A woman's hand using a spray bottle of homemade cleaner to remove a pet stain on a carpetPin

Paws, Claws and 3 AM Surprises: Homemade Pet Stain Removers

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Every pet owner hits that moment when they’ve got to clean up stains from their pet’s urine, poop, or vomit. At my place, those messes happen at 3 a.m. and only on sofas, rugs, or beds—basically, anything but the easily cleaned tile.

Rather than race to the store at that hour, head to the kitchen to whip up my homemade pet stain removers that get rid of the stains, germs, and smells on carpets and laminate floors.

Because I figure, like me, you want to clean up the mess with things safe to use around your furbabies. After all, they’re family—even if they do pee on the floor.

Cleaning Pet Urine or Feces on Carpet

Step 1: Scoop or blot it up.

If you’re dealing with a healthy pile of poop, slip on some rubber gloves and use a paper plate, thick piece of cardboard, or a dustpan to scrape up the mess.

If it’s urine, or your pet had diarrhea, reach for some paper towels or old rags once you’ve slipped on the gloves, then get blotting. You want to get the area as dry as possible before you apply a homemade pet stain treatment.

Pro Tip

Remember to do a spot test in an inconspicuous area to make sure the pet stain remover won’t fade anything.

Step 2: Mix up a DIY pet stain remover.

  • Pet Stain Remover With Oxiclean: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Oxiclean in 1 cup of lukewarm water. Add 1 cup of cool water to bring it to room temperature, then stir in 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
  • Pet Stain Remover Without Oxiclean: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 cup of lukewarm water. Add 1 cup of cool water to bring it to room temperature then stir in 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of dish soap.

Stick with lukewarm water for dissolving the Oxiclean or baking soda in your preferred pet stain treatment then switch the tap to cold water to cool the mix down. Why? Because heat sets in the food dye, fat, and protein stains from pet messes, making them harder to remove.

Use a clean cloth to dab the remover onto the pet stain and give it a couple of minutes to loosen the mess. Then blot it up with a clean damp cloth and repeat until the stain is gone. Rinse the residue with a clean, damp rag then it’s time to treat the odor.

Step 3: Neutralize the smell and germs.

Even when the stain is gone, the scent will lure your pet back to using the same spot. To break the spell, neutralize the smell with equal parts cool water and white vinegar or cool water and rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). Give it 5 minutes then wipe the area with a clean damp rag.

During that time, the homemade spray eliminates the odors by thinning the cell membranes and denaturing bacteria and germs. In other words, it knocks out all the gross stuff. So if you’re exhausted, you can blot the spot dry and go back to bed at this point.

Step 4: Restore the Carpet’s Fluff.

After removing pet stains on carpet, make sure the area is completely dry then vacuum it to fluff up your carpet fibers. If you want, sprinkle the area with some baking soda first for added odor control.

Cleaning Pet Vomit on Carpets

Pet food contains coloring agents to make it look like meat. So when your cat or dog pukes on the bed, you aren’t just cleaning their vomit and stomach acids, but also dyes that stain.

Step 1: Scoop and blot the area.

Slip on some rubber gloves and grab a paper plate or dust pan to scrape up the mess. Blot liquids with paper towels or old rags you can throw away.

Pro Tip

Wearing gloves when cleaning up any pet stain, including vomit, is important. Pet tummies contain bacteria that’s good for them but can spell trouble for us.

Step 2: Use a cleaning treatment.

Use a clean rag get the area damp with cool soapy water (dish soap or liquid laundry detergent) and let it sit there for 5 minutes loosening the stain. Blot the discoloration with a clean damp rag to lift away the stain and repeat until it’s clean. Then wipe away the soapy residue with a clean damp cloth and let it air dry.

Step 3: Last resort.

If you skipped straight to this step, go back. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. You’ve got to first do the steps above to loosen the stain—most of the time, they’re all you need. If you jump to this method, which uses heat, you’ll make the stain permanent.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, this method worked a small miracle removing ancient pet stains on my carpets. (You can check out the results in my article about removing dried paint from a carpet.)

  1. Open windows for ventilation. Super important!
  2. Mix 2 tablespoons plain household ammonia and 1 cup of hot water in a spray bottle and spray the stain. Wait 2 minutes.
  3. Cover the spot with a white towel and iron on the low steam setting to transfer the stain to the towel. Keep your iron constantly moving and check every 20 seconds or so.
  4. Turn your towel to a clean part and repeat until the stain is gone.
  5. Wipe the area with water to remove any ammonia residue then blot again with a dry towel.
  6. Sprinkle the area with baking soda, let it dry and vacuum.

