With 68% of U.S. households home to one or more cats and dogs, it’s no surprise that getting pet stains out of carpet is on the short list of homeowners’ daily concerns. If you’ve ever been frustrated that a pet stain hasn’t fully disappeared no matter how hard you scrub, this article is for you. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to get your carpets looking fresh and new again.
DO: Strike when the stain is fresh
You stand a much better chance of completely removing pet stains from your carpet if you hit them while they’re fresh. For a fresh urine stain, start by grabbing paper towels and placing layers on top of the stain. Apply pressure by standing on the paper towels (pro tip: this works best with shoes on), and repeat the process until the area is barely damp. Follow with your normal carpet spot cleaner and say goodbye to the stain.
For solid messes, remove as much as you can from the surface, taking care not to work it further into the carpet—to help with this, you can use a putty knife and dust pan to lift away messes without affecting the nap. Once all the solid material is removed, use a spot cleaner to take care of the rest.
DON’T: Use hot water for pet stains
Whenever you want something really clean, you use hot water, right? When you’re dealing with pet stains on carpet, this couldn’t be more wrong. Pet stains contain proteins that actually bond with carpet fibers when heated, so using hot water will set those stains permanently. So unhand that steam cleaner and use cold water to get the stain out.
DO: Use an enzymatic carpet cleaner
Most commonly available carpet spot cleaners just mask odors and even contain brightening pigments that cover stains instead of truly removing them. Enzymatic carpet treatments, on the other hand, work by actually breaking down stains and neutralizing them. To use an enzymatic carpet cleaner effectively for pet stains, start by removing most of the staining material, then spray the area with cleaner, making sure to use enough so it reaches down to the carpet pad. Let the enzymes work their magic overnight, then vacuum in the morning.
DON’T: Scrub the pet stain out
Similar to using hot water, you’d think that the only way to get your carpet really clean is to scrub the heck out of it. Resist the urge to do this, seriously. Scrubbing can easily damage the nap of your carpet and lead to bigger problems than stains. To avoid breaking down the fibers of your carpeting, remember to blot—this motion still helps release any staining material from the carpet without damaging it.
DO: Try a natural remedy
If you’re not into the idea of using chemicals to get pet stains out of your carpet, the time-trusted combo of vinegar and baking soda can work wonders, too. Before you run for the pantry, though, there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. If you put the baking soda down first, you’re in for a fizzy mess that doesn’t do much good. Instead, start with the vinegar, using enough to dampen the carpet fibers thoroughly. Next, apply baking soda on top of the vinegar. You should hear some crackling, and you’ll begin to see the once-white baking soda start taking on the color of the stain. Wait until the area is dry, vacuum and you’re good to go.
DON’T: Expect stains to disappear in one pass
You’ve cleaned a stain, the carpet looks great, and the next day you look again and the stain’s back. Sound familiar? It’s not because you did a bad job the first time. This common occurrence is actually caused by a process called “wicking,” where staining material deep in the carpet backing and pad travels up into the fibers. Depending on the severity of the stain, you may have to visit it several times before it fully disappears.
National Property Inspections is your source for all kinds of tips to help you keep your household clean and safe for your family. Contact us today to book an appointment.