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Pro Tips for Pet Odor and Stain Removal

March 22, 2019

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If you have a four-legged family member, you may need some pet odor and stain removal tips for your home's carpeting, upholstery, and other such surfaces and materials. Even the best-trained pet is bound to leave odors and stains in the house, and especially as they get older and begin to have unfortunate accidents!

Note how a homeowner can get rid of pet odors, and stain removal tips:

  • Use dishwashing liquid dissolved in water for spot treatment.
  • White vinegar dissolved in water can neutralize odors.
  • Ensure you use a scrub brush and scrub the affected area thoroughly.
  • Hydrogen peroxide works to remove blood, urine, and other stains.

While many people see their pets as part of their family, keeping the home clean when you have any four-legged friend is often a difficult challenge. It's especially challenging when you have more than one pet in the house, and if those pets are allowed outside so that they then track dust, dirt, and mud back into the home.

To ensure you're protecting your home's floors and furniture as much as possible from pet stains and unpleasant odors, note some tips on how to clean carpeting and upholstery thoroughly, but without causing damage. You might also note some general tips for what to use as a pet stain remover and on keeping the home's carpets and furniture pieces pristine and in good condition, and some benefits of having those floors and upholstery cleaned by a professional as needed.

Rinse and extract Upholstery

Quick Methods for Pet Odor and Stain Removal

Minor stains in carpets or areas of significant pet odor can usually be treated with a quick and simple solution of diluted dish detergent, along with a scrub brush and rags. Try the following procedure for any areas of concentrated odors or stains in your home, as this might work for basic pet odor removal:

  • First, absorb as much of the stain as possible with dry paper towels. Blot the area rather than rubbing it, to avoid pushing the stain into the carpet or spreading it into a larger area.
  • If possible, use a shop-vac to remove as much of the urine or other waste. If you don't have access to a shop-vac or a commercial vacuum or carpet shampooer, do not use your household vacuum, as lightweight vacuum cleaners are not designed to remove these stain-causing materials properly!
  • Dissolve a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent into a cup of warm water. Don't use laundry soap or soap with moisturizers, as the ingredients in those cleaners can damage carpet fibers.
  • Use a spray bottle to squirt the detergent solution along the area of the stain. Allow it to sit and penetrate the stain for several minutes.
  • Use a cloth soaked in warm water to rub the detergent into the carpet and then rinse it away. If you have a shop-vac, use this to extract the detergent mixture.
  • Continue to use fresh rags or paper towels dipped in warm water to remove the detergent mixture until the stain has disappeared.

Removing Tough Pet Stains from Carpeting

Some pet stains are difficult to remove with simple detergent and water and might require a bit more scrubbing. Dog urine especially can soak through a carpet's fibers and padding, and larger dogs often leave more heavy stains that are difficult to clean! Note a few steps for how to remove pet odor from carpet and that can remove tough stains and large areas of urine:

  • Start by blotting as much of the stain as possible, but use a disposable cloth rag rather than paper towels, as large stains may tend to shred paper towels. Press down on the stain very firmly, even stepping on the rag, to absorb as much liquid as possible.
  • White vinegar is an excellent pet stain remover and odor neutralizer. Mix a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Be sure you have enough mixture to cover the entire area of the stain and to permeate your carpet and its underlying padding.
  • Slowly pour the vinegar/water mixture over the area of the stain, allowing it to seep into the carpet.
    Use a scrub brush and vigorously brush the entire stain. Be sure to use enough force that you push the vinegar/water mixture deep into the carpet fibers.
  • Blot the wet area with paper towels repeatedly, pulling up as much of the liquid as possible.
  • Use rags soaked in warm water to rinse the area repeatedly.

How to Clean a Rug With Spots and Stains

Home Remedies to Remove Stains

When combined, baking soda and vinegar create a bubbling foam that can help to lift urine, solid waste, and other such debris from carpet fibers. Baking soda and vinegar also work as a pet odor remover and can even restore the color of carpeting.

To use these materials for pet odor and stain removal in your home, first, sprinkle baking soda over the affected area of carpeting. Slowly pour a small amount of white vinegar over the baking soda. You may begin to notice it bubbling immediately. Once the bubbling has stopped, use a scrub brush to brush the mixture into the carpeting.

Club soda is also one of the simplest yet best pet stain removers and also uses a bubbling action to loosen and lift stains; use this instead of water for small areas of discoloration or odor. Use a shop-vac, if available, to remove as much of your vinegar and baking soda mixture or club soda as possible. Follow up with wet rags, carefully blotting up all traces of the moisture and any residual stains.

Avoid These Mistakes When Removing Stains From Carpeting

Improper techniques and using the wrong products when trying to remove stains from carpeting can result in making that stain worse, or even creating new stains! Note a few common mistakes to avoid when cleaning stains from carpeting and upholstered furniture and for pet odor removal, so the job gets done right.

