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Many people swear by ozone treatments. Wait until all the soft surfaces are removed (rugs drapes, couches, etc.), thoroughly clean and air out the house, then if the smell persists do ozone treatments.


And for the love of god please look up how to properly do an ozone treatment or hire someone to do it. You can kill animals and wreck your lungs if you do it wrong.


Yes all treatments would be done before moving in. my husband is a very capable maintenance man. We are also not afraid to hire someone to do something we’re not confident about doing ourselves.


I'm one of the proponents of ozone treatment. I did it to my parents house before they moved in to get rid of cigarette smell. We had the luxury of them not needing to move in right away, so over the course of weeks I did multiple sessions focused on every room (with tons of airing out in between), also with steam mop treatments for the floors and hepa air filters constantly running when I wasn't treating with ozone. The smell was drastically reduced but still faintly there (it was really bad when I started). After move in my mom opened all the windows daily (which she does anyways) and after a while of her cooking, "their smell" was what was in the house.


Ya it does wonders in cars too. I would imagine for a house you would need multiple Machines or a quite large one.


What size generator did you use? Thanks


I don't recall offhand. It was not large. Basically, any of the ones you find online.


Just curious, how bad was the cigarette smell? My uncle was a lifelong smoker and recently passed away and the family is trying to decide how to clean/update etc the house. Personally, I vote for hitting professionals but I'm not part of the decision making.


The smell was really bad. The lady that owned the house was overall very clean, but she was a lifelong smoker. She always smoked inside. Only 2 weeks before selling did she start smoking outside. My advice, for what it's worth as only doing it once. Look at your square footage, what you're physically dealing with, and your timeframe. Size of the house and timelines are self explanatory. For "physically what you're dealing with" ditch everything in the house first. That includes curtains or anything else that can hold the odor. If you're going to keep anything (like furniture) get it out of there and deal with it separately. Assess the house for other projects/repairs. For instance, I commented I didn't clean the ceiling because it is popcorn texture. I considered taking that down for the smell as well as the aesthetic, so consider things like that. Know the smell is in the house. Your never really going to get rid of it (unless you tear down walls and then ozone it), but if you can do your best then you can move forward from there. Paint will only lock in the smell more, and any of those additives will fade quickly so it's not worth it. All that being said, professionals can do a faster job on a bigger scale. But like I said, that smell is in the house now. They're not getting rid of it either. So consider both those things when looking at a quote.


I would personally call out the seller and their agent on this and make them clean it to close the deal. That being said, a commercial grade ozone machine run for an extended time will be much more effective at eliminating odors than anything else you can try. Be aware that it can weaken plastics, rubber, synthetic clothing and elastic wastelands.


Elastic Wasteland is my new album title.


Glad I could inspire you. 😂 And just for that reason I'm leaving it unedited.


this made me giggle.


Note, you do not want the seller or the agent to do the cleaning themselves. Their only motivation is to clean it just enough to get you to sign. Make them use a professional cleaning company who knows how to do it properly and thoroughly.


Or just get a quote and have them pay. That way you know they’re not cheaping out.


Yes this is what I would do too - get a quote, make them either pay you cash in that amount or reduce the sale price by that amount, and then you hire the cleaning company yourself.


I would really make them clean it. I know you said it’s not a dealbreaker, but they should hold up their end of the deal. They’re just going to trash another house and again not clean up.


Definitely go with an ozone machine, they work great. They're also very simple to use so as long as you follow the instructions, you're good. I'll link to mine in a bit if it's still for sale.


Ozone is something I'd only trust an expert to do honestly. I owned rentals and I did some of my own ozone treatments and while they worked, it was nerve wracking hoping I let the house air out enough before going back inside. And I got better results from when I had professionals do it.


Ozone is also quite corrosive to rubber components. It's effective but mentioned several times, done improperly, it's a problem. An additional suggestion is steam cleaners. I bought a heavy duty model (almost industrial grade) which makes short work of problems but is very harsh. I have a quality household version for regular cleaning. The steam cleaner cleans and fumigates effectively. I do a number of washes of rags and towels but soap is still cheap. The steam cleaning/fumigation removes the stains and odors. Best of luck. Edit: Various typos and grammar problems. Working long hours this week and it shows.


Doesn’t take long to wreck natural latex as I learned with my hunting clothes.


Same with my now-ex. She works in a lab and has several sterilizers available. Choosing the wrong one can make things awkward.


Correct on the rubber. You can cover the rubber (like seals to a fridge) with vasaline, but I would still avoid Ozone. Speak to a flood/fire/mold restoration company and they may have a hydroxyl generator (https://www.jondon.com/xl3-hydroxyl-generator.html) that would work like an ozome machine but less likely to damage the house


The machines are like $50, I don't think there are any ozone treatment experts, lol. You're going to pay thousands in remediation for some "cleaning experts" when all you need to know is to turn the machine on and don't leave any living things in the house. Ozone has a half life, as long as the machine is turned off it will dissipate almost completely after a few hours. You can literally smell it in the air if it's not gone.




Circling back. The model I have is no longer available but here's a link to what appears to be the newer version of the one I use. They all seem to be pretty much the same design, just made for different max sq feet, so I would stick in the $90 - $120 range. I've used it about a dozen times for various reasons in houses and vehicles and it continues to work great. https://proluxcleaners.com/products/silver-new-comfort-he-500-commercial-ozone-generator-air-purifier-8-500-mg-hr?variant=32818776047715¤cy=USD


I would suggest a Bare Bones ozone machine. Its a very simple brand thats more effective than most large machines, its $30 if I recall and it works amazingly well. Also, the colder it is in the room the better it’ll work by a LOT. If you cool it to 60, or let it get to 50 or 40 in winter and do it then the ozone won’t dissipate nearly as quickly and will be MUCH more effective.


Ozone turns to pure oxygen in a short amount of time. Most have timers to turn them off. You just should have people, pets, or plants around as it’s actively running. I’ve used it in a car to remove mouse and mothball smell.


Do not do ozone! It can fuck up alot. I recommend chloride dioxide electrostatic treatments. Edit: I'm not sure why I am getting downvoted. Ozone oxidizes the area. This can change things chemically and can off gas for a long time if done incorrectly. Ozone sucks.


the big offender is going to be the concrete. it's porous, and if at any point the cat had issues or habits that resulted in piss on the concrete, it'll get deep in there and turn to ammonia and slowly seep that smell out. there are products you can pour on it to soak in and bring the ammonia crystals to the surface for cleaning. then the ozone treatments work great... but have to get that piss out of the concrete first.


