Pet Issues Explained

How Urine Spreads

urine spreads into carpet, pet issue image

Notice that the urine will spread 2-3 times beyond what’s visible on the surface, soak into the backing of the carpet, and then through the pad into the sub-flooring.

Information about the Visible Part

  • To achieve best results, Smart Carpet uses Motsenbockers Lift Off Pet Stain Remover. In more challenging situations, a heat transfer method is used to get further results.
  • The visible part of the stain is likely to return if you use a soaking method like steam or hot water extraction due to wicking action. Smart never uses a steam or soaking method, so you won’t have this problem.

Information about the Smelly Part

  • Urine is complex, and the smell can develop depending on how long it’s been there as well as the source; the type of pet (cat or dog), gender, foods and medications can all affect how it needs to be cleaned.
  • In a matter of weeks, the smell can become stronger because urine decay releases ammonia gas and can decay further into mercaptan, an odor from the same family as skunk spray.
  • Carpet cleaning methods that soak the carpet/pad/subfloor, like hot water extraction, reactivate the urine that is beyond the carpet fiber and can result in a stronger smell that persists for a long period of time.
  • The glowing part of urine is a chemical called porphyrin, which has no smell. Even “successful” treatment often does not remove all the glowing part of urine. It may be valuable to educate your tenant regarding this fact.

Smart’s approach to pet smells


Using a high-intensity UV (black light) flashlight, with confirmation from a sniff test one inch above the fiber determines severity of the problem so you know what you’re dealing with. Based on your objectives, we give you the available options and our best recommendation. Our goal is complete fiber foul smell abatement so that you can avoid the next step, which is pad replacement, sealing the sub-floor, and possibly replacing the carpet —a vastly higher expense.

Light to Moderate

Smells in fiber are treated with OCA (odor counter-actant), which effectively neutralizes most pet smells. More than just a fragrance, which dissipates in a few hours and you’re back to where you started, OCA has chemistry that will neutralize foul smells immediately on contact. This approach avoids the many hours needed using an enzymatic approach.


Urine has penetrated to the backing of carpet and seeped into the pad, perhaps also the subfloor. We apply broad-base treatment using OCA and a higher strength amount directly on the smelly fluorescents. This category may require pad replacement in affected areas, along with sealants applied to sub-flooring.


We call these “head kickers” because, when sniff-tested with the nose one inch above the fiber, your head will kick back from the pungent smell! Our product and process can have an impact in these cases, but most often, pad replacement will be required, as well as sealing the sub-floor, and possibly replacing carpet. 


Black Light Inspection with Photos includes using UV flashlights over all carpeted surfaces, confirmation with a sniff test one inch above the fiber, and documentation that includes: UV photos, location, size, quantity, severity, and a recommendation. Results are included on an invoice that is sent via email.