Raccoon outdoors on a downspout (C) Daniel Friedman Find & Get Rid of Pet & Other Animal or Human Odors, & Smells or Urine Odors on or at Building Exteriors

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Animal smells & urine odors on or around the outside of buildings: how to track down and remove the sources of animal-related smells at buildings: odors, feces, dog or cat odor troubleshooting guide. This article provides suggestions for finding and removing animal odors from on or around the exteriors of buildings - a section of our discussion of animal or human odor removal from building interiors, building exterior surfaces, from soils around buildings or from urine-odor smelly clothing, bedding, and other soft goods.

This article series focuses on removing pet or other animal odors from buildings due to pet urine, pet feces, wild animal urine, or even human urine on and around buildings or on clothing and other soft materials.

ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION discusses how to find the source of animal or urine odors. For removing animal odors inside buildings see ANIMAL or URINE ODOR REMOVAL.

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Animal Odors & Smells or Urine or Feces Contamination at Building Exteriors

Stuffed animals were hiding building damage (C) Daniel Friedman

Pet & Animal Odor Removal Guide: How to Get Rid of & Prevent Animal Odors, Cat, Urine, Dog Urine, or other Animal or Human Smells on or around Buildings

Here we give advice concerning the detection and removal of animal smells & odors from dogs, cats, or other pets. The little skunk and that other brown furry stuffed animal in our photo (above left) were not responsible for smells in this home, but they were doing their best to keep the inspector from noticing the water stains from a flooded floor.

Cat allergen and odor source identification, testing, removal, are also discussed beginning at Cat Dander: how to inspect and test a building for past or current presence of cats, cat hair, cat dander, and cat allergens". Also see Pet Allergens.

Article Contents

Animal smells in or around buildings, both indoors and outside, may be due to current or prior pets in a building, pet urine or fecal waste, cat boxes, animal hair, dog dander, cat dander (are allergens and are indicators of the level of prior pet activity), dust tracked in by dogs.

The little stuffed animals in this photo include a skunk - both were innocent of any pet-crimes, but they had been placed at either side of a basement door jamb to cover stains from basement water entry.

Here are some tips for removing animal smells from building exteriors

  • Find the odor source: First, find where the odor or smell is originating: from urine, feces, a dead animal, or something else at a specific location around the building exterior or on building surfaces themselves, such where a as a coyote or dog or cat (or human) has been urinating on a building wall. At ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION we give advice on finding the source of urine or animal smells
  • Use a "black light" or UV-light to look for pet urine even where no stains are visible. Small black lights are available from pet supply stores, art supply stores, and forensic and police equipment suppliers and are generally inexpensive.

    Both plug-in and more convenient battery-operated black-lights are available. Use the black light in dark or near dark conditions for the best view. Urine will shine a bright yellow color in this lighting. See UV LIGHT BLACK LIGHT USES for finding urine or other body fluids.
Dead mouse odor (C) Daniel Friedman
  • Also check for dead animals around buildings including in hidden or hard to access areas such as under porches, crawl areas, chimney outdoor cleanout openings, and in roof eaves.

    Animal odors in buildings can occur when an animal such as a mouse or rat has died in a building cavity. A dead animal smell has been described by our clients with a wide variety of terms ranging from a vague noxious stink that seemed to vary with humidity to a sweet sickly smell.

    Dead animals or even insect nests in building plumbing, especially building vents, can also produce unexpected sewer odors - see Septic and Sewer gas odor links discussed below.


Cleaning Suggestions for Removal of Pet Odors & Pet Urine At Building Exteriors

Raccoon outdoors on a downspout (C) Daniel FriedmanHow to Get Rid of Animal or Pet Odors At or On Building Exteriors. Below we list useful steps in removing & stopping animal urine & odors at building exteriors. Also see ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION for a discussion of removal of animal smells & odors & stains inside and at buildings.

Smelly soil around a building: You may need to remove really smelly soil depending on the kind of animal and how much peeing it's been doing.

Raccoons rarely urinate on building exteriors but they are less fastidious if they gain access to the building attic or basement.

Animal urine on building exterior walls: masonry walls can be power washed or if necessary cleaned with a masonry cleaning product;

  • Aluminum siding that has been urinated on can be washed with a household cleaner but be careful about scrubbing aluminum siding that has become chalked on its surface - you may scrub off the paint, leading to an exterior paint job.
  • Concrete walks, driveways, foundation walls can be washed and sealed. See CONCRETE DUST & ODORS
  • Painted surfaces such as walls urinated on by an animal: you may need to paint-over really smelly surfaces that don't respond to cleaning with pet odor neutralizer sprays. Use a paint intended for odor sealing such as paints used on building interiors for odor control after a fire - your paint supplier can steer you to the right paint from their catalog - let me know what you use and how well it works.
  • Vinyl siding that has been urinated on by animals should be scrubbed with any common household cleaner. Do not spray a power-washer "UP" against vinyl or aluminum siding as you may blow water into the wall cavities.
  • If you know that the urine was from humans urinating around a building indoors or outside, you might call the company  making animal odor neutralizer to ask if they have an opinion about what works best in their product line. Most of the animal odor neutralizers are for dog or cat urine.
  • If the building exterior being still being visited by animals who continue to spray urine on or near the building, male cats or dogs marking territory, a stinky groundhog, skunk, or male deer marking your garden and shrubs, it helps to know what the animal is. There are also specific repellents aimed at individual animal species.  
    There are chemicals specifically sold to neutralize animal odors - stop by a pet supply store or look online - they work pretty well. Use the spray on surfaces that can be cleaned;

Animal Urine or Smell Cleaning, Removing, or Sealing Products, Chemicals, & Do-it-yourself Formulas

Odor eliminating chemicals and washes for dog or cat urine: we've experimented with odor eliminating sprays and cleaners to remove pet urine odors from floors and carpets with mixed success. Often we could remove the odor enough that humans did not detect any remaining unpleasant smells. But in some cases the dog or cat returned to the same location again.

