Odor elimination: UN-scientific experiment

Don’t get excited.  I have not discovered a magic cure for what ails those of us afflicted with pet odors.

I can only imagine how many odor elimination products you have collectively tried over the years for cleaning up after your pets.  Some of you may have real issues with pet urine in the carpet, floor boards, etc, etc.  So, like me you go to the Internet and do a search which brings up a plethora of products making all kinds of amazing claims.  Perhaps many of  you have found a product that you swear by.  There are those that tell you the product MUST have an enzyme in it to get the urine odor out, while others say no, that’s not necessary.  Most seem to agree that the odor eliminating product must come in contact with the organic elements causing the odor.  This can be a problem with urine in carpets.  Consequently several companies now have elaborate injection tools and whatnot to get the product into the carpet and the pad below.

Over the past few years since Simba Kahn started his studly spraying, I’ve tired many of these products.  To name a few: Zero Odor, Anti-ickypoo, Nature’s Miracle, and more.  I don’t know which one the culprit was but it, or maybe several, succeeded in ruining my carpet by bleaching out great areas of it.  Of course all of them warn you to test for color fastness first, but what they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t always bleach right away, but several days or weeks later, there it is!  Eventually I gave up on all of the products and switched to vinegar and water – approximately a 50/50 solution, often adding a few drops of my favorite perfumed oil.

I had new carpeting put in last year and swore I’d never use anything other than vinegar and water on it unless it was thoroughly tested first — over time — for color fastness.   This may be a bit over cautious since I put in carpet that you can use bleach on over a water proof pad.  In any case the vinegar has worked well for me — granted that my odor problems are not as bad as some are dealing with.  For stains the don’t respond to the vinegar, I use a surfactant product I’ve had success with for years called Folex.

Now that you are all thoroughly bored, I’m finally getting to the crux of the story.  Sorry it took so long.    Here it is:  I went a bit crazy for no good reason this past week and decided to try one more product that I’ve been watching for a couple of years.  Like all the rest it makes interesting claims but in addition, it offered to send you a “test” kit.  Well, how could I resist that?  The kit contained 32 oz of the product (SCOE 10x), rubber gloves, a tiny vial of pure skunk oil, and a tiny vial containing a solution of animal urine and feces.  EWWWWWW!  That’s an understatement.  When the UPS man handed me the package he said, “what is in this?  It stank up my entire truck!”  It was RANK!!  The samples were in the vials in small plastic bags and then in a larger plastic bag and I could still smell them.  GAG!!  I didn’t even bring it in the house.

I girded my loins, clothespinned my nose, then laid out my little experiment in the garage.  A sample piece of my new carpet was used.  On it I placed equal amounts of the skunk oil in two places and equal amounts of the other stuff in two places … carefully labeled due to my short term memory getting shorter every day.  I then treated each type of noxious odor with my vinegar solution on one side and SCOE 10x on the other.  I poured it into the carpet — did not spray.

The results according to my nose, which was likely numb by now are as follows.  First application:  both vinegar and the SCOE 10x virtually eliminated the urine/feces solution odor.  Skunk odor was still evident for both.  I then applied more odor eliminating solution of each kind to the skunk oil several times over about an hour.  I could still smell the skunk odor in the carpet for both vinegar and SCOE 10x.  It was MAYBE slightly less pungent with the SCOE 10x.  Of course the entire garage reeks and I’m nauseous.

The Experiment: Vinegar on the left, SCOE 10x on the right; skunk top, orther solution bottom

Conclusion:  The SCOE 10x is likely a good product, but it does caution that you use it in a ventilated area and gives you directions on what to do if you get it in your eyes.  Also when I spray it, I can feel the chemicals in my lungs … if you know what I mean?  Despite this, the company does say it’s perfectly safe to use around family and pets.  Regardless, I think I’ll stick with the vinegar solution for safety and economy.  I don’t know yet how SCOE 10x will affect the carpet over time, but obviously that will have to be another experiment because the current test piece will need to be quadruple bagged and thrown out. 😀

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29 responses to “Odor elimination: UN-scientific experiment

  1. Oh the thing one does while waiting for kittens. Interesting article and I am sure the UPS man will appreciate the fact you decideded the vinegar and water will still do…. lol.

    • Indeed! Poor man. I didn’t get the whiff right away and had forgotten what was actually going to be in that box, so I ‘made little’ of his comments. If I could find him, I would grovel appropriately.

  2. Bobinosecovered

    Wooooooooooof – I can smell it from here!

    Slightly off topic…
    For what its worth… My magic ‘recipe’ for urine in the carpet (dog’s) is the use of potato flour to draw up the stuff, then to vacuum up (Hoover, Dyson) the potato flour.

    It seems effective… dont know whether carpet ‘ruined’ as caret ‘largely ‘ruined’ to start with!
    Also you can (whil, should) end up with a rather nasty vacuum-cleaner-bag full of old potato flour soaked in nasty liquid…

    But better than a floor’s worth, I suppose.
    Good luck – this posting ought to have a clothes-peg-on-nose warning at the start!!

    Bobinosefullycovered.

  3. What you have to do to prove something … LOL !!! My nose was turned up when you mentioned Skunk!!!!
    You did mention Skunk??? didn’t you?? My memory is short term also very much so….:D

    • It was PURE skunk oil… and here it is HOURS later, and I can’t get the smell of it out of my nose! … I’d have to say that both the vinegar and the other product knocked the odor way back in the carpet – but did NOT get rid of it.

  4. Interesting experiment, Molly. We only have one small room with carpet, but luckily, my girls always ‘do their business’ in their litter box. They vomit occasionally, but Spot Shot works well on the carpet and the floor is easy thanks to Clorox/Lysol wipes.

