Tips for replacing carpet ruined by a cat
December 1, 2007 10:55 AM   Subscribe

When replacing cat pee ruined carpet, what are the best ways to make sure the smell is totally gone?

We had a cat with behavior issues that pretty thoroughly ruined the carpet and some of the baseboards in our basement. We're getting the basement recarpeted and replacing the baseboards, but I've heard that it can be tricky to keep the smell from coming back. It's pretty bad and in multiple spots so I want to make sure we do everything possible before the new carpet goes down. We're planning to put Killz down on the spots after the old carpet is removed, but were wondering if there were any other steps that would be good to take to make sure that we get the smell totally out.
posted by shinji_ikari to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have wood or concrete underneath?
posted by Sufi at 11:07 AM on December 1, 2007

If subflooring underneath, you can replace it where needed. Short of that, liberal applications of Kilz should do the trick. Kilz on concrete will block the smell.
posted by found missing at 11:10 AM on December 1, 2007

My bad, basement.. that would be concrete. You need to clean the floor then seal it with an acrylic sealer. Check this out
posted by Sufi at 11:13 AM on December 1, 2007

I'd scrub it down pretty thoroughly with one of those enzyme cleaning things - Natures' Miracle or something like that. Then seal it, yes, but it's important to get the whole smell out first. Even if you can't smell it after replacing the carpet, another cat or dog can and they'll take it as a challenge.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:38 PM on December 1, 2007

If you've got anything covering the walls, check for scents where the walls meet the floor. Paneling or sheetrock on the walls often wicks the urine up the walls a surprising distance. I once had to re-sheetrock the bottom three feet inside an entire room due to cat pee, ugh.
posted by jamaro at 12:50 PM on December 1, 2007

Been there. Having used both, I found B.I.N. sealer to work much better than Killz. I also washed everything down with a bleach solution first. Never use ammonia.

You might also want to check everything over with a black light in a dark room. Both cat urine and detergents fluoresce, so areas where you cleaned already will still light up, but the color is slightly different.
posted by DoingMyBest at 2:07 PM on December 1, 2007

Argh, hadn't thought about it getting into the sheetrock but since she peed on the baseboards I guess that's a possibility too. How did you tell that it had gotten into the walls? I don't know that just checking for smell would work since the whole basement smells so bad I doubt we could distinguish smell from the floor from smell from the walls. Any other signs to look for?
posted by shinji_ikari at 2:24 PM on December 1, 2007

Stab at the sheetrock in an inconspicuous place a few inches above floor level (such as where it will be covered by the new baseboard) with a screwdriver. If it crumbles easily it's probably been exposed to moisture but since you are dealing with a basement, that's not unusual so take the crumbs upstairs for a sniff test away from the stinky room. If there's a lot of pee, it will discolor the wall like a water stain (embarrassingly enough, our walls were painted a color most charitably described as "piss yellow" so we didn't notice the stains until they had built up to an awesomely awful level).
posted by jamaro at 2:36 PM on December 1, 2007

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