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View Full Version : "blacklights" found in pet stores, don't work for me


Mark_Galeck
September 24th 07, 01:20 AM
Hi, one of my 2 kitties is peeing on my bed sometimes. He isn't ill,
just nervous kind of guy. It's OK, I use tarp under the sheets and
wash the sheets. I want to make sure he doesn't do that elsewhere, on
carpets. So I bought the "blacklight/UV" light found in pet stores.
It does not seem to work!

After he pees on the sheets, I darken the room and use the light to
see how it works. Well, it does not - nothing shows up. Nothing
shows up when the urine is fresh. Nothing shows up when it's dried.
Nothing shows up even when it's night and everything is pitch black.
I tried 2 different brands, one of them really big, lots of
batteries. Nothing. I look really carefully and follow instructions
carefully. Make sure the batteries are new. Nothing, even when I can
see and smell the urine myself.

So of course this is never going to work on carpet or anywhere else.


What's going on? Why don't they work? Is there one urine detector
that really works? I have seen this thing AntiIckyPoo UV flashlight -
it does not use batteries, but extension cord and electricity from an
outlet, and is really expensive $70 (the lights found in pet stores
are $30 or less). Is this going to work?

Please give me recommendations. Thank you very much.

Mark Galeck

Mark_Galeck
September 24th 07, 02:31 AM
well thank you I appreciate your reply, but this item looks exactly
like the ones I bought... it's even smaller and free add-on... do
you know why this one would work and the others did not? Thank you
again, I know I am being picky, it's just that I tried others like
this one...

cybercat
September 24th 07, 03:06 AM
"Mark_Galeck" > wrote in message
ups.com...
>
> well thank you I appreciate your reply, but this item looks exactly
> like the ones I bought... it's even smaller and free add-on... do
> you know why this one would work and the others did not? Thank you
> again, I know I am being picky, it's just that I tried others like
> this one...

Why on earth do you NEED a black light to see where pee is? Follow your
nose. Look for the wet spot.

:

Mark_Galeck
September 24th 07, 05:21 AM
On Sep 23, 7:06 pm, "cybercat" > wrote:
> "Mark_Galeck" > wrote in message
>
> ups.com...
> Why on earth do you NEED a black light to see where pee is? Follow your
> nose. Look for the wet spot.

Thank you for your advice. But if a cat pees while I am at work, by
the time I am back, there is no wet spot, there may be a vague smell,
and if so, I can't tell exactly where the smell is coming from. Human
noses are not good enough for that. If they were, blacklights would
not sell. Let me return an advice for you - if you have such a
wonderful directional nose, why don't you hire yourself as a dog
sniffing bags at the airport? Thanks.

DougD
September 24th 07, 05:23 AM
In article om>, Mark_Galeck > wrote:
>Hi, one of my 2 kitties is peeing on my bed sometimes. He isn't ill,
>just nervous kind of guy. It's OK, I use tarp under the sheets and
>wash the sheets. I want to make sure he doesn't do that elsewhere, on
>carpets. So I bought the "blacklight/UV" light found in pet stores.
>It does not seem to work!
>
>After he pees on the sheets, I darken the room and use the light to
>see how it works. Well, it does not - nothing shows up. Nothing
>shows up when the urine is fresh. Nothing shows up when it's dried.
>Nothing shows up even when it's night and everything is pitch black.
>I tried 2 different brands, one of them really big, lots of
>batteries. Nothing. I look really carefully and follow instructions
>carefully. Make sure the batteries are new. Nothing, even when I can
>see and smell the urine myself.
>
>So of course this is never going to work on carpet or anywhere else.
>
>
>What's going on? Why don't they work? Is there one urine detector
>that really works? I have seen this thing AntiIckyPoo UV flashlight -
>it does not use batteries, but extension cord and electricity from an
>outlet, and is really expensive $70 (the lights found in pet stores
>are $30 or less). Is this going to work?

Not all blacklights are the same wavelength. Urine flouresceses at
a particular wavelength, and the black lights sold in party stores,
etc. is not the right wavelength. I don't have the particulars in front
of me which is the correct UV band to light up urine, sorry. I suspect
that if you can find a blacklight that is also used to check for counterfeit
money, it will probably also work for spotting stains, I believe that they
are in the same UV band. But please, I'm not guarantee'ing that, but
I am fairly sure about the party type lights not working as I have one
as well and it doesn't work on stains. Some gem/rock collecting folks
use these as well, might be somewhere to look for a supplier as they
will have blacklights in different bands. I believe the urine glows under
UB B type lights, the party ones are UV A.

