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How to Remove Pet Stains From Carpet — Without Harsh Chemicals

The next time your dog pees on your favorite rug, be prepared with this simple, three-step method.

by Marcus Molina
July 8, 2021
dog near wet spot on carpet
Pixel-Shot/Adobe Stock

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No matter how well-trained your dog is, accidents happen: They release some "excitement pee" when a new friend comes over or they're sick and have a bout of diarrhea on the rug. Whatever the situation, every pet parent should have a strategy for removing pet stains. The simple, three-step method below uses natural, eco-friendly products that you probably already have in your pantry or cupboard. Best of all, it works just as well as store-bought, pet-stain removers — without any harsh chemicals.

Why is it important to use an all­-natural pet stain & odor remover?

The answer is simple: The less you use manufactured cleaners on your floors, the less you expose your dog to harmful chemicals. They’re much closer to the floor than we are, which means harsh chemicals will affect them more than us.

The homemade stain-and-odor remover below also works well for mild stains like spaghetti sauce — it cleans and deodorizes without leaving any residue. Before using, test this pet-stain-removing technique on an out-of-the-way spot to be sure it won’t discolor your carpet.

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How to Get Pet Stains Out of Carpet

What You’ll Need

  • Paper towels or cloth towels (paper towels seem to work best)

  • White vinegar & water

  • Baking soda (and time for the baking soda to absorb any smell)

  • Vacuum

Step 1: Blot, Don’t Rub

  • Use a paper towel to blot the pet stain dry. Rubbing the stain with paper towel only serves to spread the stain more, so unless you plan on rearranging your furniture to cover that stain, pat the stain with a paper towel.

  • Replace the paper towel with a fresh one when it’s no longer soaking up the dog urine.

  • Keep patting the stain until the spot is fairly dry.

Step 2: Apply The Vinegar

  • In a bucket, water bottle, or spray bottle, mix together a solution of 50% water and 50% white vinegar. (For particularly bad smells or stains on your carpet, use a 100% vinegar solution.)

  • Soak the area with this water/vinegar solution. This does two things: It helps to cut through the pet stain if it’s being especially stubborn and re­-wets the stain so you can make sure that all the pet urine is lifted off the carpet. The vinegar neutralizes the ammonia in the dog urine, helping to neutralize the smell and cleaning the urine from the carpet.

  • Scrub hard to make sure you get deep into the fibers below the carpet’s surface to remove any lingering pet urine.

Step 3: Apply Some Baking Soda, Then Wait

  • While the spot is still wet, apply baking soda and a little of the vinegar solution and mix. Right away you’ll see and hear it fizzing and crackling as it starts to lift the pet stain and urine smell from the carpet. It helps to rub in the baking soda with your hands or a brush to get it deep down into the carpet fibers.

  • Leave the baking soda on the carpet until it’s completely dry. This might take a day or two, or it could just be overnight, depending on how much water/vinegar solution you used and what the temperature's like in your home.

  • Once the baking soda is completely dry, vacuum your carpet thoroughly and voila, your carpet is as good as new.

5 Carpet Cleaning Tips for Pet Parents

Act fast.

You want to act quickly because if the urine gets soaked into the padding underneath the carpet, it may be impossible to get out. At that point, you may need to replace the carpet or get a professional carpet cleaner that uses water extraction methods to get your carpet clean.

Do not use steam cleaners.

Avoid using a steam cleaner to clean pet stains. The heat can actually ​bond the protein from the urine into the carpet fiber​, making the stain and smell virtually permanent.

Avoid pet stain removers.

Although it may be tempting, do not use ammonia-based cleaners or other cleaning chemicals with strong odors to clean pet urine on carpets, as they do not effectively cover the odor and may actually encourage your dog to reinforce its urine scent mark.

Reach for baking soda.

Tackle canine-created odors in your carpet by sprinkling baking soda on the surface, waiting 15 minutes (or longer for strong smells), then vacuuming. You can do the same with your dog’s bedding.

Use enzyme-based pet urine remover.

Try using an all-natural enzyme-based cleaning product as an alternative method. The enzymes actually digest the stain-and odor-causing proteins in the pet urine.

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marcus molina

Marcus Molina

Marcus Molina is the President of Scrubbi, your premier eco-friendly house cleaning service servicing homes across the US and Canada.