Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

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Jags4186
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Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am

After our last home purchase fell through we ended up finding another house over the weekend and having a bid accepted. So assuming all goes well with this inspection I do have a question about premove in clean up. The prior owners owned a cat and the “musk” was prevalent when you go in the house. I am slightly allergic to cats and my wife is very allergic to cats. I was going to have the house professionally cleaned before move in but wanted to know is there a special service that has the air conditioning ducts flushed? The house wasn’t dirty or unkempt at all, but I’d like to erradicate the smell before getting in there.

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Alexa9
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Alexa9 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:12 am

Activated charcoal works pretty well. I'd recommend carpet shampooing too.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by lthenderson » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:14 am

Duct cleaning will do very little for you. Shampooing the carpets and applying a fresh coat of paint will do a lot in removing just about any odor.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by desiderium » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:17 am

Could cat urine be a contributor?
If there is carpeting, pull it up during the inspection (easy enough to put back down) and look for stains on the pad. Look for stains or concentrated areas of cat elsewhere. Getting rid of the cat smell could be a fairly large project

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Andyrunner » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:24 am

At a minimum professionally shampoo the carpets.

My wife's first house, once the house offer was accepted, the owners let the house go. She was cleaning cat hair out of the cabinets, refrigerator and everywhere. Her realtor was so embarrassed that she actually paid for the carpet cleaning.

If you can afford it, just replace the carpets.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by KT785 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:31 am

Carpet cleaning (professionally) and painting would be the easiest and most cost effective route . . . however, depending on the "source" of the smell (i.e. cat had accidents on the carpet) removing it would be best, particularly if you're sensitive to smells.

My wife and I are dog owners and certainly understand that accidents happen, but we immediately remove a house from consideration if we smell cats. The smell is exceedingly difficult to fully remove if you're sensitive to smells (I am) and you'll notice it every time the humidity or temperature swings; carpet and pad replacement (and Kilz on the flooring underneath) can remedy this pretty well but may be extreme and costly for some.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Church Lady » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:38 am

OP,
Yes, just search for 'Duct Cleaning'. Some services offer to 'steam clean' your ducts. I have been told, but have no direct experience, that if you steam clean ducts, you'll seal the cat stench in the ducts forever. So research carefully before considering this option.

It may not help the smell but if the filter has caught a lot of cat dander, it might be worthwhile to allergenic persons just to remove dander from your house.

Be sure to ask your cleaners to clean the walls. Cat dander!

You may have to go through the house with a black light to locate cat urine, and treat those areas specially. There's lots of information on the Internet about this.

Good luck!
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by msk » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:42 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am
I am slightly allergic to cats and my wife is very allergic to cats.
Some members of my family are allergic to dogs, so I have some experience of allergies to animals. The cat smell is just a trivial nuisance compared to the fact that cats lived there. Really depends on how allergic the wife is. As a minimum I would get 1. a professional clean and preferably 2. replace carpets, and 3. get all the ductwork cleaned. That order of priority. To gauge how sensitive is the wife's allergy you could camp a night in the house after extended airing with the windows open, e.g. after just the professional clean. Major problem is that once you move furniture in, and then find that DW still has allergic reactions, it becomes much more difficult to take further measures, e.g. recarpeting or a repaint. Camping prior to moving furniture in may save DW a lot of unending torture.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by rebellovw » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:44 am

I'd get rid of the carpets and pad and if on top of unfinished floor id prime with bin primer. Only way to be sure.

Also the house was probably professionally cleaned prior to open house.
Last edited by rebellovw on Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:45 am

Paint the walls. Replace all carpets. That will take care of 95%. The last 5% probably requires cleaning the ducts.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:47 am

Fortunately the house is all hardwood/tile floors.

I don’t believe it is a matter of a poorly managed cat house, just the scent of dander.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:51 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:47 am
Fortunately the house is all hardwood/tile floors.

I don’t believe it is a matter of a poorly managed cat house, just the scent of dander.
That's a good thing. When my wife and I moved out of our previous home after sixteen years of keeping cats, we ended up having to rip up all the carpeting throughout the house, sealing the subfloors with Kilz, and putting down new carpeting and pad.

