Every seasoned pet owner knows that bringing little (and sometimes big) critters into your home means there will be occasional accidents to clean up. And, unfortunately, especially with cats and dogs, one accident tends to breed more unless the carpet is cleaned adequately.
What does pet urine do to carpet?
Pet urine can cause permanent damage to your carpet, rugs, and fabrics. When urine is in its acid state, it begins to oxidize and react which can cause color change. This can be permanent if the urine is not removed, treated, and neutralized immediately, so the sooner the stain is cleaned the better. If the bacteria and amino acids caused by pet urine are left on carpets and fabric, you will likely have permanent staining and odor.
Why are pet stain odors so unpleasant and hard to get rid of?
There are two sources of odors from urine. First, bacteria grows from urine in dark, warm places. Then, amino acids are formed, causing waste and gasses which then cause unpleasant odors.
The second source is a chemical odor. These sources have to be treated and neutralized. High humidity can also cause urine to release additional gasses that cause odor as well.
Tips for Removing Pet Stains
Although it is always best to hire a professional cleaner to clean your carpet and upholstery, especially when you have pets, there are a couple of things you can do in the meantime while you wait for professionals to arrive.
1. Get on it early!
The faster you can treat the puddle areas, the better, especially when dealing with carpet. As liquid seeps into a carpet and hits the hard floor, the liquid spreads. This means that if the size of the spot on the surface of the carpet is about the circumference of an orange, it could be twice that size underneath. Use a rag or towel and be sure to stand on it, kneading the ground with your feet, for several minutes.
(Bonus Tip: Experts recommend putting the saturated rag where the animal is supposed to relieve themselves, as a reminder. Remove after a couple hours.)
2. Keep the spot/stain damp, which will help the stain from setting.
Soak the carpet area in clean, cool water but DO NOT use any soap/cleaning solution when removing pet stains. Right now, you are working on the stain, not cleaning. At-home products that are high on the pH scale (like Resolve and Oxi) do not work on pet stains. (Some products can actually lock the stain to carpet fibers.) Be sure to clean around the area to cleanse underneath the surface. Remember, the urine will spread, hidden to the naked eye.
(Bonus Tip: You may want to consider investing in a wet vac or renting a Rug Doctor or other carpet cleaner that can suck up the moisture out of the carpet. ALWAYS over extract. If you think you have moisture and urine out, continue to extract.)
3. Use an odor neutralizer ASAP.
There are many options to choose from, but you must make sure anything you use is safe for your pet. Natural solutions, such as vinegar or baking soda mixed with concentrated essential oils tend to be some of the most used and effective techniques. Lavender, frankincense, and spearmint are all great essential oils to consider.
(Bonus Tip: Be sure to check with your vet to confirm that you are only using oils that are safe for your pet to sniff and have on their skin. Always dilute essential oils before using them.)
4. Hire a professional!
Scott Johnston, a professional carpet cleaner in North Carolina, says to make sure that they are using an acidic rinse and an enzyme to help remove the source of the odor and prevent staining. The enzyme will attack the bacteria and provide the best results. Cleaning carpets and upholstery without proper systems can be disastrous and leave them permanently damaged.
(Bonus Tip: Sometimes a professional carpet cleaning can draw impurities to the surface of your carpet and temporarily bring back urine odor. Consider having your pet stay off the carpet until it’s completely dry, or talk to your professional carpet cleaner about using a pet safe carpet deodorant after cleaning to prevent another accident.)
5. Use a fabric protector after having your upholstery professionally cleaned.
We recommend a water-based fabric protector, which is non-toxic, skin-friendly for people and pets, safe on wool, contains no fragrance or dyes, and reduces allergens. The fabric protector helps keep your newly clean upholstery looking new between cleanings.
We all love our furry family members, but their messes can be difficult to clean up after. Remember, the key to cleaning pet stains on carpet is getting on it fast!
Routine Carpet Care
Did you know that your carpet is the largest air filter in your house? By a long shot! Pet stains that you can see aren’t the only thing that you need to consider when properly caring for your carpets and upholstery. These fabrics can accumulate a shocking amount of hair, dust and dander over time. Not to mention whatever your pets may drag inside! For this reason, most manufacturers recommend that your carpet be professionally extracted every 12 to 18 months. Not only to keep your warranty, but to keep your indoor environment clean and safe for your entire family.
