Author Topic: The wonderful stench of urine  (Read 956 times)

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Offline Adam Roby

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The wonderful stench of urine
« on: November 05, 2018, 02:25:43 PM »
Some of you must have experienced a raccoon or other animal taking up residence in your cabin while you were away for a long period of time.
Scooping up the feces is "easy" enough, but how do you deal with the smell of the urine soaked plywood?
Is there any possibility at all to treat, mask, cover the plywood to salvage it or are all of those options that will eventually wear away?

I just bought a cabin, should pass at the lawyer on December 14th.  It has been neglected for some years, with the local raccoons I'm guessing taking up residence inside.  It obviously stinks in there, and realistically I want to replace all the flooring (bare plywood) but I am wondering if some of it can be saved, reused, flipped upside down... just to help with the costs of the repair.  I already want to open up the floors to get access to the supports underneath, and it appears to have 2 layers of (maybe plywood over OSB I'm guessing).  I am reading about some home remedies, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide solutions, but do any of these really work?  Could I maybe treat, 5-10 times, then flip the wood over, roll on some coating and be done with it?

I'd hate to replace everything "just in case" and prolong the roof repairs because of lack of funding if not necessary, but I'd also hate to do all that work and then still can't sit there for more than 5 minutes because my eyes are burning from the stench. 

Ideas? Thoughts?  Personal experiences?


Offline kenhill

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 04:14:40 PM »
A cheap good start would be to use Kilz.  I used it on a floor after removing a carpet that a cat had peed on multiple times.  Work for that amount of smell.

https://www.kilz.com/primer/#/seal-surfaces

Offline NathanS

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2018, 06:20:13 AM »
What if you took a pressure washer to it. Then bleach the thing and open the windows.

I used common bleach on cedar once and it made it turn fuzzy because it broke down the bond between wood fibers. I think chlorine bleach doesn’t do that.

Also worst case you might be able to find rough sawn hemlock for .50 cents a board foot around there

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 01:46:09 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions.  I am looking for a local sawmill for the rough cut stuff.  Most of the framing here is rough cut already, would make it easier to patch here and there.  I'll try a few things once I get in there.

I considered a pressure washer but there is no water source.  I might have to tap a well at some point,  but for now its all carry in (and perhaps I can setup a rain catch for basic needs next summer).  By the time its legally mine (mid December) it'll likely be covered in snow and too cold to do much.  I'll definitely be spending most of the spring tearing stuff out and cleaning stuff up.

Offline Don_P

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 02:16:28 PM »
Regular bleach is chlorine bleach, sodium hypochlorite, it does pulp wood to some degree, stronger is not better because of that. "Oxy" bleach is usually hydrogen peroxide or similar. With 2 layers the smell is likely also between layers. If you don't remove the top layer then I would clean and dry it, all the way if much water is used and that gets between layers... that would best be done when it is too cold to grow mold. Then seal the inside with Kilz or similar. Pine-sol is another standby cleaner-deodorizer.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2018, 02:24:54 PM »
... that would best be done when it is too cold to grow mold.

I didn't think of that point.  I wonder how easy the wood would dry in the winter months though, if close to or below freezing?
I suppose I could light a fire and get it nice and hot in there to help out, although I would need to inspect the stove pipe and likely replace parts of it.  It doesn't exactly inspire confidence.


I suppose it is pretty dry in the winter.  It might be easier for me to clean frozen poop also, rather than soggy stuff in the spring.

Offline NathanS

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2018, 03:20:07 AM »
Regular bleach is chlorine bleach, sodium hypochlorite, it does pulp wood to some degree, stronger is not better because of that. "Oxy" bleach is usually hydrogen peroxide or similar. With 2 layers the smell is likely also between layers. If you don't remove the top layer then I would clean and dry it, all the way if much water is used and that gets between layers... that would best be done when it is too cold to grow mold. Then seal the inside with Kilz or similar. Pine-sol is another standby cleaner-deodorizer.

I was wondering if I had that mixed up.

Our stain manufacturer recommended a 50% dilution (seemed really strong). It fuzzed the cedar, but the white oak couldn't have cared less. We are going to restain the house next year and after that experience I am afraid to bleach the pine. Curious what you do? Thanks

Offline Don_P

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2018, 03:03:54 PM »
I've used it at something closer to 1 cup/gallon, basically if you can smell it you have a strong enough solution. aside from never mixing Clorox and ammonia, Clorox and an acid is also not a good idea.

Oxalic acid also known as wood bleach is less harsh than chlorine, deck cleaners often have it in the mix with other stuff. 

The best is to scrape or sand back to unweathered wood with well attached fibers. Very often finishes fail because they are trying to attach to loose or compromised fiber.

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: The wonderful stench of urine
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2018, 01:36:42 PM »
I believe Teraganix EM1 would remove the smell. Mix it about 10 to 1 or even less water to EM1. Great for lots of things. There is a thread here about it. You can get it from Teraganix or Amazon. You can get better value by growing more.. Activated EM1 as I recall.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin  http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.0

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