How to clean pet residue/stains on old hardwoods under carpet

vikingshelmutApril 6, 2009

I pulled up some carpet in our two upstairs bedrooms and could use some advice. The house was built in '61 so the floors are old oak. I removed the old carpet, tack strips, and carpet pad, and while one room is in relativly good shape (needs a good cleaning) the other has what appears to be pet stains that soaked through to the hardwoods. I'm trying to figure out how do to the following so I don't have to refinish:

1. Remove crystalline residue near old transition, appears to be dried pet urine. Tried swifer hardwood floor cleaner to no avail.

2. "clean" black stains on hardwood that appear to be old liquid (possibly pet) stains that had soaked through carpet.

3. Reduce visible scratches/holes caused by lame carpet installers who put staples in the pad every few inches, some of which not only left holes but left scratches.

I know this is a lot, but really what I'm looking for is a good hardcore cleaner that will remove everything except the polyurethane and something else that might help "hide" scratch marks, etc. I'm not holding out hope for the black stains, but someone I know recommended bleaching them, which I've never heard of.

Please help!

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Older pet stains may have seeped into the wood and the sub- flooring, which means you need to sand the wood to find out the extent of the damage. Sand the stained hardwood flooring until you reach a point that is not stained or if you find the stain is too deep. If the stain is deeper than the surface you will have to remove that section of flooring. You may have to redo the entire hardwood floor depending on the extent of the damage. When a stain has been left for several years the urine may seep into the sub- flooring or at least the odor. Sometimes commercial bleach can remove the stain and odor from old pet stains, however it is a very sensitive solution and you need to have proper gloves and training. If you have to sand the floor you will want to resurface the area with shellac based primer.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 6:43AM
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I'll try to sand a small portion to see how deep the stains go. Refinishing the floor is not an option right now, we just moved in and can't afford it. If I sand and or bleach the stains away how do I match the remaining surface (or at least get close)?

Do you have any suggestion on a good cleaner for the other residue?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:30AM
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Here is how I have dealt with a similar situation. The POs were covering up damage on oak hardwoods with area rugs. I am guessing that in addition to their petÂs accidents, they shampooed the area rug in place which further damaged the floors. We found out about the damage two hours before closing on the house during the final walk-through.

This is a very temporary solution and is not the correct way to fix the damage; the experts on this board can advise you how to do that. Wash the floor on your hands and knees (or sitting on the floor using a small amount of water, MurphyÂs oil soap, scrub brushes, scrubbies, and old terry towels- whatever it takes to clean the floor. Do a small section at a time, and rinse with clear water using a clean towel and dry each section thoroughly as you go along. Be careful with the waterÂdonÂt pour it onÂyou donÂt want to cause more damage than is already there. This will take a long time as you will be crawling around the floor. With a damp sponge mop using water and vinegar, rinse again. Remember while you need the water to clean the floor, water also damages the floor. DonÂt let pooling water sit on the floor. Dry it with a towel.

On the stains you can try several things to at least lighten the color of the damaged spots. I used a combo of lightly sanding and household bleach. The stains have not disappeared, but they are lighter and cleaner. Wait till the next day or several hours to be sure the floor is completely dry and temporarily fill in the spots where the poly is gone due to damage of pet stains, water and sanding/bleaching by judiciously using a small amount of wipe-on-poly. Wipe-on-poly is for furniture and is not recommended for floors, but a small amount can fill in and blend the areas where the floor poly is completely gone. After the poly is completely dry, use a shine product. I used Holloway House Quick Shine for about $9.00 (Orange Glow does not work). I have added a few throw rugs and the floor looks about 50% better and will get me buy until I can have the floors refinished.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 10:32AM
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The Swifter will ruin your floors .
Orange Glow will Pit the finish .
You can pick up a jar of matching hardwood putty at HD for $2.50 and rub it into the staple holes .
If you don't have a lot of pet damaged boards and you have some left over you can do a few board replacements .
As a cleaner i tell all my customers to use Bona , or once and done made by Ardex .

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 7:56PM
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I just went through this and will probably have to pay to refinish. I posted the same question here, if you do a search you should find it.

I replaced the 5 boards which were damaged after trying to sand the stain away. I had two pet stains which soaked all the way through the wood. I sanded and sanded and the stain got lighter, but still showed. Then I tried to stain the sanded part to match the rest of the floor and it didn't match. I made such a mess, I gave up. I then replaced the boards and tried to match those to the rest and that didn't work. The new wood took the stain and was much darker. Tried poly and now I have a shiny, dark section.

I'm putting my house on the market and will have to pay to refinish the whole floor.

Good luck, hopefully you'll have better luck than I did.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 11:05PM
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For what its worth, here is a link I had saved hoping to find what did work. We'll never know because he disappeared mid job, but it contains lots of info.

I've got the same problem in my LR right in front of front door but its still under installed carpeting. Good luck to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: refinishing floor

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 5:55PM
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