A Cat Urine Nightmare Solved

Cat Urine OdorProfessional remediators have a few well-known clean-up challenges.  If there were ranked, cat urine is likely the worst, curry odor would be next, and then cigarette smell.  Every experienced service professional knows that these kind of jobs are embedded odors and tend to foul every corner of the building.  In short, there is no easy solution, and simple processes used for most issue will not get the job done.

Recently Harald Dett in Jupiter, Florida was called out by a real estate investor to deodorize a house that was pretty much a hoarder home.  In fact, the cleaning service would not go into the house to clean because the cat urine odor was so horrible.  Out of desperation, the investor called on Harald Dett to get the cat urine odor under control.

It is a shame that a good house can be ruined by a bad tenant.  Real estate investors often run into odor and mold problems that go well beyond cleaning, new carpet, and fresh paint.  In fact, painting over odor problems often traps the smell in the house making it much more difficult to remove.

To be clear, professional remediators should not view such jobs as one-time projects.  Odors and environmental problems are the result of years of abuse, and they are embedded into every square inch of the building.  Cleaning is just the start of the process, and a remediation service should expect that the solution is delivered in layers or processes.

The first phase of a vary bad odor or cleanup project is what we call the "Knock Down" phase.  As Harald points out, he needed to get the house ready for the cleaning crew.  They would not do the work due to the awful and intolerable smell.  Harald used a combination of an ozone treatment followed by a spray treatment with Decon Five.  The result was just short of amazing.  After the initial treatment was very effective and the cleaning crew can now do their job.

Cat Odor RemovalThe lesson here is that we should anticipate that bad odor problems will not be permanently removed with one treatment.  So, professionals will schedule two to three possible treatments.  If the follow up jobs are not needed, then the customer is pleased.  Setting expectations for jobs is always important.  We all want the optimum result of a one-time treatment, but there are factors that are unknown.  One of which is the extent of work necessary to solve the problem.  Customers may also have very sensitive noses and worry about trace odors.

To complete the odor removal process, cleaning is always an important starting point.  There are times when odor removal services are called in to find a uncleaned apartment or house.  This is like waxing a dirty car.  Not the best way to do the job.  Doing a job well may require steps, stages, and processes that simple jobs do not.  

To that end, the professional is wise to outline the steps and potential issues in advance.  The customer may see the task in simple terms and expect a quick solution.  This failure to build clear expectations may lead to upset customers who don't see the various chores needed to accomplish the job to the best result.  In addition, some things are never going to be "Like New", but they can be be solved so life is good again.

Extra tasks may include a deep cleaning, air duct sanitizing, throwing out goods that are not able to be restored (including carpets), and literally washing walls made yellow by years of cigarette smoke.

The point is a professional remediator has a Plan A, Plan D, and Plan C if anyone is curious.  Plan A is a full-on remediation that includes a list of work that will bring near-new results.  Plan A is never cheap, but you get what you pay for in life.  Plan B is a serious effort to remediate the problem that minimizes the most expensive elements, like ripping out carpet or bringing in cleaning crews, but can include carpet cleaning and air duct sanitizing.  Plan C is an intense treatment that is intended to treat the problem without cleaning crews.

As you can guess, the Plan C will solve most simple problems, but may not give the high degree of results the customer may want "on the cheap".  The pitfall of the professional and the ill-informed customer is high-expectations from a Plan C effort.  This is not a failure of the professional, the treatment, or the product used.  It is the nature of the service industry.  Everyone wants a fantastic solution at a low price.  The professional will try to educate the customer by explaining the full extent of services to achieve maximum results.

Customers and service providers should agree in advance to the tasks needed to do the job to maximum benefit.  This may include more than a one-time spray decontamination.  Embedded odors may require air duct cleaning, a cleaning service, wall washing, carpet cleaning, mold remediation, carpet tear-out, and follow up treatments.  Others can be treated in a one-time fogging with an effective decon product.  By laying out all the options at the beginning that may include follow-up work, you will find the job turns out better and customers appreciate what you do because they know what is required for the job.