bought a house - how to get rid of smells?

Hello
Our new house is a 1960s standard construction property. Some of the rooms are very smelly and the smell is that of urine (cat or human or, most likely, both). The house is in good nick but hasn't been well looked after (elderly couple who couldn't cope with a too-big house, that sort of scenario).
We've had the carpets cleaned by an industrial company and that has helped and certainly the carpets must be pretty clean now, but still the smells linger.
Has anyone any good tips on how to remove the odours? We could spray Dettol (or similar) everywehere to "drow out" the pervading smells but that is more masking than removal. I hope we don't need to lift up the now-clean carpets in order to scrub the underlying floorboards, but is it anyone's experience that that is likely to be the necessity?
thanks for any pointers - we've got a good book from Channel 4's "How Clean Is Your House?" which has some tips but I am after any other thoughts too please.
DDS
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My cat has pee'd on the carpet and it smells dreadful. The worst of it though is in the underlay. To make a good job of cleaning it up, I have in addition to doing the top carpet, cut out sections of underlay and replaced. It's fairly obvious when you lift the carpet where the staining is.
Some carpet will smell of urine just by getting it wet however.
I had a smelly carpet in my cellar as the previous owner was trying to enhance the value of the property by making it a habitable room. I've taken the carpet up and the room still smells from time to time. Unfortunately the cellar is a bit damp. Make sure this isn't an issue for you
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andyv wrote:

Febreeze can be remarkably effective however in severe cases the carpets and underlay has to go.
Bob
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I had a smilar situatoin to sort out. Cleaning plus cat pee neutralising chemicals got rid of most of the smell, but not really all. The cure was to throw out carpet and underlay and clean the floor properly with washing powder and a very little bleach.
NT
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wrote:

I had a smilar situatoin to sort out. Cleaning plus cat pee neutralising chemicals got rid of most of the smell, but not really all. The cure was to throw out carpet and underlay and clean the floor properly with washing powder and a very little bleach.
NT
I bet cat pee penetrates further than the carpet cleaning stuff - which is really designed to just clean the pile - and certainly not get through to the underlay. Many carpet cleaning problems used to be caused by the cleaning agent going too deep and pulling up stains from the backing.
I think you will need new underlay. In reality - you will never feel clean until you have replaced it all and cleaned the floor. Even if you no longer smell it - visitors certainly will.
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Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:

Commercial cleaning suppliers will sell a cleaner under the generic name of 'Urine neutraliser' Working in a primary school I know that this is effective on hard surfaces in toilets. Another cleaner worth trying (from the same source) would be a generic 'Cleaner/disinfectant'.
Malcolm
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On Sun, 21 Feb 2010 22:56:30 +0000, Malcolm wrote:

I was in a similar situation many years ago when we got this place. (Prev. owners had a large dog[1], which was allowed to wander everywhere - vicious brute, too.) No amount of cleaning, odour neutralisers or sprays worked. In the end we tossed out all the carpets they left behind, after that: no smells!
[1] well, I'm blaming the dog, it could've been their live-at-home "adult" kids
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Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:

Look in YP for Janitorial Supplies and get some Prochem Urine Neutraliser http://www.prochem.co.uk/deodorisers,_odour_neutralisers_&_sanitizers.htm

Take "How Clean Is Your House?" book & throw it in the bloody bin. These people don't have a clue.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
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Saw one of those 'Homes Under the Hammer' or similar where a couple bought a house which had cat urine problems.
They started out talking about scented candles to mask the smell. Then they had to throw away the carpet. After that they scrubbed the floorboards. After that, they replaced the floorboards which had been soaked in cat pee. After that, smell gone.
It really depends how much and how long - if the urine has really soaked into the underlay then cleaning the carpet is unlikely to cure anything. If the urine has soaked into the floorboards then it just gets worse.
I suppose the best you can do is lift the carpet and check the underlay and the floor and replace anything that smells (possibly after being treated with the products suggested elsewhere in this thread).
Grit your teeth and ignore the fact you have spent money cleaning the carpet. If it hasn't worked, check everything out before spending any more money. You may still have to throw the carpet out and put it down to experience. Quick fixes and magic products are often just another expensive way of putting off the inevitable. Been there, done that etc.
HTH
Dave R
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On Mon, 22 Feb 2010 00:12:42 -0000, "David WE Roberts"
money could buy:

and then the pee has very likely soaked into the joists and possibly translocated into the skirting boards. So they will all need replacing. If it is earth under the floorboards it will probably have soaked into that as well, meaning you would have to dig at least a metre of earth out and hope you dont reach the water table. If it is concrete under there, that might have to removed as well if it has found its way in via a fault.
Does'nt look good does it :-(
Mike 2
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