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61 thoughts on “Carpet Cleaning For Pet Owners: Tips for Pet Stains and Maintenance”
It is not impossible to maintain lovely carpets if we have pets at home. Timely attention to accidents, daily vacuum, and regular professional cleaning will make sure our carpets remain fresh and clean for a long time to come.
I have beige carpets throughout our home, so these tips are handy to me! It was so interesting to read that baking soda can help to remove pet stains from carpets! Never heard about that before! Thanks for sharing this!
thank you so much for sharing these tips, I have 2 dogs and 1 cat so this kind of information is very useful for me thanks to the writer well Below is some information about Carpet Cleaning Tips For Pet Owners
Avoid pet interference – always keep your pet away while cleaning by lightly covering the treated area with a plastic bag or an aluminum foil. These objects will make noise if disturbed, keeping curious pets away.
Discourage reoffending – Always keep your carpet clean and fresh to discourage pet accidents. Doing this makes your carpet less attractive for pet accidents. Vacuum at least twice a week and treat affected areas. It is very important to schedule a regular professional carpet cleaning.
Solid Mess – Use the scraper and dustpan to remove solid mess from the carpet. Generously apply the oxygenated enzyme cleaner to the affected area and wait at least 45 minutes. Then, remove solid debris, allow the area to dry, and vacuum.
For many, baking soda is just an ingredient in baking and most don’t even know about its versatile and animal-friendly use as a cleaning agent in the household. Soda can be used as a scouring agent due to its small grains and also removes limescale residues in the bathroom or kitchen after a longer exposure time.
Something important to remember when dealing with pet urine issues is that carpet padding is very absorbent. While you may be able to effectively clean the carpet, it can require additional work to get the urine out of the padding. Professionals usually have a method of flooding the area with solution and then extracting it deeply to suck everything through the pad a few times and rinse it out. If someone is still dealing with pet odor issues after they’ve tried cleaning the carpet a few times, the solution is probably to go deeper and to clean the pad. In extreme circumstances, or often with cat urine (due to it’s pungency), it makes more sense to pull back the carpet, replace the affected section of pad, clean both the face and backing of the carpet, and re-stretch it into place.
Thank you for your input, MSS CLeaning. It’s quite a process to finally rid our furnishings of pet odors. But we love our pets, don’t we? Thanks for stopping by.
These are all great tips! The best one I have actually used and it helped me a lot was vinegar! great blog!
I love pets! Currently, I have five pet dogs, and I love them like my children until it’s time to clean the carpet. Their fur’s everywhere, and it’s got me worried. I like your suggestion of getting a professional to do the cleaning for me. Not only because they use commercial cleaning products, but also because I do not know how to start doing it. Thanks for the advice. I love it!
I struggled with this for awhile when my dog was a puppy. I agree, I definitely recommend hiring a professional at least once a year. Thanks for sharing!
These are all great tips for animal owners! I definitely agree with talking to a professional. I’ve tried many and chem-dry is my favorite. The floor is so much cleaner after they come. Luckily, my puppy is all grown up now and has’t had an accident over a year. The only thing I really have to worry about is cleaning is fur off everything and when he drags mud into the house, which is much easier to clean than pee!
My husband and I have two dogs and it has taken a toll on our carpet. I’ve been wondering if I should hire someone to clean the carpets and our upholstery because it is getting out of hand. I’m glad that you mentioned talking to a service about a pet safe carpet deodorant. If We can have the carpets cleaned and smelling fresh again, that would be a big help.
It makes sense that pet owners would need more carpet cleaning services. There are a lot of spots on my carpet from before my dog was potty trained! I’ll see if I can get a professional who can clean them out of there once and for all.
Acting quickly is a great rule of thumb to follow with pet stains; the longer you wait, the harder it’s gonna be to get that stain out (if you even can!) As someone who has dogs and cats, this is such good information to keep in mind for the future. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for your comment, Heather! All the best.
Wonderful tips! We have a few older stains from our pets and I will have to try the vinegar and baking soda method! Thank you!
These are great tips for cleaning carpets for pet owners! I recently just got a puppy and this is really helpful! Thanks for sharing!