Cleaning Pet Stains on Wood or Laminate

Pro Tip

Avoid rubbing when you’re cleaning up fresh pet messes on planked floors or you may spread or push the into gaps between the planks.

Fresh Pet Messes

Once you’ve blotted or scoop up the mess, wipe the area with warm, soapy water to remove any lingering chunks. Then go over it again with a disinfecting wipe or my homemade floor cleaner which deodorizes while it disinfects.

Old Pet Stains

When your pet keeps going to the bathroom in the same spot on your wood or laminate floor, it can be tough to clean the stain and smell. This is because the mess might have soaked through to the layer underneath the floor. Here’s how to clean and deodorize the spot.

1. Sprinkle on a light layer of baking soda and use a soft-bristled brush to dislodge any hardened mess between the planks.

2. Spray lightly white vinegar and wait as the foaming action dissolves lingering surface stains and eliminates odors that reached the subfloor. That reaction also eliminates the scent that draws pets back to the same spot.

3. Wipe clean with a warm, soapy cloth to remove the vinegar so it doesn’t etch the laminate surface. Towel dry.

4. Blow-dry on low or or use a fan to dry the area to make sure the subfloor dries.

5. Sprinkle additional baking soda over the area, then cover it with a thin layer of plastic wrap or wax paper. Place some flat, heavy objects like books on top. This setup should be left overnight. The added weight not only pulls out more odor and moisture but also keeps your pet from disturbing the area. Vacuum everything up the following day.

6. Refinish the area if needed. If your pet has used the area so many times that the surface is etched, check with your flooring manufacturer about a matching sealant. This can prevent liquid from seeping between the planks while also restoring the protective surface layer.

Cleaning Pet Stains on Machine-Washable Items

To remove pet stains on machine-washable fabrics, presoak the item for 5 minutes in one of the DIY pet stain removers above. This loosens the stain, so your washer can do the rest in a cold water cycle with your regular detergent. Let the fabric air dry after washing and repeat if needed. Otherwise, you’re good to go back to your usual laundering method.

Pro Tip

If you can’t wash it right way, get the item wet with cool, soapy water then stick it in a plastic bag, stain-side out. Seal the bag and chuck it in your freezer to keep the stain from setting. Wash straight from the freezer—no defrosting required—and follow the steps above if needed.

Like all messes, pet accidents are best tackled fresh even at 3 o’clock in the morning. So, stock your pantry or kitchen with the necessary supplies and you’ll be ready to hop into action to remove pet stains whenever they strike.

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12 Comments

  1. Use pee pads my Yorkie is very good at using them I only put four pee pads in hallway I get rid of them after he pees on each one twice

  2. Bill Welford says:

    Hello,

    I am surprised no one mentioned using an Ultraviolet Blacklight Detector flashlight for finding that urine spot that has dried, These cost about $10.00 from online shopping, Be careful, so you do not get sick when you see all the spots you may have missed. One downside, the UV flashlight may still show the stain after you have used all the cleaning suggestions, but at least the stains are made up of “clean” urine. My data is based on one dog and not trying all the cleaning suggestions. Your cleaning may not continue to show the stain with the UV flashlight like my did. I used Pet Stain remover from Hoover in a wet vac.

  3. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who had the let’s just sell the house thought! The 3rd fur child has become super jealous and is watering the carpet whenever she feels she is being slighted! Thanks for the cleaning solution!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh no! I hope she grows out of that soon.

  4. I have tried literally everything to get the pink vomit stains from our cat out of our beige carpet. Half the stuff bleached the carpet, the other half didn’t work. This worked almost instantly. I am so, so grateful. Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad that I was able to help, Miranda!

  5. My dog recently threw up on my cream colored fabric sofa seat cushion. I tried using Clorox wipes and a little dawn. It did nothing. It looks like a yellow urine stain (but it’s definitely vomit). The sofa was bond treated at rooms to go. Do you think the “bond treatment” is preventing the stain from lifting? I would like to try your solution. Do you think it will be safe for this type of sofa and stain?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It’s possible the bond treatment might have something to do with it, but usually the problem is the dyes in their food. I’d spot test an inconspicuous area with my method to see if your sofa is colorfast then try it on the stain to see if it helps.

  6. I found a dry pet urine stain on my wool rug. I tried to clean it with carpet cleaner (that I have used on that rug and worked before) and used a little baking soda. That stain is now a yellowish stain that did not come up on a tan rug! How can I get that up now? I think the baking soda made it worse. Help please!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Depending on the color of the rug, hydrogen peroxide with a couple drops of dish detergent might work. Spot test in an inconspicuous place first.

  7. The cleaner recipe you listed for dog poop, you called for 2 tablespoons of oxiclean. Are you meaning liquid or powder oxiclean? Thanks in advance.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Powdered.

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