Give the floors a good scrubbing, maybe paint the walls, and check in particular to see if the grout between tiles is properly sealed.

Good luck.
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by rebellovw » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:00 am

Fclevz wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:57 am
Nature's Miracle
20+ a gallon AND it stinks by itself. What is the suggestion-wipe the entire house down?

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by ElwoodBlues » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:08 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am
... the “musk” was prevalent when you go in the house. I am slightly allergic to cats and my wife is very allergic to cats.
Just adding this since nobody else has: Do you have the option to back out? If it were me, I would never put an offer on anything that doesn't pass the smell test, as you have no idea how extensive the issue is. It could be more than just the carpets that have soaked up the aroma. Maybe there will be some things in the inspection that would provide legitimate reasons to back out. No "dream home" or "sweet deal" is worth the allergy misery if you are not able to eradicate it quickly and completely. If there is a legitimate way to exit the contract, I would consider that as another solution, and essentially avoid the problem in the first place.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by samsoes » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:13 am

Make sure the sellers take the cat(s) with them. They could be outdoor/feral creatures which have been let inside from time to time. You never know.
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:50 am

ElwoodBlues wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:08 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am
... the “musk” was prevalent when you go in the house. I am slightly allergic to cats and my wife is very allergic to cats.
Just adding this since nobody else has: Do you have the option to back out? If it were me, I would never put an offer on anything that doesn't pass the smell test, as you have no idea how extensive the issue is. It could be more than just the carpets that have soaked up the aroma. Maybe there will be some things in the inspection that would provide legitimate reasons to back out. No "dream home" or "sweet deal" is worth the allergy misery if you are not able to eradicate it quickly and completely. If there is a legitimate way to exit the contract, I would consider that as another solution, and essentially avoid the problem in the first place.
Let me rephrase: it smells no different than any other house I’ve ever been into when a person owns a cat. It doesn’t smell bad, just like there’s a cat that lives there. I’ve never been in anyones house who owns a cat that didn’t smell like there was a cat. I’ve also never been in anyones house who owns a dog which doesn’t smell like a dog lives there. I’m confident a good professional cleaning will get rid of the scent. I’m just concerned if there were cat dander in the central air ducts blowing everything around.

And to the other poster, it certainly isn’t a feral cat. It’s just a regular house cat in a house with no carpets. In fact I met the cat, his name is Oliver.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by rebellovw » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:55 am

Seems like you are just fine then. Great time to paint the inside house now that it is empty (and the colors you want) - painting will make a world of difference and of course other cleaning. You should be fine. Check on more construction site if you should prime first or buy paint with primer in it.

Our first house - had a weird smell - but that went away from painting, cleaning and removing some of the previous owners stuff.

It also had a central vacuum and I found the canister in the garage - full - cleaning that out made a huge difference.

Anyhow - seems you are in great shape - best of luck!

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by investingdad » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:05 am

Odors can be tricky.

There was a new development near us that hit hard times in the housing crash. Builder pulled out and left one home in a state of construction.

After three years or so, new builder bought the development. Rather than tearing down the incomplete home, they finished it and turned it into the model. Just gorgeous on the inside when we toured it. But I could smell mold... even over the air scents used all over the inside.

Sometimes odor gets in and won't come out.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by rebellovw » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:11 am

investingdad wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:05 am
Odors can be tricky.

There was a new development near us that hit hard times in the housing crash. Builder pulled out and left one home in a state of construction.

After three years or so, new builder bought the development. Rather than tearing down the incomplete home, they finished it and turned it into the model. Just gorgeous on the inside when we toured it. But I could smell mold... even over the air scents used all over the inside.

Sometimes odor gets in and won't come out.
Ok - so tear down the house and rebuild? Sounds like a good idea. I don't think the issue is that bad based on the above posts. People always leave a scent behind based on lifestyle - cooking, pets, etc - it should clean up just fine. No use posting fear.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Pajamas » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:33 am

Talk to a company that specializes in cleanup after fires and they can bring in an ozone generator or use similar methods to remove the odor, whether it is from cats or something else.

If there is carpet, you probably want to pull it up.

