed up molecular change. An important characteristic of enzymes is their specificity. They can only act on one substance.

For instance, the majority of detergent formulations use enzymes. The protease enzyme acts on protein-based stains only. The enzyme amylase acts on starch-based stains only. Enzymes have a limited effect in cleaning because they are a highly specific catalyst.

The use of enzymes in detergent formulations became prevalent in the 1960s, but the safety of enzymes use was questioned when workers became ill from the production of those detergents. The bacteria Bacillus spp., used to create enzymes for detergent formulations, have been implicated in outbreaks of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP), and the enzyme protease from these bacteria have been linked to several HP outbreaks (Institute of Medicine 1993). The American Conference of Governmental Hygienists (ACGIH 1997) lists it as a hazardous chemical.

Today, the process for producing laundry detergents with enzymes has been made safe. When you wash your clothes with them, your washing machine rinses the enzyme residue from your clothes.


Rande Machell is certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) as a Master Cleaner, Master Restorer and Senior Practicing Carpet Inspector. He is a past director of the Carpet and Fabricare Institute (CFI) and a member of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). He operates a carpet cleaning and inspection service in Mountain View, CA, and can be reached at 408 836-2137


Carpet Stain Removal

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most versatile, safe, dependable and environmentally desirable chemicals available.

Its many uses include bleaching of textiles and paper pulp, oxidizing, and an odor control agent for biological, industrial and municipal waste, including urine and fecal matter.

It is also used to detoxify organic and inorganic waste.

Hydrogen peroxide has many new applications, a number that is expanding each day. It is virtually the only bleaching agent for protein fibers, and is also very extensively used for cellulosic fibers like cotton.

Because oxygen bleaches do not damage dyestuffs, fabrics and fabric finishes, they are preferred to chlorine-based bleaches.

Hydrogen peroxide fights germs and bacteria — without staining.

Hydrogen peroxide is particularly attractive in that it:

  • Adds only water and oxygen to a system, and does not create additional environmental problems
  • Requires simple, minimal equipment to use
  • Is safe for textile finishes
  • Has excellent stain removal properties
  • Eliminates odors
  • Improves water quality in sewer systems
  • Helps reduce biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) — key parameters in determining water quality
  • Can detoxify cyanide, nitrogen compounds, chlorine, bisulfite, phenol and a host of other toxic based waste

It is both an oxidizer and reducer

Oxidation and reduction must occur at the same time in a chemical reaction.

For a substance to act as an oxidizing agent, it must gain electrons from another substance and have its own reduced (lose electrons), and vice versa.

A bleaching agent, which causes whitening to occur, does not itself become whiter because an oxidizing agent is not oxidized, but reduced.

Although hydrogen peroxide is a fairly strong oxidizer (gains electrons and gives up oxygen), it can act as a mild reducing agent (loses electrons, takes up oxygen); for example, towards permanganates, and reduces silver oxide to metallic silver.

Hydrogen peroxide, when an oxidizing agent, is reduced to water. It is also a reducing agent being oxidized to oxygen.

The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is both an oxidation and a reduction reaction.

Marketed as a solution in water in a concentration of 3 to 90 percent by weight, solutions of hydrogen peroxide gradually deteriorate.

Hydrogen peroxide, especially when its concentration is over 50 percent by weight, requires great care in handling and storage. When dropped on paper or wood, it can ignite.

Understand weight, volume, percentage

The customary method expressing the strength of hydrogen peroxide solutions is by percentage weight (abbreviated w/w).

Formerly, it was common to use the expression "volume strength". Thus, 10 volume strength means that one volume unit of hydrogen peroxide will liberate 10 similar units of gaseous oxygen.

A 35 percent (w/w) solution of peroxide is equivalent to 130 volume strength, and a 50 percent (w/w) solution to 197 volume strength.

A 30 percent (w/w) solution of peroxide is equivalent to 100 volume strength.

The commercial strength supplied for textile uses are 35 and 50 percent.

Solutions containing more than 8 percent (w/w) hydrogen peroxide are corrosive to skin and cause intense irritation.

