Monday, Jan. 4th 2016

How to clean pet stains and smells on your carpets

Pets wreak havoc on carpets. Whether it’s a matter of accumulating pet dander or stains from potty training a stubborn puppy, carpets often take a serious beating. I hear it all the time, “But I vacuum every day!” Still, pets track in dirt, mud, and goodness only knows what else, and it makes a mess on your carpet.

And it’s not only the stains—it’s the smells. Dogs and cats “mark” their territory, release pheromones, and, in the worst cases, develop bad habits that are difficult to break. Remember: dogs and cats have a better sense of smell than we do and, often, if they can smell their “scent,” they’ll continue to relieve themselves (or worse!) in the same spot.

Vacuuming and spot treating help with day-to-day maintenance, but some of those more stubborn pet stains need a little more attention. You semi-regularly steam clean your carpets, but you can’t do that as often as you’d like—what can you do in between professional cleanings, to help make sure that your carpets stay in nice enough shape that you don’t live in constant fear that someone will pop by unannounced?

  1. If it’s urine…If you’ve found urine on your carpets, you should start by soaking it up with a combination of newspaper and paper towels. It’s especially important to act quickly, before the urine dries, because that makes it a lot easier to remove the smell. Putting pressure on the spot will help you to soak up as much of it as possible. Put a layer of paper towels on the floor, and stand on them. Remove and repeat until the area is barely damp. Rinse with water, being sure to soak up as much of the water as possible (you don’t want to encourage mold or mildew to grow there!)—you can blot the same way as you did the urine, or you can even use a wet vac.
  1. If it’s a set in stain…If you have a wet vac, it may be time to pull it out. Wet vacs are great, as an intermediate measure, to help remove traces of heavy pet stains in your carpets. Make sure you only use water, though. Most wet vacs are only designed to be used with water. Be sure you don’t use an in-home steam cleaner, though, because, without professional help, the heat can cause the proteins to stick to the carpet (and become nearly impossible to remove). If you don’t have access to a wet vac, you’ll want to use a good quality carpet cleaner. Follow the instructions on the label. For most pet messes, we like _________.
  1. Find the areas that the pets use, and clean them thoroughly. Begin with a product that neutralizes odor. Clean the affected area, and apply an odor neutralizing product. Just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean your pet can’t! (We like ________. It makes those terrible pet smells disappear!) It probably should go without saying that, once you clean and neutralize, you should also make an effort to make the “scene of the crime” unavailable or unattractive to your pet, so he or she doesn’t repeat the same behaviors. After all, no plan for improving the pet stain problem would be complete without targeting the behavior that keeps making them messy! Right?
  1. Avoid super chemical-y cleaners. Anything with strong odors can have unpredictable effects on your pet. Even though you may not be able to smell it, your pet may still be able to smell it—encouraging your pet to continue to use your carpet as a bathroom!

My mom told me that a simple combination of vinegar and baking soda can work wonders, and it’s a recipe I still use for pet stains today! These two things together have awesome cleaning power and, not only that, but you probably already have them around your house! (Don’t you just love it when you can take action without having to make a separate trip to the store?) Just soak the stain with vinegar, and then cover with baking soda. Leave it for a day or two, so it can completely dry out (bonus: you can watch the yellow soak it’s way into the baking soda on top), and then vacuum up the rest.

Pet potty stains are a big pain, no doubt about it. But if you catch it quickly, take preventative steps, try to stop the behavior, and effectively neutralize the odors, you can help take care of your carpet (and keep it looking newer longer) in between professional cleanings. When you’re ready for a little extra help, call us at (816) 454-1010 for your free estimate, in-home or by phone. Visit our website at to get a 10% coupon for all dry carpet cleaning.

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