In a truly horrific situation, such as with an animal hoarder, it might be necessary to replace wooden floors. Presumably it's not that bad or you wouldn't have bought the house without having a plan in place to deal with it ahead of time.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by randomguy » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:54 am

rebellovw wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:11 am
investingdad wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:05 am
Odors can be tricky.

There was a new development near us that hit hard times in the housing crash. Builder pulled out and left one home in a state of construction.

After three years or so, new builder bought the development. Rather than tearing down the incomplete home, they finished it and turned it into the model. Just gorgeous on the inside when we toured it. But I could smell mold... even over the air scents used all over the inside.

Sometimes odor gets in and won't come out.
Ok - so tear down the house and rebuild? Sounds like a good idea. I don't think the issue is that bad based on the above posts. People always leave a scent behind based on lifestyle - cooking, pets, etc - it should clean up just fine. No use posting fear.
More like make sure your getting 25k discount to account for the risk you are taking on. Odds are will be fine with a good clean and time but there is a nonZero chance that it will be a hard to solve problem.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:22 pm

Given that there is no carpet, it's quite possible that the "cat smell" is primarily on the sellers furniture. If the paint is in good condition and colors you like, I'd start with the scrub down of the walls and steam mop of the floors and see where that gets you. Next level would be to prime and paint the walls. A vacuum of the ducts might not be unreasonable given your sensitivities, but is pretty low on the list.

If the "wood" floors are laminate laid over something else, I might keep in mind the off chance that there are smells or issues underneath that were not fully sealed in (or that seeped through the joints).

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:06 pm

Is the housing market that tight that people allergic to cats and the house has a strong cat odor is still a "must buy"?

Just pondering to myself. Strong odors of any sort are tough to get out of a house.

Hopefully as mentioned it is the furniture and belongings that smell.
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by alec » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:37 pm

The people before us in our house had two dogs, to which I'm pretty allergic. We:

1. Repainted - wall and ceilings - used the Kilz primer too.
2. Replaced all the carpet (and pads) in the house.
3. Duct cleaning.

... in that order, so really didn't use drop clothes because we were going to replace the carpet. Once the carpet was gone, the dog smell really went away. Also, painting with your spouse is a good test of your marriage. :D

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Carl53 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:06 pm

Brother-in-law bought a neighborhood two story cat house after the owner passed. Ended up removing virtually every stick of wood to the outside walls. Repeated treatments of basement walls and floors with a special chemical were required. Also, new windows, additional bath and garage. Probably netted a couple of $/hr on his effort. Also did very well on their home down the street a year or two later and the neighbors were ecstatic. He later said that he should have bulldozed it, but might have had more pushback on redeveloping the lot.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by WiscoTrout » Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:07 pm

When we returned to our house after renting it out for a year, I had a pretty severed allergic reaction to what we believe was the cat our renters had. While we had OK'ed them having the cat and charged them extra for cleaning, I wasn't prepared for the severity of my reaction or the work needed to make it livable. We didn't have any issues with smells, but we did have to steam clean carpeting and sofas, wash down all the walls and floors, and move rugs up into the attic.

And while all that helped, it was probably more the passage of time that finally made it livable again. Cat dander can be an active allergen for up to 6 months after the cat has left the premises. For what it's worth, we did not clean the duct works since we returned during a time where we didn't really need the heat or the AC on that much. Per other responses, I've heard that duct cleaning is fairly expensive for the minimal benefit, however your situation may be different.

Just load up on Zyrtec and let time do it's thing.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Point » Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:11 pm

Don’t discount the value of using Fabreeze. It can work wonders.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by white_water » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:01 pm

A neighbor removed approx. 2000 S.F. carpet, pad, and subfloor and some lower drywall to eliminate pervasive cat spray odor in a house they purchased.

Hope your experience is better.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:06 pm

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Hug401k » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:49 pm

If it's just a house that happened to own a cat, and they don't have carpets, I would just have everything deep cleaned before you move in. If there is anything fabric left behind, have those cleaned. Clean behind appliances. Wipe down walls etc. I would guess that most houses have had a cat at some point in their existence but I do live in an area of really old houses. I know for a fact a women with 6-7 dogs once owned my house (in the 1940s -1950s) and I didn't smell dog in it until I went and got a dog. My floors are about 187 years old.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by pezblanco » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:36 pm

I have a friend who has rental units. He has a strict no-cat clause (dogs are OK). There have been a couple of times where tenants have had a cat against the rules and said cat sprayed around the litter box and in other areas. There evidently is no way to get that very penetrating odor out short of cutting out drywall, floors, and in one case even busting up concrete.

