Treating Stains from Dog or Cat Urine, Feces and Other Accidents

Pet urine can actually be the most harmful among common spills and stains you might expect to see on a rug. Urine can cause severe color loss, and can even distort the structure of the rug by weakening the fibers, making them stiff and brittle and prone to cracking.

Standard Solutions: Test these solutions first by applying a small amount in an inconspicuous area to determine its effect on the fiber and dye. Wait thirty minutes to an hour to see if any color changes or other problems may arise.  

  • Standard white vinegar solution: one part white vinegar to two parts water.
  • Standard ammonia solution: one tablespoon clear or sudsy, uncolored household ammonia in one cup of water.
  • Standard detergent solution: one teaspoon neutral white or colorless detergent in a cup of lukewarm water. Make sure the detergent is bleach free.

Information courtesy Superior Rug Cleaning Company

Before you even have a stain to deal with, get your rug some protection. Be sure to apply Scotchgard (we can do that whenever you bring in your rug for cleaning), or at least an at-home spray coating that can repel spills.

When you do see a stain, act quickly. You should bring your rug to us for professional cleaning, but first, you can take immediate action using some home remedies. Treat the area with a standard detergent solution (see right), then soak up as much of the liquid as possible using towels or paper towels. Rinse and blot the area, but don't push too hard, because you can set stains in further if you apply force. After removing as much of the surface liquid as possible, now apply a second solution, the standard ammonia solution, and blot once again. Then apply a third solution, the standard vinegar solution, and blot once more. The ammonia solution and vinegar solution are both tactics to restore the color on your rug and prevent colors from running.

Be aware that urine does not always treat all fibers the same way. Sometimes, there is an immediately noticeable effect on the dyes in your rug. But sometimes any color loss won't be apparent until later. By the time you've noticed this color change, the urine will also have affected the fibers in your rug, causing those fibers to thin out, crack or break.

Pet feces or vomit are typically a bit easier to deal with. Compact stool can be fairly easily removed, then treat the area with the standard detergent solution and the vinegar solution. Vomit or loose stool will generally require the same treatment procedure as urine. Depending on what's actually in your pet's food, there could be stains, but the standard detergent solution is your best bet to treat food and food coloring.

Whenever treating any stain, be sure to check the bag of the rug as well. A spot that appears small on top may be larger on the bottom. Any stain left unaddressed on the bottom will cause odors, contain harmful bacteria, and eat away at the fibers in the rug. Always dry thoroughly (again, check the back) to prevent mildew.