If you have pets, chances are good that one day, you’ll have to clean up an accident. Cleaning up dog diarrhea, poop, urine and vomit can be the bane of a pet owners existence. And while it may seem like that smell will never go away, with some careful cleaning and attention, that stinky accident can become a distant memory.
Dogs have no end to the variety of inappropriate things they will get into - trash, dead animals, kids toys, the list goes on. It seems like the more disgusting or stinky something is, the more likely your dog will get into it. Unfortunately, as stinky and awful as it is going in, it almost always comes back out even worse. While your dog may slink sheepishly away from that accident on the carpet, its up to you to clean it up, and make sure you never smell that again!
Cleaning up dog diarrhea, urine and other accidents requires a three-part process to successfully eliminate stain and odor.
Step one: Clean it up. If only there was a spray to make that pile of diarrhea just magically disappear. Unfortunately, technology isn’t there yet (despite the hopes of all pet owners!). Pick up as much of that stinky pile as you can, using gloves and paper towels. Avoid the temptation to rub or use force to try and get all the itsy bitsy bits, as that will just drive it further into the carpet.
In the case of urine accidents, blot as much of it as you can using a paper towel. Urine may appear to be the easier clean up job, but as you’ll find out, its effects can be insidious, and long lasting.
Step Two: Soak. Yes, it’s tempting to try and make it go away as quickly as possible, but you won’t get it all this way. Spray or pour a liberal amount of carpet cleaner, soap, enzymatic cleaner, Lysol, bleach, or just about anything you can get your hands on onto the stain, and wait. Give it 5-10 minutes to soak in thoroughly, or longer in the case of severe stains, and then proceed to:
Step Three: Scrub your heart out, baby! Using a damp terrycloth, scrub the stain in a circular motion, working from the outside to the inside of the stain. If after scrubbing, the stain is still present, repeat steps two and three until it disappears. If after repeated cleanings with different substances, the stain is still present, maybe it’s time to move that couch to a more strategic location.
In most cases, using the right product to soak, and a little elbow grease will take care of cleaning up dog diarrhea, poop and vomit. If the damage has occurred over a large area, follow the same steps to take care of the immediate problem, and then it might be time to call in the big guns. Most supermarkets rent large carpet cleaners, and Stanley Steemer would be hurting for work if it weren’t for pet owners- put them to use, and make sure to use a carpet cleaner designed to eliminate pet odors.
As mentioned previously, while pee accidents may appear to be the easiest to clean up, they are in fact the hardest to get rid of. Often times you may think that your carpet is clean- until the weather gets warmer, and you realize that you must have missed a spot. Urine on carpets will often soak right though the carpet, to the pad below. You can clean the carpet all you want, but short of removing the carpet (always a viable alternative- you know you’ve been eyeing that wood flooring!), it can be close to impossible to get to and eradicate urine smells.
This presents two major problems. Obviously, eau de pee is not the desired smell of most homeowners. Secondly, dogs like to mark their territory. Once territory has been marked, they like to “freshen up” that scent every so often, just to make sure that if that pack of wild dogs does happen to come through your living room, they will know that that particular coffee table belongs to Fido. In order to prevent this vicious cycle from occurring, every last particle of urine must be eradicated from the carpet. Pouring a small amount of white vinegar onto a clean spot can also help to get rid of the odor- but care must be taken to ensure that the vinegar won’t itself stain or discolor the carpet.
The advent of enzymatic cleaners has made eradicating urine a much easier task for pet owners. These sprays are designed to digest the organic material of urine and other bodily fluids, eradicating both stains and odors on contact.
There are a variety of enzymatic cleaners available on the market- but be sure to use one that is pet safe, as some are not designed to be used around pets. Febreze, a common odor neutralizer found on supermarket shelves, can be fatal to pets if ingested. Your local pet store should have a selection of pet safe enzymatic cleaners.
When cleaning up urine accidents on carpet, soak up as much of the urine as you can with a paper towel, then pour a good amount of cleaner on and around the urine spot. Because the urine likely soaked through the carpet into the pad, you need to use a good amount of cleaner to soak into the same area, so that it can attack all of the urine. As an added bonus to their use, enzymatic cleaners do not need to be soaked back up after use- instead, the longer the area stays damp, the better, as the cleaner continues to digest and destroy odor causing bacteria in the urine.
If you’ve cleaned a urine accident, used an enzymatic cleaner, and still smell an odor, it may be time for a little detective work. Dried urine has a crystalline structure, and under a black, ultraviolet light, it will fluoresce a dull, yellow color. Many companies manufacture a black light specifically designed for use in detecting pet urine accidents. A few minutes with a black light, and you may find out how good a job you did cleaning up that accident… or maybe discover that Fido has been really good at hiding his handiwork. Armed with this new information, you can attack the new spots and with any luck, get rid of those offending smells. If that doesn’t work, have no fear- you can always just move.