We love our dogs, and they can practically do no wrong — that is, until they have an “accident” inside. The sight of dog poop on the carpet can certainly make your stomach sink and your nose crinkly. But provided it’s solid, poop isn’t actually too hard to clean up. We talked to some experts to get the scoop on how to clean dog poop out of carpet. Read on for their easy tricks.
3 steps for how to clean dog poop out of carpet
1. Scoop the poop
The first step is to remove the offending material from your carpet. “Use a spoon or spatula to scoop the poop away, making sure to get as much of the poop off the carpet as possible without mushing it further in and getting it embedded in the fibers of the rug,” says 25-year carpet cleaning veteran David Mavilio, owner of Regal Fabric Care in Woburn, Massachusetts.
2. Wash the stain
Expert opinions vary on the best way to wash poop out of carpet. Whichever detergent you choose to use, you’ll want to let it sit on the rug for 15 to 20 minutes. Here are a few options to try:
If you don’t own Fine Fabric PreSpray, the carpet professional’s choice of rug cleaners, Mavilio recommends using Woolite rather than dish detergent to scrub and lift the stain from the rug. To do: Mix 1 tsp. of Woolite with 1 quart of warm water, and use a brush to apply, scrubbing at the stain. “This will break down the poop, allowing it to be rinsed and vacuumed away,” he says, noting you should be careful not to soak the rug. It’s important to use a detergent of some sort to break up the stain.
Why not dish detergent? It’s impossible to rinse the suds out of carpet, and any leftover detergent remnants can cause the stain to reappear later if any dirt binds to them.
See Mavilio’s YouTube video with his poop removal method here:
Boiling hot water
“Boiling hot water works to remove pretty much every stain save chocolate,” says dog and cat behaviorist Sarah Hodgson, author of Puppies for Dummies and other titles. “It’s so hot that it separates the molecules of the dog poop from the carpet itself.” They float up, and you dab it. Within 30 seconds, what would take an hour to scrub out is gone, she says. The boiling water also kills bacteria and germs, so Hodgson’s advice is to use it scalding straight from the kettle. Put on a silicone oven mitt on the hand you’ll use to dab at the hot water to protect yourself, and then pour and dab, pour and dab, pour and dab.
One important note: Before getting started, make sure your carpet can get wet. “You have to really be willing to get right down nose to the ground dabbing dog poop, but if you can do that you can get rid of it in under a minute,” says Hodgson, who notes that this method works best when you’re cleaning fresh dog poop.
See Hodgson’s boiling hot water method here for cleaning up dog poop from carpet:
3% hydrogen peroxide
For most synthetic rugs, use 3% hydrogen peroxide on the stain once the solid matter has been cleaned up, says 30-year carpet cleaning veteran Ray Pinon, owner of First Class Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning in New York’s Hudson Valley. “It’s safe enough where it won’t bleach the color out of the rug, but always test for color fastness first in an inconspicuous area.” Pinon notes that using peroxide will also sanitize the rug. You’ll just need to saturate the area with the peroxide, let it sit for a bit, and then blot it up.
Peroxide will kill any germs present in the fecal matter, and it also works as a bleaching agent, so it will remove the stain. Pinon cautions to only use it on synthetic carpets, though. For something like wool, you’ll need to use either the vinegar or Woolite solution.
Vinegar and baking soda
Vinegar and baking soda work great to scrub a stain that’s already set into your carpet, says Hodgson. “And vinegar is a deterrent that can prevent your dog from returning to the same place again.” Use a four-to-one diluted spray of 75% vinegar and water to wet the stain. “This stronger vinegar is the best-kept secret and will clean anything, but it’s dangerous, so you have to be careful with it,” Hodgson notes.
Once the stain is wet, sprinkle on the baking soda and allow it to sit for 15 or 20 minutes. Then use hot water to rinse and dab the stain away. The acidity of the vinegar breaks down the bacteria that causes the stains and odors, and the baking soda helps draw out any lingering odors and moisture. Baking soda also works great if your pooch has had an accident and you’re left to clean up diarrhea. It will both absorb the liquid poop and help break up the stain as well.
Copy what the pros do
If you’ve got one, use a steam cleaner with a 50/50 mix of warm water and regular household vinegar to rinse the area once the stain has been scrubbed out.
Don’t have a steamer? No problem, says Mavilio. Mix 1 cup of hot water and ½ cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Then simultaneously spray the area with the solution while vacuuming it with your shop vac, advises Mavilio. “By doing this, you’re mimicking the hot water extraction method that professional carpet cleaners use.” This vinegar and water will break up any lingering detergent suds and the vacuum will lift away the moisture and any remaining poop particles.
3. Deodorize the area
The job isn’t complete when the stain is gone, though. To be certain your furry friend doesn’t revisit the spot over and over again, you’ll want to treat it with an enzymatic cleaner, says Hodgson. “Some people swear by vinegar for this, but I always prefer to use an enzymatic scent remover such as Nature’s Miracle or another brand as an important last step.” These are bacteria-based products that create enzymes when they come into contact with biological material-based messes. They eat the food source for as long as it’s present and leave a pleasant smell behind when it’s gone. One last thing to keep in mind is that if the stain or smell remains, then it’s time to call in the pros.
Solutions for other pet messes
How to clean dog pee
It may not look as bad as the alternatives, but dog urine has a smell that tends to linger. To keep your pooch from messing in the same spot again and again, you’ll need to first clean up any liquid and then blot the area with a solution of 1 Tbs. ammonia and ½ cup of warm water. Rinse and blot several times. Then finish up with an enzyme-based pet-odor remover (mentioned above). If the urine has been around for more than 24 hours, though, use a solution of ⅓ cup vinegar and ⅔ cup water in place of the ammonia mixture. And clean an area much larger than the initial puddle. Urine wicks into carpet, and a spot that’s four inches on the surface can be many times larger underneath.
How to clean dog puke
Scrape up the vomit, then blot with the same ammonia and water solution you’d use for urine. Consider using an enzyme-based odor remover just to be on the safe side. Remember that since some pet foods contain a red dye, you might have to use a red-dye-remover like DiDiSeven or Stainerator to get your carpet looking new again. If the stain is really stubborn, though, you’ll have to call in a pro.
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