Wooden subflooring is often used in homes with pets because it is easier to clean and maintain than carpet.
However, pet urine can still leave an unpleasant odor on the wood, which can be difficult to remove.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the pet urine odor from your wooden subflooring.
One of the most effective options is to use a vinegar solution. Combine one part water with one part vinegar and apply it to the affected area with a sponge or cloth.
Let the solution sit for several minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth. And that’s it! You will see and smell the difference right away.
If you have a more stubborn odor, you can try a few other ways, which I will go over below in this article. So, let’s tune in…
Urine in a Plywood Subfloor – Why You Need to Care?
Pets are family, and we love them. But, when it comes to having pets at home, there is always the possibility of accidents happening.
And one of the places where accidents are most likely to happen is on the floor, more specifically, on your wooden subfloor.
Now, if you have ever had the misfortune of dealing with pet urine on wood, then you know that it is not a pleasant experience.
The strong odor of pet urine can permeate the entire house and be very difficult to get rid of.
But that’s not all. Urine can also cause saturate the wood to warp and discolor over time because of the components such as uric acid that have remained even after the urine has dried.
The uric acid contains crystals that can produce a strong odor during more humid conditions as the floor gets wet.
So, it is very important to take care of the problem by eliminating those crystals completely from the wood.
Treating Wooden Subflooring for Pet Odor and Stains
Removing the dried urine crystals from the wood can be difficult from the plywood subfloor material, and many times, you may need to get the stained part replaced.
Particularly if the damage is too extensive, you may have to replace the entire plywood subfloor, which can cost high.
However, if the pet’s urine odor and stains are not too severe, you can try the following tips to get rid of them.
1. Soap & Ventilation
If the pet urine odor is not too strong, just try a dash of dish soap and water on the areas and let the room air for a day or two.
The dish soap will break up the urine crystals and help remove the odor, while the ventilation will help dissipate the fumes.
Do not forget to ventilate the room by opening the windows and doors. This will help to remove the odor from the room and make it more bearable.
2. Use a Vinegar Solution
As I mentioned before, one of the most effective ways to remove pet urine odor from wooden subflooring is to use a vinegar solution.
To make the solution, mix one-part water with one part vinegar. Apply the solution to the affected area with a sponge or cloth.
Let it sit for several minutes, and then wipe it away with a damp cloth. You will see and smell the difference right away.
3. Use Baking Soda
Another effective way to remove pet urine odor from wooden subflooring is to use baking soda.
Simply mix together equal parts of baking soda and water in a cup to form a paste. Apply this homemade paste to the affected area and let it sit for several minutes.
Then, wipe away the paste with a damp cloth and vacuum up any remaining baking soda.
4. Use Ammonia
If you have a more stubborn pet urine odor, you can try using ammonia as a home remedy.
To use this method, mix one part of ammonia with three parts of water in a bucket. Then, apply the solution to the affected area with a sponge or cloth.
Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then wipe away the solution with a wet cloth.
Be sure to open the windows and doors while using this method, as the fumes can be quite strong.
5. Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Another effective and natural way to remove pet urine odor from wooden subflooring is to use hydrogen peroxide solution.
To use this method, mix one part of hydrogen peroxide with two parts of water in a bucket. Then, apply the solution to the affected area with a sponge or cloth.
Allow this mixture to sit for five minutes, and then wipe it away with a damp cloth.
Alternatively, you can use a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution bottle that’s easily available on the market. It’s basically 3% hydrogen peroxide and 97% water.
Pour the solution over the soiled areas and scrub with a stiff brush. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe it with a damp cloth.
6. Use Commercial Pet Urine Odor Removal Products
If you want to use a commercial product to remove pet urine odor from your wooden subflooring, there are many products available on the market.
Enzymatic cleaners (such as Nature’s Miracle or Anti-Icky-Poo) work best for neutralizing pet urine odor, and you can find these products at your local pet store or at online stores such as Amazon.
When using a commercial pet urine odor removal product, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
In general here are the steps you will need to follow for treating the subfloors for dog and cat urine…
- Apply an enzymatic pet odor remover to the area
- Cover the saturated area with a plastic drop cloth to prevent evaporation
- Allow the cleaner solution to soak into the wooden subfloor for at least 24 hours
- Wait for the wood to dry out completely for an extra 24 to 36 hours, and then remove the plastic
If the odor hasn’t gone completely the first time, you may need to repeat the process with the Enzymatic cleaner one more time.
Tips and Considerations
a) Ammonia tends to smell much like urine and will not be very effective in dealing with odor problems.
b) Treating the heavy pet stains and odor on your subfloor with bleach is also not a very good idea.
I am not a fan of this strategy because it does not soak into the wood completely due to its high surface tension.
c) When using commercial pet odor removers, keep in mind that some will work better than others for eliminating cat urine odor than dog urine.
So, make sure you read the label carefully before buying them for your specific purpose.
d) Always remember to vacuum the area thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residual cleaner solutions, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide.
You may also want to consider using an air purifier to help eliminate any remaining odors.
e) If the floor you need to treat is carpeted, pull it back before you proceed with the cleaning process.
This will reveal the entire urine-soaked area so that you do not miss any spots.
Once treated, leave the carpet pulled back for a few days to make sure the subfloor is completely dry before putting the carpet back in place.
Do You Need to Seal the Wooden Subfloor after Cleaning and Treating?
Once you have removed the pet urine odor from your wooden subfloor, you may want to consider sealing it for more effective, long-lasting results.
Especially if the wood floor is still new and bare, this additional step will help to prevent any accidents and stains in the future.
Kilz 3 Premium Interior/Exterior primer is one of the best stain-blocking primer floor sealers for pet urine.
This comes with an effective mildewcide ingredient and works pretty well in blocking the stains and odor if you apply two coats over your floor.
Alternatively, you can use Zinsser B-I-N or an all-purpose oil- or water-based stain-blocking primer and paint along with a good quality polyurethane sealer to seal the wood and provide an extra layer of protection.
Removing and Replacing the Subfloor – When, Why & The Associated Cost?
Once you have used one of these methods to remove the pet urine odor from your wooden subfloor, as soon as it happens, you will most likely not have to replace it.
However, if the pet urine has been left for too long on the subfloor or if it has seeped through cracks, then the wood may have gotten rotted.
You don’t have to destroy the whole subfloor. And it’s possible to simply replace the soaked-in-urine section with fresh subflooring material.
Simply remove the urine-soaked area and replace it with new subflooring material.
However, in case you will need to replace the entire subfloor, it is a big job.
The cost of replacing a subfloor section varies depending on the size of the area, but it can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000.
If you need to replace only a few boards, then it will cost you less, but if you need to replace the entire subfloor, then it will cost you more.
The cost also varies depending on the type of subflooring you choose.
For example, if you choose to replace your subfloor with plywood, then it will cost you less than if you choose to replace it with hardwood.
The best way to avoid having to replace your entire subfloor is to take care of the pet urine as soon as it happens and not let it sit for too long.
If you catch it early enough, then you should be able to clean and treat the area without having to replace the entire subfloor.
While older homes may still have some concrete or lumber subfloors, modern subflooring is usually made from materials such as plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).
These materials are much more susceptible to pet urine damage and require special care when cleaning. If not, the material can even rot with time, which can be costly.
The above tips and methods should help you remove pet urine odor from your wooden subflooring, but if the problem is severe, you may need to consult a professional.
When in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution and get the help you need to eliminate the problem completely.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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