If you're a landlord who chooses not to restrict your tenants' ownership of pets, you've likely grown accustomed to the level of cleaning required at lease-end. However, as more tenants cycle through your unit you may find that even your most vigorous cleaning efforts aren't enough to remove stubborn stains or smells. What cleaning methods are most effective against pet stains on carpet, and when should you simply throw in the towel and replace this carpet? Read on for more tips and tricks for rental property owners whose tenants love pets.
What type of cleaning methods are most effective against stubborn pet stains?
Unlike some of the stains and messes associated with children (like spilled juice), pet stains usually include an unpleasant odor. For this reason, steam-cleaning is often the most effective method to fully remove the soil that has caused the stain and odor. Dry or colder cleaning methods aren't usually sufficient to lift the dirt from the carpet fibers and eradicate the smell, but the use of steam and high-powered suction combine to pull away stubborn stains.
Unless you already own a commercial or industrial steam cleaner for use in your other rentals, you'll likely want to rent one rather than using a residential model -- commercial steam cleaners keep the steam at a constant high temperature more easily, which will help the area appear noticeably cleaner as soon as you've finished. You'll then be able to spot and target stubborn stains that weren't removed on the first pass-through. However, if you'd rather hire a professional, consider looking into local specialists, such as Gulf Coast Carpet Cleaning.
When is replacing your rental unit's carpet a better idea than cleaning?
If even your most vigorous cleaning efforts aren't enough to fully restore the carpet to its original appearance, or if you're left dealing with a mystery pet smell, it's likely that liquids have soaked through your carpet down to the pad. While this level of seepage happens occasionally with just about every carpet and doesn't usually cause a long-term problem as long as it is quickly dried, in homes where pets frequently soil carpets, the moisture and odors trapped in your carpet's pad could eventually weaken your subfloor, causing structural damage to your rental home.
For areas where it looks as though the pet has used the carpet as his or her personal toilet, you may want to lift up a small section of carpet nearby to inspect the condition of the subfloor. If you notice water stains that appear to have been there for a while, your best bet is likely to pull up the carpet, have the subfloor dried, and replace your flooring with a solid-surface material or a carpet that has been specially treated to resist moisture.