  • Pet repelling chemicals: in that case products that include an odorizer that discourages an animal from urinating in the same spot may help.
  • Some sources recommend baking soda alone as an odor removal treatment for dog or cat pee. We have rarely found this material sufficient for animal urine; more serious cleaners and in cases pet odor removers and neutralizers were needed.
  • Free dog or cat urine deodorization formula: several pet owners have written to describe versions of a simple do-it-yourself procedure that they report often has good results. The procedure may work for treating urine from other animals as well.
    • If the urine spot is on carpeting, lift the carpeting to determine if urine has soaked through the padding and onto the floor below. If so, we recommend discarding the urine-soaked area of carpet padding and cleaning the floor surface. The steps below might permit you to save the carpeting - you'll need to buy, cut, and install a new square of carpet padding to replace the padding you removed. If you try these steps without exploring below the carpeting you may not be as successful as urine may have soaked deeply into the padding and even the subflooring
    • Blot up as much of the urine as you can - we just use paper towels
    • Soak the urine spot with a dilute vinegar solution ( 3 parts water to one part household vinegar)
    • Blot up the vinegar mixture and let the spot dry
    • Baking soda: sprinkle baking soda on the urine-spot

      Up to this point it's unlikely that any bleaching or discoloration problems will have arisen from these steps. But the next step, because it includes an oxidant, could whiten or bleach the surface, so try the remaining steps first on a small inconspicuous area:
    • Deodorizing solution: Mix ¾ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide together with 1 teaspoon of detergent (dish detergent or liquid laundry detergent will be fine), and apply this solution on top of the urine area that already has been powdered with baking soda.
    • Scrub: If the area being treated is carpeting use a soft brush to scrub the carpet lightly to work the solution into the carpet.
    • Dry & Vacuum: Let the solution dry and vacuum up the dust and debris from the urine-area
  • Odors on clothing, furniture, soft goods: Also see URINE ODOR REMOVAL in CLOTHING This article describes bacterial/enzyme based cleaners that may be extra effective in removing human or animal urine odors from clothing, diapers, bedding, towels, etc.
  • Around buildings where pets or other animals are still present:
    • Walk your dog: pets left alone for too long are the most likely to become habituated to relieving themselves indoors.
    • Careful management of cat litter boxes is important for both odor and sanitation; people who change the litter too infrequently can become inured to cat odors coming from the litter box - a smell source that will be more noticed by visitors. If your cat has stopped using the litter box it may be due to smelly cat litter that the cat just can't stand. When we were late changing our litter our cat would stand on the edge of the litter box to pee - she didn't want to set foot in the litter box unless it was clean. Peeing from the edge of the litter box was inaccurate.
    • Pet cages, including bird cages and dog crates need to be kept clean for the same reasons.
      Crate your dog during a training period, taking the dog outside frequently until you and the pet both know the schedule - most dogs will not urinate in their own crate unless they have been left alone for far too long, or perhaps if the animal is sick and incontinent (discuss this with your vet).
    • Dogs and cats will continue to re-visit and urinate on a building surface where the urine odor remains from previous crimes. If surface cleaners and pet odor removers prove inadequate to discourage the pet from urinating in the same spot, you'll need to combine use of a pet repellant chemical in that location with diligent toilet training and (in the case of cats) a clean litter box.
    • Other special deodorizing products may suit your less common pet, such as ferret waste odor removing chemicals and skunk odor removers.
  • Cleaning odors off of your pet itself: can require simple shampooing - use a pet shampoo or in an emergency, baby shampoo - keep soap out of pet eyes and away from delicate tissues such as a female animal's vagina. Special products are available from pet suppliers and from veterinarians if you need to remove skunk odors from your cat or dog. (We used to wash our skunked-dog in tomato juice - which was marginally effective.

Beginning at ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION with advice on finding the source of urine or animal smells at or in buildings, we give advice concerning the detection and removal of animal smells & odors from dogs, cats, or other pets.

Reader Question: how to stop coyotes or dogs from urinating on a building

Have coyotes and dogs urinating on cedar wall near front door entrance. Have tried everything such as sprays, bleach, soap and water, obstacles, etc... nothing works. - C. Jones 10/10/11


C Jones:

I've found that both bleach and mothballs discourage animals marking building walls with urine. But it is certainly true that once a dog or coyote has peed on a house wall, because the urine soaks into the wood, that smell is then easily noted by other dogs or coyotes who are compelled to leave their mark as well.

In that case you may have success by power washing to get the wall as clean as you can, then sealing the surface with a clear sealant, followed by use of animal repellant sprays or even a pile of mothballs.

At ANIMAL or URINE ODOR REMOVALwe describe how to get rid of smells & odors using cleaners, deodorants, & sealants. .

This website provides articles on to diagnose, test, identify, and cure or remove a wide range of obnoxious or even toxic odors in buildings and in building water supply. We discuss odors from a variety of sources including animals including pets, dogs, cats, or unwanted animals or dead animals, formaldehyde odors in buildings from building products or furnishings, plumbing drains, plastic or vinyl odors from building products, flue gases, oil tanks or oil spills, pesticides, septic odors, sewer gases, and even abandoned chemicals at properties.

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