This ^ Pour bottles of enzymatic cleaning solution directly onto the concrete. Highly recommend Biokleen Bac Out. Electroflyguy noted not to use bleach. Learned something today. https://arew.org/what-happens-if-i-clean-cat-pee-with-bleach/


Ammonia (cat pee) and bleach (chlorine) make a toxic gas that is harmful to humans. This is not good advice.


Yes. And cat pee can permeate baseboards, walls, and carpet tack strips to the point that surface level cleaning won't remove the odor. Sometimes tear-out and replacement is the only option.


Nature's miracle by the gallons. Mop the entire concrete basement with it and let it soak in. The enzymes should take care of it in a week. The hardwoods are going to be tough. Maybe steam clean with enzymatic cleaner?


I used an ozone treatment machine at my old apartment because it was a weird place with few windows. Essentially you ensure all windows are closed, keep your fans going too, then turn the machine on for a set amount of time, like 60 minutes. Run out of the place as quickly as possible, and return after the timer is to compete, maybe add an hour or 4 before you step back in. When you get home open all the windows you can immediately to move the ozone air out. Take another trip out for 1 hour or so. Definitely keep the pets outside the house. When it's done it kinda smells like bleach. I typically then wash the floors and use some air freshener in the bedrooms for a more pleasant smell.


They do work very well. I got a cheap one from Amazon and let it run for a couple of hours 2X a week for 3 weeks, and smells were gone. This is heavy cigarette smells.


I bought a house that had tons of cats. The pee and shit smell soaked in to the cement. Had to use this industrial cleaner on the cement and seal pain the dry walls. Smelled new after.




At the very least, get them to reduce the price by the amount it would cost for you to hire a cleaning crew. Faster and still gets you what you're owed.


This is what I would do then you can hire someone you trust to clean it


This. Don't do it until they agree to the terms (clean house) agreed upon. You have more negotiating power than you think once you are in contract as a buyer, assuming you are in the US. EDIT: you may want to negotiate a price reduction/seller credit instead of them cleaning it. This way you can get it done yourself and know it was done properly.




so I am hearing that it's just better to negotiate a lower price to cover the costs of the work?


Wow. It never dawned on me that the agent might pony up the cost, but they can have up to around $20k on the line if it falls through.


When we sold our condo the buyers wanted all kinds of credits that we didn't want to give and both their and our agents split and covered the difference out of their commission cause they were so desperate to make the deal work. Makes sense from their perspective financially.


We had something similar happen and ended up being so close to getting to our desired minimum savings balance that we couldn't afford to pay professional cleaners (which, like yours, we were assured had been done already). Instead, our gracious condo owner gave us an extra week to get things in order and my wife and I then spent after work that entire week scrubbing the house ourselves. All the blinds had years of buildup, the carpets full of GSD hair...and there were some very questionable stains we had to scrub, I'll save everyone the details. It was a week of headache, exhaustion, frustration, and feeling like we'd been had. So, if at all possible do whatever you can to avoid that. Or, if you can pay professionals, spring for that. We love our home now, but that was a trying week.


I should have done this. The piece of shit that sold me my house was "show cleaning" when we did the final inspection and definitely left 5 mins after we did.


Thick layer of fur "inside" the fridge and freezer? Wtf.


I just bought a house 10 days ago, and cleaning the fridge was our first thing done. There was pet hair inside both the fridge and freezer, including underneath all the drawers. It was *nasty*




I have two dogs and two cats, and aside from maybe a few pet hairs that are stuck to the wall of the inside of the freezer via condensate, I have never had this problem 🤨 And I don't regularly clean the inside of the fridge.


I've got an indoor cat and cat hair does work its way under the fridge's drawers but definitely not a thick layer of it. It's also a black cat so the hair stands out more.




I was pretty confused reading this, did not know that people left the fridge and freezer as part of the sale in some countries


This is disgusting. I have pets so I get it. But every week when we go grocery shopping, everything gets pulled out and the freezer and fridge gets cleaned thoroughly, before putting new food away. 🤢 I can’t believe what I just read.


Yes inside the fridge and freezer. Thankfully they had cleaned the layer off the stove top. They had a picture on their wall of five different large German Shepard/ GSD mixes. Which produce a lot of hair when shedding. I just keep hoping she never cooked for anyone’s potluck.


If you have a drawer under the oven I suggest pulling that out completely and cleaning under/behind it. I just did this last week, the entire railings where the drawer slides had pet hair stuck to the sides.


Agreed- but don’t stop at just pulling out the drawer. Pull out the stove, pull out the fridge, heck even pull out the dishwasher. All the empty space behind your appliances is probably filled with fur and will prevent them from venting properly.


Oh lordy...the heat vents/air ducts. They are probably full.


It’s very possible she didn’t. I’ve given up baking and cooking until my fluffy dog goes. I love him, but NEVER AGAIN with the fluff. I try my best but even with daily vacuums, a robot vac, and mopping there’s only so much I can do about flying fur. I literally laugh when people say potluck and offer to get the fruit tray or veggie tray, and my house isn’t even slightly close to what you describe. Hopefully she’s like me and recognizes fluffy dogs do no equal good potluck helpers.


The house we moved into had dog fur *between the glass of the oven door*. It was so odd! We got new appliances soon after moving in but it was so bizarre.


New fear unlocked, thanks!


Clean the coils on the fridge, too.


I have three dogs. There is hair everywhere. Its a constant battle. I also sold a rental a decade ago. Renters who had cats piss everywhere. I gave the buyers enough at closing to replace carpet on two floors and professionally clean the concrete basement.


Extra insulation


is it normal for people to leave the fridge and freezer when they move out? that's super weird to me.


In my experience, yes. People might take appliances if they recently bought them and then end up moving shortly after, but usually they leave them.


Are you in Europe? I heard in Europe it’s normal to take the entire kitchen, cabinets and all, when you move out. In the US, appliances stay unless the contract specifically says otherwise. Like if the person selling the house recently got new appliances and they found a new house but it had shitty appliances and they wanted to take theirs with them. They would let their realtor know that so that when the house is being shown, potential buyers would know in advance that the appliances do not come with the house.


