There is no doubt our dogs, cats, and other furry friends bring a lot of fun and excitement into our lives. But if there’s one thing every pet owner wishes they could do without, it’s that distinct pet odor that lingers around the house—starting with their favorite rug.
While pungent pet odors and unsightly stains come with the territory of having four-legged family members, all is not lost. Of course, nothing beats the convenience of tossing your rugs into the wash right after a major pet accident. But if you don’t have a washable, pet-friendly rug yet (it’s never too late to get one!), here we have some tips on how to get dog smells and other pet-related accidents out of your rugs and carpets.
1. Clean the rug or carpet before it dries
Your first instinct may be to run as far away from the stench as possible, but not acting fast will leave stains on your rug and encourage bacterial growth, which causes the lingering smell.
If you can, attend to the rug or carpet right after your pet pees or throws up on it, preferably while it’s still wet. For starters, blot the soiled area with a few layers of paper towels. You can also stand on top of the layers to accelerate absorption.
2. Spray the soiled spot with a mixture of dish detergent and water
Sadie Cornelius of CanineJournal.Com says cleaning your pet’s crime scene with water will typically get the job done, especially if you don’t want to use any form of chemical. But if that’s not enough, try mixing water with a few drops of dish detergent and spray it on the rug before blotting the surface with paper towels. Rinse the soiled spot with water and blot until dry.
3. Opt for a chlorine-free pet odor neutralizer
Pet accidents are not the only things that can cause that funky smell. Some pets, especially those with health issues or poor diet, can give off strong, undesirable odors that can cling to your upholstery and rug. In this case, you might want to turn to pet sprays or odor neutralizers. These concoctions come in ready-to-spray bottles and work by breaking down organic waste and killing odor-causing bacteria. Some can even remove tough stains, purify the air, and leave a nice-smelling scent in its wake.
While some deodorizers contain harsh chemicals like chlorine, there are nontoxic options that use ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, natural enzymes, charcoal, and essential oils. Be sure to follow the instructions and test a hidden area of the carpet or rug first to make sure the neutralizer doesn’t stain.
4. Treat the soiled rug with baking soda
If you still can’t get rid of pet urine smell out of your rug even after cleaning it, try treating it with baking soda.
“Leave the baking soda on the rug for at least two hours, if possible,” says interior designer Laura Suglia-Isgro, ASID, owner of KAS Interior Design. “I even will use a large scrub brush to gently rake the powder into the rug fibers further, if there is a particularly smelly area.”
However, it’s important to note that large amounts of baking soda can be harmful to animals, so make sure you keep your pets away from any area that you are treating. After letting the baking soda sit in the affected spot, vacuum the area thoroughly to get rid of any residue.
5. Use UV light to locate the affected area
Sometimes, it can be tricky to find your little buddy’s “oopsie” spot, especially when the pet urine or vomit has had time to dry and the smell has settled into your rug.
“One handy trick for cleaning up odors on rugs is to use blacklight to find stains. These can be purchased online and let you pinpoint where exactly the stains are, which are likely the source of the odor,” suggests Kyle Holgate of Woof Whiskers. “This is really helpful if a certain room or rug has a smell, but you’re not exactly sure where it’s coming from. It certainly beats getting down on your hands and knees and sniffing the rug yourself.”
6. Don’t forget to clean the rug pad and floor underneath
As you spot-clean your rug, don’t forget to clean the rug pad and hardwood floor underneath as well. For standard rug pads, spot-clean the area with warm, soapy water. Air-dry completely before placing it back on the floor.
7. If all else fails, consider a washable rug
While these tips work 90% of the time, there’s always that possibility that you may have to call it quits with your soiled rug. If that’s the case, it’s good to know that you can always opt for a rug that can be easily washed in your washing machine, just like your bedsheets and duvet covers. Ruggable rugs are machine-washable, stain and water-resistant, and dog-friendly, making it easy to clean up after your pets anytime.