Controlling Catastrophic Odors
11315 Sunrise Gold Circle
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
Controlling Catastrophic Odors
One of the most annoying situations that a homeowner
can experience involves a "catastrophic" odor.
Odors are frequently a cause for concern, and there
literally are hundreds of products available, over-the-counter
(OTC) to help deal with those odors. In most cases,
the odors are fairly routine and the products work to
a greater or lesser extent, sometimes depending on who
is doing the smelling. This article is going to focus
on controlling odors that are, fortunately, not routine.
They are: skunk, serious pet urine odor, and the odors
associated with decomposition. Such odors are both very
pervasive and very difficult to manage or control. We
will deal with skunk and serious pet urine odors, first,
and then discuss decomposition odors.
Before you do any of the following processes, it is
very important to be safe. You will be dealing with
some degree of biological contamination, and safety
is even more important than usual. Certainly, you will
want to wear gloves and eye protection. You also want
to protect yourself from splashes or spills on your
skin. And, finally, you should consider wearing an N-95
disposable respirator (available at Home Depot and similar
stores). While the risk of inhaling contaminants is
slight, it does exist, and it is certainly best to be
safe. The other purpose served by an N-95 is that it
keeps splashes from contacting the mucus membranes of
your mouth or nose. And, finally, it is a physical barrier
that will stop you from accidentally touching your mouth
or nose with your (potentially contaminated) hand or
finger. That is a habit that is difficult to break,
and the mask stops it from happening.
In every mal-odor situation, the first step is to remove
the source. If pet urine odors are on nonporous surfaces
(metal, plastic or vinyl, etc.), thorough cleaning is
the first step, and it may be enough. Pet urine and
skunk spray contain natural oils, so using a strong
detergent is very important since those oils contain
the odor and must be removed. Using very warm (but not
dangerously hot) water will make the cleaning faster
and more effective. It may be necessary to clean the
same area more than once. When finished, a final rinse
with warm water helps remove the last bits of material,
and it also removes any residue of the cleaning solution.
This will prevent re-soiling since any residue will
tend to attract dust and dirt.
Often the pet urine or skunk contamination is on porous
materials, such as carpet, upholstery, drapes, particle
board, etc. If it is on the surface of these materials,
then cleaning, as above, is usually the first step.
If cleaning is not successful, or if there is simply
too much for the process to be successful, then you
should call a professional restoration company such
as PuroClean. In the case of carpet and pad with excessive
pet urine damage, it is common that those materials
are simply removed and disposed of as trash.
Semi-porous materials, such as wood (subfloor, 2x4's
in walls, etc.) are a little different. As always, start
with cleaning as above. Use your solution liberally.
One of the goals is to have the cleaning product penetrate
these materials to the same extent as the odor material,
to help neutralize all of the materials. If particle
board is heavily damaged by any fluid, including urine
or skunk, then it cannot be restored to pre-loss condition
and needs to be removed.
If the job is too large or too complex, or if what
you try doesn't work, then you should seek assistance
from a PuroClean professional restoration company. PuroClean
professionals have specific training, specialized equipment
and professional-grade products especially designed
to help deal with cleaning and odor issues.
When you are dealing with an odor problem from decomposition,
you should always consider calling PuroClean. If the
situation involves a deceased person, then it is essential.
After the proper authorities (coroner, medical examiner,
etc.) have removed the body, then cleaning and decontaminating
the remaining fluids come under federal or state, Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, Blood and Other Potentially
Infectious Material (BOPIM) regulations. These regulations
specify the training, equipment, safety issues, and
products that must be used to safely remove and decontaminate
an area damaged by BOPIM.
If the source of the decomposition odor is a rodent
or other small animal, the odor usually seems to be
much larger! Even here, you may want to consider calling
in a PuroClean professional restoration company. If
you decide to "do it yourself," then the approach
is similar to the above. All of the safety items are
extra important because of the decomposition materials.
Damaged, absorbent materials are simply put in the trash.
Semi-porous and nonporous materials need to be thoroughly
cleaned and then sanitized with a disinfectant. OTC
disinfectants are very effective and will result in
a clean and sanitary surface.
If an odor is still present, then try an air freshener.
If the problem persists, call PuroClean. PuroClean professionals
will have special products as well as special equipment,
such as ozone or hydroxyl generators that can be very
effective in completing the deodorizing process.
Regardless of the circumstances - dealing with an odor
problem, water damage, fire/smoke damage, or mold remediation
- call your local PuroClean Home Rescue office (866-722-7876),
the Paramedics of Property Damage™. For all property
damage situations, these professionals are standing
by. They will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage
and will then provide restoration services to return
the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.
All PuroClean offices have well-trained professional
technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science
services to all property damaged from water, fire, smoke,
mold, and other disasters.
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