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Pet Odor
#1
I've never used HWE, low moisture only.  But I have an issue that keeps cropping up with pet owners.  They want their carpets cleaned, are very happy with how they look when I'm done, but complain that I didn't get the smell out.  They didn't tell me they had a pet smell up front and when I point that out they say "that's why I wanted the carpets cleaned to begin with.  I thought the carpet cleaning would take care of the smell".  

With Low Moisture cleaning I have noticed that once you get the carpet damp in a "pet house" the smell can be magnified.

Does HWE do a better job with pet odor in carpet?  I have encap-a-zide, but It is very spendy and when I'm using it and treating for odor it is not a low moisture application.  I soak the carpet with it.  Can't do that in every "dog house".

Anyone else crossed this bridge.  I don't like to leave a customer unhappy but I can't afford to go back and encap-a-cide the whole house.
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#2
Okay, let me be the one to bite. There are two issues you need to deal with. The first is with your business and how you manage your client's expectations and experience, and secondly, how do you deal with odor issues as a vlm cleaner.

Managing your clients expectation and experience. You should have a number of questions you ask your clients over the phone or via email prior to giving any quotes about any work. Aside from the typical what rooms would you like cleaned questions, you should be find out if the client has any issues with pet stains or pet odor. If this is something you are not inquiring about prior to the job many clients will assume that the cleaning should take care of it. So the frustration your clients have is on you 100%. But this is a simple thing to fix with a system of questions you ask to help guide the experience for both you and your client. If your client says no they don't have any issues with pet odor , and you later find out that there is, you then have the ability to give them options about further services to rectify the odor issue. At the very least though you can point back to the fact that they did not think they had any odor issues and that should keep you away from them having negative feelings about the experience. If they say they do have odor issues , it is now time to use the system you have created for dealing with clients who have urine issues. Because there are so many variables when it comes to urine you either have to have a policy that says if there is urine odor you must go out and look at it in person before you can quote it, or you have to have a way to be able to quote it so you have some wiggle room when you get there and the urine issue is much worse than the client says , which happens a lot. I am a one-man band aside from my wife who answers my phones. I don't have time to go out to every house and pre inspect for urine issues so here is how we handle it. If the client says they do have other issues, we asked them where are the other issues are. We try to find out what areas of the rooms are affected. Once we have a generalized idea, we let the client know that we have a few different options when it comes to pet odor. The first is a General deodorizer which usually takes care of mild odor issues. Now we include this in our price, but you could just as easily quote the client out an additional fee per room for a deodorizing spray. Then we tell the client there is also a second level of treatment if the urine is of an extreme nature. For us that process is the use of osr where are we saturate the areas affected and extracted with a water clock and portable, and then clean with our vlm method afterwards. It's usually about here in the conversation with the client said oh I don't think it's that bad, and they elect to go with a basic deodorizer. What I have found is that most people have no idea how bad their urine issues really are. So rather than trying to have the discussion over the phone, I offer a basic level determination that I personally include in my pricing. This puts the client at ease and eliminates any Hang-Ups in the sales process. Understand though that it's your job and to your benefit to go to the job and do a black light inspection to find the actual urine and determine if a subsurface extraction is actually needed. This is all part of managing your client's expectations. In the initial phone call you told your client that you have a number of different options when it comes to odor removal. So if you have covered your but when it comes to conveying that there are different options for different levels of saturation. Next, before you start the job, you inspect the carpet to determine whether or not a basic level the authorization will take care of the issue. In many cases, you would be benefited if you did a subsurface extraction , so at this point prior to the job, you let the client know that the level of urine is actually in the backing and the only way to eliminate it would be to do the subsurface extraction process that you mentioned on the phone when you originally set up the appointment. See how we're Connecting the Dots here, it's all about managing the client's expectation and experience. Now it's really important that you understand that in many cases, the client doesn't necessarily need you to do a full subsurface extraction in order to make them happy. In many cases clients are just happy if you improve the situation with the odor, and don't necessarily want that invest hundreds of dollars in having you do a more advanced treatment. But regardless of which method or approach the client wants to choose, whether it be a light deodorize to lessen the odor, or a full-on subsurface extraction , you have done your job to manage the client's expectations, and keep you off the hook for guaranteed odor removal. This is getting really long, I hope that helps

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#3
Stupid auto correct

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#4
Explain that you offer both topical and 'sub surface' options, but you'll need to quote on site. 

