Keeping your house clean and tidy when you live by yourself is hard enough to do but, keeping it spic and span when you’ve got children and pets running around 24/7 is definitely a challenge. While most dirt and grime can be wiped or scrubbed off walls and other flat surfaces, mess on carpets – especially the mess made by your pet’s “accidents” are not that easy to tidy up.
Dealing with Pet Stains
Pets are adorable but not so when they have accidents on your carpet or prized rug. Unless you are given a pet that’s already housetrained, expect to be removing stains and spills from your carpet every once and again while your pet is learning to abide by your house rules.
Removing New Stains
If you happen to catch your pet while doing the deed, then you are in luck. Cleaning “new stains” or stains that are still wet, is much easier than having to remove old ones. Here’s how:
- Soak up as much as you can using newspaper and paper towels. It will be easier to remove the odor when you’ve soaked up as much wee as you can before it dries. Place a thick layer of paper towels on the affected area, and then place a thick wad of newspaper over it. If your pet had an accident on an area rug, place newspapers under the wet area as well as on top of it. Then stand on the padded area for a minute. Your weight will help the paper and the towel absorb the liquid. Remove the towels and newspapers and repeat the process until the affected area is barely damp.
- Rinse the area with clean water. You can use soap to gently brush the area if necessary. After rinsing the affected area, remove as much water as you can by blotting with a towel.
- Put the blotting materials (soaked paper towels and newspapers) where you want your pet to do his business. Don’t just place these in the rubbish bin. By placing the urine-soaked materials in the area where you want your pet to relieve himself, you are showing your pet where he is should be wee-ing (and poo-ing), and that these actions aren’t bad if these are done in the right place.
In case you were out of the house when your pet relieved himself on your carpet, or you have moved into a house where the carpet is full of pet stains, the resulting mess that you will need to deal with is called Old Stains. Old stains are harder to remove but it still can be done and there are many ways you can do it.
- Clean the carpet (or affected areas) using an extractor or wet vac. An extractor is similar to a vacuum cleaner and works by forcing clean water through the carpet and then forcing the dirty water back out. Extractors can be rented from hardware stores and are very efficient in cleaning / removing old stains.
- Once the area has been cleaned, use a high-quality pet odor neutralizer (available at pet stores). Read and follow the instructions found on it, and make sure you test the cleaner on a small hidden area of the carpet to ensure it won’t stain or bleach the colour of your carpet. You can also try carpet stain removers if you want something stronger.
Cleaning Tips to Remember:
- When dealing with pet stains, avoid using steam cleaners. The heat will set the stain and the odor to your carpet permanently by bonding the protein into any man-made fibers. Avoid using cleaning chemicals too, especially those with ammonia and vinegar. These don’t remove or cover the urine odor and, since your pet can still smell where he has left his mark, may actually encourage him to to reinforce the urine scent with more wee-s.
- Before using neutralizing cleaners, make sure you’ve removed or rinsed out all traces of the old cleaner (if you’ve used one prior) from the carpet. Any non-protein based substances on the carpet will weaken the effect of enzymatic cleaners. These neutralizing cleaners will try to “clean up” the remnants or residue of your old cleaner and not the problem area brought about by a naughty pet.
In case the stain is so bad that no amount of cleaning works, it might be better if you either replaced the carpet and padding of the affected area; or recarpeted the entire area completely.
If you don’t want to use commercial spot cleaners and want to go the organic route, you can make your own all-purpose cleaner. You don’t have to worry about the ingredients because you probably have these sitting in your cupboard. To do this, stir 1 teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid into 1 quart of warm water. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Let this solution sit on the stain for 10 minutes then blot it with a clean, dry white cloth. Repeat this process until the stain of the spill no longer transfers to the cloth.
Your carpet can be stained by other things (wine, mud, paint), but don’t fret, there are many ways that these can be removed. Some may need more elbow grease than others, but it can be remedied.