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How To Clean Pet Stains

Has your Cat or Dog left you a present again? Or maybe you found an old spot when you went to move the furniture? Despite when the action took place, rest assured you can restore your surface or carpet to its former glory. You will need a little elbow grease and some cleaning know-how.

Cleaning New Stains

  • Wet paper towels or towels folded and topped with heavy weight can quickly soak up fresh puddles. Wet towels with cool water and place them over the stain so that it’s covered completely, and place something heavy on top. The moisture will help absorb the urine, while the weight presses the towels down into the carpet. Leave it for at least 10 minutes.
  1. If you would like to use heavy books, place a layer of plastic wrap or aluminum foil on top of the wet towels first in order to avoid wetting and staining the paper of the book.
  2. If the area has been wet for more than 10 minutes, it has most likely soaked into the carpet pad. Make the compress 50% wider than the area of stain and use more towels, more water, and heavier weight.
  • Re-wet the area with water. Then after you have lifted the compress, pour cold water over the spot again. Begin pouring small amounts just outside the circumference of the stain while slowly moving toward the middle. (Moving from the outside to the middle will prevent the water from spreading the urine into a wider circle.) Let the water work through the stain for about a minute.
  • Spray an enzymatic cleaner over the spot. The enzymatic cleaner could help break down the proteins left over from the urine, also removing the odor in addition to the impulse for your pet to pee in the same spot again.
  1. Most enzymatic cleaners should be kept on a wet area for several hours. However, some may use a different process, so make sure to read the instructions on the label.
  2. If you are cleaning wool carpet, be sure the cleaner is wool-safe.
  • Apply another compress. Follow the same procedure as the first compress, and put it over the enzymatic cleaner.
  • Allow the compress to sit overnight. Once you pull it up in the morning, the stain should be gone, as well as the odor.
  • Dispose of or clean the towels because they will have faint traces of your pet’s urine on them, it is important to keep your pet from “re-marking.
  1. If you used paper towels as your compress, be sure to seal them in a baggy and get rid of them as soon as possible, so that your pet does not try urinating on them.
  2. If you used cloth towels, put them into the washer right away and run with hot water.
  • Get the carpet steam cleaned (If needed). If the enzymatic cleaner did not remove the spot completely, consider hiring a professional or renting a steam cleaner; make sure to ask if they have a product you could add to the solution that is designed for pet stains. Stains are a lot easier to remove when they are fresh, so decide quickly if this is what you should do.
  1. There are a few reasons why you might need a professional for serious stains. One, there is a large volume of concentrated alkaline salts from the urine. Two, there is a strong smell that comes from bacteria feeding on the waste contained in the urine. Three, if the carpet is a typical home carpet (nylon tufted into a primary backing with a secondary backing latexed in place) then treatment is somewhat more difficult. If the rug is silk, wool, or rayon, then dye instability is a real concern. The alkaline salts could create a very high pH environment (10 – 10.4) which will destabilize normally stable dyes causing them to bleed. Professional cleaning by someone who really understands how to correct and prevent dye bleeding would be the best course of action.

Cleaning Old Stains

  • Buy a black light of a decent size. Preferably longer than 12 inches/30cm, so you can cover more area at once. Cheap bulbs with the housing included can be found at almost any hardware stores. Although pet stores may sell the lights also, they are typically smaller and costly. You may also be able to purchased them at a reasonable price online, depending on how much time you have to wait around living with the odor.
  • Search in complete darkness. Pet urine may be difficult to see, especially when old, so increase your search efforts by taking advantage of darkness.
  • The pet urine that you’re looking for should show up as a yellow or green color. You may be surprised to find a stain farther away than you thought. Don’t just check the floor; cats are inventive! Try the following areas:
    • Bookshelves
    • Furniture
    • Cloth decorations
    • Inside vents
    • Objects that appear to have “holes,” such as inside portable heaters
    • Clothing that your pet may be able to access
    • Other small areas your pet could squeeze into
  • Clean stains as you find them. If you would like, you could mark the areas using tape or item placement, then clean once you’ve found them all.
  • Try an enzymatic cleaner with a compress. This method may not remove as much of the stain as you would like, but it’s a good start.
  1. Wet the area with cool distilled water. Do so in small pours, moving from the outside of the stain toward the middle.
  2. Spray an enzymatic cleaner on the wet spot. Follow the directions on how long to leave the solution. If your carpet is wool, make sure you are using wool-safe cleaner.
  3. Wet cloth or paper towels with cool water, and lay them over the spot.
  4. Put a heavy object on top of the wet towels.
  5. Leave the compress overnight. When you remove it in the morning, you can assess whether you need to take more extreme measures or not.
  • Use a steam cleaner, or hire a professional (optional). A steam cleaner can produce steam that’s hot enough to sanitize the carpet, after which the water can be vacuumed up again. If the spot is large or stained, you could hire a professional cleaner to manage it.
  1. Try cleaning without detergent at first.
  2. Wool could be damaged by steam cleaners, just like a wool sweater shrinks if you wash it in hot water. If the stain is on wool carpet that you don’t wish to damage, seriously consider hiring a professional.
  • One alternative to using a steam cleaner on an old stain is oxidizing it. Products that release oxygen are effective odor eliminators, and you can make a solution yourself at home.
  1. Oxidizing products should never be used on silk or wool carpets. The treatment is only appropriate for synthetic fibers.
  2. Test a patch on a part of the carpet you don’t usually see to make sure you won’t damage the color.
  3. Combine up ½ teaspoon of bleach with 1 quart (32 ounces/950ml) of distilled water.
  4. Saturate the area, then allow the solution to soak for 10 minutes.
  5. Use a shop vac or a compress (as demonstrated above) to pull up the solution.
  6. You might need to do oxidate the carpet several times to remove a stain. Let the carpet dry completely between treatments.
  7. Resist the urge to use “Oxy-clean” like products. They work by making hydrogen peroxide which has more available oxygen and can last longer than chlorine which can cause damage to carpets.

Use a Wet or Dry Vacuum

  • Pour cold water on the stain.
  • Quickly vacuum it up with a wet/dry vacuum.
  • Repeat a second time, or with old stains, as many times as needed to remove the discoloration.
  • With tough stains, add a little salt to the water.
  • Do not add soap – the residue left in the carpet will attract dirt.
  • Use a lot of water.
  • Do not let the water sit; suck it up immediately (within seconds) of each application. This technique fast and does a better job than other techniques, including calling a pro.

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