reclaiming the pet deposit (cleaning a house that reeks of dog urine)
June 5, 2013 9:35 PM   Subscribe

A week before my former roommate moved out her dog came into heat, resulting in my own ankle biter marking everything he could hike his little leg at. Apparently in his haze of lust he decided that bathing the house in stink would boost his chances of getting a bit of action. Defiled items include the back of my couch, my box spring and the linoleum in the kitchen (where I keep him penned up when I'm out). Also some bedding and other small items I'm comfortable throwing away instead of trying to clean. Next week I'm moving to another property under the same management and hoping to get back most of my deposits (as well as keeping in the landlord's good grace) by getting the house as minty fresh as possible before I turn in the key. I'm looking for some low budget recommendations on getting the stench out. I would prefer they be methods that you've used with success, so if I have further questions I can actually discuss it with someone who has experience with the specific method.

I own a carpet cleaner, but not the kind that comes with attachments. It works on flat surfaces, and I'm likely to injure myself trying to make the couch balance in a way that allows me to use it there... If necessary I can rent a steamer to get it, but first I'd like to see what other options might be workable. I found one suggestion of mixing peroxide and white vinegar and letting it soak in (repeatedly, if necessary, until smell is gone). Has anyone tried that? I never heard of it before finding it on one site today.

I've tried mopping the linoleum down with white vinegar in the water, so far it hasn't work. Today I tried bleach water, also with limited success. In fact, afterward the dog seemed to deliberately target the area. I plan to buy a new mop head in case that might make a difference, and go over the area repeatedly. Is there something else I should be using that would help more?

When I first brought the dog home he started marking the box spring, I tried Nature's Miracle to get the smell out and remove the scent markers... I started locking him out of the bedroom shortly afterward, so can't say how successful that was... but there were other places in the house that he went back to repeatedly in spite of Nature's Miracle being used... so I'm not sold on that being a worthwhile product. I do still have part of the bottle left and can try that.

I also have amonia, bleach, white vinegar... all bought previously in attempt to wash out bedding that had been marked. The blankets were eventually tossed as I couldn't get rid of the smell even after several trips to the laundromat.

My budget for cleaning supplies is around $20. I can possibly stretch up to $50, but since it means cutting out of my food budget with payday still almost 2 weeks away, I'd prefer to do that only if absolutely necessary.
posted by myShanon to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Most of the things you mention are furniture and bedding and things you'll presumably be taking with you when you move. Could you just wait to do the inspection until all your stuff is out of the apartment?

For the linoleum, Nature's Miracle and maybe a nice-smelling cleaner. Air the place out really well once your stuff is out, and spray good smelling stuff that ideally isn't a super obvious Febreeze type product.

Your goal at this point isn't to get your dog to stop marking, it's to get rid of/hide the smell of dog piss.

Also, neuter your dog so you don't have to go through this with the next apartment. With an intact dog kept indoors, my understanding is that the problem isn't so much the tempting, tempting pee spots (though I guess that's a factor), but the hormones causing him to mark territory.
posted by Sara C. at 9:47 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Re: Nature's Miracle--I've used it to very good effect, but they're not kidding when they say saturate the area with it and let it dry completely. You really can't be sparing with it. I know that sucks because it's not cheap, but if you use enough of it and let it dry completely (can take up to 2 days) it can definitely eliminate nasty odours. I have found that a hefty dose of Nature's Miracle and the requisite drying time has worked when all manner of other cleaners have not, so now I just go for that straight away so as not to waste time and money on other methods. If you are planning of spending that $20 on more cleaning products, I'd buy the biggest bottle of NM that you can and use it like it's going out of style.

