White Carpets vs. Pet Stains: Quick and Easy Cleaning Techniques

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Written By Alex Deckard

I love gardening, building, making and fixing things. 





Pets are a beloved part of the family that you might be tempted to let get away with almost anything. But when that cute puppy or adorable kitten leaves a mess on the carpet, it’s easy to see red instead. Don’t rush out to buy a fortune in specialty cleaning treatments or feel tempted to try steam cleaning. You likely have a few household staples that can take care of most of the mess. If your white carpet still has a faint stain or the stain is old and stubborn, turn to a carpet-safe cleaning product that will make the biggest impact without damaging the fibers.

Use a Black Light to Find All the Stains

If you can see (or smell) the accident, you might think you’re getting it all. But lingering untreated spots could encourage your pet to return to make more of a mess later. Find all the pet stains lurking in your white carpeting by turning off the lights and using a UV light to inspect them. Affordable models under $20 will make it easy to spot messes and spills of all kinds to enjoy a cleaner floor.

Remove Any Residues

Vomit must be cleaned up as quickly as possible because enzymes in the digestive fluids can discolor the carpet permanently. Remove any of the pet’s leavings with a damp cloth or paper towel, blotting the carpet to soak up as much liquid as possible. Keep blotting the surface until the rags or paper towels barely become damp when pressed to the carpet.

Start with Vinegar and Water

For stains you treat promptly and that aren’t very colorful, try combining vinegar and water 1:1 in a spray bottle. Spray the entire stained area until it is soaked in the cleaning mixture. Use a soft-bristled brush like a toothbrush to scrub any discolored carpet fibers, taking care not to unravel or tear them. Once the stain is visibly gone, blot up as much of the vinegar mixture as possible with clean towels. You can use a shop vac to pull more moisture out.

Treat Stubborn and Older Stains with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Sometimes, you don’t discover a pet mess in time. If the stain dries and your once pristine white carpet is now discolored, not all hope is lost. Grab the hydrogen peroxide from your bathroom medicine cabinet and some baking soda from the kitchen. You don’t want to mix the baking soda with vinegar on the carpet because, while it will bubble, the combination could discolor or damage the carpet. Combining it with hydrogen peroxide creates a stain-lifting formula that is still carpet-safe. The peroxide has particularly good effects on light-colored or white carpets and may still discolor dark carpets, so check it in an inconspicuous spot first.

To use this carpet cleaning method, start by spreading the baking soda onto the carpet directly. Sprinkle out enough baking soda to cover the entire stained area with a decent layer of the powder. Mix ½ cup of basic hydrogen peroxide in 2 cups of plain tap water and put it in a spray bottle. Then, spray the baking soda thoroughly until it is all saturated and bubbling. If you’re cleaning a rug rather than a carpet, take it outside for this step since the combination can damage other types of flooring that might be under it.

Scrub the stained area with a soft-bristled brush so the mixture works through the carpet. Let the spot dry until it’s powdery and mostly dry. Use your normal vacuum or a shop vac to clean up the baking soda, then blot the carpet to dry it further if needed.

Choosing Other Stain Treatments

You may need to turn to a product from the store for more stubborn stains. Look for a pet stain treatment that’s safe for carpet — specifically, for the type of carpet you need to clean. Many products include enzymes to help neutralize scents along with lifting visible stains. Follow the instructions on the package. Avoid steam cleaning any carpet with a pet mess because the heat will set the proteins in the residues. If you must clean up a lot of residue, try wetting the carpet with a cleaning product or vinegar and water mixture and then vacuum the extra with a wet-dry shop vacuum.

Don’t throw your hands up in frustration if you notice your beloved pet has left a spot on the carpet. Just follow these easy steps and restore any part of your home’s appearance (and clean smell).