  5. Oh, Molly, thanks for a great post! And for experimenting on all our behalf!! Vinegar does work wonders and is a lot cheaper!

    Did I tell you that come warm weather a friend’s husband is going to help me Tiger-proof the front door area? Pull up the laminate, sand and seal the subfloor after removing whatever needs to be and then sealing it, fixing it so that if he still pees on the front door, it won’t go beneath the floor and stink. Of course, Tiger being Tiger, I’m afraid he’ll pick another part of the house to “go”!

    • Oh, excellent, TM! and well I know what you mean about the devious cats. This was yesterday: I had a client here I’m doing some graphics work for. He was busy sorting his papers, so I excused myself to feed the cats clamoring at the door. I’d put the big baby scale on the feeding table earlier… for some reason this scale is a *target* … I wasn’t thinking, obviously, because I didn’t check it first. Instead I grab it to swing it up on top of the dryer … and I slopped cat urine all over the room, including my arm and pants. SHEESH! Glancing in to check on client, I rush with the scale into the bathroom to clean up a well as I can and I set the scale in the bath tub and closed the shower doors. later I take the scale out, nicely wiped down with vinegar and set it on the floor for maybe 5 minutes to return and find a puddle of pee in it.

      • LOL! At least Tiger is not doing his thing to an audience!!

      • Oy vey! Do you know who is peeing in the scale?

      • There are 3 possible culprits in my house. Sometimes one or more will be in the clear due to wearing their panties but when in doubt, we just blame Simba Kahn. It’s probably him most of the time, second choice is Koi Koi who also seems to like smooth slick surfaces to do her marking. I used to really worry about all this … okay I still do since it’s important to stay on top of. But now I count my blessings — if it’s not on the carpet, I’m happy.

  6. Lorraine Brattin

    You may think this one is crazy but I found this recipe online. It was 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide plus 1/2 cup baking soda along with 2 or 3 drops of dish soap, hand soap, or your favorite shampoo to add a cleaning factor and pour liberally on kitty urine. (I have even doubled the recipe) Use small hand brush and scrub effected area lightly. Allow to dry then vacuum over the area. It has worked well for us when our Sophie gets mad at us and sprays the carpet just outside the utility room where we also keep the litter box. PS, our litter boxes are like yours and we clean them at least once a day. I saw your video and follow your lead, thank you Molly.

    • Thanks, Lorraine .. I’ve seen that recipe … all great ingredients, but I have issues with the hydrogen peroxide near my carpet. Just an old habit maybe as this carpet could probably take it. I finally got a black light that works on this carpet … it’s one of those natural fiber deals made from corn, I think, and my two old lights light up the whole carpet. the last few days I’ve been chasing down spots after dark… I’ve only found a few spots with odor. I think I’m becoming living proof that a little pee does not smell as bad as everyone says … either that or I can’t smell any more.

  7. This is totally off the subject, but I have two cats, and one of them (I’m still not exactly sure which one) is destroying the carpeting in my bedroom by ripping out the threads. Is there anything I can spray on the carpeting (that won’t stink up the room) that will deter my kitty? I can’t afford to replace the carpeting right now unfortunately.
    Thanks for any help or advise.

    • I haven’t had any luck with spray-on deterrents plus, like you said, it could stink up the area or stain your carpet. If the area the kitties are destroying is localized (i.e. a corner) the “StayAway” cans work great for deterring cats. They make a noise and emit a harmless spray or can be set to just making a noise (I find the noise to be sufficient) and are activated by motion. You could aim one or two in such a way to “go off” if the kitties entered that area. You can get them at Amazon.com What I’ve done at the entry to my bedroom (the kitties dig at the carpet just outside my door when they think it’s time for me to get up), so I keep a sisal scratching mat down there for them and that has saved the carpet. For a larger area, you can buy sisal entry mats. The cats love to scratch on these things. You could sweeten the experience for them initially by sprinkling some catnip on the mat.

      Good luck.

      • I had a similar problem with Phoebe pulling up the carpet in one area of my condo. I put a throw rug over that area with a favorite toy (the flat circular thing that has a ball that goes around and scratching material in the center). She loved sleeping on the new surface and sent the ball racing around endlessly. I replaced the plain ball with a light-up ball, which she and Zoey really love!

  8. BobinGoesRoundAndRound

    oooooooooo Molly – when do WE get a ‘lightup ball’ to go in the blue circular toy? PLEASE??

  9. Unfortunately, my cats have picked several different areas to destroy. One just outside the door, one outside the closet door, and 2 other places in corners. 😦 Ugh, very frustrating. But thanks for the tips, much appreciated!

  10. Molly, they say every cloud has a silver lining….. I think yours might be that you breed cats and not skunks! 😀

    • BobinGoesRoundAndRound

      ooo I have this wonderful visition of Molly’s New Skunk-pants!
      World leader in skunk technology!!
      Bobin

  11. All I can say is that you are one brave lady……………………

  12. You should have tested bourbon. Half on the carpet sample, half down the hatch.

  13. I too tried the peroxide/baking powder – not only did it discolour the carpet but the baking powder left a residue which wouldn’t come out.
    In the UK I’ve tried Urine-Off which is OK but expensive. I’m glad Molly finds vinegar as good as anything – will stick with this plus a bit of ordinary cleaner in future. Thank you all.

  14. Pingback: catsNAOW | 12 10 27 Cleaning and cat urine odor neutralizing

  15. I have just saved $30.00! Thank you, one and all.. I also read a complaint from a buyer who said he was ignored when trying to return the bottle of remaining SKOE10 X along with his receipts…. He was very upset disappointed

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