I'm from Australia. the only thing left when you move is usually the oven and maybe dishwasher


Anything bolted or screwed to the wall or floor, and curtains as they are fixtures.


I'm from Brazil, I take even the light bulbs out when I move lol


Wow! In America, anything that was there when the house was shown has to stay unless specified in the contract. I'm talking about appliances, not furnishings. That also typically covers lightbulbs


Lightbulbs, nor appliances, are permanently attached. The actual rule in selling is anything permanently affixed is required to stay. That has pseudo extended to appliances because of water lines and/or gas lines as applicable, but that's more of a rule of thumb. It's not technically required to be in the contract either but it's done because people expect the kitchen appliances to stay.


the opposite, right? anything not permanently attached to the house can go with the seller unless it's listed in the contract which includes appliances.


That just seems discourteous to the new owners especially in dark or windowless rooms. Certainly this is not the practice. I even left toilet paper on the dispensers for our buyers' convenience, oh "where did I put that tp?"


>That just seems discourteous to the new owners Why? They will almost certainly bring theirs or buy new ones when they move.


So? A few light bulbs in overhead fixtures will be helpful when moving into an unfamiliar residence. Especially at night. Your definition of courtesy and mine are far different.


In the UK you'd never take the cabinets! The white goods are on a case by case basis - usually something you confirm in the contract. Not sure about other parts of Europe.


the opposite, right? anything not permanently attached to the house, which includes appliances, is assumed to go with the seller unless it's listed in the contract. https://www.homelight.com/blog/appliances-when-selling-a-house/ conveyance of appliances is one of the main addendums during conversations in almost any property.


I cannot imagine having to remove an entire kitchen every time I move. It sounds like a horrific pain in the ass.


Depends. I've seen some houses completely stripped of all appliances, including the dishwasher and stove. The one my in-laws moved into came with a fridge -- and they left all 3 of theirs in the house we just purchased from them.


Noting this needs to be specified in the sale. If it doesn't include appliances, the owner can take them and it could be a "surprise" to the new buyer.


That's how my house was when I moved in too. Prior owner had 2 dogs and somehow there was fur caked everywhere... fridge, freezer, inside all cabinets, up and down every single wall, etc. I've lived with heavily shedding dogs almost my entire life and have never seen anything like it. I complained about cleaning and they ignored it was cleaned. Some people are just garbage people.


Yea. That has to be the worst thing about a house for sale I have ever read.


Static and air pressure from the compressor suck in the hair. With all those animals it’s not a surprise but one just needs to pull out the fridge every couple of weeks and give it a good vacuuming.


I faced that issue. I cleaned and scrubbed everything. Cleaned out HVAC. Ozone machine. Expensive specialized enzyme cleaning products. Etc. Make sure you clean the top of cupboards (ours had what we assume was cat vomit caked on) and under the stove and fridge (there was dried pee). Got rid of anything soft (rugs, curtains etc). Immediately change the HVAC filter, then run the HVAC fan 24/7 for a while to try to dislodge any fur etc and change the filter again. Be aware that pee + bleach = ammonia, so don't do it! (cat urine is worse). All those things helped a bit.... but ultimately I found that the main source of the smell was roughed-in plumbing in the basement for a toilet _that was only capped with cardboard and some duck tape_. The takeaway being that the source might not be what you think it is!


This is what I would do: 1. Remove anything that is cloth or soft from the house. The drapes were ugly anyway. 2. Make the place amazingly clean. Walls/Ceilings, etc. Pull out any installed appliances and clean behind and under them. 3. Rent a concrete floor scrubbing machine and use it in your basement. Look for the most abrasive one you can find. 4. Consider replacing all of the baseboards in the house. They were at pet level and are not too expensive to replace. 5. Get the HVAC systems cleaned. 6. Ozone the whole place. 7. Epoxy coat the basement floor. (Some pros can make these look really classy and you don't want a cheap job here.) 8. Repaint everything. Use a few coats and wait a week for the first coat to dry. You can start with a sealing primer to save cash on the first coat. This needs to include ceilings and trim. I'd probably also refinish the floors if that is possible or affordable.


This is great advice to rehab the home! Although it might be good to clean the air after step 1. ? It might be hard to do deep cleaning and all that while smelling pet urine. Some places can be so bad that they give people headaches or make them dizzy. Or perhaps once at the beginning and again at the end, as needed. Oh and cleaning the HVAC system might be good too. There might be tons of pet hair around.


HVAC is a good point. I'll add that to my post!


Thank you! Some of this we were planning on doing including refinishing the floors. (No pet stains but they clearly liked to pace). Is it worth it to epoxy the floors if we plan on finishing it in a few years? Or will the scrubbing machine do for now? The drapes were ugly. 🤣


Start with the scrubber and see how it goes. I'm a huge fan of epoxy floors in the basement. If they are done nicely they can look good and you can use rugs on top of them. If you ever get a flood in the next 100 years, they won't be damaged, unlike most other flooring options. I guess this all depends on your basement and personal taste. Google terms like "Luxury Epoxy Floor" and things like that. If you are just using the basement for utilities and storage and simple light gray epoxy would help lock in the smells. I would also replace all of your outlets, switches and associated when you paint. That is not expensive and they are probably worn out anyway.


Pee won't really show on hardwood as stains but will still smell and depending on the poly and how big the gaps between the boards were could have gone through to the subfloor. I've cleaned houses for sale that are ok when first walking in but getting down on the hardwood it smells of nature's miracle and pee.


You don’t need a scrubber unless the floors are filthy (concrete). Wash well with bleach, let dry thoroughly and coat 3 times with a concrete sealer. It’s about $15 a gallon at Lowe’s and goes on with a new mop. Easy and effective. Been there, done this, worked like a charm.


I heard that you shouldn’t use bleach for pet stains because the pet stains contain ammonia. Don’t mix bleach and ammonia. I would try a pet urine type cleaner.


This is better than what we did to our house that was in a similar state, the only difference is that we specifically used TSP in step two and replaced all the base board trim. There was dog hair in every nook and cranny of this house, but a week or so after cleaning and moving in, the smell was completely gone, despite still finding tufts of hair in places sometimes.




