Cats Vs Wood Floors: Cats Win
April 15, 2008 8:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to help a friend clean up a bad situation with cats and wood floors; I'm looking for suggestions (Icky cat-related stuff inside)

I'm trying to help a friend clean up a bad situation with cats and wood floors; we are cleaning up in a house where the cats have been using the floor at a litter tray. I have the following questions;

- What's the quickest way to clean up dried-up cat crap? The floors are sealed, but getting down and scrubbing them is taking too long.

- Of the areas we've cleared so far, there are dark stains in the seal or the wood (we aren't sure which) in some areas. Is there any way to clean these, or are the floors damaged for good?

- Other areas of the floor are just plain dirty. Is there a machine we can buy/hire that will make cleaning these easier than a mop and bucket?

- Any other suggestions for quickly cleaning up wood floors? We are against a tight deadline.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cat pee is really destructive to wood flooring. You will have to get down and scrub it. After the scrubbing it will need to be sanded and refinished. You can rent sanders from Lowes, but this is really something a person experienced with hardwood restoration would have to do. Depending on how badly damaged they are, you may be able to sand and refinish, but stains will still be visible under the lacquer.

If it's Grey Gardens bad, then the floor will have to be completely replaced.
posted by pieoverdone at 9:01 AM on April 15, 2008

You get a bottle of eucalyptus essential oil - 0 cc's - and you put that whole thing into a bucket - gallon - of water - you dip a good old towel in that's been tied around a floor squeegie do not saturate just get it wet enough but not dripping wet, you don't want to saturate the wood, just permeate it - and you start going over the whole floor from top to bottom. And you quietly leave the room shutting doors and leaving just a tiny bit of the window open for ventilation. Return after 2 hours. Aerate the room. Repeat as necessary with fresh oil/water solution.
posted by watercarrier at 10:06 AM on April 15, 2008

oh - that's 30 cc's.
posted by watercarrier at 10:08 AM on April 15, 2008

We bought a condo with terrible and severe pet stained hardwoods. We had them refinished and stained a dark (Ebony, I think) color and now they're incredibly beautiful. The area was about 450 square feet, cost around $1300, and took about three days (no foot traffic for a couple days after that too). Many floor refinishers will give you a free estimate and are very familiar with you situation.
posted by Craig at 10:28 AM on April 15, 2008

cat crap = not so destructive. cat pee = vilest substance on earth! in my experience, there is no quick and easy way to deal with cat urine.

to remove the smell, and possibly take out the stain, i recommend a product called nature's miracle cat formula. there's also a dog formula, so make sure you get the cat one. it's available at pretty much every pet store i've ever gone to buy it in. you spray the bejesus out of the area with that and let it sit, which will at the very least remove the smell. if the stain is not trapped underneath the finish, maybe you can scrub out any blemishes.

there is a very high probability that you'll need to refinish these floors. cat pee is very destructive, and from the sounds of your problem, it seems like the urine has seeped into the flooring. do NOT try to refinish the floors on your own. floor sanders are very tricky to operate and the odds of you totally f-ing up your floors are quite high. no offense or anything, they're just beasts to operate smoothly.

best of luck to you!
posted by binocularfight at 2:01 PM on April 15, 2008

I've got cats, and I also have a cat who "visits" every so often when my parents go away on vacation, and when he arrives, he enjoys spraying at least once to let me know that he's unhappy to be here. I've looked for years for something actually useful to get rid of the urine, in particular the smell, in an efficient and timely manner. A couple of months ago I tried a product named Urine Gone, which alleges it uses enzymes to attack the urine and chemically alter it. I'll tell you one thing, it gets rid of the smell like nothing else I've ever tried. Whether or not it will remove stains, I am not so certain. The places I've used it staining wasn't an issue, so I have no experience to speak to that, but you could give it a go, it might make cleanup easier.
posted by barc0001 at 3:17 PM on April 15, 2008

We had to deal with this at the last place I moved out of, and wound up doing a sand-and-refinish on that chunk of flooring. It went pretty smoothly other than a bit of trouble matching the stain on the rest of the floor, and the landlord didn't say a word at the move-out walkthrough. It was time-consuming but not difficult. But if your stain is in a really visible location you might want to consider going with a professional.

One other possibility if the stain is not too large and dark is wood bleach. You'd still have to sand the floor before bleaching, but might not have to sand down as far if you can just bleach the stain out.

That said, for us it was a huge waste of time and I wish we'd just done the sand-and-refinish in the first place and saved a week of repeated wood bleaching.
posted by Stacey at 7:39 PM on April 15, 2008

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