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Friday's Ask the Experts: Black lights

June 15, 2012
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Friday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: We are about to start using a black light to check carpeting for pet stains when apartment residents move out. Will the black light only show urine on the fibers, or will it also be apparent on the backing and pad?

The answer:

A black light illuminates phosphors, especially uric salts. There are other products containing zinc or fluorescent dyes that will also fluoresce, but the distinct pattern animals leave are a give away regarding pet urine. Pet urine is fluoresced as bright yellow spots, streaks and drips. It will show damage on the backing and pad. A black light will not detect surface urine after the carpet has been thoroughly cleaned. The human nose can be trained to determine the degree of urine in a carpet. For example, if you detect ... — Gary Clipperton, president of National Pro Clean Corp.

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