How to Treat Stains and Odors Caused by Pets

Learn how to clean up the stains and odors left behind when cats and dogs have accidents indoors.

People like to think of their pets as part of the family. But that doesn't make it any less frustrating when a beloved dog or cat relieves itself inside your home. What can you do? These tips will help you treat and eliminate stains and odors in a way that discourages a pet from using that same area for a repeat performance.

New Stains on Carpet/Upholstery
For new stains on carpet and upholstery that are still wet, first soak up as much of the urine as possible using both newspapers and paper towels. The more urine you can soak up before it dries, the easier it will be to remove the odor. First put a substantial layer of paper towels on the area, then top it with a layer of newspapers. If possible, place a layer of newspapers under the stained area to keep liquid from reaching the floor beneath. Stand on the stack of paper towels and newspapers for a minute. Repeat with clean, dry materials until the area is almost dry. Finally, rinse the area thoroughly with clean, cool water, and blot up as much of the liquid as you can.

Set Stains on Carpet/Upholstery
Removal of heavy, set stains in the carpet or upholstery might require using some big guns. An extractor or wet vac machine works the best. Use water only, rather than chemicals. Using cleaning chemicals with strong odors, such as ammonia or vinegar, might encourage your pet to revisit the area to cover up the odor. Once the area is clean, follow up with a good pet-odor neutralizer. But test the product on a small portion of the fabric first to make sure it's safe. If the stain still remains, try using a carpet stain remover.

If chemicals have already been used on the site, be sure to thoroughly remove them first. Removing and replacing the carpet and padding may be your last resort if the urine has already soaked into the carpet padding.

Cleaning Wood Floors/Walls
If pet urine discolors wood on your furniture, walls, baseboard, or floor, rub the spot with #000 steel wool and floor wax. If the stain goes deeper, lightly sand the floor and clean with fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.