How to Rid Carpets of Pet Odors

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Do visiting friends know you have a dog--before Fido bounces into the room? Just because you have a pet doesn't mean your carpet has to smell like him.

Things You'll Need

  • Black-light Bulb
  • Pet-odor-neutralizing Powder With Enzymes
  • Vacuum
  • Water-extraction carpet-cleaning machine or carpet-shampoo machine
  • Always clean up pet messes as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

  • Identify the odiferous areas of your carpet. If you're not sure where they are, darken the room and turn on a black-light bulb to highlight any dried accident spots.

  • Deep-clean the problem areas using a water-extraction carpet-cleaning machine or a carpet-shampoo machine and cool water only--no chemicals or cleaners. (To rent or buy one of these machines, look under "Carpet and Rug Cleaners' Equipment and Supplies" or a similar heading in the yellow pages.)

  • Sprinkle an enzyme-containing pet-odor-neutralizing powder (available at pet stores or your vet's office) on the affected areas. Pet-odor-neutralizing powders contain live bacteria and enzymes that digest odor-causing protein and bacteria, permanently removing it from the deepest fibers in your carpet. These products also contain a mild cleanser that can help remove discoloration. Alternatively, you can use borax powder or baking soda, but they are less effective in eliminating stubborn odors.

  • Let sit for 8 hours.

  • Vacuum the treated areas. Let sit for 24 hours.

  • If odor remains after you have treated the carpet with an enzyme odor neutralizer, repeat the treatment as needed to eliminate lingering odors.

  • Understand that in severe cases where the soiling has occurred for an extended period of time, you may need to replace the carpet padding.

  • If your pet continues to eliminate in inappropriate areas, treat the underlying cause. Does your pet have easy access to the outdoors or to a litter box? Is your cat demonstrating an aversion to her kitty litter? Is your furry friend suffering from separation anxiety, loneliness or stress? See How to Correct Bad Behavior in Dogs and How to Correct Bad Behavior in Cats for more information.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid using household cleaners, ammonia and vinegar on urine stains. The strong smell may draw your pet back to the spot to cover the strong stuff with his own scent.
  • Steam-cleaning urine-stained carpeting can set stains and odors by bonding the protein into the fibers.

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