Is it possible to remove pet stains from carpet?
One of the most often questions I am asked is ”can I remove dog urine stains from a carpet”. It all depends on the type of carpet. Wool carpets are natural and will absorb the stain into the fibre. Many types of synthetic carpets however, may not have absorbed the stain into the fiber. Here in the UK the most popular types of synthetic carpets are made from polypropylene.
If you have a polypropylene carpet that has been guaranteed stain resistant, the chances are the stain will come out.
The bad news is, more often than not these pet stains can be impossible to remove in wool carpets due to the urine actually having dyed or permanently changed the colour of the carpet.
Removing the dog urine stain if it just happened.
If the the pet has recently urinated on the carpet, the first thing to do is to blot the area with a dry non coloured towel or kitchen absorbent towel.
Keep blotting the area until you see there it not much moisture coming out of the carpet. You will need to draw out as much as possible so you could also place a heavy object on the towel while waiting.
In the mean time using a suitable spray bottle, mix a small amount of clothes washing detergent with some tepid water to dissolve. Do not add too much detergent, only a little is needed as these are highly concentrated.
Treat the dog urine stain with a stain remover
Lightly spay the the affected area with the prepared detergent. Biological detergent is probably better if you have some to break down the enzymes from the urine. Do not over wet the area, over wetting could cause a problem with the stain getting worse and the carpet becoming damged.
Leave for 10 to 20 minutes for the detergent to work then blot as much out as possible. If the stain is improving, repeat several times until it improves no more.
Following this, fill the sprayer with clean water and repeat the above to rinse out as much detergent as possible. Leave a towel on the area with a weight on top to keep drawing out as much moisture as possible.
There are many off the shelf pet stain removers available which you can also use. Always follow the makers instructions. Some off the shelf stain removers can bleach the carpet so always pre test in an inconspicuous area beforehand.
How to remove dog urine smell from carpet
If the pet has urinated on the carpet and it still smells after cleaning or stain remover treatment, it could be that the urine has soaked right into the underlay and possibly the sub floor. If this has happened the chances of removing the dog urine smell are remote. The only option to try is to purchase an off the shelf pet odour remover in a last attempt to remove the smell.
As pet urine dries it evaporates, leaving behind urine crystals which consist of urochrome, bacteria, urochrome, uric acid, proteins, urea, hormones and proteins. (Sounds great, doesn’t it?) If the pet urine sits in the carpet long enough to be absorbed deep into the fibers and penetrate the carpet backing, the pet urine crystals become very difficult if not impossible to remove.
In many cases I have seen where the pet smell has been impossible to remove, both the carpet and the underlay has had to be replaced. It is also a good idea to wash the sub floor with bleach if the carpet is taken up before installing a new one.
Example of a dog urine stain on a carpet
Today dogs are very popular and they all have different habits. I have had many dogs over the years myself and at one time we had a puppy who wee’d in the same place on may occasions. The carpet and underlay had to be replaced eventually as the smell could not be removed.
As a carpet and upholstery cleaner by profession, I get calls from customers on a weekly basis asking if I can remove the stain or smell caused by dog urine.
Opposite is an area of carpet where the dog had secretly been going to the toilet regularly. As on many occasions, despite treating the area with stain remover and cleaning with powerfull equipment the stain could not be removed.
General tips and advice about stain removal
Scrubbing and wetting:
Avoid over wetting a carpet. Over wetting can cause the cellulose from the backing to dissolve and permanently stain the carpet brown. Always try to use a suitable sprayer and lightly apply to dampen the carpet to allow the stain remover to work
Scrubbing can also damage the pile of the carpet. If you have had to scrub the carpet to dislodge any caked on dirt, carefully trim off any fluffed carpet pile when dry.
Always pre test stain removers in an inconspicuous area beforehand. Some types of stain removers can affect the colour or bleach the carpet.
Using dish washing liquid to remove stains
Ok, many people will reach for the dish washing liquid to remove stains from a carpet. Used in a very small amount and diluted sufficiently, it probably won’t cause much of a problem.
The problem occurs when the liquid is used in an effort to remove a stain and the residue stays in the carpet. The washing liquid will stay sticky when dry and continue to attract dirt when the carpet is used. This is the reason why so many stains reoccur and the area slowly turns into a stain again. The washing liquid slowly wicks back up the carpet fibres and continues to attract dirt.