  • Never use anything other than white vinegar in any vinegar and water mixture. Different types of vinegar may leave behind odors and stains or may discolor carpet fibers and furniture upholstery.
  • Always blot or vacuum up as much of the stain as possible before treating it. Removing stains, urine, and the like with wet rags or dry towels will help avoid rubbing it into the carpet fibers or spreading it around while trying to remove those stains from fabrics.
  • Never scrub a stain without first soaking it with some detergent or cleanser. Rubbing a stain, even if it's wet, without soap will merely push the stain into the carpet and upholstery fibers, and does nothing to remove it from those materials.
  • Always use a copious amount of detergent and water, as pet stains often permeate carpet padding and the padding underneath furniture upholstery. Not using enough soap and water to clean and then rinse those stains can mean not reaching the very ends of tall carpet fibers or the padding underneath those materials.
  • Rinse often, as residues of detergent and other substances used as a pet odor remover can make fibers stiff and uncomfortable, and may even be sticky so that they attract more dust, dirt, and other such debris.
  • Furniture upholstery can be especially prone to discoloration and other damage caused by harsh cleansers, so try your cleaning method on a hidden spot of furniture before you use it on a stain.

Carpet Cleaning Services

Benefits of Regular Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

Some spots and stains are too difficult to remove with everyday household cleansers. A professional carpet cleaning service can typically get out even the toughest stains from any carpeting, and apply odor neutralizers that leave behind a fresh scent. However, even if your home's carpet and upholstery isn't necessarily stained, note some benefits to a regular rug, upholstery, and floor cleaning in your home:

  • Professional carpet shampooing will remove ground-in dust, dirt, pollen, pet hair and dander, mud, sand and silt, and other residues that a lightweight household vacuum cannot remove.
  • Steam cleaning restores the nap of carpet and upholstery fibers, "fluffing up" worn areas and flat spots.
    Professional tile cleaning removes damaging mold, mildew, dirt, and other residues that work their way into grout and caulk, causing these adhesives to become dry and brittle and then lose their adhesion. Dirt and grime can also get ground into the pits and pores of floor tiles so that no amount of everyday mopping gets them clean!
  • You may not realize that your home's carpet and furniture upholstery has become dark and dingy over the years, as this change is often gradual. However, professional cleaning will restore the original color of fibers, so that furniture and carpeting look lighter and like new.
  • Homeowners can often go "nose blind" to certain smells in their home, including odors from pets, cigarette smoke, cooking odors, and musty odors from carpet and furniture padding. Regular cleaning removes those odors, for a more relaxing home interior.
  • Professional cleaning can remove mildew from under carpet padding and inside furniture. Removing this mildew as it develops keeps it from spreading and running carpeting and furniture, and creating strong, unpleasant odors.
  • The heavy-duty brushes used by professional carpet shampooing companies can clean stains more efficiently and quickly than homemade remedies and lightweight scrub brushes. Having a professional company address pet stains, food stains, and the like ensures that those stains are removed thoroughly.

Quick Tips for Keeping Carpet and Upholstery Clean

Keeping carpets and furniture clean is a challenge, and even more so when you have pets! To ensure your home's carpeting, upholstered furniture and other such surfaces are as clean as possible in between professional shampooing, note a few quick tips:

  • Invest in a good air filter or purifier for each room of the home, or at least where you and your pets spend the most time. An air filter will trap and lock dust, dirt, pet hair, and other such bothersome residues before they can settle onto carpeting and furniture.
  • Have the home's ductwork and vents cleaned regularly. Ductwork can hold lots of dust, pet hair and dander, pollen, and other such irritants. When you turn on your home's furnace or air conditioning, those irritants get blown through the vents and settle onto carpeting and furniture!
  • Change the home's furnace filter every year, if not even more often, to ensure it also traps as much dust and debris before it can settle around the house.
  • Vacuum the carpets and use an upholstery brush to clean the furniture every day, even if those materials don't look dirty. Regular vacuuming removes dust and dirt before it can get ground into those fibers.
  • Avoid carpet powders with heavy perfumes, as these only mask odors and can be more irritating than the smells caught in carpet and furniture! Instead, sprinkle baking soda onto carpets or upholstery and allow it to sit for several minutes before vacuuming. Baking soda neutralizes odors and can trap and lock pet stains, food stains, and the like.

Related Questions

What is the best type of carpeting for avoiding stains?

Nylon and polyester are naturally resistant to moisture and stains, although these materials are not necessarily soft underfoot. Consider a polyester-cotton blend for comfort and stain resistance.

Can carpet cleaning remove all odors and stains?

Unfortunately, carpets and furniture upholstery can become so old and worn that no pet odor and stain removal process will renew them. However, don't assume that your carpeting is beyond salvaging, as today's cleaning machines are often capable of removing tough, ground-in stains and strong odors.

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