Topical solutions could be as simple as Encap-A-Cide and Peroxcellent. Subsurface treatment could include spotting machine and claw.
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#5
Yes. I always explain to customers that pet odor is not 100%.

I've used VLM and HWE and can only make jobs better. Not 100% gone. I explain this to my customers and have never had a problem.

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#6
Stephen has some great points that can help you to avoid the customer from expecting too much........ by asking questions.

Another way to deal with problems before they happen is to buy and use a black light. You can get inexpensive black lights now with led bulbs that work great and are better than the old large bulb lights that used to cost $400 so you could use them in day light.  If you forget to ask about pet urine check with your light  and bring it to customers attention on estimate or before you start job to give realistic expectations. 
  Even when you soak a carpet with osr and flush carpet and use water claw you still can have odor until padding is dry maybe 2-3 days later depending on humidity and temp.  And when you have not found all pet spots and treated pad with something like encapacide or pee rad you will always reactivate old urine
with any liquid you apply to carpet while cleaning.
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#7
Good points Joel!

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#8
Thanks alanS for posting a very important topic that many don't like to ask about, let alone do.

One other small point to remember if you do miss neutralizing all of the urine:

Any urine salts still active, can be re-activated in times of rain or high humidity where the salts absorb moisture from the air and start to off-gas that familiar odor again.

You may then have a very annoyed custard on the phone once more saying that "the smell is back again".

thanks

Angel
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#9
Thanks to all for all the good comments.  I am a one man show and cover a 60+ mile radius so I can't pre-inspect every job.  I think I need to develop a written script of questions I ask every customer before I quote a job.  It's not JUST pet smell issues, several times I've been told they only have "normal" traffic soiling and show up to find the carpets have not been cleaned in 10 years or more.

Thanks again to all.
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#10
If a customer says it's normal, it's dirty, if they say dirty it's filthy, if they say you have your work cut out for you it's horrible.

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#11
I agree. Pet odor is never 100%. I get so many people who have wool rugs that are urine stained or vomit. The wool becomes discolored or bleached. I ALWAYS tell them it's a topical cleaning no matter what method you use and the should be brought to a rug cleaning plant.

As for wall to wall, I usually don't have a problem unless it's all over the place. I usually don;t even need a black light to see this. One reason that I don't like black light's is that the pet stain still glows after you clean it. I'm talking about even clawing it afterwards and flushing thoroughly. If you go through with the client afterwards with the light, then they question.

It's really never been a big issue though. Most times they understand.
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#12
I'm guilty of not asking enough questions when I'm quoting over the phone.  It's pretty routine anymore.  Most folks with a pet issue will usually mention it.

When I get to the job, though, I'll ask if they have any specific questions or concerns.  I've been on a few where things were obviously, painfully a little on the rancid side and they said, "No, not really..." and maybe pointed to juice spills in the family room.

If they have a urine problem I'll talk about how the difficulty with urine is it gets into the backing and the padding, and even into the sub-floor.  I'll explain how cleaning only addresses the face fibers.  With heavy contamination, to treat it right, you have to pull up the carpet, treat the backing, replace the padding, sometimes seal the sub-floor and reinstall it.  For a few bucks more, sometimes it's a better value to replace the carpet.

That usually brings things into perspective, especially when their precious little pooch, with absolutely no intention of changing his naughty behavior, is sitting there listening to the conversation.

I'll tell them I have a variety of products I use depending on the situation and, if I think it will, I'll tell them it should help but it may not get rid of the odor entirely.  I'll talk about how on humid days the ambient moisture in the air is enough to reactivate urine residues in the backing and padding.

More often than not, by the time we get to this point I'll get some form of, "Do the best you can."