I would never ever buy a house that had cat urine odor in it unless the sellers agreed to remediation at their own cost.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by aristotelian » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:32 am

If it is from litter, it will probably go away on its own. If it is from actual urine, I would seriously consider replacing the carpets prior to moving in.

There is a good product called Nature's Miracle (another brand is Simple Solution) that will break down the urine and eventually get rid of the smell (but it has its own smell too). You will want to get on your hands and knees, find the specific urine spots, and soak thoroughly.

Also works for little boys who wet their beds. :mrgreen:

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by FlyAF » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:40 am

I love the 20+ posts telling you to remove / replace all the carpet. Do you guys even read the thread?

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by neilpilot » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:48 am

FlyAF wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:40 am
I love the 20+ posts telling you to remove / replace all the carpet. Do you guys even read the thread?
There are only 10 recommendations to replace the carpet. How did you come up with 20+. Didn't you read the thread? :D

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by FlyAF » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:00 am

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:48 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:40 am
I love the 20+ posts telling you to remove / replace all the carpet. Do you guys even read the thread?
There are only 10 recommendations to replace the carpet. How did you come up with 20+. Didn't you read the thread? :D
PWNT

Seriously tho, I'd recommend removing all carpet, hardwoods, tile, laminate, concrete slab, drywall, plumbing, electrical, and to be safe, bulldoze the house. Then apply Killz to the land, let it seal for at least 6 months before you even think about building a new house on it. At that point, you should be good to go.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by rixer » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:05 am

Before you move in, clean it down completely, then go rent an ozone machine and let it run for a few days while the house is empty. Go over instructions for the ozone machine carefully and keep people from the building while it's running. It adds another oxygen molecule to the air and it becomes like a hydrogen peroxide burning up organic odors like cat/dog dander cigarette smoke through oxidation.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by dknightd » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:16 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am
After our last home purchase fell through we ended up finding another house over the weekend and having a bid accepted. So assuming all goes well with this inspection I do have a question about premove in clean up. The prior owners owned a cat and the “musk” was prevalent when you go in the house. I am slightly allergic to cats and my wife is very allergic to cats. I was going to have the house professionally cleaned before move in but wanted to know is there a special service that has the air conditioning ducts flushed? The house wasn’t dirty or unkempt at all, but I’d like to erradicate the smell before getting in there.
I'd keep looking

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:57 am

I don't know if buying a house that was inhabited by cats is a wise decision for someone with severe cat allergies. I know that my co-worker with severe cat allergies has such a hard time with it that he can't even be in my car due to the residual dander and fur. It's very hard to clean all of that out of even a small space like a car, much less an entire house.

I would imagine that all carpeting would have to be replaced, all walls and ceilings would need to be painted, the ducts would need to be cleaned, and even then there would still be allergens left behind. And we're not even getting into "how to get cat odor out of a house" territory here, just purely talking about allergens.

Frankly, as a cat owner, even I passed on houses that had cat urine smell. There's stinky litter box smells and then there's "cat has peed everywhere it can" smells. The later smells are very, very hard to remove. Cat urine can soak in and you can't just cover it up with primer and paint. You might have to replace drywall and subflooring materials to get rid of soaked in cat urine.

