How to Remove Pet Stains and Odors from Carpet and Upholstery

We love our pets but not the stains and odors that come from urine, poop, and vomit. Whether you have cats or dogs or both, it’s your job to clean it all up. Learn how to remove all the evidence.

Remove Pet Urine Stains and Odor From Washable Clothes 

Urine from cats and dogs and spraying from cats leaves stains but it is usually the odor that is most troublesome. Of course, the sooner the stain is treated the more successful the stain removal will be.

Begin by flushing the area with cold water. Hold the wrong side of the fabric under a running faucet and let the full force of the water flush the urine out of the fibers. Then launder as usual using the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric and a heavy-duty detergent (Tide or Persil are the highest rated brands with enough enzymes to break apart the stain molecules). Add one cup of white distilled vinegar to the wash water to help reduce odor. 

If the stain is old and the odor is strong, mix a solution of one-gallon cool water and two cups of white distilled vinegar. Completely submerge the fabric and allow it to soak overnight. Wash as recommended above. Line drying the items outside will also help get rid of the odors.

Pet Feces and Vomit Stains on Washable Clothes 

Fresh pet feces and vomit stains should be treated as soon as possible. Begin by removing as much solid matter as possible with a spatula. Do not rub the stains with a cloth because that will drive the stains deeper into the fabric fibers. If the stain is dried or old, scrape or brush off any crusted matter. Once the solids are removed, hold the wrong side of the stained area under a cold water faucet and let the stream push the stain out of the fibers.

These stains are mainly proteins. Never use hot water at first because it cooks the protein-making the stain harder to remove. Mix a solution of cool water and oxygen-based bleach following package directions. Mix enough so that the entire item can be submerged. Allow the stained item to soak for at least four hours or overnight and then wash in the hottest water recommended for the fabric with a heavy-duty detergent. 

Check the stained area before drying. Never place a stained item in a hot dryer. Instead, repeat the stain-removing steps. 

Pet Stains and Dry Clean Only Clothes 

If the garment is labeled dry clean only, blot away urine stains with a white cloth or paper towel. Lift any solid matter from the surface of the fabric with a dull edge. Remember, never rub a stain because it can make the stain larger and more difficult to remove. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain.

If you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

How to Remove Pet Stains from Carpet and Upholstery

Animals have accidents and usually on our best home furnishings. The key to removing the stains and odor is to treat the stains as soon as possible. Accidents left untreated can permanently discolor carpet and upholstery fibers.

As quickly as possible remove solids with a dull knife or spatula and soak up urine stains with white paper towels or an old cloth. You can also soak up the moisture with a wet/dry shop vacuum. If using a cloth, press it firmly into the stain using an old shoe and keep moving to a dry area or new paper towel to absorb as much liquid as possible.

While there are shelves full of commercial pet stain removers, you can easily make your own with simple ingredients.

Mix a solution of one part distilled white vinegar and one part cool water. For easy use, place the solution in a spray bottle. Pour or spray the mixture onto the urine stain. Be sure to use enough to completely saturate the carpet all the way to the backing. Use a soft-bristle brush to work it deep into the fibers. Blot the solution away using paper towels or a shop vacuum and allow the area to air dry.

If the stain is on an area rug covering wooden floors, be sure to lift the rug while cleaning to prevent damage to the wood floors.

When the carpet is dry, sprinkle the cleaned area of the carpet with baking soda. Mix 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide with two cups of cool water. This should be mixed fresh each time because hydrogen peroxide turns to pure water after exposure to light. Spray or pour this solution onto the baking soda and use a soft-bristled brush to work it into the carpet. Blot or vacuum away the moisture. Allow the carpet to air dry away from direct heat. When the carpet is dry, vacuum to lift the fibers.

The same cleaning solutions and techniques can be used to remove pet stains from upholstery. Extra care must be taken to avoid over-wetting the fabric because it is difficult to remove moisture from the cushions and padding.

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