Updated: Feb 24
A common question I get from customers is will a good deodorizer remove the obnoxious odor I am smelling from my carpet. Generally speaking the answer is no. In many cases over the counter deodorizers that a customer picks up from the store are designed to mask odors for a period of time leaving the situation that caused the odor unresolved. Take pet urine as an example. When a pet urinates on the carpet it is absorbed into the carpet and padding. Regardless of how much deodorizer is used we are adding a substance to the carpet when what we need to do is remove or flush out the urine and neutralize the odor.
What can deodorizers be used for?
In professional carpet cleaning we use deodorizers to leave a pleasant fragrance in the home for our customers after cleaning is complete. In some cases we may use a deodorizer in conjunction with a pre-spary to assist in removing certain foul odors. This is done in conjunction with the steam cleaning process where we are flushing and rinsing the carpet fibers.
If not deodorizer what should I do?
Regardless of the cause of the foul odor the key is always removing and neutralizing the source of the problem. Since pet stains is a common problem I will go into this problem further. The first thing we want to do is move any furniture out of the way. A good thing to keep in mind is that pet stains may be larger below the surface of the carpet. Second, with light to medium pet stains we want to use a solution that has an oxidizing agent designed to help us remove and neutralize the pet stains and odors. If you trying to take care of the problem yourself and mixing a solution ensure that you follow the instruction carefully as using to much may result in color loss to your carpet.
If you have a small spot and want to take care of the issue yourself take the solution you are using and apply it to the carpet ensuring proper coverage (go for an area larger than the size of the stain, give the solution time to dwell and work on the stain before removing (remember most solutions may need 10-15 minutes to work properly). Then stand on a paper towel or rag and soak up the urine and solution from the carpet. Finally, if possible apply a fan to that area of the carpet to dry it as quickly as possible.
Multiple spots over time
If you have multiple spots that have occurred over time additional work will be required and it is worth having a professional carpet cleaner look at the affected area. While pet treatment and a household steam cleaning machine may help the problem. They can also make the situation worse because most over the counter pet treatment solutions and steam cleaners are not strong enough to fully treat or remove pet stains from both the carpet and padding. In some cases, I have had customers call up stating that they used a pet treatment solution with their steam cleaner only to have the odor problem become much worse. This is caused by the urine being activated by the solution, heat, and water and failing to be extracted properly from the carpet.
What Stat Carpet Cleaning does
Our pet treatment solution is different. When we arrive we first listen carefully to our customers and examine the pet stained areas. This allows us to learn the extent of the problem. Second, we move everything that we can safely move out each room. Third, we apply a commercial strength pet treatment solution to the entire room (we do not spot treat unless we have a customer with only one or two spots that are clearly visible). This ensures adequate coverage of the pet stained areas. Fourth, we scrub the affected areas ensuring the solution is applied evenly and helping to push the solution down further into the carpet and padding. Finally, we steam clean the carpet slowly ensuring we flush the carpets while at the same time leaving them as dry as possible.