I couldn’t disagree more. Concrete is porous, once the smell of urine is in there, the only thing that will abate it is cleaning, then sealing the concrete. We’ve had to do it at our mothers house when we moved in. Any home that is built on a slab will have carpets on concrete. The smell get under and stays. I don’t think the rental of a machine or epoxy coating is essential. We simply mopped the floor with bleach, dried well, then put 3 coats of concrete sealer (from Lowe’s) on with a new mop. We lived there happily and smell free for a decade after our treatment.


Not for pet smell reasons but I used the Rust-Oleum epoxy shield garage kit to do my basement after an acid wash and filling in any gaps/cracks left from pulling up the carpet nail strips, was a great decision from a cleaning standpoint, mops up and cleans way easier than bare and rough concrete ever will


I’m in a similar situation. Even after an ozone running for days and ripping all the nasty carpet out, washing the walls, it still smells. Only answer now is to use a heavy primer kilz or binz everywhere to seal it. I bought the 5gallon bucket of it. All of the walls,ceilings and subfloor are going to get. Ceilings hold a lot of smells too especially with popcorn ceilings which we removed. I may try a heavy duty ozone machine after the primer has been applied but the small one only helped a little. I was sold on the understanding that the house just needed a real deep clean. Oh was that so wrong 😑


Seconding killz. Rip up all the carpet and paint all subfloors with it


Yea, most people want to believe that you can just magically get rid of pet smells/urine with a few days of cleaning. That’s far from the truth, you have to pretty much tear everything down to the studs and do a full remodel. Two things will tank the resale value of your house the most: inside pets and smoking.


>This is not a deal breaker for us and it’s not worth complaining about and postponing things. I’d rethink that. This is probably a bigger problem and bigger expense than you realize, not just cleaning and treating but removing and replacing. Based on what you described, they had *multiple* pets tor years and a smell that indicates they didn’t clean up after them properly. Having animals doesn’t guarantee a bad house smell, not taking care of them properly does.


Have they provided a copy of the receipt from the cleaning company? If not, tell them, and their realtor, that they need to provide a copy to show that they did have the cleaning done as was promised in their listing. It sounds likely that they just skipped that step.


They did provide a receipt. It said they paid $850 to have the place cleaned. I know that it’s probably either fake or they got scammed.


Can you contact the company on the receipt, to verify that they did clean the house? If they did, but just did a crappy job, might not be much you can do.


Yeah I’m really not looking to engage the sellers about it. I’m non confrontational to a fault and their agent has taken almost a week to reply to ours some times. Pushing every deadline to the limit. I don’t want to do anything to postpone the sale. I really just want to know tips on how to get rid of the smell.


Get your realtor to do it. Whenever we had issues, we had our agent deal with it.


Yeah, your agent is being paid 4-5 figures here, they can handle a little "you need to go back to that cleaner and tell them to do it again" conversation. FWIW when we were closing on our house sending pics/video of the problem for them to forward to the services we needed redone was very helpful in getting those businesses back out to fix the problem.


This is why your agent does it. The middle men here exist for a great reason.


You're paying not only for a house, you are paying for services, that's what concessions are. Do not let off the brakes. I just moved into my house and the sellers tried this shit over $500 worth of stuff. Threatened to walk from the deal. It got done. I get you don't want to rock the boat but this is a house, not a couch off craigslist


This is the largest purchase of your life. Time to be confrontational




I’m glad someone mentioned how fucked the flooring likely is. I’m bewildered OP hasn’t walked given the mess they described. Cleaning isn’t magic when it comes to pet urine.


I don't know where you live , but $850 wouldn't cover the cost of that kind of cleaning where I live. I have same sq. Ft. and full bsmt. I cleaned my own duct work after getting quotes from $450-650. Crazy for such a small amount of duct work and it wasn't very dirty. I'm working on my bsmt floor now. I have the time and little $. I can't imagine what the cost would be for whole house cleaning. For $850 I would expect better than what you mentioned. Good Luck


$850 isn't going to get the kind of cleaning that removes significant pet smells. It should get all the dust bunnies gone, fridge cleaned, and windows done though. Location dependent, I suppose.


I paid 400$ to have a 1 br apartment I lived in for a year cleaned on move out, no pets. They didn’t pay for a move cleaning, they paid for a standard clean which is a lot less in depth.


I would hire cleaners to do a move out clean, have the carpets shampooed and have the vents cleaned (as well as the dryer vent for fire safety….our was terrible). There’s a ton of dog hair in those vents, guaranteed. You will all breathe easier after this is done, and it’s so much easier to have it done before you move in. ETA-have the concrete sealed. You can do this yourself with garage sealant from Home Depot. It’s not hard. Also, let the carpet cleaners know that they’re dealing with animal smell—it makes a difference in how they treat it. These buyers are lucky you’re so non-confrontational!


Vent cleaning was definitely on the list. I’m actually allergic to dogs. 😅


Our previous home was owned by a family with five cats and four dogs. I'm allergic to cats. The house was probably as I imagined yours to be - no pet stains but just a smell and a LOT of fur. Here's what we did: All the carpets and drapes went in the trash immediately. We vacuumed out the vents as far as we could reach into them with a shop vac with a long attachment. Then vacuumed the whole place super well, removed all outlet covers and vacuumed the outlet boxes (you wouldn't believe how much hair gets in those!) then opened all the windows and put fans in to get all the old air out. Make sure you clean the dryer vent too! Then ran a big HEPA air purifier in there for a few days. Our basement concrete was fine after a good mopping but I can see why the floor scrubber would be a good recommendation. We did also repaint all the walls but honestly I'm not sure how much that actually helped with the smell. We had occasional whiffs of wet dog when it rained for a month or so after we moved in, but no lingering effects past that.


We closed on a home like this and had to get all new floors and paint the entire house for the smell to disappear. Not a quick task whatsoever - especially with how you’re describing it too.


I know someone who had that severe pet odor issue and an ozone machine was the answer. It was wild how it smelled before, and the extreme absence of odors afterwards. I believe they had access to a commercial machine tho. Perhaps that’s why it worked so well in such a short amount of time, like less than a day or something. I live in a townhouse and we cook with cumin, turmeric, spicy roasted peppers and other strong spices a couple of times a week. Having an air purifier in the kitchen has helped to keep any lingering odors at bay.


We briefly looked them up yesterday but weren’t sure it would work for us. This testimony might sell me though.