$.02
d.

cybercat
September 24th 07, 05:36 AM
"Mark_Galeck" > wrote in message
oups.com...
> On Sep 23, 7:06 pm, "cybercat" > wrote:
>> "Mark_Galeck" > wrote in message
>>
>> ups.com...
>> Why on earth do you NEED a black light to see where pee is? Follow your
>> nose. Look for the wet spot.
>
> Thank you for your advice. But if a cat pees while I am at work, by
> the time I am back, there is no wet spot

Wow. Are your cats really, really tiny?

Because when my cat gets mad at us and pees on the
carpet, there is a big wet spot. Even 24 hours later.

cybercat
September 24th 07, 05:37 AM
"Mark_Galeck" > wrote>

Let me return an advice for you - if you have such a
> wonderful directional nose, why don't you hire yourself as a dog
> sniffing bags at the airport? Thanks.
>

How did you know what I do for a living? Are you stalking me?

Mark. :

:

Once a day, maybe while your coffee is brewing or your
mail is downloading or your wife is talking to you and you
are ignoring her, walk around the rug in your bare feet.

There's a really good chance the wet spot is cat urine.

Idiot.

Mark_Galeck
September 24th 07, 08:03 AM
Great! This may be what I needed. For some reason the wavelength is
wrong. Even the ones found in pet stores, could be wrong
wavelength.

In the meantime, being a guy, I went for "brute force" method (which
may be invalidated by your remark). I went to a big hardware store
and bought the biggest UV lamps I could find, 80 Watts total, much
bigger than anything sold in pet food stores, operated from an outlet,
so I also bought a long extension cord. This thing is so bright I
better don't walk around with naked skin or I might get sunburned or
something :) I pointed it at my Litter Robot drawer, with urine
clumps from 2 different cats (thinking that maybe my aforementioned
cat is weird and does not have that particular thing in the urine that
makes it show under UV).

NOPE. None of the clumps glow even the faintest. Everything else in
the bathroom glows like crazy (my bathroom is orderly, but, uhm, not
super-clean let's say), but the cat urine clumps - no.

OK then, DougD is really on to something and I need to find out the
proper wavelength. Quick research on the web finds that the "Urine-
off" brand UV light, does advertise that it has the proper wavelength,
OK I will try it.

Thanks Doug!

Jean B.
September 24th 07, 11:30 AM
Mark_Galeck wrote:
> Great! This may be what I needed. For some reason the wavelength is
> wrong. Even the ones found in pet stores, could be wrong
> wavelength.
>
> In the meantime, being a guy, I went for "brute force" method (which
> may be invalidated by your remark). I went to a big hardware store
> and bought the biggest UV lamps I could find, 80 Watts total, much
> bigger than anything sold in pet food stores, operated from an outlet,
> so I also bought a long extension cord. This thing is so bright I
> better don't walk around with naked skin or I might get sunburned or
> something :) I pointed it at my Litter Robot drawer, with urine
> clumps from 2 different cats (thinking that maybe my aforementioned
> cat is weird and does not have that particular thing in the urine that
> makes it show under UV).
>
> NOPE. None of the clumps glow even the faintest. Everything else in
> the bathroom glows like crazy (my bathroom is orderly, but, uhm, not
> super-clean let's say), but the cat urine clumps - no.
>
> OK then, DougD is really on to something and I need to find out the
> proper wavelength. Quick research on the web finds that the "Urine-
> off" brand UV light, does advertise that it has the proper wavelength,
> OK I will try it.
>
> Thanks Doug!
>
>
This is a timely discussion for me, so thanks for starting the
thread. My one attempt to locate cat urine using a blacklight
was unsuccessful, and now I know why. I will also have to get
the above mentioned kind, which I suppose is not in pet
stores.... I can smell the cat pee, but I can't pinpoint it
precisely....

--
Jean B.

DougD
September 25th 07, 05:15 AM
In article om>, Mark_Galeck > wrote:
>Great! This may be what I needed. For some reason the wavelength is
>wrong. Even the ones found in pet stores, could be wrong
>wavelength.
>

>NOPE. None of the clumps glow even the faintest. Everything else in
>the bathroom glows like crazy (my bathroom is orderly, but, uhm, not
>super-clean let's say), but the cat urine clumps - no.
>
>OK then, DougD is really on to something and I need to find out the
>proper wavelength. Quick research on the web finds that the "Urine-
>off" brand UV light, does advertise that it has the proper wavelength,
>OK I will try it.
>
>Thanks Doug!