Edit: Just saw the update that the house is all tile and hardwood. That's actually worse. If cat urine has soaked into hardwood (and it can) or under tile, the only way you're getting rid of it is to pull that part of the flooring out, which means replacing floor in that room at a minimum. And if you are smelling something, it probably is not cat dander or cat fur. Cat dander (the actual allergen) does not smell, any more than flakes of human skin smell. They're just too small for that. Cat fur usually does not smell and the only cat I've ever had that has smelly fur had a glandular issue. If there is ammonia odor, it is cat urine. Hopefully it's just wafting odors from the litter box. Seems like no matter how often I scoop, a cat is back in the box minutes later to stink it back up again.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by rtr-molar-doc » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:18 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am
After our last home purchase fell through we ended up finding another house over the weekend and having a bid accepted. So assuming all goes well with this inspection I do have a question about premove in clean up. The prior owners owned a cat and the “musk” was prevalent when you go in the house. I am slightly allergic to cats and my wife is very allergic to cats. I was going to have the house professionally cleaned before move in but wanted to know is there a special service that has the air conditioning ducts flushed? The house wasn’t dirty or unkempt at all, but I’d like to erradicate the smell before getting in there.
I rented the upstairs of a duplex many moons ago when I was in dental school. The cat's litter box was on top of an area of carpet and we asked the owner if we could remove/cut out some of the carpet - they agreed. We removed the carpet area, cleaned surfaces with dish soap, a bit of bleach and some Mr Clean in hot water. We then put down a layer of baking soda on the wood floor where we removed the carpet and vacuumed and replaced the baking soda weekly for about 3 months.. It got rid of most(95% or so) of the odor, but never really got rid of all. Those of us that lived there got used to it and after 6 months, and we were not even aware of it. My sister still noticed it when she visited it, so some odor was still there. My sister grew up on a hog farm with me and is no dainty queen, so the smell must have still lingered.
I would NEVER buy/purchase a place that had this odor and definitely would not purchase a place like this or the one you discuss if any of us had allergies. Almost impossible to get rid of cat 'odor'(whatever type) 100%. You either do the best you can and live with it, or don't buy it.

Also, if I was to purchase I would insist on the owners having the place 'cleaned' and wouldn't just think I could do it. Might blow the sale apart, but if the owners want to sell, I would think it would be the least they could do. Probably still wouldn't get rid of the smell 100%, but would probably take care of the 'allergy' problem.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by boomer » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:39 am

As a landlord that has cleaned up houses after a cat, the worst problem we have had is with carpets when a cat has actually peed on them. In that case, we had to pull the carpet and pad, paint the wood subfloor or concrete to seal it, and then lay the new flooring or carpet. And that has worked fine. Never cleaned the ducts. My husband doesn't think that does a thing.

Not sure what to think about hardwood. If the cats did not pee on it, it seems like you should be ok with just cleaning. Of course, if they did pee on it and it soaked into the wood through damaged areas, the wood might need to be refinished and sealed again, or even replaced. I would try just cleaning the wood floors first.
Also, you should get rid of any cloth drapes and may want to repaint the interior. We usually repaint anyway, so I don't know if it's necessary, but since it's your new home why not repaint the interior to make it fresh and new.

denovo
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by denovo » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:10 am

Get a cat, and now it's your cat's smell.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by CurlyDave » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:41 pm

rebellovw wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:44 am
I'd get rid of the carpets and pad and if on top of unfinished floor id prime with bin primer. Only way to be sure.

Also the house was probably professionally cleaned prior to open house.
+1

This is the best way to be certain. Probably easier to research if you search for B-I-N primer.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by sman09 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:49 pm

Very useful thread!

Visited a home today that looked nice but right at the door the owner had a message to close the doors as they had cat (We could not see it when we were visiting there though).

From the pictures in the wall, we could see that the family had kids including a baby/toddler. Would the fact that the family had little ones and that on the face of it the home looked well kept be construed that the family having had cat should not be an issue?

I saw several posts here that alerted to be careful when cats are in the seller's home and to even avoid such homes. In the backdrop of the above information, wanted to get some inputs.

(We had visited another home earlier which looked fine on all counts until i opened the garage and decided to take a close look at everything there - i was surprised/shocked to see 2 rats inside a cage with a proper system to feed them. That family also apparently had a baby from the pictures/toys that we could see. We could no longer be in the home and had to rush out. Is it not so uncommon to own rats?

When we saw that this owner had a cat, the first thought that occurred to us was would they also have had rats to feed the cat!)

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:03 pm

When looking at homes, I make sure my realtor knows better, but sometimes if we look at something they have not previewed, if the house stinks of anything (cats/dogs/cigarettes/mold/etc.) I am usually back out the door within 1 minute, sometimes faster. Unless you are in the house flipper business and have access to lots of cheap subs, buying a house that stinks is almost always a bad plan regardless of the price unless you plan to knock it down, or gut it.

