How To Clean Pet Stains

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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

My brindle French Bulldog is why I need to know How to Clean Pet Stains on any surface

Poop

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.)

Urine

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.

Vomit

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. (They were in my teenage daughter’s room, and we never go in there.) 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Place a white towel on top of the stain.
  4. 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.
  5. Lift the towel, find a clean place on it and repeat the step above until the stain disappears.
  6. 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 easier they are to clean.

More How-Tos:

How to Get Ink Stains Out of Clothes

How to Clean Grout

How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally

Pin How to Clean Pet Stains

How to Clean Pet Stains #stainremoval #stains #carpetstains #cleaning #deepcleaning #springcleaning #homemaking #pets #dogs #cats

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29 Comments

  1. my rescue dog eats everything and then eats grass or anything leafy to barf it back up. she barfed brown globs on a new light gray wool carpet and I picked up the bulk but it left two dark brown stains on the rug. Just tried this and it looks like it worked- who knew? thanks for the info.

  2. 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.

  3. Crazy Basenji Lady says:

    I have 3 senior Basenjis (ages 14, 12, 11). They have access to doggy door leading to very secure yard. They HATE rain and refuse to go out in even a heavy dew. Now that they are getting older, the 2 females are having trouble getting outside in time lately and the male is in stage 2 renal failure. They all have trouble with night vision. “Accidents” are becoming almost daily. Have tried several commercial solutions. Not only are they expensive, but they don’t seem to work well and some of them smell awful.

    I had an idea of mixing one of your solutions and keeping it in an old Swiffer wet container to allow me to use garage rags on the Swiffer mop to clean as a less expensive option (I should have invested in Swiffer and Bounty years ago!). Which solution would work best? I have laminate and tile flooring.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’d use the second mixture, the one without the OxiClean, since it sounds like you’ll be using it regularly. Have you looked into setting down piddle pads? These work very well and are only $14 for 100. I used them while potty-training my French Bulldog and was very pleased!

  4. Elsa Douglas says:

    My Chihuahua has chosen to potty(Pee) in the hallway of my apt. She has made several stains, and not having much luck getting stain and odor out. She is 4 1/2 yrs old. I can’t stand the smell of urine & vinegar throughout the apt. Can you help me out. Don’t have access to carpet cleaner. ?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      The smell of vinegar disappears as it dries, but if you can’t stand it for the 30 minutes that takes then I’d recommend “Nature’s Miracle.” It’s an enzyme-based stain and odor remover which you can spray on then, after 5 minutes, dab away. You should be able to find it at any pet supply store. It’s also available on Amazon — here’s an affiliate link to help you locate it: http://amzn.to/2jPz9Zt

  5. Elsa Douglas says:

    My fur-baby & I need to bond & not worry about peeing issues. Thks for your solution in advance. Elsa

  6. I am a HUGE fan of Genesis 950 for pet stains. it will remove odor that is below the surface and trapped in the padding.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t heard of that one and will give it a try. Thank you!

  7. 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.

  8. ProfBiochem says:

    I am surprised you advocate for warm water for your first advice set. Poo has bilirubin (a breakdown product of heme) in it and warm to hot water sets the color in rather than lifting it out.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      In healthy individuals and animals, as I’m sure you know, the heme level in pooh is low enough that warm (not hot) water won’t cause it to set. Heme levels high enough to cause staining issues would be accompanied by medical symptoms necessitating a fecal occult blood test, at which point carpet stains would be the least of one’s worries.

  9. 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.

  10. Anna Moren says:

    What is the “washing soda” you call for in the stain-removing solution without oxiclean? I have the Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide. Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Washing soda is essentially baking soda that’s been superheated to remove moisture and carbon dioxide. You can find it at most grocery stores, Walmart, or Target in the laundry aisle. It is also available on Amazon. I’ve updated the article to include a link to it on Amazon. 🙂

  11. Hi my dogs have used the bathroom on my tanish brown living room carpet ive tried steam cleaning it and everything ive used almost every cleaner i can find and they never work is there anything you reccomend?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Have you tried any of the methods listed above?

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. Hello! My newish Ikea couch has been christened with cat pee. It’s one with a removable cover, so that has been laundered with Oxiclean and seems fine. My question is about the inner cushions, which are too large to be machine washed: what can I do/use to clean the urine that seeped into them? It happened at night so by the time I saw, the urine was mostly dry, and by now must be entirely dry. I’m not concerned about stains but about odors and general cleanliness, and I have chemical sensitivities so the pet stain cleaner that was recommended to me is not usable. Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Your concern is a valid one since cats like to return to the same spot to pee. Although cat pee has a distinctive ammonia smell, it bonds with stuff as it dries. So, you’ll need an enzyme cleaner to dissolve those bonds. Fortunately, most are odor-free. I’d recommend Nature’s Miracle. If that’s going to bother your chemical sensitivities, though, you might first try taking the cushion outside and spraying it liberally with white vinegar then letting it dry in the sun. After it’s dry, sprinkle on some baking soda (not powder) and wait 30 minutes then vacuum the cushion. Best of luck!

  15. 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.

  16. Susan Kilkus says:

    Oxyclean spray usually works on all the previous pet stains I have had. Recently our dog threw up and the stain was cleaned immediately, but the treat she had eaten previously had some sort of red dye in it. The spot on the brand new beige wool carpet has a pink hue. It is now dry after a couple days. Would I try the iron method to remove this stain?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That’s what worked for me, as the photos show.

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