We all know that smell: "Stinky." "Pungent." "Overwhelming." "Like something died." These are just a few of the ways your customer might describe the "Wet Dog" odor. Your job is to get rid of these odors, if possible. But how?
The odor itself is caused by the moisture, oils and other soils transferred from the animals to the fiber in carpets, rugs and upholstery. As the oils components begin to breakdown, they become a breeding ground for bacteria. It is this bacterial activity that helps create the distinct wet dog odor.
The challenge is that most synthetic carpets love oil. Carpets are manufactured with polypropylene primary and secondary backing as well as a latex-based adhesives. All these materials bond strongly with oils.
That means dog oils and moisture don't stay on the surface, but tend to migrate deep into carpet backings and even into the padding.
This is why surface treatments don't usually work. Topical applications will generally help alleviate some of these odors, but only temporarily. Unless the source is eliminated, microbes will continue to feed on these oils and release odors. This is only compounded by any fresh components deposited by the animals on their next visit to the area. The only way to tackle wet dog odor is to remove the source.
Deep cleaning all the way into carpet backing is usually required to remove odors from these materials. But remember: the strong cleaning and aggressive treatment of the carpet backing we describe here can have detrimental effects on the adhesive. Always test an inconspicuous area first, and always proceed with caution.
Removing the Source of Odors Disengage the carpet from the tackless strip and expose the back of the carpet to inspect for heavily affected areas. These areas are normally very evident as darker areas on the back.
Dilute 1 part Un-Duz-It Unleashed with 1 part water. Spray the diluted mixture onto the affected areas of the backing and allow 10–15 minutes of dwell time.
Using hot water extraction, perform your normal clean and extraction process on the backing. Pay attention to not overwet the backing.
Dry backing thoroughly before reinstalling.
Spray the face fiber of the carpet with a 1:1 dilution of Unleashed and allow 10–15 minutes of dwell time.
This process is extensive and time consuming. For one room, we estimate the labor involved at four hours per room for one tech. At $125 per hour, that puts the cost at $500 per room. In each case, you'll need to provide the customer with accurate estimate of the costs associated with this process so that they can make an informed decision about cleaning the materials versus replacing them.
What about upholstery? Un-Duz-It can be used to great effect on wet dog odors and other odors in upholstery as well. For tips on identifying fabric types and some specific cleaning and deodorizing techniques, take a look at free Upholstery Cleaning Series available on our Legend Brands YouTube channel.