Lowe's Home Improvement

Cleaning Tough Pet Stains

The previous homeowner may have loved their pet enough to forgive the stain left on the carpet, but as the new owner, you want to start with a sense of deep-down clean.

Thankfully, there are a number of effective products for removing pet odors and pet stains from your carpet. This article provides carpet-cleaning tips to help effectively clean your carpets and neutralize any lingering odors.

Deep Clean Your Carpets

Perhaps the most effective way to get your carpets as clean as they can be is to wet vac or extract the carpet. Here are some good carpet cleaning tips:

  • Use a wet vac or extractor to deep clean your carpets. Steam cleaners and hot-water vacuums can permanently set urine stains and odors by bonding the proteins with man-made carpeting fibers.
  • Use plain water. Chemical cleaners can interfere with enzymatically-formulated odor neutralizers that you may want to use on the area after cleaning with the wet vac or extractor.
  • Use carpet cleaning machines per the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Be careful not to saturate the carpet. You don't want water seeping down into the carpet backing, or worse, into the subfloor below.
  • Allow the carpet to dry for 24 hours before walking on it. You can also use fans and open windows to increase ventilation and help speed the drying process.
  • If you decide to hire a professional service to deep clean your carpets, ask for referrals and shop around. Have the salesperson perform a visual inspection of the carpet before giving you a quote and get two to three estimates before choosing a company. Don't forget to inquire as to whether the estimate includes fees for moving furniture.

Neutralizing Carpet Odors

After you've used a wet vac or extractor to get your carpet as clean as possible, we suggest using a high-quality pet odor neutralizer. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions and, as with all chemically-based carpet cleaning products, test the product on a hidden area of your carpet for color-fastness.

Removing Stubborn Stains from Carpeting

If after you've cleaned and neutralized your carpets, you still see stained areas, you can try a regular carpet cleaner. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Cleaning Pet Stains from Hard Surfaces

If your home has non-carpeted areas, like wallpaper or enamel paints, that are discolored from pet urine, try cleaning the areas with enzymatic cleaners. When using these cleaners, always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and test the product in a hidden area for color-fastness.

For other hard-surface areas of your new home - such as walls, baseboards and flooring - you may need to strip and re-paint/varnish the area. The experts at Lowe's can help you find the right stripping product and replacement paint or varnish for the job. Again, follow the manufacturer's instructions and test the product in a hidden area first.

If You Have Pets…

If your new home has lingering urine smells from the previous homeowner's pets, your well-trained pets may begin "marking" their new territory. That's why it's especially important to effectively clean and odor-neutralize any areas that your pet may find offensive using the home carpet cleaning tips outlined above.

If your pet does have an accident, here are some additional household cleaning tips to keep in mind:

  • Clean up accidents as they happen, if possible. Use a white cloth or paper towel to blot - never rub - the spill to prevent it from becoming a stain. Repeat again and again until the carpet or upholstery is barely damp.
  • Rinse the area with cool water and blot until barely damp. Repeat.
  • Don't use cleaning products that contain ammonia or vinegar. Ammonia-based and vinegar-based products don't effectively neutralize urine odors.

One of the best new home buying tips around: Arm yourself with house cleaning tips and tricks! It's all here in the New Home Clean-Up section.

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