How To Remove Pet Stains
From Carpet

Pet stains on your carpet are a visible reminder of an unhealthy condition lying below the surface. Try these procedures and tips for removing urine stains.

Unless the animal urine deposited on the carpet is immediately cleaned, it sinks to contaminate the carpet backing, padding and even the sub-floor.

Stains from pet urine are yellowish or brown and will darken with age. They can contain urea, uric acid, ammonia, pigments, albumin and proteoses. Urine is high in protein content. Medications and food can also affect the stain.

When urine is excreted, it is on the acid side of the pH scale (pH 6). As the urine dries, it changes to the alkaline side of the pH scale. Untreated, the urine stain can alter the carpet color (dye) and become permanent.

The following procedures are based on two scenarios. The first scenario assumes the urine is freshly deposited (still wet) and both stain and odor can be successfully removed.

The other scenario assumes the odor has been treated and neutralized and just the stain remains. Urine odor removal is the subject of another page.

Procedures to remove fresh pet urine stains

  1. Time is of the essence! Immediately blot up as much of the spill as possible. The longer a stain sets the more stubborn it becomes to remove. Use a clean white bleach-free cloth to remove a stain as the color from the cloth could transfer to the fabric or surface you are cleaning.
  2. Since freshly deposited (wet) urine is acidic, apply an alkaline cleaning solution (pH 9-10) and blot.

    Always pretest any stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet. Apply a few drops to each color in the carpet test area. Press a clean, white cloth on the wet area for approximately 30 seconds. Check both the towel and the carpet for color transfer, color change or any other damage. Repeat same procedure with another stain remover if you notice any change.

    Do not scrub the area. Scrubbing can distort the pile and harm the fibers. Scrubbing can result in making the stain set into the carpet or rug.

    Work from the edges of the stain to the center to prevent the stain from spreading. Continue as long as the stain is getting transferred onto the towel. Apply more solution to a fresh area on the towel and repeat the process as long as the stain is being removed. Patience is a virtue as far as this step is concerned!

    If available, utilize a carpet cleaning machine or a spray bottle to apply the alkaline cleaning solution to flush the stain. Then extract to remove the pet stains from the carpet. As an alternative a shop vac may be utilized for extraction purposes. Dry treated area as much as possible. Care must be taken not to over-wet the carpet.
  3. Apply an acid spotter (pH 2-3)(a solution of 2 ounces acetic acid mixed with 32 ounces of hot water) to the area of pet stains and blot.
  4. When the desired results are achieved, thoroughly rinse acid spotter from carpet with an alkaline cleaning solution and dry carpet as much as possible.

    When most of the moisture is removed, you may use clean, dry towels weighed down by flat, heavy objects like a book or brick on the damp area to absorb any remaining moisture. This helps prevent wicking of any deep staining material not removed that will move to the surface as the carpet dries.


Procedures to remove dried pet urine stains

  1. A dried pet stain is on the alkaline side of the pH scale. Apply an acid spotter (a solution of 2 ounces acetic acid mixed with 32 ounces of hot water) to the area of pet stains and blot.

    Always pretest any stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet. Apply a few drops to each color in the carpet test area. Press a clean, white cloth on the wet area for approximately 30 seconds. Check both the towel and the carpet for color transfer, color change or any other damage. Repeat same procedure with another stain remover if you notice any change.

    Do not scrub the area. Scrubbing can distort the pile and harm the fibers. Scrubbing can result in making the stain set into the carpet or rug.

    Work from the edges of the stain to the center to prevent the stain from spreading. Continue as long as the stain is getting transferred onto the towel. Apply more solution to a fresh area on the towel and repeat the process as long as the stain is being removed. Patience is a virtue as far as this step is concerned!

    If available, utilize a carpet cleaning machine or a spray bottle to apply the acid spotter to flush the stain. Then extract to remove the pet stains from the carpet. As an alternative a shop vac may be utilized for extraction purposes. Dry treated area as much as possible. Care must be taken not to over-wet the carpet.
  2. If the pet stain is still visible, an oxidizing or a reducing bleach may be utilized to remove the urine stain.
  3. Depending on the carpet fiber type, caution must be exercised when treating stains with an oxidizing or a reducing bleach due to possible color loss, fiber damage or permanent setting of the stain.

  4. When the desired results are achieved, thoroughly rinse oxidizing or the reducing bleach from carpet with an alkaline cleaning solution (pH 9-10) and dry carpet as much as possible. When most of the moisture is removed, you may use clean, dry towels weighed down by flat, heavy objects like a book or brick on the damp area to absorb any remaining moisture. This helps prevent wicking of any deep staining material not removed that will move to the surface as the carpet dries.


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