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Guide to Home Cleaning: Pet Odors and Stain Removal
Are you too embarrassed to have people over to your house because of the odors your animals have left behind? No matter how much you clean, that smell keeps coming back. When you have guests over, you want them to know you are a pet owner by spotting your animals first, not smelling them! Unfortunately, once your pet has made their mark, it can be quite daunting to remove the stain or odor. You can spend a lot of time and money, yet your pet keeps going back to that same spot.
Often, pet owners think they are using the proper methods of cleanup; however, they might actually be making it worse. But if you follow these steps, you should be able to eliminate those pesky pet odors from your floors, furniture, and fabrics, so you can feel comfortable and confident about hosting the next game night at your house.
Steps to Remove Odors and Stains
- First, you will want to use your senses to identify the problem areas. If the area is not freshly soiled, you may need to get close and use your sense of smell. A great tool for spotting urine stains is a black-light bulb (which can be purchased at most home supply stores). Turn off the lights in the room and use the black light to find the soiled areas. The black light can also detect old stains. Use a piece of chalk to outline the problem areas before you turn the lights back on.
- Properly clean the problem areas to remove stains and odors (see instructions below).
- Retrain your pet by making the problem areas unavailable and/or unattractive and making the proper waste areas more attractive.
All of the steps listed above must be taken to properly retrain your pet. If the problem areas are not properly cleaned, your pet will continue to go back to those spots and all other efforts will have been unsuccessful. Be thorough; although you may not be able to smell the urine, your pet can. It is imperative that you take the proper steps to clean and neutralize the odors.
Cleaning Clothing and Other Washable Items
If your pet soils your clothing or other washable items, you should machine-wash them on cold. Use your regular detergent, but add a pound of baking soda. Do not put the items into the dryer; allow them to air dry. Heat can set a stain, so if there are still marks on your clothing after washing, you will still have a chance of removing the stain if it has not yet been put into the dryer. If the stain is still visible or you can smell urine, you can spot-clean with an enzymatic cleaner and machine wash again. Enzymatic cleaners break down the pet waste and odors and can be found at any pet supply store.
If your pet soils your bedding, cover the bed with a tablecloth made of vinyl with a flannel backing. This is machine-washable and will be unappealing to your pet. Be sure to properly clean the mattress first. In addition, you should wash the bedding twice before putting it back on the bed.
To clean delicate items, use a similar method as above. However, you do not want to machine-wash your delicates. Hand-wash these items by putting them in a sink or basin of cool water. Add a mild soap and baking soda and allow these items to soak in order to loosen the grime; do not scrub the stain. Rinse out the soap with lukewarm water. Allow the items to air dry. If there are still traces of stains or odor, repeat this process.
Cleaning Carpet and Upholstery
- Soak up as much of the stain as you can using newspaper and paper towels. Lay paper towels over the wet area, then add newspaper on top. If it is a rug that you can lift up, place newspaper underneath the stain as well. Stand on the newspaper-paper towel pile for a minute. Then, repeat this until the area is mostly dry. Keep in mind that the more urine you can remove from the soiled area, the easier it will be to remove the odor.
- To assist in retraining your pet, it helps if you put the urine-soaked materials where you do want your pet to go to the bathroom and let them see you do it. This will tell your pet that going to the bathroom isn’t bad if it goes in the appropriate place.
- Next, rinse the area with cool, clean water. Rinse thoroughly, then soak as much water up as possible. You can try blotting the area, although renting an extractor will be much more effective and efficient. If using an extractor, use water only; do not use chemical cleaners.
- If you have used cleaners in the past, you must make sure that every trace of the chemicals has been rinsed out. If there are traces of chemicals still in the carpet, it will weaken the effectiveness of the enzymatic cleaner.
- After the area has been cleaned, use a pet odor neutralizer, which can be purchased at any pet store.
- If the area still appears to be stained after cleaning and neutralizing, use a high-quality enzymatic carpet cleaner. Although the higher-quality cleaners may be higher in price, it is worth it: If you go with a lower-quality cleaner, you may need to use more of it, which could result in spending a comparable amount.
- Unfortunately, if the urine has seeped through the carpet into the padding, you might have to replace at least that part of the carpet and padding.
- Retraining your pet is key to keeping the areas clean. Make those areas unavailable and/or unattractive to your pet, and encourage your pet to use the appropriate bathroom areas. Remember not to yell at or shame your pet, but rather, provide lots of positive reinforcement.
Cleaning Hard Surfaces,Flooring and Walls
You will want to thoroughly clean each affected area. If you see any discoloration on your floors or walls, it means that the acid content of the urine has affected the finish or paint. Some washable finishes and washable wallpapers may respond well to an enzymatic cleaner. You may want to try the cleaner first. If there is still a stain or discoloration, you may need to strip the finish or paint and reapply it.
For more resources, check out the links below:
Additional Cleaning Tips:
- Cleaning Spots and Spills
- How to Remove Cat Urine
- Cleaning Pet Stains and Odors
- Removing Pet Stains and Odors
- Dog Cleaning Tips
- Removing Stains and Odors
- Inappropriate Elimination in Cats
Last modified: May 31, 2017