Acting quickly when you notice your pet has made a mess can remove carpet stains before they have a chance to settle. But what happens when your cat or dog made a mess days ago? Urine in particular can be very difficult to remove — but thankfully not impossible.
When you have pets in your home, it’s always best to be prepared for accidents. Act quickly, and the clean-up job should be pretty straightforward. But when you’ve spotted a stain that has had time to set in, the cleaning job becomes a little more complex.
While you might prefer to use specialist cleaning agents, there are natural products that perform an equally effective job.
How to get old pet stains out of carpet the natural way
Blot with water
The first thing to do is remove as much of the mess as possible. Spray some cold water over the affected area of carpet, and gently blot it with paper towels or microfibre cloths. If there’s still mess there, pick up as much as you can. Scrape any excess off with a blunt knife.
Avoid the temptation to scrub furiously in panic, as this will spread the stain and possibly damage your carpet. Also, never use hot water, which can actually help stains to set. Use cold water straight from the tap.
Sprinkle the area with baking soda
The trouble with powerful carpet stain removal agents is that they can damage certain natural fibres. Play it safe, and start by sprinkling baking soda over the stain liberally. Once you’ve done that, get on with the rest of your day. Of course, you probably want to begin cleaning like your life depends on it, but there’s no point. Allow the baking soda to soak up odours and moisture — as well as kill bacteria.
After a couple of hours, return to the stain and vacuum the area thoroughly — making sure you remove every speck of baking soda. There’s a good chance that the stain has already subsided at this point, but don’t worry if it hasn’t.
Vinegar is a great stain removal agent, but it’s not for every type of carpet. Consult your carpet’s cleaning instructions before proceeding.
Create a solution of three parts cold water and one part white vinegar. Spray the stain liberally with the solution, and give it another 30 minutes of contact time. Then take a clean microfibre cloth, and blot the stain until it’s dry. Sprinkle some more baking soda over the area, and leave it for another two or three hours.
There’s a good chance that you already have the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair, which usually delivers exceptional suction power. This means there’s a reasonable chance that vacuuming for a second time will leave your carpet looking like it’s old self. If necessary, use a brush attachment to get deep into the carpet — where dander, pet hair, dirt and baking soda may be trapped.
If this doesn’t work…
If your efforts fail to remove the stain, it might be time to try a few different options. For example, instead of using vinegar in your solution, try hydrogen peroxide instead — after consulting your carpet’s cleaning guidelines, of course. Alternatively, alcohol (usually vodka) can help to move things along.
It may be necessary to perform a deep clean, in which case a steam mop with a carpet attachment might be the best option. Superheated steam doesn’t just break down staining, it also kills the vast majority of odour-causing bacteria.
Stains on carpet come with the territory for all pet owners. But with a little planning, patience and careful cleaning, these stains don’t have to spell the end for your carpets.