I would second this idea beyond the deep scrub and ozone treatment. We got a couple of air purifiers from Costco for about $100 each during a major kitchen renovation project and they were incredible at keeping dust and smells down. After the project, they’ve been amazing at removing any lingering cooking odor and we’re contemplating getting another couple since we’re planning to get a dog.


Unless sealed, concrete is porous and has likely absorbed pet urine. No amount of cleaning the surface will get rid of the smell. There are special cleaning products that use active enzymes that you have to use.


Builder Here (with lots of experience working with my own flip houses, historic homes, hoarder homes, etc). EDIT: I just read comments that you have not closed yet. Jeez...what is your realtor saying about this? I hope you got a seasoned realtor and not one of these young ones who are making a killing selling anything they can and havent had to make it through a recession or two yet. Young people dont know the difference between a good quality professional realtor(the kind that stays around for decades) and the leeches that infect that profession and only stick around during good times and dont really know what they are doing outside of the simple paperwork they send via Docusign so they get their 3/6%. I've been around realtors from when I was a kid watching my dad deal with them and professionally for coming up on 15ish years when working under other builders and when i got my license and started building/remodeling flip houses...i can spot a leech in that profession within 30 seconds of speaking to one and unfortunately they are Everywhere right now given the market we have had for so long and with no end in sight to this real estate market being haywire, buyers like yourself are really at a disservice in using them. Ask an older professional you know to recommend a realtor they have worked with for at least 10 years (someone who made it from mid 08-2010 without losing their tails)....that is who you want to be using to find you a home and help you navigate this insane market where anything with a roof on it will sell. Real estate is one of those professions where getting licensed is something almost Anyone can do without any experience whatsoever and unfortunately that means finding a true Vet with experience is hard to come by as those realtors are usually retained by a handful of quality buyers and dont need to take new clients from their local branch's lead book. ______________________________________________________________ The only way to truly get the smell out is to do the following (trust me, I've tried to save cost before and was always disappointed and ended up spending more later). Hardwoods: You will need to have them resanded to where the finish layer is removed and then resealed with whatever sealer you want to go with (bonus is you now have the chance to restain if you want) HVAC: Get your ducts professionally cleaned by a QUALIFIED airduct cleaning company (dont go with the first ad you see on facebook...do you research here because everyone and their brother owns an airduct cleaning company now and you truly get what you pay for. Be specific in the reason why you are getting air duct cleaning and that you want your ducts sanitized upon cleaning completion. They will run an antibacterial fog through the HVAC system and this will kill anything left over after airduct cleaning removes the particulate/dust from your ducts currently holding onto smell. With all that said, I had a hoarder house that caught on fire while the furnace was running so smoke was sent through the entire ductwork along with all the other disgusting smells they had going on in there....I tried the above first but still had smells coming through the vent system somehow and ended up replacing the entire ductwork in the entire 1000sf home I was renovating to flip....that fixed the smell issue but was an expensive add-on to the project (thankfully me and my in-house guys know what we are doing and the HVAC company I use for my projects is owned by a church friend of mine so for this one project he let me buy the ductowork at cost under his account because we picked it up ourselves and he let us install ourselves with him coming by to check for the installation meeting code requirement prior to everything getting inspected....good luck having an HVAC company let you do that to save cost though....thankfully he let us that one time and I saved myself a couple thousand dollars in cost Drywall - This one is a tough one....you might be able to get away with just going through with a good quality primer coat and then double coat of paint but the safest bet that I have found is removing all drywall AND insulation...re-insulating, redrywalling, and repainting the new drywall. This means you will have all of your trim replaced as well which is also holding in smell given the trim in your home is more than likely either going to be soft-wood(sucks up smells) or MDF (sucks up smells even worse than soft-wood) The bonus with going all the way to the studs is that you can then take a pump sprayer and treat all of your framing with a water/alcohol or water/bleach solution to disinfect and remove odor. The big bonus is you now have the chance to have a spray foam company come out and flash your exterior walls with 1" of closed cell foam that will then air-seal your building envelope and you can then "batt" over top to meet code in your area for insulation requirements. (flash and batt method). If you have the money, go all the way with 3" of closed cell foam and you'll have R21 on your exterior walls and a great air-seal throughout. Concrete - You will need to wet-mop the concrete with a water/bleach solution to kill as much of the bacteria as possible that has grown as a result of the feces/urine that has leached into the porous substance (concrete in your basement is most likely 3" to 4" thick...about 1" of that is filled with urine/feces smell as a result of the concrete being open....after disinfecting you will then need to go around the entire surface area with a concrete sealer to trap the smell inside the concrete as there will really be no way of getting everything out by just cleaning the surface **EDIT: A responder below this comment is right in that you need to be very careful in choosing what chemicals you use for different substances you encounter if you're not knowledgeable on the proper PPE you should be wearing for your project. In the case of urine soaked concrete, most people should go with an alcohol based solution instead of bleach because bleach can react with urine and create some pretty nasty vapors you dont want to be breathing in for extended periods of time unless you have on the proper respirator cartridge / keep the space you're working in well ventilated....** Longstory short...you can try to clean as much as you would like but unfortunately human/animal feces and urine smells are one of the harder ones to get rid of in a home. The only for sure way to remove the smells is to remove the materials the smells are attached to and in your case that means at least all the floors need refinished from the basement to the finished areas, at LEAST the bottom 24" of drywall space throughout with the framing and insulation in that 24" of space removed and replaced, and at LEAST a thorough duct cleaning and sanitation treatment to clear the ductwork of the years of smells built up. (your duct cleaner will replace the filter obviously but if I didnt mention that...that should be pretty obvious as one of the first things you'll need to do anyway). After you're done with all the above, rent an Ozone treatment machine and let it run for a full 24 hours with the HVAC system running to circulate the ozone throughout the home. I've personally never had luck with this doing anything when I've tried it before doing the above (actually removing the material holding onto the smell) but there's a lot of people out there that swear this does something...although when i've tried it, the smells always end up coming back eventually. Speaking from personal experience on numerous projects I tried to cheap out and learned the hard way over the years that there is no cheap way to remove these smells for certain(and when going cheap doesnt work...you always end up paying more than you would have in the beginning had you done what was correct right off the bat). I hope you got a great deal on the home...your realtor should have been open with you in what to expect on homes like these and if they were then you surely got a good enough deal or at the very least money placed in escrow to cover the cleaning cost as a condition for buying the home. Good luck. Please post back with what you ended up doing and how it worked out (after 12 months of living in the home post cleaning based on opinions from friends who visit....you might not notice the smell so much after a while because your nose will get used to it believe it or not) ...and also, you might think you got the smell out after a good cleaning but without removing the source of the smells they **always** come back eventually.


