If you’re a pet owner, it’s important to know how to treat urine stains and odors in your carpets. From house training a new puppy to dealing with an aging dog with a weakening bladder, accidents will happen at some point.
If the accidents aren’t cleaned correctly, however, you run the risk of repeat accidents and/or really smelly carpet that eventually has to be replaced.
A lot of “pet stain and odor removers” mask the scent of the stain rather than treat the source and remove it for good, so it’s important to know the difference. While I’m a huge fan of baking soda and vinegar as cheap cleaners, these are not the best solution for treating pet messes. The good cleaners are more expensive, but they’re still a lot cheaper than a new carpet – or an apartment security deposit.
Here’s what you’re looking for in a dog or cat urine cleaner:
- An enzyme-based cleaner, not a soapy detergent cleaner
- No perfumes, scents, dyes, brightening agents
- One specifically for cat urine if you have a cat
- A big jug, not a spray bottle
An enzyme cleaner actually works by eating away at the urine, removing it rather than masking it. I repeat: Do not buy a cleaner with scents or perfumes. By adding them to the carpet you risk coating the stain and locking the smell in so that the enzymes can’t go to work.
From foster puppies to a spiteful cat who peed on furniture when depressed, I’ve had hundreds of chances to test different enzyme cleaners.
The best cleaners out there are:
- Nature’s Miracle
- Simple Solution Pet Stain & Odor Remover
The carpet cleaning companies such as Bissell have cleaning solutions as well, but we didn’t get good results with them.
When Amber had her accidents in the house I’d like to think we perfected the art of removing urine stains and odors from carpets.
- Soak up as much of the accident as you can using rags or paper towels.
- To get more urine out of the deeper layers we use a steam vac. If you have a steam vac, load it with some cold water and vacuum the area of the accident, rinsing the area and extracting as much liquid as possible.
- Soak the area with enzyme cleaner. Really soak it. A spray over the area is not enough. Even though the solution is expensive, you’re wasting your money if you don’t use enough cleaner to soak through the carpet and reach all of the urine.
- Work the cleaner into the carpet. I’ll be honest, I use my fingers to just smoosh the liquid around and make sure it covers evenly and really gets into the fibers.
- Let sit for 15 minutes and then blot dry thoroughly with more rags, or use the steam vac (no water added) to extract it better.
- Repeat after 48 hours if you don’t think you got it all the first time.
- Be patient. The enzyme cleaner can take several days to work completely and finish drying out, so the smell may linger during that time.
That’s how we tackle pet accident cleanup in our house. I hope it helps!
PS: If your house trained or litter-box-trained pet is suddenly having accidents, have them checked by the vet. A UTI or other medical issue could be to blame, as we found with Amber the Poodle.