Years ago, when I was part of a system, they came out with a new miracle product that was gonna cure all our customer's pet odor woes.  We could guarantee it, or there was no charge. Sometimes the stuff worked great.  But, it could be costly, could take a lot of time (often two or three trips), could be a ton of work, was nasty work, and didn't always meet expectations. 

After a couple years of pushing for more urine work I realized a few things....it was costly, took a lot of time, was a ton of work, was nasty work, and didn't always meet expectations.  Maybe it's just me, but I realized there are far more pleasant ways to earn a living.  I can remember at least one apartment job where I tossed a couple of old bonnets into a dumpster rather than washing them.

Fortunately, I don't run into a lot of urine work.  It's usually spots or areas here and there that are easy to treat, for customers who understand when you have pets you have pet spots.  When I run into one of those rat-nasty urine jobs I'll use the "limitations" of my low-moisture system as a reason to refer them to a HWE buddy who seems to have pretty good luck with and doesn't mind the rat-nasties.
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#13
Wow Wayne,
soooo true.
I too was in the past a part of a group that offered the same guarantee.

One time I , at my expense replaced a piece of carpet (small) rather than go through all the crap to guaantee and still know it may not be good enough.!

I was replacing pad sealing floors , replacing tackless etc. all that stuff.

I kept that one small piece, and worked on it for quite some time and never did get the odor out.  Following the required procedure numerous times, over quite a long period of time, Trying to find out what I was doing wrong.
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#14
Invest in an ozone machine and your odors will be completely eliminated. Foreverozone has the best ones at the best price. I just did a cigarette smoke job and it completely took care of it. Requires the patience of running the machine and no one or no pets can be present, so charge accordingly.
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#15
Kelbev,
I'm sorry but I completely disagree with what you say about using Ozone to remove urine.

Ozone is great at removal of cigarette smell and musty, odors etc;

But not with urine.

With urine, the urine exits the animal as Uric Acid, generally hot & under pressure.
As it dries, it goes through a pH change, eventually drying to an Alkaline Salt.

In times of high humidity or rain, these salts absorb moisture from the air, (just like your salt shaker does when it clags up & you can't get the salt out).

As they absorb moisture, they start to off-gas that familiar nasty odor once more.

Many animals are a creature of habit & they often return to the same spot to urinate, this urine, although only small with small animals, continues to penetrate and spread in & on the carpet.

It can go through the underlay (cushion), and even penetrate the sub-floor be it timber or concrete.

To eliminate any odor, you first must eliminate the source, ie; the urine salts.

This may require lifting carpet & treat both sides, replacing part or all of the cushion, treating and sealing the sub-floor.

Complete urine removal is not easy, nor is it cheap, if you want guaranteed results.

In my experience with urine deposits, Ozone has never worked satisfactorily for me.

With regard to the above, the urine odor MAY be eliminated, or replaced with an Ozone odor for a short time.

Depending on the severity of the urine, this may again rise to the surface and again be a problem.

Some people actually get used to this odor & can never smell it, unfortunately, visitors do & nearly gag on the odor.

(Similar to walking into an old persons home that has not been cleaned properly or regularly, if you know what I mean).

I do live in an area of high humidity, probably similar to Florida.

Someone in Arizona may get different & varying results.

Ozone gas (HO3), does have it's uses, but also has shortcomings in that it can degrade plastics & rubber.

One fallacy is that Ozone will kill mold. Ozone WILL NOT kill mold.

On wet/damp carpet or fabrics, it can also oxidize & have a chemical reaction to possibly form another acid which is detrimental to the fibres that are wet or damp.

All persons, animals, pets, etc; including fish aquariums must be removed from the enclosed area being treated if they wish to survive.

Many people complain that they can still smell the ozone, long after the machine has been removed.
We used to also find this with people who's property had been affected by fire/smoke, they could always smell the smoke, long after it had been eliminated.

Loss adjusters and others could never smell it.
We called it "Psychological Odors".

As I say, Ozone does have it's benefits, but it is not a cure-all for everything.

Hope this doesn't upset anyone that love their Ozone Generators, I have owned several large & small,  & have to tell it as I found them, some results were excellent.

Others were a dismal failure, as with urine & mold removal.


