How to locate the source of the urine smell

How to locate the source of the urine smell

Urine is really a three-pronged problem. There is stain, odour and contamination. If we don’t locate all the odour sources, we will not remove the contamination. Location is done using our eyes and noses along with a moisture detector and ultraviolet (UV) lights. 

Power of the nose 

We may enter a home or a room and immediately smell the odour of urine. Determining the precise location of the source can be more difficult. 

This is because air currents diffuse the odour. Closing any open windows, closing doors at the entry to each room, turning off ceiling fans, heating or air conditioning and other sources of air movement will make it easier to find the source. 

Allow time for conditions to settle and then you can carefully check each area without the confusion of other odours. 

Moisture detector 

Use a moisture probe to examine all carpet. 

As urine dries and breaks down, ammonia is formed. Ammonia undergoes a chemical reaction creating alkaline salts. Alkaline salts are hygroscopic; that is, they absorb moisture from the air. In all but the driest environments the salt residue will hold enough moisture to activate a moisture probe. 

Ultraviolet light 

Urine will glow under UV light. The most effective UV for locating urine is the long wave UV around 385 nanometres. 

Low powered UV lights must be held very close to the carpet in a dark room. Medium intensity lights can work from a few feet away. High powered lights can quickly be used to check a carpet from several feet away. 

All UV lights perform best in a dark room but this is not critical when using a more powerful light. 

Amber goggles are available that help intensify the glow from fluorescent areas by filtering out unwanted light. These should be used for effectiveness and to protect the eyes. 

Urine is not the only thing that will glow under a black light. You will recognize urine by the shape of the spot and by its characteristic yellow (from dogs) or greenish (from cats) glow. However, a bluish glow may indicate urine stains where cleaning has been attempted with a product that contained an optical brightener. 

It takes only a small amount of urine to produce a noticeable glow under a quality black light. 

The eyes 

Of course, a yellow stain on the carpet is a good visual indication of urine contamination. 

Where practical, a positive method for detecting urine is to disengage the carpet, turn it back (upside down) and inspect the backing for stains. 

Stains seen most easily on natural fibre backings, like jute, but can be detected on synthetic backings as well. Water stains and/or white salt residues might be visible after heavy or repeated contamination. 

The disadvantage of this method is the time and effort required to turn back the carpet. This method makes sense when complete eradication of the odour is necessary. 

Use all your resources 

Use all available tools — eyes, nose, moisture detector and UV light — and you will be sure to have completed eradicated the urine.