Pet urine damage to carpet is a little different than other kinds of spots & spills for two reasons:
If you saw it happen, you’re in pretty good shape. Take a white towel or un-printed paper towel and blot it up (don’t wipe!). Follow that with an enzyme like Nature’s Miracle or Bac-Away. I’m pretty sure they’re all using the same thing. Pour the enzyme on, don’t spray it. You want to put as much enzyme in the carpet as there was urine. You also want it to stay wet as long as it can, so you should cover it with a garbage bag overnight. As long as it is wet, and in contact with urine, it will consume that urine. The byproduct can be vacuumed out of your carpet.
Not necessarily. If you catch it soon and saturate it with an enzyme, you will take care of all of the urine. If you have pets, it’s a great idea to keep an enzyme among your cleaning supplies. You can buy them at pet stores or big box stores, or you can get them in bulk at lower prices from online retailers.
If pet urine has penetrated the carpet and gone into the pad, especially in an area where a pet may have returned repeatedly, the spot underneath is likely to be much bigger than the one on top. After the urine dries, it leaves behind salt, which attracts moisture, which attracts bacteria. This can give off a powerful odor, especially in humid months. In addition, cleaning the top doesn’t help–you can clean it off and make it look good, but then it just wicks back through the carpet, making the spot reappear. Furthermore, cleaning the top of the carpet when urine has penetrated it does not take care of the smell.
When this is the case, we recommend a pet urine remediation. When we do this, we put a mixed solution through the carpet and soak the affected area in the pad. This breaks down all of the urine salts, after which we will use the powerful vacuum of our truck-mounted unit to draw the liquid and byproduct up through the carpet. This process prevents wicking, and takes care of the smell. Here’s a video of the process:
When there is major damage, there is still something we can do. That involves removing the carpet, cleaning both sides, removing and replacing the pad, and sealing the floor. We don’t do this very often, because in cases where it is necessary, the cost of doing this is almost half the cost of replacing the carpet. If it were my carpet and I had that choice, I would probably replace it, and that is sometimes what we recommend.
That is worse than having dog urine. Cat urine smells stronger, but even worse, male cats prefer to go along the walls, in which case it may saturate the tack strips and baseboards. It is even more important for the homeowner to stay on top of this and use enzymes immediately after discovery. I’ve seen more carpets ruined by cats than by dogs. Of course, we can help.