Sometimes we find ourselves trying to mask pet odors instead of getting rid of them once and for all. Here are some tried and true techniques for actually making the problem worse rather than better.
Dumping baby powder scented baking soda or powdered deodorizers into your cat’s litter boxes. All you are doing is overwhelming your cats with scents that will disgust them. This may encourage them to go to the bathroom elsewhere in your home.
Dumping absorbent powder onto a carpet to try and absorb the pet accident. This does not solve any reeking problem at all as 90% of the urine is still under the carpet, carpet padding and dripping into your sub floor. There will always be the lingering scent of ammonia as the cat or dog pee degrades beneath the carpet.
Scrubbing vigorously with a wet brush to clean urine stains from carpet. This is a good way to spread the stain and increase its diameters. If you use too much water then you are also soaking the carpet and underpadding with diluted urine. The lingering odor tempts the pet to go in the same place again.
Using any home made mixture of vinegar, water, baking soda or soap to clean up urine from fabrics, floor and carpets. The more liquid you apply to the problem, the more you spread the stain and the more you spread the odor. Vinegar does kill some bacteria but it leaves a strong odor that can actually encourage pets to urinate in the same place again.
Spraying the area with an aerosol or foam disinfectant. Although this might kill some bacteria, disinfectants such as Lysol or often leave a strong odor that combines with the ammonia in the urine to create an even stronger smell that can linger for days. The bleaches and chemicals can make a stain look worse by giving it a brown or white edge.
Using ammonia based cleaner. Avoid products like Mr. Clean that contain ammonia. When pet urine biodegrades it reverts to ammonia. When your pet smells ammonia it interprets it as a green light to eliminate in the same spot again.
Using citrus-based cleaners to clean a cat box. If you use a citrus based cleaner to clean out your cat’s litter box he or she may be so repelled by the smell that they choose to go outside the litter box. They may clean the stain if it is on a floor and leave a fresher scent on a carpet but unfortunately it does not eliminating ammonia from urine. This can also tempt your pet to go in the same place again.
Neglecting to clean up messes for a couple of days. Urination on carpets and floors becomes such a fact of life that some people just give up. This allows odor to really set into fabrics, floors and carpets. This also sends a message to your pet that it is okay to go in the same spot again.