There comes a time in every pet owner’s life (usually in the middle of the night) when they need to know how to clean pet stains.
For me, that time came at 3:04 AM on a Thursday when I had to be at the airport at 6:45 in the morning. Naturally, my dog decided to redecorate my carpet. And my kitchen floor. And my bed, too.
Let’s face it: if you have pets, they’re going to have accidents no matter how well-trained. Like if your dog rummages through the trash, for instance, and eats something that upsets her stomach. And then your cats walk through it. And then your dog chases your cats across the kitchen tile floor, then through the carpeted living room, and then onto your bed.
At that point you’ll find yourself, as I did, thinking about just selling the house… and then you’ll realize you still need to know how to clean pet stains before you can put the thing on the market.
But, hey, I wouldn’t trade my pets for the world!
How To Clean Pet Stains
Step One: The first step is the nastiest, but you’ll have to scrape up as much poop as possible. I grabbed a pair of the disposable gloves I use for nasty messes, but those of you with stronger stomachs can use a dustpan instead. (Of course, you’ll need to clean that when you’re done.)
Step Two: Next, you’ll need to treat the stain. I use one of two mixtures for this, depending on whether I’m out of Oxiclean. It’s IMPORTANT you mix these in a bowl then transfer it to a bottle once any foaming has stopped.
Pet Stain Remover With Oxiclean
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons Oxiclean
- 1 tsp. Dawn Original dish soap
Pet Stain Remover Without Oxiclean
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons washing soda
- 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide
- 1 tsp. Dawn Original dish soap
For either mixture, it’s best if you do a spot test in an inconspicuous area just to make sure your carpet won’t fade.
Once you know that your carpet is color-safe, lightly dab the mixture onto the stain with a clean cloth. Next, grab a scrub brush and work it in, then take a damp cloth and dab at the spot to transfer as much of the stain from the carpet to your cloth. Rinse the cloth and repeat the entire process, from scrubbing to dabbing, until the stain is gone. Let dry.
Step Three: Even when the stain is gone, the smell remains behind. You may not smell it, but your dog will (and chances are some of your more critical guests will, too) so don’t skip this step of neutralizing the smell.
While some commercial products claim to get rid of this scent, I prefer the all-natural method: spray it with a 50-50 mix of warm water and white vinegar and let it dry. Yep, that’s it. The vinegar neutralizes the odor so your pet won’t smell it and, as a result, the spot won’t become his go-to place.
Step Four: Let the area completely dry for 24 hours, then vacuum the spot. At this point, you may notice the stain returning, which is a sign the poop soaked into the carpet padding, too.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to repeat ALL of these steps until the stain is completely gone. (If you have a carpet shampooer or wet vac, you can speed this process along since the machine’s suction will help pull any remaining stain from the padding.)
Step One: Use old towels, paper towels or even brown paper bags — the important thing is to blot as much urine up as possible. If you have a shop vac, even better: just vacuum the area until it’s dry.
Step Two: In most cases, blotting the urine will get rid of any stain at the same time. If your pet has a urinary tract infection or is dehydrated, the urine color may be particularly dark. In that case, use the Pet Stain Remover without Oxiclean, above. Repeat until the spot is gone.
Step Three: Again, a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water will neutralize any lingering urine smell and keep your pet from thinking of the area as their new potty place.
Be sure to wet the spot thoroughly, because at this point you need it to reach the carpet pad to neutralize any urine that’s soaked into it. If you have a wet/dry vac, use it now to suction away the remaining moisture. Otherwise, wait until the area is almost dry then sprinkle with some baking soda and rub that in with a stiff bristled brush. Let the baking soda dry in place.
Step Four: After the area is entirely dry, vacuum the spot thoroughly. Use the brush to loosen the baking soda clumps as you clean if needed.
As I show in photos in this blog entry, the steps below got rid of cat vomit stains on my carpet that were SIX YEARS old. Yes, it’s labor-intensive, but it works!
Step One: If the vomit is fresh, scoop it away. If it’s dried, scrape away as much as you can with a spoon or putty knife.
Step Two: Either of the cleaning mixture recipes above may work, depending on what you feed your pets and how long the stain has been there. For stains that have dried and set in, you’ll need an extra step. Get as much of the stain out as possible using the method above, then let the area dry for an entire day. Now, it’s time for the trick that amazed me: Ironing them!
Using An Iron To Lift Stains
- Fill your clothing iron with water and set it to “Steam.” If your carpets are wool, use the HIGH heat setting. If your carpet is nylon or a blend, use the LOW setting.
- Open the windows, then mix 2 tablespoons household ammonia (yes, it stinks) and 1 cup of very hot water, then spray it on the area.
- Place a white towel on top of the stain.
- Put the iron on the towel and keep it in constant motion as you “iron” the entire area over the stain for 20 seconds. The stain will begin to transfer from the carpet to the towel as you work.
- Lift the towel, find a clean place on it and repeat the step above until the stain disappears.
- Let the area dry, then sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum thoroughly to remove any lingering smell.
Just remember, with ALL stains the faster you tend to them the quicker they are to get out.