You're welcome. I'm kinda sheepish about this as I really should know the
wavelength as that's kinda the biz I'm in (no, I don't go around checking
for urine stains). I've been working with visible, IR and UV lasers for the
last 20 years, and I can pretty much name most visible wavelengths by
their number, but I'm kinda at a loss as to what's out there in UV lamps.
I'll try and poke around my resources a bit and see if I can't find the
right number. Whether or not that translates into a part number that
anyone can phone up a supplier for, well, that's a whole 'nother
challenge...

d.

DougD
September 25th 07, 05:25 AM
In article >, "Jean B." > wrote:

>> OK then, DougD is really on to something and I need to find out the
>> proper wavelength. Quick research on the web finds that the "Urine-
>> off" brand UV light, does advertise that it has the proper wavelength,
>> OK I will try it.
>>
>> Thanks Doug!
>>
>>
>This is a timely discussion for me, so thanks for starting the
>thread. My one attempt to locate cat urine using a blacklight
>was unsuccessful, and now I know why. I will also have to get
>the above mentioned kind, which I suppose is not in pet
>stores.... I can smell the cat pee, but I can't pinpoint it
>precisely....
>

One thing that may be possible, is to spray something more conventional
on the area's that are suspect, and the combination of urine and a
second material could cause it to flouresce under the cheaper party
light type UV lamps. Something with phosphorus in it like laundry soap
may work, I'll try and do some experiments as it would be a heck of
a lot easier and cheaper than having to hunt down a specific lamp type.
The other thing is possibly stealing a trick from the CSI folks.. The reason
the cheap lamps don't work isn't nesc. because they aren't causing the
urine to glow, it's just that it's a weak flourescense compared to the
broad UV of the cheap lamp. By looking for the stain's under something
like orange colored glasses, it would cut down on the amount of black
(er.. blue) light in the visible, while allowing the shifted light from the
stain which would appear in the yellow wavelengths to pass through
and be seen. Again, it might be a long shot, but that IS how the UV
light is used for spotting fingerprints, the oils in the print glow yellow
under the UV. Even bright green from a YAG laser can light up
the prints, but that's an awful lot of light!!

d.

Jean B.
September 25th 07, 01:28 PM
DougD wrote:
> In article >, "Jean B." > wrote:
>
>>> OK then, DougD is really on to something and I need to find out the
>>> proper wavelength. Quick research on the web finds that the "Urine-
>>> off" brand UV light, does advertise that it has the proper wavelength,
>>> OK I will try it.
>>>
>>> Thanks Doug!
>>>
>>>
>> This is a timely discussion for me, so thanks for starting the
>> thread. My one attempt to locate cat urine using a blacklight
>> was unsuccessful, and now I know why. I will also have to get
>> the above mentioned kind, which I suppose is not in pet
>> stores.... I can smell the cat pee, but I can't pinpoint it
>> precisely....
>>
>
> One thing that may be possible, is to spray something more conventional
> on the area's that are suspect, and the combination of urine and a
> second material could cause it to flouresce under the cheaper party
> light type UV lamps. Something with phosphorus in it like laundry soap
> may work, I'll try and do some experiments as it would be a heck of
> a lot easier and cheaper than having to hunt down a specific lamp type.
> The other thing is possibly stealing a trick from the CSI folks.. The reason
> the cheap lamps don't work isn't nesc. because they aren't causing the
> urine to glow, it's just that it's a weak flourescense compared to the
> broad UV of the cheap lamp. By looking for the stain's under something
> like orange colored glasses, it would cut down on the amount of black
> (er.. blue) light in the visible, while allowing the shifted light from the
> stain which would appear in the yellow wavelengths to pass through
> and be seen. Again, it might be a long shot, but that IS how the UV
> light is used for spotting fingerprints, the oils in the print glow yellow
> under the UV. Even bright green from a YAG laser can light up
> the prints, but that's an awful lot of light!!
>
> d.

Interesting. How about red glasses? I don't have orange
ones, but my daughter has red ones.

One obviously needs to locate all of the pee. Yuck!

BTW, I did gaze at the lights in the pet stores and noticed
they are supposed to be 2-3 inches from the area--which
implies one has to be crawling around with the light. (I
think I would try to use my daughter's grabber, since I don't
much relish crawling all over the place.) Also, the
apparently ineffective lights in the pet stores are much more
expensive than the one that was recommended in this thread....

--
Jean B.

DougD
September 25th 07, 06:04 PM
In article >, "Jean B." > wrote:

>Interesting. How about red glasses? I don't have orange
>ones, but my daughter has red ones.