It is a good idea to get your carpets cleaned professionally at least once a year.Contact a professional carpet cleaner.They use use commercial equipment that deep cleans your carpet and draws out stains and odors.
When cleaning your carpets, avoid over-soaking the stained area with water. Liquids captured in carpet fabrics tend to create mold and unpleasant smells.
Also, before treating your carpet, make sure to test on a small/not much visible area of the carpet, to make sure no distortion on colors or fabric would occur.
Vinegar is really a powerful natural cleaning agent and it works almost any other stains. A combination of white vinegar and warm water will help clean the urine stain and smell out of your carpet.
Thanks for the tip.
Thanks for these tips. Interesting for me to learn more about carpet cleaning. it contain so many things which are beneficial for carpet Cleaning. I always try to clean my carpet. Regularly getting my carpet cleaned professionally is a good idea.
Attacking puddles and odors early are great tips. Also, professional cleaning on some periodic schedule is a wise tip as well.
Thanks for sharing this idea. I always try to clean it up as soon as it happens. Regularly getting my carpet cleaned professionally is a good idea, too.
I really like your tip about talking with a professional when it comes to getting your carpets cleaned. My husband and I recently got a new puppy and she has made a few accidents on the carpet. We have done our best to clean it with some cleaner but I would love to have them cleaned professionally. She is all potty trained now so we hopefully don’t have to worry about any more accidents.
You’re right about the importance of getting a professional cleaning once per year. The treatments are deep in nature, which draws out stains and odors just as you described.
The “get to the carpet fast after an incident” tip is a tried and true method for reducing long-term stains. Your additional tips regarding cleaning the carpet once per year and using an odor neutralizer are useful, too.
I will be pet sitting quite a few of my sister’s dogs for a month and so I really worry about how that will take a toll on my carpet. Thanks for these tips and reminders about carpet cleaning for pet owners. It’s good to know that stains should be taken care of immediately and treated with an odor neutralizer.
My sister just got a new puppy and it has made a mess of her home. I like your tip to clean up any messes immediately to avoid further problems. I also like how you suggest getting the carpets professionally cleaned. I think it would be smart to do that more than once a year until until the puppy is better trained isn’t having as many accidents in the home. Thanks for these tips! I’ll make sure to share them with my sister.
Congratulations to your sister on getting a new puppy. It’s true, they sure can be hard on floors, especially carpets. I’d wait to get my carpet cleaned until puppy is fully trained. Thank you for stopping by.
Remove shoes. This is a sure method to make carpet last longer. If you have a nice home with nice carpet, people generally aren’t offended by this rule.
You can certainly clean your carpets without using dangerous chemicals. There are a ton of different ways to get them clean and you should only ones that you are comfortable with. Make sure you look into them and such to make sure they are really safe for you.
Hello Jeanne. I have a dog who is always making mess at home and I was trying to find a way to clean everything myself. But I will already take your advice to speak to a professional and deal with this. However, very helpful article, thanks!
Great.. thanks for sharing great article.
I just had my hardwood floors replaced with carpet and now my cat is trying to mark it as his territory. I have tried scrubbing it with soap and warm water, but I have yet to use an odor neutralizer and I probably should. I really like the neutral solution that you mention here that uses baking soda mixed with essential oils, because I feel like that would help me a lot in my situation. However, is there an essential oil or some type of solution that could also deter my cat from wanting to pee on the carpet?
My husband and I want to adopt a puppy soon, but I don’t want him to ruin our carpet. We plan to have it professionally cleaned after were done training, but I would still like to do my best to keep it nice during training. Great tip about investing in a wet vac, I didn’t know things like that even exist. I will be sure to start looking for one before we get the puppy.
I like that you mention getting the stain early because it really does make a difference. I think you should also get your carpet cleaned more often if you have pets just to get rid of the smell and stains. Some of the stains are going to be deep so it would be smart to get it cleaned out over time.
My wife and I are new dog owners and we love our little guy more than anything. Despite how much we love him though, he is still learning how to go potty in the right place and has left us some nice surprises on our new carpet. Since we are new to this, we are trying to get a feel for some things that we can do to keep our carpets clean. This helped a ton, and I’m going to get some odor neutralizers and talk to a professional carpet cleaning company about some things that they can do to come in and clean our carpets properly.
