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Everybody Poops But Here’s How to Clean When It Lands wrong

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At some point in everyone’s life, we’re going to find ourselves wondering how to clean poop. Maybe you have a pet or two. Maybe your child isn’t catching on to potty training just yet. Maybe you or a family member caught a horrible stomach virus.

Whatever the reason, accidents happen. But if you aren’t careful, poop can become a permanent and embarrassing stain. Worse yet, you may not adequately disinfect the surface and wind up spreading germs. So, read on for what to use and how to clean up poop and knock out the odors and germs.

How to Get Poop Out of Diapers and Clothes

Get the poop where it should’ve gone: the toilet. Swirl small items in the bowl to remove more mess, or use a bucket or bathtub for larger things.

Pro Tip

Stick with cold water at this point, since heat can make the proteins and food dyes in poop turn into permanent stains.

Poop Stain Removal

  • Apply a laundry detergent with enzymes or detergent-based liquid dish soap to the stained area. These ingredients break down proteins effectively.
  • Gently rub the detergent into both sides of the fabric, wait for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Disinfection

  • Wash the fabric in hot water, adding chlorine bleach, laundry disinfectant, or 2 cups of white vinegar to your regular detergent.
  • Air dry and check. If the stain is still there, repeat the cleaning process.

How to Clean Poop from Upholstery and Carpet

Wear gloves and remove the poop using a plastic bag to avoid direct contact.

Removing the Stain

  • Add 1 tablespoon of enzyme-containing laundry detergent or detergent-based liquid dish soap to 2 cups of cold water to tackle the proteins and food dyes that turn into poop stains.
  • Use paper towels or a white rag for cleaning to prevent dye transfer. Focus on lifting the stain rather than rubbing.

Eliminating Germs and Odors

  • Disinfect the area with a disinfecting wipe or rubbing alcohol. Remember, rubbing alcohol should not be used on sensitive fabrics like acetate, rayon, or acrylic.
  • Use enough that the surface stays wet for at least 5 minutes to wipe out germs.
  • Rinse with a clean, damp cloth and air dry.
  • Sprinkle with baking soda, wait at least 4 hours to overnight, then vacuum.

How to Clean Poop on Other Surfaces

When it comes to germy things like poop, you need to use a two-step cleaning and disinfecting process to make sure you knock out all the germs.

The first step to cleaning poop is always removing the mess. Scoop it up with gloves and a piece of cardboard then clean the area with soapy water and rinse. Next, apply disinfectant and let it soak as the label says — usually 5-15 minutes — then rinse and dry.

Finally, to avoid cross-contaminating other places in your home, you should probably shower and change clothes as soon as you’re done. And there you have it, the full poop on how to clean poop!

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34 Comments

  1. Does this work on fux leather jakets?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I couldn’t recommend washing faux leather, Layla, but you might be able to spot treat it with an enzyme cleaner. To find out, try a spot test on an area no one can see. (Inside a cuff, for instance, or inside the hem on the back.) If it’s colorfast, and the texture doesn’t change, then you could treat the rest. Don’t get it too wet, and be sure to wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth when you’re done to remove any residue. Best of luck!

  2. What if while bathing a 1 year old she pooped in a full bath tub & I used a plastic cup to get the poop out… How do I make sure the cups are completely sanitized?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Wipe it out, rinse it in the toilet then wash it in a quart of water with 1 tsp of bleach.

  3. Throw the plastic cup away. For the cost of the cup, for the time, effort, and expense of materials to clean it AND, for the possibility of contamination, toss the cup and don’t look back.

  4. John L Pacheco says:

    This has been REALLY helpful. The ammonia and steam iron is a great tip. Thanks from a batchelor and old dad combo dealing w/ accidental “crud” deposit. (*_*)

  5. Do you have any idea on how to get it out of bedding that won’t fit in a washing machine and mattresses?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’d take the bedding to a laundromat that has large, commercial-sized machines. As for the mattress, I have an entire article about how to clean a mattress to get rid of all sorts of stains, including poop. Best of luck!

  6. How can I get the smell out if I accidently put the underwear, that still had poop in it, in the washing machine with other clothes, and now everything that was washed, smells like poop, and no matter how many times I re-wash them, I can’t get the smell out of those clothes…?

  7. What about poop that has gotten out of control from a sick family member and it’s dried in the wood and all into the bathroom walls, floors and the smell in the house?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Open the windows, get out your disinfectants and scrub brushes, and clean.

