As most pet owners know, dog stains and odors can be tough to get out of upholstery, carpets, clothing and pet bedding. Luckily, dog stains are organic and they can be easier to remove than inorganic stains such as ink or paint. Urine stains are an exception, as they can be very resistant to cleaning, especially if they've been around a while.
For most organic stains, something like an enzymatic cleaner can break them up, allowing you to then lift the stain with a surfactant (a surface active substance) or detergent-based cleaner. With acidic organic stains such as urine, it is necessary to neutralize them first with something like baking soda. In some cases, you can remove an odor while removing a stain but often it is necessary to remove the odor separately.
Before you use these stain and odor removal tips, invest in a black light. A black light can detect dog stains you can't see, especially urine stains. These can be found at pet stores and hardware stores. To use one, turn off the lights and place it over the area you're checking. Use something (say, a wash cloth) to mark the stains that show up.
The following tips offer simple solutions for common pet stains. Please note that these tips work best for immediate stains that don't have time to set.Substance: Blood
It's common, when you own a dog, to find small spots of blood on the carpet or upholstery. Pets often get small scratches when outside or even in the home. First, check your dog for injuries. Treat small ones at home but call the vet if it seems bad. As for the stains, an enzyme-based cleaner will work best for this task.
Process - With blood, you want to press down on the stain and gently wipe it off. If you can, test a piece of the carpet or fabric with peroxide to ensure there is no fading, then put a small amount of equal parts peroxide and water on the blood stain and blot. Next, apply your enzymatic cleaner, let it sit, blot it and repeat. Pets can smell even minute spots of blood and it can excite them, so try an odor removal tip too (see our suggestions below).Substance: Urine
Perhaps the toughest pet stain to remove, you are far better off getting this up immediately. If you come home to a urine stain that is already set, try a steam vacuum as recommended below. Avoid putting any heat on the stain as this will cause it to bind with the fibers.
Process - Try to keep diapers on hand and use them to soak up the urine. Don't wipe it up as you will just spread the stain and smell. Wear rubber gloves. Next, neutralize the uric acid and start squelching the odor. Rubbing alcohol works well as does vinegar. Clean the stain with your cleaner of choice several times. Use the additional odor removal tips below.Substance: Vomit
Vomit can be tricky to get up because it is usually chunky and slimy. (Gross, we know!) There is a lingering odor, usually something akin to (ugh!) what your dog threw up. Pick up your favorite all-pur...