Red would be too dark, the urine flouresces in a dull yellow color, so maybe
yellow type hunting/pilot sunglasses, or orange. Some hardware stores carry
orange shades to be used with laser levels so that you can see the beam
better, and they're not expensive compared to the "real thing" that are sold
by laser and forensic supply companies.

>
>One obviously needs to locate all of the pee. Yuck!
>
>BTW, I did gaze at the lights in the pet stores and noticed
>they are supposed to be 2-3 inches from the area--which
>implies one has to be crawling around with the light. (I
>think I would try to use my daughter's grabber, since I don't
>much relish crawling all over the place.) Also, the
>apparently ineffective lights in the pet stores are much more
>expensive than the one that was recommended in this thread....
>

Well, I spent about 3 hours last night hunting down the answer to this
blacklight question from what resources I can find on the net. I'm going
to compile it all together and put it up here in the next day or so as I have
one last place I want to check out as the answer to this question is still
a bit murky...

d.

Jean B.
September 27th 07, 12:35 AM
DougD wrote:
> In article >, "Jean B." > wrote:
>
>> Interesting. How about red glasses? I don't have orange
>> ones, but my daughter has red ones.
>
> Red would be too dark, the urine flouresces in a dull yellow color, so maybe
> yellow type hunting/pilot sunglasses, or orange. Some hardware stores carry
> orange shades to be used with laser levels so that you can see the beam
> better, and they're not expensive compared to the "real thing" that are sold
> by laser and forensic supply companies.
>
>> One obviously needs to locate all of the pee. Yuck!
>>
>> BTW, I did gaze at the lights in the pet stores and noticed
>> they are supposed to be 2-3 inches from the area--which
>> implies one has to be crawling around with the light. (I
>> think I would try to use my daughter's grabber, since I don't
>> much relish crawling all over the place.) Also, the
>> apparently ineffective lights in the pet stores are much more
>> expensive than the one that was recommended in this thread....
>>
>
> Well, I spent about 3 hours last night hunting down the answer to this
> blacklight question from what resources I can find on the net. I'm going
> to compile it all together and put it up here in the next day or so as I have
> one last place I want to check out as the answer to this question is still
> a bit murky...
>
> d.

Thanks, Doug.

In the meantime, Mingy has used his potty--and who knows what
else he has done.

--
Jean B.

Mark_Galeck
October 2nd 07, 02:03 PM
> Well, I spent about 3 hours last night hunting down the answer to this
> blacklight question from what resources I can find on the net. I'm going
> to compile it all together and put it up here in the next day or so as I have
> one last place I want to check out as the answer to this question is still
> a bit murky...
>
> d.

Doug, if you could write what you found, please do, because from what
I can see, all these things simply do not work.

I got in the hardware store a huge blacklight, 70 watts of power, and
now I tried 2 different lights bought in pet stores, and also one that
is specifically advertised on the internet as having "the correct
wavelength", which you mentioned could be the problem. My kitty a few
days ago peed on my pants left on the floor - how nice of him,
reminding me to put away my clothes. Instead of washing them, I
dutifully dried them up on the balcony, and with urine dried, I tried
all the lights. According to instructions, completely dark, 2-3
inches etc.

NOTHING. Not a thing, no faint yellow glow, no glow of any kind.

Mark

DougD
October 2nd 07, 09:08 PM
In article om>, Mark_Galeck > wrote:

>Doug, if you could write what you found, please do, because from what
>I can see, all these things simply do not work.

Ok, I did post my "findings" about a week ago, maybe it didn't make it to
the different news servers, so I'll put it up again as it's not that much
material.
>
> I got in the hardware store a huge blacklight, 70 watts of power, and
>now I tried 2 different lights bought in pet stores, and also one that
>is specifically advertised on the internet as having "the correct
>wavelength", which you mentioned could be the problem. My kitty a few
>days ago peed on my pants left on the floor - how nice of him,
>reminding me to put away my clothes. Instead of washing them, I
>dutifully dried them up on the balcony, and with urine dried, I tried
>all the lights. According to instructions, completely dark, 2-3
>inches etc.
>
>NOTHING. Not a thing, no faint yellow glow, no glow of any kind.
>
>Mark

Hmm, don't know what to tell you. I didn't have any luck either with the
knock off "BLB" 20 watt lamp that I have that "should" have worked if it
was a real BLB type lamp. It is very easy for someone doing knock-off's
to make a black light that will flouresce things like Day Glo paint, and
anything with phosphorus in it. It's much more difficult to make the narrow
band UV filter such as the one that's spec'd by GE in their BLB lamp, so
part of the problem is dealing with knock-off's. If you can find either a
real GE, Sylvania, or Osram BLB type lamp, it should work. One problem
may be that you're using too large of a lamp. That much UV is going to
play some tricks with your vision, making it more difficult to see the weak
flourescence of the urine. It's a pain, but there is a good reason for the
sake of visibility of having to get the lamp close to the area in question.
I don't think any lamp will work to be able to just flood the room and then
hope to spot the stain. Anyway, here's the material that I dug up last
week, maybe there are some answers in here..