  8. Had a toddler knock over her potty with poop and pee on wool rug. How best for me to clean? Smell is terrible!

  9. How to get poop stain off of a plastic toilet seat? I’ve searched and no one ever answers this.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Try a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Let it sit there for 30 minutes then rinse with more hydrogen peroxide.

  10. I recommend Natures Miracle for removing odors. You can find it at pet supply stores or Amazon. If it can remove cat urine odor it can remove any gross odor.

  11. If you used a kitchen rag to blot the stain and a kitchen Pyrex for measuring and rinsing, can those be cleaned and sanitized so you are not putting poop in your mouth if you want to use them again?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes. Both should be washed in hot, soapy water with a bit of bleach then rinsed thoroughly.

  12. How do I clean poop stain that leaked through an upholstery cover onto a down throw pillow?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Sarah,
      I’d take the pillow out of the cover and launder each separately. The pillow can be washed in the machine using the delicate cycle and warm water. Toss it in the dryer with a tennis ball to fluff it, or let it sun dry then fluff it by hand. Wash the upholstered cover depending on the fabric and manufacturer’s instructions. Good luck!

  13. Catherine says:

    I have vinyl type couch and kitchen chairs there isn’t stains just the smell I have used Lysol wipes dish detergent Johnson soap windex and vinegar still not helping

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Catherine,
      Maybe try wiping them with a baking soda and water solution (about 1/2 cup baking soda stirred into 2 cups warm water). Let that sit in place for an hour or so, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. The baking soda should help eliminate the odor.

  14. Hi one of my kids had a sore stomach and had an accident it went through to our suede couch
    I first wipes it with anti bac wipes scrubbed with a cloth and fairy liquid
    Scrubbed again with zoflora
    And after going to the shop for white vinegar
    I made a solution of hot water fairy and white vinegar and sprayed it on and give it a scrub
    It’s drying as we speak
    Obviously I can’t take the couch apart to wash in the machine and I haven’t got a steamer
    Will what I have done be enough and get rid of the germs?
    Thank you x

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’d probably killed the germs with the antibac wipe. Don’t stress over this.

  15. So… my dog wiped his but on my brand new comforter, I really do not want to wash because I’m afraid it will get lumpy. Is there a way to clean the top layer so that it does not go through to the inside padding???

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You can try spot washing the area with a little warm water and liquid laundry detergent on a rag, then wipe it clean with a damp cloth. Disinfect by dabbing it with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol on a fresh cloth and let it air dry. Spot test both steps on an inconspicuous area first, of course.

      At some point, though, you’re going to have to launder your comforter. To prevent lumps, wash it by itself on a gentle setting. Then, add a couple of clean tennis balls when you put it in the dryer. The balls bounce around and break up lumps as your comforter dries, keeping it nice and fluffy.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    While fostering kittens, one pooped in a salad bowl. Is there any safe way to properly clean it ?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It really depends on what the bowl is made from. If it’s something nonporous like glass or ceramic, wipe the poop out with a paper towel, follow with a disinfecting wipe, then wash it in hot water with a splash of chlorinated bleach. Rinse well and dry.

      If it’s porous — wood or plastic — I’d chuck it.

  17. What about a pair of leather dress shoes where the owner had a bout of diarrhea run down their legs and into the shoes? The outsides were cleaned thoroughly with some laundry dergent a little bleach and a sacrificial toothbrush. Can the inside of the heels be treated the same way?

    #old dad problems

  18. NorCalGal says:

    Oh Katie. I so needed these tips when cleaning up after my grandmother several years ago. (I’m sure the dogs will help me use them in the future)
    I tore out the carpet but gagged at the the (formerly lovely) wood floors beneath it in grandmother’s house. It turned out the Bissell was liquidating the poo from the carpet into the wood. Yuk.
    Bleach and lots of scraping the trail…wear gloves, mask and goggles if it’s not your poo. Good ?on your mission.

  19. Loretta P says:

    Thanks for all the info about poop removal! Your solutions were excellent and very helpful! I’m going to write down this link for future reference

  20. How do I clean dried poop from a wall? It is textured and has flat paint.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’d put in gloves and use warm, soapy water and a scrub brush. Once it’s clean, let it air dry then wipe the area with a disinfecting wipe and let it air dry.

  21. Betsy Applebaum says:

    Give examples of “disinfectants”. Are we talking “bleach”?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It depends on which surface you’re cleaning. In the article, I specify which disinfectant to use for each method under the list of equipment.

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