I cannot count the number of times I have done black light inspections for new homeowners and had to give them very bad news. I did an inspection this week for a young couple who purchased their first home. During their walk-through, they did not notice any pet urine stains or odors. They could not smell the pet odors because the previous owners had plug-in deodorizers all over the house. However, when I closed the blinds and turned the black light on, there was pet urine everywhere. There was so much urine contamination, I recommended they replace all the carpet and pad as soon as possible. I also told them to clean and then paint the sub-floor with Kilz before installing new carpet. In normal light the pet urine spots were not visible at all. The previous owner did a good job of hiding the stains, but a very bad job of neutralizing the odor causing urine salts in the carpet.
It is a sure sign that the owners or tenants are trying to hide something when you enter a property and your sense of smell is overwhelmed by deodorizers, scented candles or potpourri. Soon after the deodorizers are removed and your sense of smell returns, the odors become apparent. The odor may not be noticed immediately and many times only one person will be able to smell them. It is very common that the husband will not smell anything, but the wife will insist that there is a terrible odor, especially if she is pregnant or hyper-sensitive. This is because women naturally have a better sense of smell. The odor may also not be apparent when the weather is colder, but it can become intolerable on a hot and humid day.
If you are buying a home you should ask the home inspectors if they will be doing a black light inspection of the carpet. Oddly a great many home inspectors do not offer black light inspection as part of their service. You can also do a black light inspection for yourself. Simply go the mall and buy an 18 inch black light, make the room as dark as possible and hold the light 8-10 inches above the carpet. Be sure that you do not stare directly at the light. If any area glows GREEN you have pet urine. If an area glows blue it could be pet urine that has been neutralized. If the area glows white, it could be soap residue, milk or any other organic substance.
As you go through a home be on the lookout for bottles of carpet cleaning solution or pet urine enzyme carpet cleaner. I went into one house and found over 20 bottles of store bought carpet cleaner. The amount of money the tenants spent on that garbage would have been more than enough to hire a professional carpet cleaner to do the job right. If you are looking at buying or renting a home in the Colorado Springs area and want some peace of mind, please give me a call. I offer FREE black light inspections to buyers, sellers, renters, realtors and property managers. It would be better to have this done prior to closing, so that if the property is urine contaminated you can win or offer concessions like a carpet allowance. I will also be able to tell if the carpet is cleanable or if it should be replaced. Plus you will have the peace of mind that your kids will not be laying and playing on urine soaked carpet. For a free black light inspection of your carpet call Hydro Clean Carpet Cleaning at 719-594-9376