I am helping a friend rehab a house where the occupants were very, very nasty. Probably a crack house. Cats had filled virtually every cabinet and room with **** and piss. We even found four cat carcasses. Due to unfortunate circumstances she is going to have to move there to live and also has respiratory problems. I am concerned about germs from the cat elimination and also from mold in the walls etc. Money is a big factor so we cannot hire a disaster company, we have to do it ourselves. Is there any way to get this house livable and odor free without stripping it to the studs? I have sprayed the entire house with Clorox and Odo-Ban and plan to spray with oil based primer from floor to ceiling.
Not just oil-based primer, I am suggesting oil-based enamel. I believe oil-based paints are the most germicidal around.
I would indeed remove the walls and replace with new Sheetrock. Simple prime and paint and you're good to go. Sheetrock is approx. $12 per unit. A few extra dollars might provide more comfort and peace of mind.
Use a shellac primer like Kilz after cleaning the surfaces well with TSP (trisodium phosphate). An oil base paint, as mentioned above, is a better choice over latex as it seals and wears better. Paints made for bathrooms have anti-fungal/anti-mold additives in them. Maybe have the place fumigated to reach into the tiny places and aired out well before staring the painting projects. You should be able to rent a handheld or stationary fumigator. An ozone machine can also help. They are rentable, also. The rental folks will tell you how to use it.