Are you able to keep your dog elsewhere until you move, so that he doesn't re-mark areas you successfully clean?
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:01 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

2nding Nature's Miracle and hurdy gurdy girl's comment about volume and drying time. It works really well - it will save your couch, but you need to use at least twice the amount that you think. (We have two cats and a dog - so plenty of practice here).
posted by heybearica at 10:09 PM on June 5, 2013

Nature's Miracle is entry-level stuff compared to Odo-Ban or Anti-Icky-Poo. Note: all enzymatic cleaners work over several days to a week, and the stank gets super-stanky in the middle as the enzymes work.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:20 PM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

I had some success with baking soda and sunshine for peed on mattresses. Though it was the Mojave Desert, very dry heat, up to 120 degrees.
posted by Michele in California at 10:35 PM on June 5, 2013

Nature's Miracle and Odo-ban were both very effective on an upholstered chair, grout, and carpet. Try using a black light to see exactly where the urine is, then soak the shit out of that area, just pour it on, straight from the bottle. The urine has soaked into the substrate, a misting of the area is not going to cut it.

Yes, your budget is tight and the enzyme cleaners are expensive, but how much is the deposit you're hoping to get back? Not to mention staying in the landlord's good graces. Honestly, I would have to think really hard about renting, therefore exposing, a second property to a tenant who has an urinary incontinent pet.

Peroxide has the potential to bleach the color out of an item, be careful with it. Also, do not mix bleach and ammonia together. The combination of these two chemicals create a toxic chemical, chloramine vapor, which is a gas.
posted by JujuB at 10:51 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Anti-ickypoo is my savior with a senile and cantankerous old lady cat. I swear by the stuff and it doesn't have a funny additional scent of its own like Natures Miracle.
posted by susanbeeswax at 11:16 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes, take your stuff out of the apartment, then assess the situation.

Former landlord and apartment manager here....

I read through your description very carefully. I have to be honest, that amount of urine events is excessive. Like, really really really excessive.

You should expect to pay some sort of penalty, likely for the kitchen floor. What's the square footage, what type of linoleum? Memail me and I'll give you an estimate.

This amount of damage you can mitigate, but not entirely fix. Sorry.

PS - Peroxide bleaches at quantity and with time, like, well... Bleach. Be careful. Baking soda and vinegar are better, after you wash out all the peroxide.
posted by jbenben at 12:14 AM on June 6, 2013 [5 favorites]

You may also want to develop a strategy for protecting the next deposit by working out how you're going to stop your pooch from repeat offending in the new place...I'd focus on that and try to mitigate whatever damage there is in the old place but accept you'll have to pay something.

What I mean by that is that I grew up with a small dog, living in a flat. Until the dog was absolutely geriatric (16-17 yrs) he never had any urine events. And even then it happened rarely and was generally our fault because he'd spend so much time asleep by then he'd wake up really needing to be taken outside now and we didn't pick up on that and didn't carry him outside. But right to the end he tried to hold on and do his business outside...and he wasn't neutered so not sure that's the problem. But I would suggest that your time and money may be best spent training your dog to avoid this kind of problem going forward.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:03 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

32 oz of perioxide + 2T of baking soda +2drops dish soap. Mix gently, so you don't get too many bubbles. Saturate carpet or floor thoroughly. Let air dry. If needed, repeat. I haven't had any problems with bleaching on multiple surfaces, but I always spot test first. This works for cat urine, so I'd guess it would do the job for dog as well. I've also used this on my microfiber couch with good success.
posted by gilsonal at 5:58 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Febreze spray is actually pretty amazing, although it only works temporarily.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:15 AM on June 6, 2013

Yeah, you need to clean everything as late in the move-out process as possible, or get it all out of the house now and clean it at the new place or in storage. Or remove the dog from the situation and, of course, to a place you can guarantee it won't start happening again.

Even if you can mitigate the smell/damage to human senses (which I agree with jbenben, sounds unlikely at this point), your pup is just going to keep marking the same spots no matter how clean they seem to you. No point spending hours on it today if he's going to mark it tomorrow. Don't start cleaning until you can 100% prevent the dog from marking again.
posted by juliplease at 7:49 AM on June 6, 2013

As an alternative to Nature's Miracle I have found Kids 'n' Pets to be quite effective, and less expensive. Wal-Mart carries it.
posted by kindall at 9:09 AM on June 6, 2013

Thirding removing furniture first before a deep clean, unless you're in a furnished apartment in which case...well, not a chance in hell. When we were cleaning my grandparents' house last year after their (senile, incontinent) terrier finally moved on soiling that giant carpet in the sky, a combination of thoroughly steaming the carpet with soap as well as a Nature's Miracle soaking (it was wet for days) seemed to work, though once it finally dried I dumped baking soda and vacuumed the whole thing just to be on the safe side. They sell powders that you dump and vacuum specifically for pet odors, but I can't say I've noticed a big difference between the fancy stuff and the $.49/box store brand baking soda. I'd also recommend opening all the windows, if possible, for a few days, and getting some fans going in there. It'll help the carpet dry faster, but will also blow out some of the remaining stench. Get a pot of water boiling in the kitchens and throw in the rinds of a couple of lemons. Mmm. Fresh.

