It seems the world has gone Oxi-crazy since the OxiClean infomercials of the early 2000’s. We use hydrogen peroxide in cleaners, spotters, boosters, deodorizers, you name it – it’s everywhere. Oxidizers do miracles for the cleaning industry, but there is one area of concern where oxygen is heavily used, but unfortunately greatly misunderstood.
Oxidizers remove the appearance of stains while having antimicrobial affects. They appear to work wonders on pet urine odor removal, but the Nitrogen Cycle teaches us otherwise. While oxidizers eliminate ammonia odors instantly, many professional cleaners may not fully understanding how or why. One of the greatest misconceptions in our industry is that oxidizers eliminate pet urine odors permanently.
The Nitrogen Cycle
All forms of life require nitrogen. Nitrogen helps create amino acids that give us proteins and eventually DNA, critical for life and reproduction. The Nitrogen Cycle involves how this element converts to liquid and gaseous forms throughout a cycle. It is fascinating to see how our ecosystem recycles nitrogen as a life force. Lightening, rain, decaying waste (urine) and microbes all play an important role in the Nitrogen Cycle.
When it comes to applying oxidizers to pet urine odors, the result is swift and instant. The odors disappear immediately because the oxidizer destroys the ammonifying bacteria on contact. However, the ammonifying bacteria were there for specific reason, to convert the nitrogen within the uric salt, creatinine and urea to the gaseous form of nitrogen called ammonia.
While the urine odors may have been eradicated, it is only temporary as oxidizers do not effectively alter the nitrogen. The area will eventually repopulate with ammonifying bacteria until the nitrogen is successfully converted to ammonia – no exceptions.
Nitrogen: Fighting Fire with Fire
Pet urine contains several sources of nitrogen. While oxidizers eliminate the nitrogen-converting bacteria, eliminating the bacteria is winning the battle, but not the war. This means the Nitrogen Cycle will continue as more ammonifying bacteria return and start converting the nitrogen to ammonia. The uric salt also makes this process much more attractive as it absorbs moisture as a desiccant to support further microbial life.
The only effective way to eliminate the nitrogen without replacing the flooring is to speed up the ammonification process. The ammonifying bacteria use special enzymes to convert nitrogen to ammonia. Applying additional enzymes to the nutrient-dense area provides the perfect environment for complete ammonification (nitrogen elimination).
Enzymes quickly speed up the ammonifcation process thereby eliminating the possibility of future odors. While the process is not instant, it is still the only way to properly eliminate pet urine odors permanently. Unlike many enzymatic deodorants that are sold in enzyme form, Ur-OUT is a dormant formula, the stage prior to creating enzymes, so it starts creating enzymes on contact with the nitrogen. This provides the most potent enzyme count possible and the best chance for complete ammonification.
Spore-form Ur-OUT contains a specific amount of fragrance to temporarily mask the rush of ammonia odor until the ammonification process is complete. Ur-OUT’s fragrance slowly dissipates as the conversion occurs so there are no overpowering, lingering odors. The result is a fresh, clean, ammonia-free smell.
Good, Cheap, Fast: Pick Two
I have heard professional carpet cleaners say that they do not have time for enzymes to work, and that peroxide does the job instantly without any call-backs. This repeated phrase is a near battle cry within the industry, likely because the results are so instant. Science, however, tells us otherwise. It is also a Cheap, Fast service as the title suggests. Cheap, Fast yields low customer retention. It is crucial for professional cleaners to educate their customers on the Nitrogen Cycle.
Customers must realize that if they do not want to spend thousands of dollars in new carpet, pad and sub-floor, the next best thing is a quality spore-form enzymatic cleaner applied correctly to the carpet and pad. And it may require more than one visit!
Rethinking Pet Urine Odor Remediation
Pet urine is so pervasive that it may require additional applications on separate appointments. This is not the professional cleaners fault, as urine can seep deep into textiles, hardwood floors, even concrete. And who knows how many times a pet has pee’d in one location. It does become the carpet cleaners fault if he or she does not educate the customer on the odor removal process or offering a 100% odor removal guarantee that very day.
You did not ask the customer to allow their pet to pee on the carpet, nor that new-used homeowner to buy a home full contaminated carpet. If they do not want to fix the problem correctly, that is, full replacement, then you are not fully liable for complete pet urine odor removal.
Become the educator; assume the role of odor remediator, and not odor eliminator. Your aim is to save them thousands of dollars by helping them mitigate the pet urine odor. If full removal occurs, great, but offering anything more is risky.