Sounds like you have already bought the house. Start with heavy duty deep cleaning and prime and paint walls. If that works you got lucky. If it doesn't find a remediation service that cleans up after fires and flood. They have products, tools, and methods to clean and remove smells.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:10 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:03 am
After our last home purchase fell through we ended up finding another house over the weekend and having a bid accepted. So assuming all goes well with this inspection I do have a question about premove in clean up. The prior owners owned a cat and the “musk” was prevalent when you go in the house. I am slightly allergic to cats and my wife is very allergic to cats. I was going to have the house professionally cleaned before move in but wanted to know is there a special service that has the air conditioning ducts flushed? The house wasn’t dirty or unkempt at all, but I’d like to erradicate the smell before getting in there.
DW and I bought a "fixer upper" in a high end neighborhood about 8 years ago.
It had been abandoned for a few years.
Thus:

Pet urine smell everywhere from prior owner.
Rat poop and pee smell everywhere. (this was horrible).
Fleas!!!

Hired a duck cleaning company. Did a great job. Also cleaned all HVAC and furnace units.
Carpet was completely removed. Subfloor below had yellow stains in the corners of some rooms, etc.
Sprayed primer/stabilizer on all the stain areas.
Wiped down all walls with TSP to clean and prep for paint.
Up to 4 coats of primer and 2-3 coats of high quality paint on some sections of the house.
New carpet installed in the areas that are carpeted.

We did try to shampoo and clean the carpet but it was obvious early on that our efforts were futile.
Urine and other nasties soaks into the carpet to the padding and then to the wood below.

After all these years our home still looks and smells new inside.
Mission accomplished.

Normally, any residence or unit that has pet, urine, or smoke damage, or "weed", or cigarette, or nasty cheap perfume or man cologne, or cheap oil air freshener, or incense smells, are to be avoided. Sometimes, only a complete and total reno will get rid of the smells.

m@ver1ck
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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by m@ver1ck » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:14 pm

Pass on that house. Nothing you can do will get rid of cat stuff.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by fru-gal » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:52 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:10 pm
Hired a duck cleaning company. Did a great job.
I'm amazed the ducks allowed this.

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by FGal » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:13 am

fru-gal wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:52 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:10 pm
Hired a duck cleaning company. Did a great job.
I'm amazed the ducks allowed this.

Image

You have to make sure you use Dawn for duck cleaning. Not sure how all those dirty ducks would have gotten in the house tho...


Other than the suggestions for cleaning/painting/removing carpet and contaminated flooring or drywall, you could also look into renting and running an ozone machine for a day or two to really pull the smells out. If all items have been properly cleaned or replaced, that would be the last thing I'd try to really make sure it's smell-free as possible. Do not run while any living things are present, review all the precautions and do your homework, but we had to resort to one of those for remediating a house with mold/smells and it highly effective.
FIREd as of March 2015!

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Re: Cleaning up new house before move in—getting rid of “cat smell”

Post by capsaicinguy » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:51 am

KT785 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:31 am
Carpet cleaning (professionally) and painting would be the easiest and most cost effective route . . . however, depending on the "source" of the smell (i.e. cat had accidents on the carpet) removing it would be best, particularly if you're sensitive to smells.

My wife and I are dog owners and certainly understand that accidents happen, but we immediately remove a house from consideration if we smell cats. The smell is exceedingly difficult to fully remove if you're sensitive to smells (I am) and you'll notice it every time the humidity or temperature swings; carpet and pad replacement (and Kilz on the flooring underneath) can remedy this pretty well but may be extreme and costly for some.
This, if the smell is from the cat urinating or spraying outside the litter box you may end up having to replace the carpet to get rid if it and seal in the smell in the subfloor like mentioned, even if the carpet was on concrete.

Best way to find the source if the cat had a favorite spot is to comb the entire house in the dark with a black light. You can buy cheap ones in Amazon. Cat urine will light up and glow faintly under blacklight. Try to find the source of the odor before you wholesale clean the carpet or you may never know exactly where it's coming from.

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