Dogs with muddy paw prints. Cats leaving hairballs. Little piglets who wee-wee-wee all over the floor. If you have a pet, you’ve had a pet stain.
And it’s all too easy to make them worse. There’s a lot of bad ideas floating around on DIY stain removal. Common pet stain remedies include baking soda, hydrogen peroxide or coarse brushes—all of which can do permanent damage to your carpets.
As experts in cleaning, we’ve seen every kind of pet stain and we have some ideas on how to keep your animal friendly home stain free. If you don’t have our stain-zapping Spot Cleaner for Life, or some other spot cleaner, here are some DIY tips using materials already in your pantry.
If Fido (or an excitable toddler) has an accident, try to catch it freshly perpetrated. The fresher the stain, the better your carpet’s chances for a full recovery. On the other hand, an accident that sits will set, and growing bacteria produces unpleasant odors.
Is the spill still wet? Arm yourself accordingly:
Cloth towels soak up more liquid, but you’ll have to wash it thoroughly with laundry detergent and bleach. Regardless of your weapon-of-choice, pour warm water onto the affected area and blot away; never scrub carpet as this can create blooming or fraying.
To neutralize the smell, apply a mixture of clear white vinegar and water (at a ratio of about four parts water to one part vinegar). Don’t use too much, but instead use a drizzle of it and gently work it into the carpet with a fingertip. This helps break down the stain particles. Use a shop vacuum to suck up any liquid. If you don’t have this tool on hand, continue to blot with a dry towel.
For an older pet stain, you’ll follow the same procedure but the process involves a little more time and elbow grease.
Rotate the towel regularly to use a clean, new space of fabric. That way, you can determine whether or not the stain is still transferring. For as long as you can distinguish color on the white cloth, continue to blot.
When it comes to older stains, the wicking effect of carpet is particularly helpful. Say you’ve followed the wetting and blotting steps and everything looks good as new.
Then, the stain returns a day or two later.
Don’t worry, your DIY stain removal isn’t a debacle and the stain isn’t returning from the dead. Think of when you dip the edge of a paper towel into water and the water seeps upwards. In that same way, dampened stain particles may rise to the surface of your carpet. It’s a good thing, as it presents the opportunity to remove a stain that had reached deeply into your carpet. Again: rinse, blot, repeat.
Voila! Clean, stain-free carpet!
Water staining is a very real possibility if you attempt to clean upholstery yourself. In the event that you can’t get professional treatment, be sure to test on a discrete corner.
If an accident happened on your furniture, it’s important to know your cleaning code because treatment varies depending on the type of fabric.
You know those funny little tags attached to the underside of furniture cushions, or the seam of a pillow? They actually have a purpose!
These tags hold the secret code to your furniture—the cleaning code. The cleaning code determines how your upholstery ought to be cared for. The most common codes are “W” for water, and “S” for cleaning solvent. Any other code (e.g. “W/S or “X”) means it should probably be left to professionals.
For upholstery with the “W” cleaning code, warm water and a mild, water-based detergent can be used. “S” is a little bit trickier. If there’s more than a few pet stains, it’s best to hire someone to take care of it. However, if you decide to undertake it yourself, you’ll need a dry-cleaning solvent. Ask your local grocer what they have in stock.
Begin by blotting the pet stain and be sure to work from the edges inwards to prevent the spill from spreading. If the stain is still there, mix a tablespoon of salt and half a tablespoon of cold water to create a paste. Apply it to the affected area and blot. When the stain has lifted, pass a vacuum over the area to pick up salt particles.
First, you’ll need to break the stain down through agitation. Do this by mixing dish detergent with cold water (one teaspoon of soap to a cup and a half of cold water) and gently brush it into the stain with your fingertips. When it begins to rewet and loosen, blot until the stain lifts. You may have to rinse with more water.
Tip: initially, use less of the mixture than you think you might need because the soap will lather. If you use too much you might end up leaving residue in your carpet—essentially creating a magnet for dirt and other stain-creating particles.
Whether it was the cat, Boots, or your kiddo’s rainboots, sometimes mud gets tracked into the house. Take a deep breath. And then a deeper breath because of what I’m about to tell you: let it dry, let it dry, let it dry.
Mud makes a mess when it’s wet. So, have a glass of wine, take a bath and wait for the mud to harden. When it’s good and crusty, collect the following:
Slowly, run the vacuum over the dried mud. Do this until it’s picked up as much of the mess as it can. Then, mix a teaspoon of detergent with a cup and a half of water. Dip the cloth into the solution and blot until all the dirt has lifted.
There you have it: a DIY guide to pet stain removal, with products already in your pantry.
If a pet stain is particularly old, or household accidents happen often, your carpets likely need some professional TLC. Urine is particularly damaging and often reaches all the way to the underlying carpet pad. If the DIY route isn’t cutting it, check out Zerorez’s pet stain and odor treatment that cleans deep into every layer of your floor. For more information, or to schedule a service, call us at (949) 387-2222 or visit us online at zerorezsocal.com
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