Unexpected Summer Project #2: Dealing with Foul Smelling Flooring

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Our plan is to redo every single room in our house (every room is in serious need of some new paint with colors that don’t clash).  However, we have a list of priority projects that were supposed to come first.  A functioning kitchen has been at the top of the list for a while now, and we unfortunately still have not reached that goal yet.  Other urgent things keep coming up, preventing us from getting the kitchen finished.

Yesterday’s unexpected project was pretty disgusting, and so is today’s.  We were originally planning to rip up the nasty indoor-outdoor carpet in my office and replace it with some wood flooring.  That project was lower on the priority list, and we planned to leave the carpet until construction on the adjoining room (my future photo studio) was completed.  However, once the summer heat and humidity got really intense, so did the smells in my office, which had been used as the first aid room in the house’s former existence as a nursing home.

I had found a number of gross things in the storage cupboards in my office when I was doing my first deep cleaning of the house while we were moving in, including catheter bags and other lovely items.  We can only assume that when the catheters were being changed in that room, the employees were very sloppy with how the used bags were being handled.  The smell was overwhelming…I couldn’t get any work done at my desk without feeling sick from the smells coming from the carpet.

When my parents purchased their current home, my bedroom was filled with pet stained carpet (my room was the only room with the pet stains).  I remembered the real estate agent mentioning that there were nice hardwood floors underneath the carpet.  So one day, 12-year-old me decided to start ripping up the carpet and nail boards. 🙂  Inspired by memories of my young spunky self, I decided to start ripping up the carpet in my office on a weekend morning while my husband was sleeping.  Oddly enough, he was not in the least bit surprised when he woke up and noticed what was going on.  I guess he had really listened to all of my childhood stories. 🙂

Once the carpet and padding was all removed, the smell was still pretty strong.  The urine and other fluids had soaked all the way through into the concrete below.  I was planning to paint over the concrete as a temporary flooring fix (until construction on the studio is finished and we are ready for new flooring).  I was afraid however that the smell might still come through the paint since it was so strong.  I decided to do an experiment to neutralize the scent.

I had tried a number of those pet odor neutralizing sprays when my cat Fluffy hit puberty and started spraying everything in sight, but none really worked very well.  I was still skeptical of those sprays and decided to try my own method.  Since urine often has a slightly basic pH, I wondered if trying to neutralize the urine with a mild acid would get rid of the scent.  I poured straight vinegar all over the entire floor, and mopped it in.  I noticed some bubbling in some areas, which I took as a good sign.  Once the vinegar dried, and the smell of vinegar went away, the room was now completely odor free!

My experiment worked wonderfully well, and I then finished up by painting the concrete with some floor & deck paint.  Full reveal of the newly redecorated office coming soon!  Also, unexpected summer projects #3 & 4 are coming this week. 🙂

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