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The day has come. Your landlord is coming to inspect your home, and the last thing you need is a stained carpet from your pets. You cannot afford to replace the entire carpet, and trying to hide the stains is futile because the stains will be visible under a black light.
Or will they?
I won’t lie to you: passing the black light test is next to impossible.
And not just because urine gets in so deep. It’s next to impossible because black light detects all sorts of stuff: from urine to toothpaste, even the carpet cleaning solution you used to get rid of urine to begin with!
But not everything is doom and gloom. If you’re not dealing with a sudden inspection, black light can actually be your friend and uncover all the pissy spots that could be hiding in plain sight.
Let’s get started!
But Why Does Urine Show Under Black Light?
So you rubbed and scrubbed, and the stain is no longer visible to the naked eye. So why does it still show up under black light?
Well, the truth is, the stain only shows up under UV light because of phosphorus in the urine. Phosphorus already has a yellowish glow which is only magnified under a black light. So, if you have ever flashed a black light on a carpet with urine stains, it’s this glow that will show up.
Also, urine contains uric acid and insoluble particles that become visible only under UV light.
How to Get UV Visible Pet Stains Out of Carpet
What You Will Need
Fortunately, you already have some if not all of these supplies at home.
- A black-light
- Pet enzyme cleaner
- A sponge
- A shop vac
- A steam cleaner (optional)
Step 1: Use the Black Light to Spot the Urine Stains
You want a deep cleaning, so the stains you are looking for will mostly not be visible to the naked eye. That’s exactly where the UV light can hop in.
Many people do it in broad daylight too. But it’s best to turn off the lights or make the room as dark as possible.
Flash the black light on the carpet to reveal the pet stains.
Step 2: Steam It
Steam cleaning is a good option for cleaning pet pee for at least 2 reasons.
First, the pressurized jets of vapor tend to get in really deep. And that’s exactly what you need. True, the proteins and minerals that glow under blacklight are not water soluble. But at least a steamer will push them onto the surface.
Second, steam requires NO chemical agents that would be detectable under UV light.
Step 3: Add a Cleaning Agent
Once you have identified the spots, go over the stain with a pet enzyme cleaner or enzymatic cleaner.
An enzymatic cleaner is efficient at getting pet stains out of carpet to make it trickier for black light to detect them. It contains beneficial bacteria that emit enzymes to break down molecules found in organic stuff such as urine, blood, and feces.
A mild enzymatic cleaner is recommended for pet stains because its enzyme blend is gentle enough to use on carpets.
Let the agent sit on the stain for as long as possible to help change the color, and it will work its magic.
Many internet guides will also recommend you to use bleach. True, it’s powerful enough to remove the stains, but it can harm your carpet fibers.
Not only that, but chances are it will also glow under the UV light! Just like any other whitener. Good luck explaining to your landlord the difference between an ex-urine glow and bleach glow.
Step 4: Thoroughly Wash the Area
Now that you have gotten pet stains out of carpet using the cleaning agent, thoroughly wash the area with water. Take your time to massage the area with a sponge or a cloth. This will help remove any remaining stain from the carpet fibers.
If you clean your carpets with bleach, then this is a must. Otherwise, your carpets could look discolored or ruined.
On the other hand, enzyme cleaners don’t need washing. To be safe, I recommend giving it a thorough cleaning.
Step 5: Dry the Area
Once you’ve scrubbed the stain thoroughly, allow it to dry completely. Use a fan or even a hairdryer to dry it faster.
Mold can occur when it is humid and wet. It is crucial to make sure the area is completely dry to prevent the carpet from molding. With wet carpets, you are wasting your time cleaning them but even worse is the fact that mold will grow in the carpet fibers and damage them.
Ideally, you’ll have done the washing outside and can now go all-natural with the drying. But if that’s not the case, a powerful wet dry vac can help you suck up all the extra water.
By now, the stains should have faded enough to not be an eyesore under the black light.
Will Urine Still Show Under Black Light After Cleaning?
More often than not, pet stains will still show under a black light even when they have been cleaned.
Under UV light, salt and protein glow. Most of these are diluted and removed by cleaning and flushing. The cleaning solution disperses the salt and protein.
If it were possible to remove ALL the minerals and proteins down to the last remaining molecule (without using any cleaners that leave residue themselves), you’d pass the test alright. Alas, that’s only possible in theory – or in a lab.
In other words, no cleaning method will be able to annihilate or suck up all the particles! At least some of them will remain stuck somewhere within the pile or even the pad.
This is exactly why you should always do the blacklight test BEFORE moving into a new place. So the landlord doesn’t pin down on you ancient stains that have been there since forever. And just because you happen to have a dog or a cat!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will a black light find cat urine?
Yes, black light will track down every single drop of dried up urine, no matter how old! Although black lights are actually purple rather than dark, they are commonly used to see everything from counterfeits to food contamination.
What color is dog pee under black light?
Urine glows pale yellow. If you see this color on your surface, you’ve found the stain. A spilled drink or carpet cleaner usually gives off a bright white glow. But those can be difficult to tell apart.