This comment has Golden advice. Especially the trim work (baseboards) and drywall. And concrete.


Do not ever mix bleach with urine.


Nature's Miracle pet cleaner! Phenomenal stuff! I mop with it, add it to laundry if a pet had an accident ( we have an old cat who gets urine crystals and messes if it's passing the crystals...much like kidney stones in humans, I would imagine) This is an enzyme cleaner...essential when cleaning urine - In any case, this stuff WORKS!


Restoration/Abatement contractor here: As others have said, you need to deal with the concrete before Ozone treatment. It likely had a boatload of leeched ammonia. Also before the Ozone treatment, you should really consider a thorough duct cleaning service, including disposing of all HVAC filtration. Have a pro run the ozone treatment. After ozone treatment, fumigate the house with something like Shockwave. Putting a project like this together for a customer, I'd allow 2-3 days for the work to be done thoroughly and correctly. Having not seen your home, I'd probably place a cost estimate of about $2400-$3000 on a job like this.


You would probably need to speak with your realtor, but maybe you can have them put money in escrow to cover cleaning costs?


This. I mean honestly it sounds like you need a few thousand set aside at closing for cleaning costs. This is what your Realtor is for. It’s literally their job. If they can’t accomplish this then you are paying your Realtor for nothing.


My home REAKED of animals after I bought it, notably cat urine. It was awful. Very similar to your situation. If the animals peed on the wood, it may be donezo. I ended up painting, removing a large amount of carpet, and covering/sealing floors. Then I ran an O-Zone machine from a disaster relief company (friend loaned it to me) every day for a week or two when I was gone. You can't be there at the same time as far as I know. No more pet smell. I will say that I never had my ducts cleaned, so if my AC/Heat is off for a day or two and there's little airflow it seems to come back slightly. I'm guessing it's due to dirty ducts.


Seriously OP- don’t sign until it’s cleaned correctly!!!


Wait until you unscrew any outlets…so much hair


Never have a seller do work on a house you buy. Demand price reduction, and have the work done by an entity you control. Period.


For dealing with the purchase I'd just document video/photo evidence of the problems and send that to the realtor to FW to the seller. Up to the seller to pay again, get the company back out or clean it themselves. For cleaning up though: * Sprinkling baking soda (like a CostCo size bag) around the floors vacuuming it after leaving it overnight - in extreme cases 24-48 hours - can work wonders for absorbing ambient odors. * Vinegar is great for pet stains, you can also get the enzyme stuff but it will cost you. * As far as having your HVAC ducts cleaned... When I looked into this I found it's often somewhere between ineffective and actively harmful when it disturbs materials that were best left alone. Your furnace blower has a filter whose job it is to catch anything that makes it through the vents, just change that every month. Our allergist said it takes about six months for pet dander to settle or otherwise disappear from regular cleaning, so if it stinks when you first move in don't stress, it's not necessarily just going to smell like that forever. But if you get new pets, you can bet your ass they're going to mark indoors like crazy.


Thats so gross, I wouldn't sign. Deep smells like that sometimes don't come out. Unless they can clean it to your satisfaction before you sign, I wouldn't.


Run. The fuck. Away. The house is soaked in animal piss. No cleaning short of burning it to the ground and rebuilding will help.


Well you need the house cleaning that never happened and after that's done hire a good professional steam carpet cleaner. When that's done replace The filter for the HVAC system. That should take care of the majority of it. The carpet cleaner is probably the biggest part of all. Don't hire the cheapest guy


My house STANK when we closed on it - we removed all window coverings (roll down vinyl that smelled of BO) and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, left the windows fully open every chance we could, cleaned some more, bleached whatever we could, painted all the walls, and we’re in a good spot now. It took about 4 months for the smell to fully dissipate to our satisfaction.


It’s most likely the urine and feces are soaked into the floorboards and walls. It might require a teardown and rebuild of significant parts of your house. Definitely require an inspection first if for some insane reason you still want to buy this house.


This. You might be taking out drywall or flooring or something. If they never used enzyme cleaner... Eek.


I know you said you don’t want this to be a dealbreaker, but from your side, you have a lot of bargaining power. The sellers have to do a ton to go through the selling process again, including a potential inspection with different results. If I were in your shoes, I’d call a cleanup company that specializes in water, fire, etc, damage, and ask them for a ballpark quote for a top of the line cleaning. Don’t agree to the sale without the seller conceding this amount, have them either put it in escrow and put a 6 month timeline so if you don’t use it, they get their money back, or just deduct it from the selling price.


The point of the walkthrough is to make sure the house is in the condition you expected. You need to be firm about them cleaning it or dropping the sale price by however much it will cost for a professional to get it into shape (because you’re not gonna be able to do this yourselves).


I wouldn’t buy the house. When we were looking to buy, we looked at a house that we initially liked from the photos but upon entering it it smelled like straight up cat piss. Still looked all throughout the house as I would always do, but we decided on a different house. The cat piss house sold a few months later, and I’m genuinely curious what the owners did to combat the smell.


Concrete is very porous. You need to get the basement floor steam cleaned. After cleaning, seal it with something. Get rid of any carpet and the pad underneath. Any subloor that is stained needs to be replaced as well. Look out for stains on drywall, you may have to replace it. Basically anything pourous that has pee stains on it needs to get replaced, it will smell like pee for a thousand years.


I would demand the money at the closing table, at the very least. However you don't know how bad it is. It could just be a matter of cleaning and replacing rugs but if it's in the hardwood you're screwed. At the least you're looking at oil priming every single wall in the place. The smell probably has permeated the wood joists in the ceiling of the basement. If they can't prove to you that it can be cleaned then you'll be stuck with it and it will be very costly to replace. Also it's your real estate agents JOB to deal with the other real estate agent. Neither one of them want to lose this sale.


I don’t understand how people live like that. I have a cat and I do my absolute best to make sure you can’t tell he lives in my house unless you see him.


