We all love our pets, but when you live with animals, you have to be prepared to deal with pet stains on carpets and rugs. Unfortunately, carpet fibers are vulnerable to stains from pets, not to mention pet odors. Whether it is pet hair, dander, odors, vomit, or urine, knowing how to handle the many different types of pet messes can go a long way in keeping your carpets and area rugs looking and smelling their best. Here we look at the best carpet cleaning tips for pet owners from our team of professional carpet cleaners.
Invest In A Handheld Extractor
Carpet cleaning tips for pet owners start with the right equipment. When it comes to pet stains, urine is particularly unforgiving. The sooner you tackle the mess, the better results you’ll see. Investing in a handheld extractor designed to suck up spills can really make a difference in removing urine. They extract liquids from carpeting and do a far better job than anything else you can use.
Although your first thought might be to grab your steam cleaner, this is not a good idea for fresh pet stains. Steam cleaning uses heat. When heat is added to urine, it bonds the stain and odor to the fibers. A handheld extractor does not use extremely hot water, but instead forces clean room-temperature water into the carpet and immediately sucks up excess liquid along with the urine. This is one of the best tools for quick pet stain carpet cleanup.
Blot — Never Use Force
If you don’t have an extractor, always be very careful when cleaning pet stains out of carpets. Using paper towels or an old rag can get up some of the excess liquid, but for the most part, you’ll still leave quite a bit behind. You have to avoid putting pressure on the spot, as this forces the odor-filled urine deep down into the carpet, reaching the subfloor below. This makes everything worse as the smell becomes permanent once the urine hits the subfloor. To tackle the wet and avoid odors, follow these carpet cleaning tips for pets:
- Lay down clean towels or paper towels and gently blot at the area to absorb as much of the urine as possible
- Do this several times, using a fresh rag or paper towels with each attempt until most of the urine is absorbed
Once you’ve done your best to absorb the liquid, follow up with a cleaner to eliminate the odor and discoloration.
Try Natural Cleansers
Vinegar and baking soda offers natural carpet cleaning for pets that is ideal in removing urine stains and odors. Follow these steps after blotting as much of the urine as possible:
- Spray a mix of one cup of vinegar and one cup of water into the carpet
- Sprinkle about two tablespoons of baking soda over the vinegar/water mix and let it sit for 15 minutes
- Blot up the excess moisture with a clean, absorbent towel
- Vacuum the remaining baking soda
The vinegar will disinfect the area, while the baking soda will help remove odors.
If you prefer a commercial cleaning product to address carpet cleaning for pet stains, choose a urine-specific bio-enzymatic cleaner. They are designed to neutralize the odor-causing urea and uric acid. This type of carpet cleaning for pet urine does an excellent job of eliminating the proteins and starches found in pet urine. Follow the instructions on the bottle to see the best results, being sure to avoid rubbing at the stain too much. At this stage, rubbing causes friction that will damage the delicate fibers of your rug, leaving a noticeably worn spot at the sight of the stain.
Lift Solids With A “Tool”
Always use a tool to remove solids from the carpet. If you try to pick them up with a rag or paper towel, you will smear the mess into the fibers. Keep a tool such as a putty knife or spatula handy for these clean-ups. Don’t scrape; instead, try to get under the waste to flip it onto a paper towel or dustpan. Work from the outer edge of the mess and try to get it all in one lifting motion.
If anything is left behind, tackle the mess from the outer edge and gently use your tool to lift the smaller pieces off the carpet until as much of the waste is removed as possible. You’ll then have to finish the cleanup with a pet stain remover.
Oxygenated Pet Stain Cleaner For Solids
Once most of the solid waste is out of the way, you must spray the area with a good, oxygenated cleaner. This works well but does require a bit of soaking time. Spray the area and let it stand for about 45 minutes, based on the manufacturer’s directions. This will allow the cleaner to break down any remnants, which makes removing them easier. You can then remove the stain with a clean cloth, avoiding rubbing. Allow the spot to air dry, and then run a vacuum over the area to fluff up the natural texture of the fibers.
Unfortunately, pet messes can leave lingering odors even if you get to them immediately. If this is the case, sprinkle the spot with baking soda or a carpet deodorizing powder and let it sit for several minutes or per the manufacturer’s directions. Vacuum up the powder, and hopefully, the odors will be neutralized. If you find this doesn’t work, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Regular Professional Cleanings
To help keep your carpets and rugs looking their best, having professional carpet cleaning performed once or twice a year is a must to remove stains, odors, hair, and dander. Professional cleaning also removes the germs and bacteria your pets spread around your home with their paws. You might consider doing this more often if you suffer from pet allergies or asthma. Cleaning every season will remove the hairs and dander that get deep into the carpet’s backing. Debris gets kicked up every time someone walks across the rug, irritating your symptoms.