Contact with skin causes blotches that can be painful (should be washed away immediately), but will disappear after a few hours, without leaving traces.

Traces of certain metals or their salts act as catalysts, causing rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.

Particularly active in this respect are copper and iron. If they are present in cotton before bleaching, the promoted oxidizing action will cause degradation or disintegration of the textile.


Peroxide and stain removal

Much stain removal is carried out by oxidation, with oxidized bleaches such as hydrogen peroxide.

The oxidation removes most stains, while generally not affecting fast colors; unlike chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide has virtually no adverse effect on textile fibers or on most dyes.

Hydrogen peroxide in cold water removes blood stains from cotton and linen fabrics. Potassium permanganate, another oxidizing agent, removes most stains from white fabrics (except rayon). The resulting permanganate stain can then be removed by treatment with oxalic acid.

It was at one time thought that that the oxidizing action of hydrogen peroxide depended on the fact that it readily underwent decomposition with the liberation of oxygen:

H2O2 —> H2O + O

This explanation, however, is no longer valid. There is no absolute certainty about the nature of the bleaching action, but it is believed that the perhydroxyl ion is the active species.

These ions are formed when hydrogen peroxide dissociates in the following manner:

H2O2 <—> HO+ + HO-2

It is a well-known fact that bleaching is more rapid in alkaline than in acid solutions.

This may well be because the hydroxyl ions present in the alkaline solution neutralize the hydrogen ions, thereby promoting the liberation of perhydroxyl ions.

In most ceiling tile cleaners, the active component is hydrogen peroxide ranging in strength from 10 to 35 percent (w/w), and the inert component is a dilute alkaline detergent solution, sometimes ammoniated.

The two components are then mixed and sprayed on the tiles, resulting in oxidizing the stains and bleaching any other associated coloring matter.

Hydrogen peroxide has been effective in the removal of urine stains, and can be effectively employed to remove acid dye stains by the heat transfer method.

Hydrogen peroxide at about 10 percent (w/w), when mixed with ammoniated detergent solution, makes an effective coffee stain remover.

Odor control with peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide not only has a high biocidal activity but, unlike other biocides, actually breaks the bonds of odor-causing molecules, rendering them harmless, and in most cases, reducing them into the most elemental forms.

Hydrogen peroxide appears to be one of the most effective and reliable methods of odor control in sanitary sewers.

Hydrogen peroxide is being commercially employed in tannery effluent clean-up, waste odor problems in dairies, for treatment of shipboard waste, and waste cleanup at breweries.

Hydrogen peroxide adds dissolved oxygen to water, which helps prevent anaerobic (absence of oxygen) conditions, which causes malodorous conditions.

Hydrogen peroxide has been successfully used in control of fecal and urine odors.

Skunk odor removal

Alkaline hydrogen peroxide has been used to scrub hydrogen sulfide gas from waste gas streams.

This reagent works well with thiols that are smelly compounds of sulfur.

Because skunk spray is composed mainly of low molecular weight thiols, like n-butyl mercaptan and dicrotyl sulfide, a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda and a little wetting agent such as liquid hand soap is very effective in removing skunk-type odors.


Calcium or sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) should never be used on wool because they discolor and damage the fiber.

It is important when using hydrogen peroxide to achieve the right level of stability.

If the pH is too low, no perhydroxyl ions are set free, and bleaching will not take place. But when the pH is too high, the hydrogen peroxide becomes too unstable and the whole of perhydroxyl ions are decomposed with the liberation of oxygen before it has had time to act on the textile.

It is virtually impossible to adjust to the optimum pH with alkali alone, and it is necessary to add a stabilizer which will keep the pH within the limits of 8 to 9, when both wool and cotton goods can be effectively bleached.

Catalysts that speed up the decomposition of peroxide can be extremely dangerous in the peroxide bleaching of protein fibers.

Bleaching of protein fibers with hydrogen peroxide can cause degradation of the protein fiber, unless the alkalinity and temperature are properly controlled.

There are occasions when bleaching with hydrogen peroxide at a pH lower than 7 is desirable, especially when the goods contain colored fibers that do not show good color fastness to alkalis.