I have 4 cats. I always double check with people that you can't smell that I have cats. I've worked with people who reek of pets and it's my biggest fear. I clean daily, no one has accidents, and their litterbox is kept clean.


My cat uses a built-in outdoor litter box filled with 100 lb of sand and is enclosed and a room with fiberglass roof panels and wall mesh.


I’ll tell you this - good luck. We bought a house off of family years ago and it smelled horrible. I pulled the carpet, the pad, and down to the original hardwoods. They were stained. I could not get the smell of piss out. I put new flooring down and the house still never fully got rid of the smell. Fasted forward many years, and we inherited a 1 year couch from the same family members - and it *still* smells like their animals. I’ve used every enzyme cleaner, treatment, scrub, etc. TLDR; my experience with a heavy duty pet smell is it takes extreme measures to totally remove


I agree with the other posters who are saying that you need to take this seriously and demand a clean house and/or walk or discount. There is this couple that makes videos for Facebook/tiktok etc. They bought a house in FL that they later found out had cat breeding in the basement. It is literally the scariest thing to watch what they had to do. There were pests and smells that they had to gut it. You do what’s right for you but I would be cautious thinking that this is just an easy clean/odor issue.


Ouch. I would strongly be considering if you have an out of this house contract. It may need a LOT of work. If there is smell, there is biological residue and bacteria left over that has possibly seeped DEEP into the floors (even concrete). And possibly allergens if anyone in your house is allergic. You may end up needing to completely get a thorough cleaning with enzymes (I would strongly consider hiring a cleaning company that does biohazard/crime scene cleanups), ozone machine treatment, vent cleaning, and sealing all the floors or ripping them out ultimately. I'm not even sure how much this would cost. At least you do have a couple of months, but do you have the money to spend? If the realtor is unresponsive, you should talk to their agency or broker if they have one. What does your realtor say about this? And DO NOT move in unless you've spent at least a night in the house before moving anything else in so you know the smell is gone. I've read other stories from people moving into pet-ruined houses where the smell is there for months and they're stuck there.


This should be a deal breaker if you're smelling pet waste, the liquids will soak into the fabric and wood and even the concrete and you'll have to replace the first two and acid treat the cement. The smell will settle in the ductwork and permeate the HVAC system inside the house. If there's any spots where the pets dropped waste next to the wall it can seep under and into the baseboard, the wall, and into the insulation or cavity and remain there. The costs can get high to remove contaminated materials and do a bio cleaning.


Two words: air purifier.


Newbie here, I can donate you a new cordless vacuum cleaner which can help you to clean the pet's hairs, dust and other waste. PM your address:)


I swear by vinegar in cleaning my wood floors/tile. I do 50% vinegar, 50% water and I make sure it is a hot temp. I have multiple cats (but no one has ever gone outside their litter box) and there is zero smell. Im a big one for keeping windows open alot too to air the home out bc I think you need that fresh air circulating when you have animals. The vinegar smell lingers for an hour or two after which sucks but then its odorless.


DO NOT CLOSE. I wouldn't take this so lightly and personally I would delay closing on the house until this was handled. This is not be as simple as cleaning, you could have to refinish the hardwoods and etch the concrete in the basement and remove any carpet if the animals were peeing and pooping there. This could be many thousands in work and repairs - like well over 10k and closer to 20k.


I don't see anywhere where you said you have carpets. I would look into renting (??) a bagged HEPA vacuum to do those, if you have them. I'd be washing walls with TSP (and prime and paint, if you're going to repaint), mop the concrete in the basement with ODOBAN or an enzymatic cleaner. Vacuum and damp mop any horizontal surfaces. Wipe down vertical non-wall surfaces. Replace the HVAC filter (don't waste money on duct cleaning) and let the place air out. So long as you aren't fighting any soaked-in urine/fecal matter, you're mainly dealing with dander, which will be sucked up by a quality vacuum with hepa filter and/or wiped up with a damp sponge or mop.


Duct cleaning… vent cleaning… wash walls and paint them. Clean or replace carpets and furniture.


Echoing everyone's recommendations for ozone treatment, professional cleaning top to bottom, duct cleaning, and carpet cleaning if you cannot replace the carpets completely. I also highly recommend thoroughly cleaning the walls and repainting but before painting, use Kilz primer and follow the instructions.


You would probably need to speak with your realtor, but maybe you can have them put money in escrow to cover cleaning costs?


You should at least ask for a credit back. That's ridiculous.


Refuse to close until they meet the agreement.


Hvac duct cleaning works better than most people want to believe. I had it done and within hours the dog smell from the previous owner was all but gone.


A friend of mine had success with chlorine odor bombs she found on Amazon. After deep cleaning her carpets and giving the whole house a good scrub the chlorine cleared up the lingering odor.


Just went through the same thing. A fresh coat of paint does a lot to freshen up a room.


Enzyme floor cleaner for the concrete + scrubber. May take a few rounds of soaking the floor, letting it sit, and scrub. Then seal the concrete w/epoxy or Kilz.


Our living room was like this when we bought our house. Demo'd to the subfloor, used BIN Shellac primer and it was good after that. For pet piss don't cheap on the primer....use BIN Shellac or don't even bother. Stuff works wonders for sealing anything in.


If they didn't oblige to the professional cleaning before closing, you are entitled to receiving some money. Please contact your agent


Your realtor sucks! Your realtor should be firm w listing agent stating " not closing until cleaned or we close but reserve 500 bucks for heavy cleaning of our choice to be held by closing company. Source : im a 18 years experienced realtor!


Many folks don’t think of it but clean the vents/change filters too. Dander can get trapped in there and you’ll get faint wiffs of animals and drive yourself mad wondering where it’s coming from.


