Dogs may be easy to love, but they can be a little hard to clean up after (and even a little nerve wracking to own when you have new carpet!). The good news: cleaning up after your dog has an accident on the carpet is not a lost cause. Even the worst pet stains can be cleaned up—and no one has to know about the accident if you use these tips for cleaning up pet stains (trust us, we’ve cleaned a lot of carpets!).
Sop up as much of the liquid as possible.
As soon as you can, remove any solids with a utensil that you can clean or dispose of (i.e. dust pan, plastic spoon, etc.) and sop up as much of the liquid as possible (paper towels and gloves are ideal). Don’t be afraid to apply pressure; your goal is to get out as much of the liquid as possible. If there is a lot of urine, feces, or vomit, use a wet and dry vac to remove the urine or vomit.
Test your carpet cleaner before you use it.
As gross as pet stains can be (insert shudder here), don’t be in such a rush to get rid of the stain that you damage your carpet fibers. Test your carpet cleaner on a small area of carpet that is not usually visible (such as a closet or a corner) before you apply it to the pet stain. An untested cleaner can fade or permanently discolor carpet—even natural or household cleaners can do damage! If you have new carpet, using an unapproved can void the warranty (to get cleaners that are approved, visit the local carpet experts).
Don’t use a steam cleaner.
It’s tempting to grab a steam cleaner and give your carpet a deep clean—it works in other situations, right? When it comes to pet stains and carpet, no. A steam cleaner can actually lock in the stain and smell. Instead, remove the liquid, apply the cleaner (after testing!), and blot at the carpet fibers. Don’t scrub too hard; too much elbow grease can damage carpet fibers.
Get out the smell.
No matter what kind of pet emergency you’re cleaning up after, chances are it’s going to smell. Removing that odor is important for you and your dog. For you, it’s a nuisance and can affect the resale value of your home (or the security deposit on your apartment). For your pet, an odor (even the slightest smell) can turn an accident into a habit; your pet can smell the spot and may continually urinate or defecate on that spot.
To remove the odor, neutralize the odor. A household mixture of vinegar and water sprayed on the stain may do the trick; for a more intense smell, ask the local carpet pros for a professional carpet odor neutralizer crafted specifically for the job.
Be honest with your carpet cleaner.
Cleaning up the (hopefully) occasional pet accident is only part of keeping your carpet looking (and smelling) new—even with pets. An annual professional deep cleaning can get out some of the worst pet stains and odors. When you call (or message) for a carpet cleaning appointment (or when getting a free estimate), tell them that you have pets and accidents. A good carpet cleaner can pre-treat the carpet to remove the stains and odors, give you honest answers about whether they can get the stains and odors completely out, and tell you when you and your beloved pet can enjoy your clean (pet stain free) carpet.