How to Remove Pet Stains From Furniture

Remove Pet Stains From Furniture
Remove Pet Stains From Furniture (Image: DRW & Associates Inc)

We love our pets and they love us. They are --- and there's no gentle way to say this --- animals. Each puppy or kitten that comes to our home has to learn the ground rules of living with people. There are dozens of events that can upset house training, from vitamin deficiencies and illness to a dirty cat pan or unaltered animal. Until our friends grow up and adapt, we'll have to clean up after them --- or their rowdy guests.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels and newspaper
  • Cotton rags
  • Spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Dish-washing liquid
  • Club Soda
  • Carpet cleaner solution or enzyme "digester"

Blot up the mess fast. Whether the stain is from urine, feces or vomit, your best chance to make it go away is to get to it fast. The enemy with urine (especially kitty's) is uric acid and the enzymes and bacteria that discolor fabric, wilt finishes and tell other animals that Fritz or Maggie was there. Vomit contains a high proportion of bile, an acidic compound that will leave a nasty yellow stain that gets worse the longer it sits on the sofa. Scrape up any solids with a spatula, going with the nap of the fabric to avoid rubbing any matter into the cloth and then carefully blot any liquids with soft rags or paper towels.

Spray and blot. Try water first. Spray some warm water around the spot and blot with a paper towel or cloth if the stain has dried. Spray and blot a few times, then add two parts white vinegar to one part water mix and spray and blot again. Urine contains a lot of ammonia and vinegar will dilute and neutralize the pungent chemical. Your dog or his friends will have trouble sniffing out his favorite place. If you can remove the cover from a pillow or take off a slip cover, dip the fabric and blot the stuffing until it smells like "salade nicoise" instead of your little beastie. Vinegar may also remove stains as it will break up fatty proteins that can stain fabric.

Clean wood with a dilute mixture of vinegar or lemon juice with water --- the acid will soak up the salts. Finish by rubbing the spot with a rag until the wood gets warm. Wax or clean with a little lemon oil and rub hard again to try to bring up the shine on the finish. If the fluids have been sitting on the wood long enough, the finish may need to be renewed with a bit of paint thinner and some varnish.

Try a teaspoon of dish-washing or wool soap in a quart of warm water sprayed or sprinkled around a stain on fabric after neutralizing it with vinegar. Blot the soap solution up. If the blotting doesn't pick up the stain, spray some solution on and scrub lightly with a vegetable or hand brush, then let sit, covered with a towel, overnight. Next morning, blot up the solution and rinse with plain water. If the stain still sticks, try some club soda, the old standby to remove stains from silk ties. Sprinkle the soda around the edges of the stain and let it sit for about 20 minutes, then blot and rinse.

There are dozens of "enzyme" cleaners on the market and available from veterinarians that are basically soap and water --- many require overnight to as much as a 24-hour soak. Some carpet cleaners (Resolve is one) have pet formulas that can also be used on furniture fabric.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best way to avoid pet stains on furniture is to teach them to stay off the furniture. The next best way is to get them their own furniture. Try a 3-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide to lighten discolored furniture fabric but avoid any cleaners with bleach or "bleach alternative" in them --- they are too harsh. Spay or neuter your pets to cut down on the number of "accidents" they have and to make their indoor lives easier on everyone.
  • Avoid harsh detergents like laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent. They may contain alkali which will damage or stain furniture fabrics further. Dishwasher detergents may contain phosphates that are toxic and would be irritants to dogs, cats and humans.

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