Every pet owner knows that adding an animal friend to your life can bring you a lot of love and companionship. It can also bring you a lot of messes to clean up. No matter how well you train your pets, it’s only a matter of time before an accident happens. Pet stains can be hard to clean, they can warp your floors and leave a bad odor in your home. You might think if you have stone floors that you won’t have to worry about the corrosive effects of pet urine, but you’d be wrong.
If you can think of a stain, we’ve cleaned it. At Dr. Chem-Dry, we have years of experience working with home and business owners to keep their places clean and tidy. We’ve seen firsthand just how damaging pet stains can be on carpet and stone flooring. Here are some things that all pet owners with stone flooring should keep in mind.
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Why pet stains are bad
There are obvious reasons why pet stains are bad for your home. They are unsightly looking. They are unsanitary. And they smell terrible. These are all obviously bad, but did you know how seriously damaging pet urine can be to your flooring?
Urine is the only product in nature that can change from an acid state to an alkaline state. When it’s deposited, it has a pH between 5 and 6 which is slightly acidic. As it dries, it turns into an alkaline salt with a pH between 10 and 12, which is a very strong alkaline. This shift from acid to alkaline is a drastic chemical change that can take a serious toll on your furnishings and flooring.
When the urine dries up, the alkaline salts start to do their thing. The salts are hydrophilic, which means they’ll absorb moisture from the air. The more moisture it absorbs, the more odor that gets released from the stain. The stain will etch stone flooring and can be absorbed into the stone, causing degradation over a long period of time.
Most types of stone flooring, like travertine tile & grout, are considered “soft stones”. “Soft stones” etch very easily, due in part to their calcium carbonate content. This makes them very vulnerable to acidic liquids like pet urine, coffee, tea and citrus juices. What makes pet urine particularly damaging is that if you aren’t careful, you could end up damaging your floor further while cleaning it. If you use a cleaner with a high alkaline content, you could end up dulling the stone. Trying to clean an alkaline stain with an alkaline cleaner is a one-way ticket to Bad Flooring City.
What you can do
Seal your floor with a high quality sealer and get a pH neutral cleaner. Make sure you dust your stone floors regularly and clean them with your pH neutral product. Dust can wear down your sealer and stone quickly, making them even more vulnerable to pet stains.
In the event of an accident, the key is to contain it quickly. You should immediately blot up the pee with a white terry cloth, and then spray the surface with dish soap. Clean the soap off with clean water and then blot it several more times. You’ll want to avoid rubbing because this could spread the urine around and cause more damage to the stone. If you don’t catch the stain quick enough and it’s already absorbed into the stone, give us a call. You don’t want to leave stains like that in your flooring, because those acids and alkalines will spread out and could compromise the whole thing over time.
You should also deodorize when an accident happens. If your animal can smell their mess, that will send a message to them that this is their “spot” to use again and again. And they will. So if you want to discourage your pet from ruining your floors, eradicate any odors they make every single time they have an accident.
Related: How to Prevent Pet Odor at Home
Other things to worry about
While pet stains are the number one threat to your stone flooring, there are other ways where pets can damage them. Pet dander can collect on the stone flooring; While the dander won’t do much damage to the stone, it could create an unhealthy and asthmatic environment in your home. Pets with sharp claws can leave prominent scratches all over your stone, eroding the sealant and wearing the stone down. If your dog vomits on your flooring or your cat hacks up a hairball, the chemicals in those messes could wreck havoc on your stone if it isn’t cleaned as soon as possible. And if you have an outdoor pet, they can track mud into your home, which could dry on your stone flooring and damage it.
Need help dealing with pet odors or stains in your home? Give Dr.Chem-Dry Carpet & Tile Cleaning a call at 602-243-6379.