Sunday, July 23, 2006

Aroma Therapy

That’s what the apartment needs. I went in today and cleaned the carpets and they look great. The apartment looks great. The tenant did a very nice job of cleaning it. It just doesn’t smell great. I’m not even sure if it’s the carpet that smells. After cleaning the carpets I went around on my hands and knees and tried and find the source of the cat pee smell and I can’t quite find anything. It just sort of permeates the living room and kitchen. There is one area next to the heater that sort of smells, but it’s hard to tell. To be honest, after a few minutes of breathing deeply while crawling around on my hands and knees I start to get light headed and everything begins to smell the same.

The carpets sure needed cleaning, though, especially the living room. It was visibly dirty but there must have been a lot of dirt that wasn’t really apparent to the naked eye. This may come as a shock to some, but I don’t think past tenants vacuumed as often as they should have. Gasp! I know, it’s hard to believe. I rented one of those Rug Doctor machines from the grocery story and it did a pretty good job. The living room is 11X17 feet, I think, and the carpet is less than 4 years old. The reservoir on the machine holds 3.5 gallons of water and I had to change it 12 times! That is more than 40 gallons of water I went through, and each time I changed the water it was black!

Annie left a comment the other day about a product called Anti-Icky-Poo to try and take the cat pee smell away. I was going to go buy it, if for no other reason than I like the name, but the tenant had already purchased a product called Natures Miracle. She had already used about half the bottle and I used the rest today. I also got several more windows opened to air the place out, and I’m burning incense around the clock as well. I hope I don’t burn the place down (wink, wink). That would be a shame, wouldn’t it. I wouldn’t get to be a landlord anymore. That would really, really, really, be just too bad. Oh, woe is me. What would I do if I didn’t have tenants and instead I had a big fat insurance settlement check. My life would surly be over as I know it today. How could I possibly go on.

Somehow I’d manage.

I also called the tenant today and told her, basically, if she can get the smell out she’ll get most of her deposit back. I won’t charge her for the carpet cleaning, because, to be honest, most of that dirt wasn’t hers. The only thing I’ll charge her for is the water heater blanket that her cat shredded. That costs $17, and then there is the $100/hr labor I charge. Of course, I don’t charge for partial hours, and I work slow, so that comes to $217, but still, she would get a good chunk of change back if she can get rid of the smell.

The pee ball is in her court.

The only other thing I had to do to the apartment was to touch-up the bathroom floor. The bathroom floors are interesting. The apartments are 1920s and instead of doing tile they just created the floor and baseboards out of lime mortar.

Old Picture with a dirt floor, but you get the idea

Today, if you do tile you screw down cement board and then use thin-set adhesive to adhere the tile to the cement board. Back in the day, they laid down a thick bead of lime mortar and then stuck the tiles in it. In the case of these bathrooms they trowel out the mortar smooth and created a seamless floor with integrated baseboard. It's pretty cool and very durable.


Anonymous said...

Most likely the pee has gotten into the padding beneath the carpet. If really bad, it may have soaked into the floor underneath the padding. If cleaning the carpet doesn't remove the smell, you'll have to pull up the carpet and remove the padding. Sometimes it's necessary to reseal the floor. I wouldn't give back her deposit until you're sure you've eliminated the smell. But remember that California has strict rules about how soon you have to give her an accounting for the deposit. You can find much more info on both these subjects at the discussion board on

Anonymous said...

I like cats, I really do, but when cat pee is in a carpet it will have to be replaced. There is nothing that will take the smell out, not even professional steam cleaning. Sorry to say.

Anonymous said...

If you have a blacklight you can use it to find the urine spots. Just scan the floor and it will glow up...not quite like luminal, but good enough. ;)

I had urine issues with our house when we bought it (some animal, mostly human) and while the carpets were clean we'd still get a smell. We ended up having to rip up the carpets and seal the subflooring. Since it was all in corners and along the walls we just put the carpet back down and used the kicker to stretch it out nicely.

Allison said...

Be careful with incense... We had a tenant in my fiance's old place, and she burned incense all the time. We never did get that smell out. It permeates *everything*