D.

Ok, here's pretty much everything you'd ever want to know about blacklights,
or blacklights to be used for sniffing out cat urine stains. I can't guarantee
any of this material, or the sources, I've just tried to get some idea of what
may work best for stain spotting. And one thing, not all black lights
are black lights!!! Or at least when it comes to cat urine. The ideal
flourescent type lamp should have the part designation of BLB on the end of
the part number. The BLB stands for: Black Light Blue. The problem is, not all
BLB tubes work!!! I have a cheap Asian party light myself with a BLB type bulb
in it, but it doesn't work!! The key seems to be staying with high end, well
known lamp suppliers such as GE (General Electric), Sylvania, and OSRAM. The
GE BLB type lamp has a specific black light filter on the glass of the tube
that provides a very narrow band of light in the desired 365nm range. "NM"
stands for nanometer, and it's used as a way to numerically label a frequency
of light (it's actually a measure of the wavelength, in nanometers. It's
pronounced "Nan-O-meters", or "Nann Om OMeters". The resources that I could
find on the topic of using UV to spot stains is somewhat sketchy, in that
some folks use different numbers as the ideal wavelenght. The GE BLB tube is
centered on 365nm.
I've found another chart that shows that 380 or 395nm is best, so for the time
being, I would think that any UV source from 365 to 395nm should work.
Also, some of the URL's below are for LED type UV lamps. These lamps can be
purchased for a specific wavelength, so you need to pay attention to that when
ordering as they have about 10 variations on what wavelenght is used. Some
also have multiple wavelengths in one lamp, which might be handy as long as
they are in the range that's desired.
So, stay away from any lamp that just has a "BL" on the end, that
won't work. And then only stick to the big name suppliers when looking for a
BLB tube. All the data is here in these URL's, as well as a good selection of
sources for them. Oddly, it would appear that probably the best place to buy
one of these urine inspection lamps is from the same folks that sell the
removal chemicals. Their lamps aren't much more expensive than any other
source, and that way you know that you're getting a lamp that has been tested
and works for this application!!
OK, I'm worn out.. Good luck, please post your results if you try any of
these and they WORK!!
Thanks,
Doug

GEF15T8-BLB
365BLB
368BLB
(Good GE part numbers)

380 or 395nm best for cat/human urine.
(best suggested if using an LED light source)

http://riskreactor.com/Index.htm
http://0-0-0checkmate.com/Hot/Portable_Blacklight.html
http://www.urine-off.com/
http://www.defensedevices.com/portable-black-light.html
*** http://www.sprayalert.com/finding-cat-spray.html
(suppliers of flourescent type UV lamps)

http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/(og4xmyfawg0qmuqyc0dryi55)/productDetails.
aspx?SKU=3237435
(large 40 watt BLB bulb)

http://genet.gelighting.
com/LightProducts/Dispatcher?
REQUEST=CONSUMERSPECPAGE&PRODUCTCODE=35885&BreadCrumbValues=Specialty_Colored%
20,_%20Party%20Lights_,
T8&ModelSelectionFilter=FT0010:Specialty_Colored%20&%20Party%20Lights
(Tech Spec's on BLB type lamps)

http://genet.gelighting.
com/LightProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=COMMERCIALSPECPAGE&PRODUCTCODE=10531
(more tech spec's/detail on BLB lamps)

http://genet.gelighting.
com/LightProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=RESULTPAGE&CATEGORY=Lamps&FILTER=FT0010:
Specialty_Colored+%26+Party+Lights_Blacklight+Blue&CHANNEL=Commercial&FILTERFI
ELD=Specialty&BREADCRUMB=Specialty^Blacklight+Blue
(GE's master listing of all black light blue lamps)

http://www.theledlight.com/uv_flashlights.html
(LED type flashlights)

http://www.24hours7days.com//Science/Demonstration.html
(school science type projects, with blacklights for sale)