Answer to Question #63797 in Organic Chemistry for Steve

Question #63797
chemical method of removing cat urine smell
Expert's answer
• Urea
• Urobilin/Urobilinogin
• Uric Acid
• Sodium
• Other electrolytes
• Creatinine
• Pheromones
• Bacteria – typically 5 different strains.

When cat urine dries, the urea is broken down by the bacteria. This is what makes it smell like ammonia. As it decomposes further, it releases thiols that make the odor worse. (It is the thiols in skunk spray that make it SO potent and difficult to remove). The urea and urobilin/urobilinogin are not hard to clean. Urea, urobilin/urobilinogin, creatinine and the pheromones are water soluble (urobilin is the pigment that causes the color). Traditional household or carpet cleaners will deal with these, and this is why hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and/or baking soda also appear (initially) to be effective at eliminating the problem. But uric acid is not water soluble and bonds tightly to whatever surface it touches.
The only thing that will break down the uric acid to permanently remove the smell is an enzyme cleaner. The enzymes break down uric acid into carbon dioxide and ammonia, both gasses that then easily evaporate. The active compounds represented by benzisothiazolinone and surfactant wich is used like a carrier.

To properly use an enzyme cleaner on a fresh stain:

1. Blot up as much of the urine as you can before applying anything.
2. Soak the affected area with the enzyme cleaner.
3. Let the enzyme cleaner sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Blot up as much of the enzyme cleaner as possible.
5. Leave the enzyme cleaner to air dry.

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