Preventing and Removing Pet Urine from Hardwood Floors

Karen Lawson

In spite of protective finishes, pet urine can penetrate hardwood floors to sub flooring and create costly problems. Black stains on hardwood floors indicate urine damage; the blackening is caused by uric acid. Before discussing how to deal with pet urine damage, there are a few don'ts to consider.

Controlling Pet Pee 101
Most importantly, please don't hit your pets for peeing indoors. They can't make the connection between such punishment and the puddle on the floor. If you catch your pet in the act, immediately remove him/her to an appropriate place. Many accidents can be prevented by ensuring that your pets have access to the outdoors or other "potty places."

Ammonia is often recommended for cleaning urine, but urine contains ammonia, which can encourage pets to use the same spots again.

Safe Cleaning Agents for Hardwood Floors
Removing puddles from your hardwood floors as quickly as possible can help prevent staining and permanent damage. Once liquid is removed, clean the area with a soft cloth moistened with hydrogen peroxide. This gently removes discoloration caused by pet urine. You may need to repeat the process several times.

Using a natural enzymatic cleaner can neutralize pet urine. These products contain natural enzymes that destroy bacteria that causes the odor of pet pee.By destroying the odor of pet urine, these products can also help break the cycle of repeated marking. Follow package directions and test a small area before applying cleaning agents to your hardwood floors.

The Truth (and Urine) Sinks In
Serious damage to hardwood floors occurs when pet urine soaks through the floorboards into the sub flooring. You can use a black light to locate dried urine and assess the extent of damage to your floors. Cleaning and repairing surface flooring alone will not remove the odor from sub flooring.

The best way to address problems with pet urine is prevention, but when your pets pee on hardwood floors, it's important to use safe and effective cleaning methods that won't harm you, your pets, or your flooring.

About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer who has kept all kinds of pets from amphibians to zebra finches. She currently shares her home with three dogs and an assortment of birds. Karen holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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