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My home has an odor from animal urine that has soaked the sub-floor and/or other building materials. Can the odor be removed?


Maybe. There are several things to consider when dealing with animal urine odors. How long have the materials been exposed to the urine? If you just purchased or are considering purchasing the home, were the problems persistent over a number of years? Could there be additional sources of the odor, such as air conditioning or heating ducts?


If you wish to attempt to remove the odor and its source, follow these guidelines:


  1. Try applying an affected sub-floor with diluted vinegar or a urine removal product purchased from a veterinarian or pet supply store. The key to using a vinegar solution in particular is to let it dry thoroughly before applying finishes to the sub-floor. If you choose to use a urine removal product, follow the instructions carefully and consider calling the manufacturer to see whether the product is suited for use on sub-floor material.
  2. If the odor persists, seal the area with a primer/sealer such as Kilz, available at your local hardware or paint store. You can also try a primer/sealer on drywall but if you can afford to, it's better to replace it. Another product to consider is a latex filler/leveling compound.
  3. If the odor persists after applying primer, contact a professional environmental cleanup firm or replace the affected materials.



*Source: Thomas, Steve. "Getting Rid of Pet Odors," This Old House, 2007.,16588,192843,00.html



Lisa Hamilton-Hill, Architectural Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences,
University of Missouri–Columbia






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