I have a sensitive situation and hope this doesn’t point anyone out, but I really need help dealing with this. Long story short, I have some friends from work come over to mine and my roommates house to party once in a while and one of them tends to urinate on my couch after she passes out. It has happened more than once and we’ve all had enough. How do approach someone nice enough to not burn any bridges. And, how the heck do I clean this crap up?
— Pissed Off
Dear Pissed Off (or is that Pissed On?),
I honestly can relate to your shock and all the “WTF’S” running through your head. Admittedly, I dated a guy way back when who every time he drank his nightly handle of whiskey would end up a handle of pee creeping to my side of my bed.
Sometimes we have to put our foot down regardless of the fear of hurting someone. Handle the situation by setting forth some guidelines. Ask her to limit her drinking while at your house and find her way home (safely, of course) before getting wasted.
Let’s talk about what might be going on with this comrade of yours. There is a switch in the brain that doesn’t flip on properly, which is more common when someone is highly intoxicated. For adult bed wetters, the syndrome is called nocturnal enuresis or nighttime urinary incontinence. It can either arise from different emotional disorders, stress or habitual routines from early childhood. Excessive alcohol consumption results in the body working harder to process the alcohol out of the bloodstream, through the kidneys and liver, converting it into excessive urine. Your body keeps working to return to normal, even while you’re sleeping. To make it worse, alcohol is a diuretic. Most people have that signal that warns us even in the REM cycle to get out of bed at 1:43 a.m. and take care of business, even if completely wasted. Some unfortunate people with this disorder wake in a giant wet spot and if the sleeper has a partner sharing that haven of slumber, what a terribly embarrassing and frustrating “wakey-wakey” consequence.
The first solution, if she is fully aware of her consistent behavior, is for her to drink less, of course. Improving ones self-esteem and purging stress and maybe taking care of some mental issues by living a more active lifestyle and eating healthier are a good place to start. There are also hormonal medications, like a simple nose spray, and even surgery such as urethral enlargement, is an option for those with the disorder.
As far as your couch is concerned, I would confront her and ask her to please replace the couch, on par with a couch of the same condition as the one you own, pre-wet spots.
In the meantime, follow these instructions to clean your couch.
1. Rent a steam cleaner with upholstery attachments. You can rent one at ACE in West Vail. Don’t buy the shampoos sold with the cleaner. They will only leave a residue that will attract more dirt and stains later on. Buy a bucket of Oxy-Clean. Mix a little less than a scoop with hot water, and shake to dissolve as much as possible. Fill the steam cleaner with the solution.
2. Fill a spray bottle with 3/4 part white vinegar and 1/4 hot water. Literally saturate the couch pads from top to bottom, covering and surrounding the stained area. The potion will soak to reach the pad’s filling. Wait until you think it has soaked thoroughly and is ready to be sucked up with the steam cleaner!
3. Suck up the moisture from the couch using the steam cleaner. Repeat your strokes over every square inch of that couch until all the water has been sucked up. Keep an eye on the water bin filling up with dirty water. Empty it often, until the water stays clear. Take a once over using only hot water without the detergent.
It will take a while for the cushions the dry completely but it will be worth the wait if a new couch doesn’t happen to fall in your lap.
Perrine Vogt has been a local resident off and on for 10 years. She now resides in Eagle-Vail. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.