Oxidizers have long been hailed as cleaning royalty for decades, and signs of its long-standing popularity doesn’t seem to be waning.
While it is true that hydrogen peroxide and peroxide-containing solutions are quite valuable for killing bacteria, brightening whites and removing stains, they aren’t actually as effective at eliminating the one thing many pet owners work so hard to get rid of, and that’s urine odor.
Why Pet Urine Poses Major Problems
Not surprisingly, pet urine is a major irritant for many homeowners, property owners and renters, alike. Not only do urine stains and odors affect the quality of a living space, but it can also pose serious health risks, as well.
As those with compromised respiratory systems can tell you, pet urine can do a number on a person’s ability to breathe properly, especially if that person has a pre-existing condition, such as asthma.
In addition, carpet or flooring frequently soiled with pet urine faces the risk of eventually developing mold and bacteria, and this pet urine can also reach the sub-floor hidden beneath the surface.
Because of these issues, occupants of homes and structures affected by pet urine are often seeking long-lasting and noticeable solutions for their homes and establishments. Oftentimes, however, services rendered may prove to be ineffective over time as issues of foul odors resurface. So, what can be done?
Nitrogen and the Role It Plays in Urine Odor
Nitrogen plays a critical role in our day-to-day life function here on Earth. Believe it or not, nitrogen circulates throughout our atmosphere and ecosystems, and takes on various forms as it does, to help sustain life.
Nitrogen can be, and is, very much a good thing, but too much nitrogen, can have detrimental effects.
During the process of the nitrogen life cycle, one of the natural forms that nitrogen takes on is ammonia gas. As many well-know, ammonia can be highly dangerous in high concentrations. In low concentrations, it can be, at the very least, a nuisance that causes respiratory issues, coughing, burning of the eyes and a foul smell.
The bothersome smell that we often associate with pet urine is usually the cause of what is called the ammonifying process. In a nutshell, pet urine contains nitrogen which eventually becomes overtaken with bacteria that serves to break down and consume the nitrogen waste. As this process happens over time, the ammonia smell begins to permeate the affected structure as nitrogen is slowly being converted to its gaseous ammonified state.
In a sense, the bacteria already present in the ammonifying process is doing just what it should. It is breaking down nitrogen waste and converting it into a gas.
The issue, however, is that this process happens slowly, which is why ammonia smells permeating a structure don’t seem to go away. The idea, then, is for cleaners to attempt to take on the urine smell.
But by what means should this be done?
Why Oxides Don’t Help in the Long Run
This is the point where the oxidizers that we all know and love step in to save the day, right? Not quite.
Don’t get us wrong, oxidizers will, in fact, tackle smells at their source, but only because they are killing ammonifying bacteria on contact. Though that may sound like a good thing, it isn’t in the world of urine removal.
Remember that ammonifying bacteria is what eliminates nitrogenous waste to begin with. The main issue is that it does so at a slower rate of speed than what we’d like.
To kill the ammonifying bacteria, however, presents an even bigger problem, and that is that the nitrogen now has nothing to consume it. Not even heroic oxidizers can kill nitrogen.
So, the nitrogen sits.
Eventually, the nitrogen will, once again repopulate with ammonifying bacteria, causing those unsavory odors to resurface, and thus, restarting the nitrogen cycle all over again. As such, oxidizers only work for the short-term smell and cleanliness of the environment. They do nothing long-term, and in fact, even work to compound the problem in many instances.
Mitigation, Not Elimination
So, what are we to do? Oxidizers only help short-term, and getting rid of ammonifying bacteria, though seemingly sensible, only compounds the problem.
The truth is that urine odor issues, especially those permeating the subfloor or hardwood flooring, often can’t be completely eliminated.
While it is true that these vexing smells can seemingly vanish in some cases after treatment, the truth is that urine odor removal teams would do better to inform clients that they are only providing simple mitigation services, rather than odor removal services in most cases.
For true odor removal that will stand the test of time, clients will need to have their floors completely replaced, and have their subfloors replaced or sealed. Nevertheless, there are options available to mediate the issue of odor that works with the nitrogen cycle, rather than against it.
Enzyme Cleaners to Beat the Effects of Nitrogen
Enzyme cleaners do a far better job in terms of long-term satisfaction, cleanliness and air-quality than do oxides. For this reason, they are the treatment of choice when it comes to tackling nitrogen at its source.
By adding additional strains of bacteria, these enzymes work to break down nitrogen faster, providing better results in the long run than oxides. Although the process is more involved, may be more expensive and may take longer, it is well-worth the investment of the client as the results will be superior long-term than they would be with the use of oxides, alone.
In addition, the use of certain types of enzymes, such as those containing citrus and other powerful cleaning agents, will work to breakdown problems caused by lipids and oily residues left behind by pet urine. All of this and more will lead to a fresh-looking and smelling home over the course of time.
Urine Removal Is No Easy Feat
Remember, urine odor removal is no easy feat, and some battles are easier won than others. Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that although there are better cleaning options available for pet urine than oxides, urine odor removal is never a guarantee without proper sealing and floor replacement.