How to treat and remove pet stains from carpet

Is it possible to remove pet stains from carpet?

I am often asked ”can I remove dog urine or pet stains from a carpet”. This will depend on the type of carpet fitted. Wool carpets are made from natural fibers and will absorb the stain into the pile. Synthetic carpets however, very often will not have absorbed the stain into the fibers. The most popular types of synthetic carpets here in the UK are made from polypropylene.

If you have a polypropylene carpet that has been guaranteed stain resistant, the chances are the stain will come out.

With wool carpets however, these pet stains can often be impossible to remove as the urine may have changed  the colour of the carpet permanently. This is due to the urine having dyed or permanently changing the colour of the carpet fibers.

how to remove pet stains from carpet

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Removing the dog urine stain if it has just occurred.

If the the pet has only recently urinated on the affected area, the initial procedure is to blot the carpet with a non coloured towel or kitchen absorbent towel.

Repeat blotting the carpet until there is no longer any moisture being drawn from the carpet. You can also place a heavy object on the towel while waiting to draw out as much as possible.

While waiting for the stain to be absorbed, mix a small amount of clothes washing detergent with warm water to dissolve. Do not add too much detergent, only a little is needed as these are highly concentrated.

Treat the pet stain with a stain remover

Spray the area with the prepared detergent. Biological washing detergent is often better as it will break down the enzymes from the urine. Avoid over wetting the area. Over wetting can often cause a problem with the stain getting worse and the carpet becoming water damaged.

Leave for 10 to 20 minutes for the solution to work and then blot as much out as possible from the carpet. If the stain is starts improving, repeat several times until it improves no more.

After blotting, clean out and fill the sprayer with clean water and repeat the above to rinse out as much solution from the carpet as possible. Again leaving a weight on the towel to draw out as much moisture as possible.

There are many ”off the shelf pet stain removers” available from supermarkets or online which you can also use. Always adhere to the makers instructions. Some off the shelf stain removers can bleach the carpet so always pre test in an inconspicuous area beforehand.

blot stain from carpet

How to remove dog urine smell from carpet

If the pet has urinated on the carpet and there is still an odour after treatment, it’s most probable that the urine has soaked right into the underlay and it can also have gone into the sub floor. If this has happened the chances of removing the dog urine smell are remote as the offending liquid cannot usually be removed by professional equipment.

When pet urine dries it leaves behind crystals which consist of urochrome, bacteria, uric acid, proteins, urea, hormones and proteins. If the pet stain remains in the carpet long enough it will settle deep into the fibers and penetrate the carpet backing. These crystals then become very difficult if not impossible to remove.

In many cases I have seen where the pet smell has been impossible to remove, both the carpet and the underlay has had to be replaced. It is also a good idea to wash the sub floor with bleach if the carpet is taken up before installing a new one

dog urine smell in carpet

dog urine stain on carpet

Example of a pet urine stain on a carpet

Today dogs are very popular, they are all different and all have different habits. I have had many dogs over the years myself and at one time we had a puppy who wee’d in the same place on may occasions. The carpet and underlay had to be replaced eventually as the smell could not be removed. The sub floor had to be bleached as well to remove the odour.

As a carpet and upholstery cleaner by profession, I get calls from customers on a weekly basis asking if I can remove the stain or smell caused by dog urine.

Opposite is an area of carpet in the home of a regular customer. The dog had secretly been going to the toilet regularly around the sofa leg. As on many occasions, despite treating the area with stain remover and cleaning with powerful equipment the stain could not be removed.

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General tips and advice about carpet stain removal

Scrubbing and wetting:

Avoid wetting a carpet too much. Over wetting can cause the cellulose in the carpet backing to dissolve and wick up the fibers and turn the carpet brown, permanently damaging the carpet. Always use a suitable sprayer where the amount can be controlled and lightly apply dampen the carpet which will allow the stain remover to do it’s work.

Scrubbing or rubbing too much can also damage the carpet pile. If it was necessary to scrub the carpet to remove any dried or caked on dirt, carefully trim off any fluffed carpet pile with scissors or a sharp blade when dry.

Always pre-test ”off the shelf” stain removers in an inconspicuous area beforehand. Some types of stain removers can bleach or affect the colour of the carpet.

Using dish washing liquid to remove stains from carpet.

It is often a mistake to use dish washing liquid or detergent to try and remove stains from a carpet. Used in a very small amount and diluted sufficiently, it probably won’t cause much of a problem. Another problem is soaking the carpet which can often damage a carpet.

The problem occurs because the dish washing liquid is very difficult to remove from the carpet afterwards. The residue from the liquid is sticky and this residue will attract more dirt when dry. The washing liquid will stay sticky when dry and continue to attract dirt when the carpet is used. This is often the reason why many stains come back afterwards and the area gradually turns into a stain again. The washing liquid will also stay in the backing of the carpet and slowly wicks back up the fibers and continues to attract dirt.

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