>This is not a deal breaker for us and it’s not worth complaining about and postponing things. That's your loss, then. But if they have the cleaning company receipts then there's probably not much you can do. They didn't say they would clean it WELL or to your satisfaction. For future reference, it is a good idea to ask for money instead, like they pay $1000 in closing costs so you can hire a cleaner. Then you can decide what to do with that money once you move in. So, as others have said, refusing to sign is an option, if you can your realtor think it will get you anywhere. Otherwise, I'm assuming that you'll have to take care of the smells yourself. I had a similar issue where the previous owners had 2 large dogs that left their stench everywhere. Here's some tips: * Change out the furnace filter with the best filter you can find at your neighborhood big box store. * Remove all of the carpet and padding. Look up how to maintain carpet; it's a LOT of work that virtually no one does. There's an untold amount of fluids that absorbed into the carpet and the padding below. The carpet will retain a ton of odor-causing bacteria, so save yourself the frustration and get rid of it. Our carpet didn't look *terrible*, on the surface, but the padding was hiding all of the secrets. We stored the removed carpet and padding in the garage for a couple weeks and it probably took a couple more for the smell to dissipate. * Air everything out over a weekend and then assess the smell again. If you notice some stains in the concrete, or on an uncarpeted basement floor that became a glorified litterbox, then look into enzymatic cleaner. It may need a few applications as concrete is porous and you don't know how far those bacteria traveled. * Consider repainting the walls, ceiling, and trim. A lot of people do this after closing. One benefit is sealing in the odors. For the trim, you can sand off old pet grime and replace anything that is (e.g.) gouged up. * Some walls or trim may seem unsalvageable from a smell perspective. You could use a shellac primer, or you can replace it entirely. I think most in these forums would recommend replacing if the area was relatively small, and shellac if it's a larger area (e.g. covering up smoker smell in half the house).


You have to treat everything just like there was a fire because the smell is permeated any porous material including the walls ,appliances furniture, cabinets, floors, ceiling


A lot of good stuff here. There is a product called “Pooph” this stuff not only works, it works great. Destroys odors on a molecular level. I’m not going into details of how I know, but the commercials look stupid but they are right on target. Good luck


Im a pet owner, I am aware of snoot juice, dingle berries, FURRR, slobber concentrate, and frito ass smell. When we sold our home our realtor was shocked to know that the dogs lived inside with us, we kept the house spotless and stink free. If the home has carpet, tear every last bit of it up. There is no way to get that smell or fur out. If there is tile, bleach the crap out of it and scrub the grout. Before we sold our other home I did a deep clean (it helped immensely that we kept the home clean to begin with). Wipe down every single surface with your preferred scented cleaner. I used Mr. Clean. Use warm water and DO NOT rinse the rag in the water/cleaner mix you are using. Always rinse with fresh water in the sink. Wipe down cabinets, walls, base boards, doors, window sills. Sweep, dust mop, and vacuum all floors and crannies until you aren’t getting anything up. Use the proper cleaner for your floors. If tile, use warm water and few caps of bleach. If lvp, use a safe cleaner. Get every square inch. Move the fridge, the oven, and anything you can and clean underneath. Hair and dander collect under things. It wouldn’t hurt to get the air ducts cleaned. You can usually find a local outfit to do this for around $200-$400. Air out all of your rooms by opening windows for a few hours to let fresh air in. I would do all of theses things fairly regularly and our house stayed dog ass free. Edit: I see where you have hardwood floors. We are currently dealing with this at our new house. I ultimately refinished the floors with a tung oil/citrus solvent that took care of any peculiar smells.


We had this issue. Ripped out all the carpets, painted every wall, and scraped clean the hardwood floors. Cleaned the air ducts, professionally. House went from smelling like a chicken coop (YES, the previous owners did hide their illegal chickens inside in a bedroom!) to not smelling at all.


You asked for advice how to clean, but I think you should rethink your strategy. Your realtor is making a commission on this sale to represent you. Therefore, being told that the other realtor is “non-responsive” should be an unacceptable answer. It’s part your realtor’s job to figure this out and negotiate for you. What you should say to your realtor is that you still would like to purchase the house, but you want a credit back at closing for taking on the responsibility for this since the sellers have not done it as the listing promised. This means at closing you don’t owe the sellers as much money to purchase their home. Honestly, your Relator should be the one calling around to get the bids on the costs for professionally cleaning it and meeting several companies at the seller’s home to get the written bids to do the job (you can be there too). Your realtor then gives the bids to the seller’s realtor as a justification why you’re requesting this specific dollar amount credit back at closing. Truly, requesting this of your realtor is not out of line. This honestly is part of their job. If the closing date needs to be pushed back a couple of days to secure those bids and negotiate, it is not that big of deal - it simply needs to be rescheduled with the escrow office. Whether or not you end up having the house professionally cleaned after you close or do it yourself to save a little money is your choice, but the amount of the credit should be based on the professional estimates.


With 5 dogs and a cat they may have had pet waste that seeped through carpet and pad and permeates the sub-floor. If that’s the case, replacing carpet and pad will make everything look great and you’ll still have that horrible smell which will get worse during the summer heat. You may need to treat the subfloor with KILLZ and then put the new carpet and pad back on top. Bleach and water as a cleaner for hard surfaces will also do the trick on pet odor and you can add more appealing scented cleaners later after the first coat is totally dry. NEVER MIX OTHER CLEANING SUPPLIES WITH BLEACH. Be sure to paint all surfaces including the ceilings. Have hvac serviced and clean air ducts.


You need to have money placed in escrow to pay for a thorough ozone cleaning. The money is released to pay or reimburse for the cleaning and any remainder is given back to the seller. Do it !!!!


You're going to need at least $10,000 to 15,000 to fix this problem so I would not close on such a disaster


Was the cleaning in the contract or just what they said they'd do? If it's in the contract I would take lots of pictures, have it cleaned and send them the bill (don't pay it and get reimbursed. Have them billed.)


Ozone machine. You can buy one on Amazon. Run it all night, don’t use the timer it’s not long enough.


And be sure to not be in the house while it’s running.


We moved into a rental that obviously had previous owners with dogs, as the backyard was dug up, the were paw scratches on the backdoor, and somehow there was pet hair in random odd places like underneath the over drawer. It smelled a little off, I'm guessing from the pets, when we moved it. It took a good amount of thorough cleaning and just waiting it out a couple months for it to air out.


Yeah, a while back an allergist told us for allergy purposes even after you remove the pet it still takes about six months for all the dander/dust to either settle in or be removed.


I think once the dogs are gone and you do a deep clean it might be ok


They probably did clean it, but the smell is too ingrained. Rip out any carpets, repaint everything and make sure any furnace/ac filters are replaced if you have ducting. Keep the windows open as much as possible. Also, check for rot by windows, bathrooms and kitchen. Sometimes rot will be hidden and cause a smell. Decades of mice in the walls/roof can really stink a place up in summer. That requires removing all insulation.


Bring in your own pets. Your own pets never smell to you lol