Accidents happen, and that’s why it’s good to know how to clean pet stains on laminate floors.
Whether Fido just piddled on the floor or Fluffy has been hitting outside her litter box for some time, it’s possible to get both the stain and the smell of pet urine off of your laminate floors. (Check out this advice for other pet messes on floors and furniture.)
How to Clean Pet Stains on Laminate Floors
Prevention is the best approach
Sometimes you just can’t be there to take your pet out as soon as they need it, or an emergency comes up that keeps you away from your pet longer than planned. These things are inevitable for every pet owner, which is why it’s important to protect your floor.
For dogs: One solution is to buy a rubber-backed entry mat to place in front of the door and inspect it frequently for dampness. If you leave your pets confined while you’re at work, a disposable pet pad will protect your floor while letting your furry friend do their business when they must.
For cats: Cat owners should consider putting the litter box on top of a shallow tray that can catch urine. A boot tray works perfectly for this purpose and has the added benefit of reducing litter-tracking, too.
How to clean pet stains on laminate
Fresh stains: Even if you’re using one of the preventative steps above you still need to clean pet messes as soon as possible. One of the great things about laminate flooring is that it holds up well against most non-abrasive cleaners, so once you’ve wiped up the mess you can get your floor clean with this homemade floor cleaner. The important thing is to clean the area right away because urine and feces can both etch your floor surface if left untreated.
Older stains: Unfortunately, pet accidents aren’t always obvious. If you’re using a throw rug without a rubber backing in front of your door, for instance, you’ve probably found stained laminate from those times you couldn’t get Fido out the door fast enough. Or if your older cat suddenly finds climbing into the litter box painful he may start peeing next to it instead of inside, but you won’t know until you move the box and find a stained floor.
Cleaning older stains requires a few steps. In addition to cleaning the spot, you also need to eliminate the lingering scent of urine to keep your pet from continuing to soil the area and to prevent the smell from taking over your house. Assuming the laminate hasn’t developed cracks or lost its protective coating, you can treat the area easily with ingredients you’ll find in your kitchen.
Steps to Get the Old Stains Out
1. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove debris and surface stains. Dry.
2. Sprinkle with baking soda and use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to clean any hardened mess in the space between planks. Do not scrub the area — you don’t want to rub off the protective coating. Let that sit for a few minutes to soak up any possible moisture.
3. Spray lightly with white vinegar and watch it foam. The same acid-base reaction that makes baking soda and vinegar great at cleaning drains also helps dissolve pet stains and lift them from the subfloor. Meanwhile, the vinegar neutralizes the scent that draws pets back to the spot.
4. Wipe dry and spray with vinegar again to activate any remaining baking soda, then remove the vinegar with a clean cloth lightly dampened with water.
5. Blow-dry the area on low heat to ensure the subfloor is dry. This will also let you know if there’s any urine remaining behind — you’ll smell it if you didn’t get all the pee out. In that case, wait a day to let the subfloor completely dry, then repeat steps 1-4. Note: Saturating the subfloor will cause your laminate to warp!
6. Refinish the area if needed. Urine is surprisingly acidic and can greatly damage your laminate’s protective coating over time. Fortunately, most manufacturers sell an easily-applied refinishing kit.