Depending on the age of the place, the linoleum might be the hardest thing to clean. Has it soaked in between the cracks? Remember to spot-check whatever cleaning solution you're using somewhere totally not obvious, like behind the fridge or the stove, to make sure it doesn't cause peeling or discoloration.
posted by theweasel at 10:23 AM on June 6, 2013

The above suggestions are all to the good--I'm a fan of Nature's Miracle.

Sounds like the dog needs to be either with you constantly (on a leash, attached around your waist) or in a crate when not supervised. If you know he pisses on the floor, why in heaven't name are you allowing him free run of the kitchen. He needs a crate. Get him neutered, then get him trained not to pee on things.

If I were your landlord, I'd be really pissed, and I'd certainly not give you a chance in another apartment.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:38 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: A quick update (I lost internet for several weeks immediately following the night I posted).

Natures Miracle had no effect on the linoleum. I ended up using a mixture of vinegar baking soda and peroxide (apparently also a recipe for getting skunk smell out) which a friend had successfully used in getting the smell of cat urine out of her mattress. I scrubbed the entire kitchen floor as well as baseboards and walls, then went over it again with rinse water (just hot water with a bit of vinegar) and on the final day once everything was moved out I went over it again with the de-skunk recipe... deliberately leaving the floor wet enough that it would soak in as it air dried. There was no bleaching or discoloration of the floors or anything (although it did brighten up some dingy spots I hadn't been able to get clean the entire time I lived there). I left the kitchen window cracked a couple of inches when I locked up and went to turn in the keys.

As to the rest of the house. I opened all of the windows, shook scented powder fresh stuff into the carpets and vaccuumed thoroughly, steam cleaned the former roommate's bedroom (apparently she let her bunny kick dirty bedding all over the floor and never bothered to clean up, it reeked even worse than the dog urine!!) using a liberal amount of vinegar in with hot water in the carpet cleaner. I ran out of time and didn't end up cleaning the rest of the carpets.

I also didn't end up having to deal with the couch. I moved from a 2 bedroom house into an efficiency sized house (I swear I live in a shoebox now) with absolutely no help from friends. Roommate showed up long enough to collect her stuff and have her friend help her carry the couch out onto the curb. A neighbor swooped in and asked if they could take it. I warned them of the dog having marked it and we used half a bottle of nature's miracle on the couch so it would soak in and saturate the marked areas. I'm living in the house next door to where I was previously, and the neighbor says they've had no problem with the couch, her dogs haven't so much as sniffed at it so apparently it worked.

The box spring I soaked in nature's miracle... then a few days later in vinegar water... then later with febreeze. He hasn't even looked interested in lifting his leg at it.

There have not been any issues with the new house. Since moving in there has been only one accident (not urine) due to me oversleeping and not giving the dogs enough time to go outside before I went to work. Both dogs run to the door as soon as I say potty or outside, as soon as I open the crate door, and occasionally on their own without having to be asked. I feed and water them outside or with the door open so that they have immediate access to potty when they're ready. As stated in the original post, the issue was because of my former roommate's dog being in heat and my male trying to impress her.

At last report from the landlord the only thing they were likely to charge me for was the stove, which I completely forgot to clean because I was so concerned about the floors. I should be getting the majority of my deposit back and all of the refundable portion of pet deposit, and yes part of the money will be spent on getting the boy snipped.

Thank you so much for all of the responses, I apologize for not posting sooner. My phone allowed me to read but glitched whenever I tried responding to the post.
posted by myShanon at 9:36 PM on June 29, 2013

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