I still do have a very small one which is kept exclusively for body odors in clothing after cleaning.

Take care all & I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas, & a safe, happy & profitable New Year.

Angel   hatsoff
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#16
Has anyone used


https://www.planeturine.com
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#17
(12-17-2016, 05:36 PM)oldman Wrote: Has anyone used


https://www.planeturine.com


The video for urine out powder shows a product that is geared for consumers to apply product on top of carpet fiber and then vacuum the next day.
2 problems:

1  You have to let the powder dry overnight and make two trips out-------plus you cant charge much for two trips out...... compared to removing padding and treating subfloor

2 The urine out video shows a wetting agent and powder applied only to surface of carpet so it WILL NOT remove urine from backing and padding and subfloor. The video repeats how the powder removes the source of odor when enzymes do not but it is clear the powder only treats the face fibers down to where you brush the powder.  Great for a little spot of urine for a consumer but not so smart when you have gallons of pee in 3-4 rooms.
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#18
(12-17-2016, 04:10 PM)Lounge Lizards Wrote: I agree. The source must be eliminated. His question was how dampening the carpet with low moisture carpet cleaning intensifies the odor. So after a good cleaning using encap the ozone will eliminate the odor. Of course every situation is different, such as so much urine that it has soaked the subfloor, then that's a whole new ball game. But I have never did a job that bad, but I have done them where the odor becomes stronger after cleaning, so the ozone will speed it along.

Kelbev,
I'm sorry but I completely disagree with what you say about using Ozone to remove urine.

Ozone is great at removal of cigarette smell and musty, odors etc;

But not with urine.

With urine, the urine exits the animal as Uric Acid, generally hot & under pressure.
As it dries, it goes through a pH change, eventually drying to an Alkaline Salt.

In times of high humidity or rain, these salts absorb moisture from the air, (just like your salt shaker does when it clags up & you can't get the salt out).

As they absorb moisture, they start to off-gas that familiar nasty odor once more.

Many animals are a creature of habit & they often return to the same spot to urinate, this urine, although only small with small animals, continues to penetrate and spread in & on the carpet.

It can go through the underlay (cushion), and even penetrate the sub-floor be it timber or concrete.

To eliminate any odor, you first must eliminate the source, ie; the urine salts.

This may require lifting carpet & treat both sides, replacing part or all of the cushion, treating and sealing the sub-floor.

Complete urine removal is not easy, nor is it cheap, if you want guaranteed results.

In my experience with urine deposits, Ozone has never worked satisfactorily for me.

With regard to the above, the urine odor MAY be eliminated, or replaced with an Ozone odor for a short time.

Depending on the severity of the urine, this may again rise to the surface and again be a problem.

Some people actually get used to this odor & can never smell it, unfortunately, visitors do & nearly gag on the odor.

(Similar to walking into an old persons home that has not been cleaned properly or regularly, if you know what I mean).

I do live in an area of high humidity, probably similar to Florida.

Someone in Arizona may get different & varying results.

Ozone gas (HO3), does have it's uses, but also has shortcomings in that it can degrade plastics & rubber.

One fallacy is that Ozone will kill mold. Ozone WILL NOT kill mold.

On wet/damp carpet or fabrics, it can also oxidize & have a chemical reaction to possibly form another acid which is detrimental to the fibres that are wet or damp.

All persons, animals, pets, etc; including fish aquariums must be removed from the enclosed area being treated if they wish to survive.

Many people complain that they can still smell the ozone, long after the machine has been removed.
We used to also find this with people who's property had been affected by fire/smoke, they could always smell the smoke, long after it had been eliminated.

Loss adjusters and others could never smell it.
We called it "Psychological Odors".

As I say, Ozone does have it's benefits, but it is not a cure-all for everything.

Hope this doesn't upset anyone that love their Ozone Generators, I have owned several large & small,  & have to tell it as I found them, some results were excellent.

Others were a dismal failure, as with urine & mold removal.


I still do have a very small one which is kept exclusively for body odors in clothing after cleaning.

Take care all & I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas, & a safe, happy & profitable New Year.

Angel   hatsoff
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