If you’re a pet owner you know that accidents happen. There’s just no getting around it. When your loving pet leaves their mark on your carpet, you could call a professional carpet cleaning company specializing in pet stains and odor removal, or if you’re up to the task, and you’re prepared, you can deal with it yourself, save some money and save your carpets. There is a third option, which is to do nothing at all – but let’s not go there.
No matter what, removing pet stains and odors is not a fun thing to do, but most pet accidents can be easily handled if you know what to do and have the products you need on hand.
So for the DIY route, here are the items you should have handy.
- plenty of clean white terry cloth towels, or white (non-printed) paper towels
- white vinegar
- liquid dish washing detergent
- baking soda
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- rubber gloves
If you act quickly, the little gift your four legged friend left for you has no chance becoming a permanent stain on your carpet.
If the area is still wet you should first attempt to absorb as much as the liquid as possible. Leaving it there to dry will encourage bacteria growth – which causes the odor while giving the acids in the urine the opportunity to permanently discolor your carpet.
The best method for removing the moisture is to place several layers of paper towels over the wet area and apply pressure with your foot. The goal is to transfer as much of the liquid as possible from the carpet to the towels. You may have to repeat this several times and you’ll want to do it until there’s no moisture whatsoever transferring to the paper towels.
But sometimes our pets can be really smart and more than a little sneaky. Catching them in the act is simply not going to happen. As pet owners, we all know how that works. So what if we find a spot after it’s had time to dry? This can be a little tougher to deal but like they say, “better late than never”.
The next step, whether you’re dealing with a fresh wet spot or one that’s had time to dry, is to retrieve your handy pet stain remedy products (mentioned above) and mix a solution of fifty percent white vinegar and fifty percent water. I would suggest mixing a quart (16 oz of water and 16 oz of white vinegar) and filling a 32 oz spray bottle and spray a liberal amount of this solution onto the spot.
Then work the solution into the carpet by agitating gently with the handle end of a spoon or fork. (no brushes – no rubbing – no scrubbing). Apply enough of the solution to thoroughly penetrate the fibers all the way down to the base of the carpet. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes then get out your terry cloth or paper towels and blot up the moisture again by folding and making about a 1 inch stack and applying pressure with your foot. Go ahead and stand on it – it’s a lot easier than rubbing and better for your carpet.
The vinegar in the solution neutralizes the ammonia in the dog urine. This is a good thing because there’s less of a chance your pet will be unfairly influenced to return to the same spot. If you own a wet/dry vacuum or a Bissel “Spot Bot” or “Little Green Machine” (every pet owner needs one of these) use that to remove any excess moisture.
When the area has dried or is just slightly damp, sprinkle a good handful of baking soda over the affected area.
Then mix half a cup (4 ounces) of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of liquid dish washing detergent. Liquid Dawn would be perfect. Never use caustic (automatic) dishwasher detergent – these often have bleaching agents that can create some very undesirable effects to the color of your carpet.
Put on a pair of rubber gloves and slowly pour or spray the hydrogen peroxide and detergent mixture over the baking soda. Work the dissolving baking soda well into the carpet with your fingers or use the handle end of a spoon or fork. Fraying carpet fibers is not something you want to do. So no brushing, rubbing or scrubbing.
Allow the area to dry completely, vacuum thoroughly and that’s it.
In areas that have been heavily soiled with dog urine you may have to treat the area as mentioned above more than once.
The solution formula described above is for one small area. For larger or multiple areas you will need to adjust the quantities of ingredients.
Please Note… THIS IS IMPORTANT. Never use ammonia or ammonia-based products on the carpet to remove pet urine or the resulting stain. One of the ingredients of urine is ammonia and your dog or puppy may well be encouraged to re-offend in the same area once it detects the smell of ammonia. Many household cleaners contain ammonia so be sure to carefully read the label.
Plan Two: For dry pet stains. This is a problem that can be much more difficult to remedy. The worst case scenario is where an area or areas have been repeatedly visited and there is a noticeable odor. At this point there are potentially more severe problems because now this is more about deodorization, sanitation and health as opposed to just a spot on the carpet.
The problem stems from a large volume of concentrated alkaline salts created by the urine. The lingering odor is actually coming from bacteria feeding on the waste products contained in the urine. And if the carpet in question is a typical home carpet, made from nylon tufted into a primary backing with a secondary latex backing and installed over a foam pad, then the appropriate treatment may involve multiple layers – including the sub-floor. If the rug is wool, silk, or rayon then dye instability could also be a concern. The alkaline salts in pet urine are very strong and can create an excessively high pH environment (10 – 10.4). This can destabilize normally stable dyes in carpet fibers causing bleeding or bleaching.
In this case, professional cleaning by someone who really understands how to prevent and or correct dye bleeding would be the best course of action.
Hire a certified professional for any large problem areas. If you wish to attempt pet stain and odor removal yourself consider this; the affected area should be small, no more than a foot in diameter. You should consult a professional if the affected areas are larger or if there are multiple areas that need attention.