I agree that a wet vac is a good investment. Carpets are always subject to spills, especially if you eat over it. The problem is that when you grab a rag, you end up wiping the spill deeper into the carpet. Wet vacs, on the other hand, end up sucking much of it out of the carpet.
Thanks for your advice, Elden!
carpet cleaning for pet owners is something to pay attention to! I just got a puppy and it is really hard training him to use the bathroom outside. I will have to use these cleaning techniques so that I don’t have nasty stains on the carpet from the dog. Nobody likes to see those stains or smell it either.
Thanks for tips, but we always suggest to use carpet cleaning machines for cleaning, even cheap model worrks better vinegar, and dont ruin a carpet as chemicals do. But the best way is to order pro service
Thank you for the sage advice, George!
I would like to thank you for this post.your post will help us a lot.it contain so many things which are beneficial for carpet Cleaning.Keep Posting & sharing…
I can attest to the truthfulness of needing to use an odor neutralizer quickly! We didn’t do that one time and it was a lesson we learned the hard way. I think it was about four months before the smell was gone completely.
Yes, those smells sure to tend to linger and are so difficult to get rid of, if not tackled right away. Thanks for stopping by my blog!
I agree that it’s a good idea to get your carpets cleaned by a professional at least once a year. As you say, they have commercial equipment that deep cleans the carpet and gets the stains and odors out. Thus, using home remedies periodically throughout the year will help to maintain the work that the professionals do, but bringing them in will help make sure that the deep stains and dirt get removed– making your home cleaner and healthier. Thanks for sharing!
That was a wonderful blog from you Jeanne Melanson gives out some valid tips to clean the carpets, In fact I like your style of writing hoping to find some more blogs from you. Thanks in advance.
Thanks for your comment! All the best.
That’s true that accidents happen when you adopt new pets. They don’t always have the best training when you first take them in. At least I always try to clean it up as soon as it happens. Regularly getting my carpet cleaned professionally is a good idea, too. They can clean it deeper than I can.
I really like the idea of using water, lemon and vinegar when it comes to dog pee. That seems like a great idea. Another one that I have is getting a professional carpet cleaner, one that uses a lot of water and fluids to lift up the smells and bacteria.
Nothing beats hiring a professional carpet cleaner for dog smells in your carpet, you’re right. Thanks for taking the time to read my post, Paige! 🙂
I definitely agree with the tip to use an odor neutralizer right away. I lived with some people for a short time who just “wiped up” any messes their dog made. Thankfully, I lived in a separate part of the house where the dog wasn’t allowed to go because over the few months I lived there, the odor was awful!
I like the advice of putting the wet rag where my dog is supposed to relieve himself. I’m a new dog owner. Potty training my dog is a pretty difficult task for me. Hopefully, this tip will help.
Excellent post, Jeanne! I’m glad that I stumbled upon it because I’ve been thinking about how to best clean my carpets while having pets on it. I think you’re absolutely right: it’s important that you maintain it early. I’ll be sure to follow your suggestion by washing the area frequently. Thanks for sharing these great tips with us; they’ve been very helpful!
I loved your advice to talk to a professional. All too often, we think that we know everything about a particular subject because we read a blog or two. However, there are people out there that have studied certain subjects and their opinion should be respected. It is very important to remember that whenever you are trying to do something, especially like keeping a carpet clean while having pets.
Husbands are kind of pesky pets sometimes, don’t you agree, Francene? Mine is, anyway, but don’t tell him I said that. Yes, vinegar, the wonder of wonders. My mother used to clean windows with vinegar and newspaper. It worked too. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Thanks for these tips! Yes, in a home with two young dogs and six cats–there are times we have a “P” problem: pee, poop, or puke! (Sorry, but it’s true!) Recently, I have been using a spray bottle with a water and vinegar solution for the initial cleaning; then I wipe the spot with a lemon-scented Chlorox wipe.
I’m sure you do get some “P” problems from time to time with all those critters. How fun! Owning pets is not for the weak. 😉 Water and vinegar followed by a lemon scent sounds like it would work. Thanks for the tip. Cheers
Using your spray bottle vinegar solution is an excellent way to neutralize urine deposits without leaving behind dirt attracting residue. I would just use caution with the clorox wipes. While it will leave behind a nice scent, it may cause permanent discolorations on certain fiber types.