How to Remove Pet Stains from Carpeting

Uh-oh, Fido has done it again — left a urine stain on the carpeting. Before panicking or relegating the dog to living outdoors, take some deep breaths and get ready to work on that stain. How you handle a urine stain depends on whether the area is "old," meaning it's already dried, or "fresh" and still wet. Here's how to approach de-staining the carpet in each case.

Fresh Urine on Carpeting

If you're dealing with a new urine stain, one where you can still feel the dampness, use cotton towels or paper towels to soak up as much urine as you can. Press down on the towels or place a heavy book on top of the towels to soak up as much moisture as possible. Keep applying fresh towels and repeating the process until the area is almost dry. Then rinse the area with cold water and use a dry towel to soak up the excess water. Use a light hand when applying the water—you don't want the water to reach the carpet backing or floorboard underneath. Once the spot is completely dry, sprinkle baking soda onto the area and let it set for two hours before vacuuming it up. The baking soda will help to neutralize any remaining odor.

Removing Old Pet Urine Stains

Once the stain has set, removing it is more challenging but not impossible. Whatever you do, don't use a steam cleaner to remove old urine stains from carpeting. Once the heat from the cleaner hits the stain, it will set the stain and make it almost impossible to remove. A wet vac is a better option. Use plain water in the machine rather than a chemical cleanser if you plan on using an enzymatic odor neutralizer since the two can interact. Wet vacs work well, and often better, when you use plain water.

Now you're ready to neutralize. Enzymatic odor neutralizers are available at most pet supply stores, but an alternative is to sprinkle the area with baking soda, let it set and then vacuum it up. Neutralizing the odor is critical —otherwise your pet may re-mark that area.

Final Tips

Let the area you've worked with dry for a full day before walking on it. You can speed up the drying time by running a fan. If you still notice a stain after the area is completely dry and the odor neutralized, use a commercial carpet cleaner on the area. If you have pets, you may want to consider investing in a wet vac for those little accidents. You'll quickly discover how handy one can be.

Pet urine stains are frustrating, but they are manageable. Always deal with pet stains as quickly as possible. The longer you wait the more time the stain will have to set and become harder to remove.