How to Get Pet Smell Out of Carpets

Carpets offer several advantages. Incorporating a carpet is an excellent strategy to make your floors warmer if you live in a cold climate. They also come in handy when you need additional comfortable sections for playing and sitting.

However, carpets also have their fair share of downsides. And one of them is that they tend to absorb and retain smells and stains. Also, they can accumulate pet hairs quickly.

When you have a pet, such as a dog or a cat, you’ll have to deal with pet smells due to pet accidents, especially when the pets are still potty training. So, it helps to know how to learn the various pet owners’ tricks to get rid of cat and dog odors. Luckily, you have several strategies you can implement to get rid of bad smells from your carpet.

What’s Causing Your Carpet Smells?

To pick the best cleaning strategy, you must first determine what’s causing your carpet smells.

For example, if you have a cat, the unpleasant odors from your carpet may be from urine smells. The uric acid from cat pee may have soaked deep into your carpet fibers. Alternatively, it could be the accumulated pet dander from your dog. Also, you could be dealing with pet vomit, which may come as a result of an overfed or sick animal.

Usually, when a pet has an accident or vomits, it will leave behind a stain. And that stain will tell you the cause of the pet smells on your carpet. However, old stains may be difficult to spot. So, you may need to use a blacklight, which would make the urine stains on the affected area glow.

How To Remove Pet Poop, Pee, Or Vomit

You cannot eliminate pet smells if whatever is causing them is still present. So, the first step is to deal with the poop, pee, or vomit that’s on your carpet. And you can do that by placing a thick layer of paper towels on the affected area and blotting it. Then bag the paper towels and throw them in the trash.

If your stain is dry, you may want to pour some water to loosen the vomit or poop, scrape it up, and wipe off as much as you can with paper towels. Water also helps to dilute the uric acid. And blotting the affected spot enables you to remove as much of the excess mess as possible without spreading it.

If you don’t have paper towels, you can use an absorbent rag.

How to Get Pet Smell Out of the Carpet

Once you get rid of the excess mess on your carpet fibers, you can take the necessary steps to get the pet smell out. Below are some of the strategies you can use.

1.   Sprinkle Baking Soda

Baking soda is an amphoteric substance that acts as a base and an acid. Most odor-causing substances are also bases or acids. So, they will react with baking soda to create neutral-smelling salts. That’s how baking soda neutralizes smells.

Once you determine the specific areas where the cat or dog smell comes from, sprinkle baking soda on them generously. You can even use a brush to gently spread the powder, to reach all the affected areas. Then leave it overnight.

In the morning, vacuum the carpet thoroughly until there is no baking soda left. The carpet should be deodorized and free of the pet smells by then.

If you want your carpet to smell nice, you can put in a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the baking soda before applying it to the affected area.

2.   Spray Vinegar Solution

A vinegar solution is a common household cleaner. It can help mask the pet smells on your carpet. But you should ensure you use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar to avoid staining your carpet further.

The easiest way to make a vinegar solution is to mix equal parts of vinegar and water in an empty bowl. For example, you could combine two cups of vinegar and two water. Then pour it on the pet urine stains and sponge the damp spot. After about 15 minutes, you can blot the site with a clean towel until it’s dry.

If the smell is still present, consider sprinkling baking soda on the damp spot, leaving it overnight, and vacuuming in the morning.

Another option is to create a water and vinegar mixture then add baking soda. For example, you can mix two cups of water, two of vinegar, and four tablespoons of baking soda in an empty spray bottle. You can then spray the cleaning solution onto the smell-causing area, leave it for several minutes, and blot it with a clean towel.

3.   Apply Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent cleaning solution and stain remover. In addition, it disinfects the area you use it on. But be sure to stick to 3% hydrogen peroxide while opening the windows to let in the fresh air.

You can combine half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with two cups of water and a bit of dish soap in an empty spray bottle for starters. Then spray on the affected area after sprinkling baking soda. You can also scrub it with a soft brush. If you are dealing with area rugs over hardwood floors, you may want to lift them while applying the hydrogen peroxide solution to prevent damage to your flooring.

After about two hours, you can vacuum the carpet, and the odor will most likely be gone.

You can also mix four parts of hydrogen peroxide, one part of lemon juice, and eight parts of water. The resulting mixture will be an all-purpose cleaner that can remove pet smells from the carpet and litter box.

In addition, you can deep clean your carpet using a hydrogen peroxide mixture. It should contain a gallon of hot water, two tablespoons of fabric softener, five drops of essential oils, two tablespoons of dish soap, a quarter cup of white vinegar, and three-quarters of a cup of hydrogen peroxide.

It is worth noting that hydrogen peroxide works best in the presence of light. But you should avoid using it on carpet fibers made from natural materials like wool. If you do, it will damage your carpet or bleach it severely.

4.   Spread Zeolite or Cat Litter

Zeolite consists of minerals often used in cat litter to absorb and neutralize pet odors instead of simply masking them. So, if your furry friends are responsible for that pee smell, you can eliminate it using these minerals.

You could sprinkle the cat litter generously over the poo, vomit, or urine spot after removing the excess mess. Then you can sweep it away or vacuum it after a few hours. However, as a pet owner, it may be good to buy a bag of zeolite powder or granules for odor removal purposes from any of your pet supply stores.

You can then spread it liberally on all the smelly areas of your carpet and let it absorb the odors. After a few hours, you can use the vacuum cleaner to remove the powder from the carpet.  Alternatively, you can pour some of the zeolite powder into a bowl and leave it for up to six months to continue absorbing the stubborn pet odors from the room.

5.   Buy a Pet Odor Neutralizer

You may not have the time to create a homemade smell removal cleaner using natural ingredients. In that case, you should opt for a commercial pet odor neutralizer or eliminator.

It would be best to use an enzymatic cleaner. Such a product usually contains natural enzymes that break down organic stains like vomit and poop without damaging the carpet fibers. And with time, the bacterial breakdown of these materials will eliminate the bad odor from your carpet.

SCOE 10X is an excellent example of an enzymatic cleaner you can use to eliminate all manner of pet smells. It usually requires dilution with warm water in the ratio of 1:9 and a waiting period of about 20 minutes.

After that, you should soak the soiled carpet area and keep it wet for at least 20 minutes or until the smell is gone. If necessary, brush the cleaner into the carpet. Then you can rinse the affected spot using hot water and finish off the cleaning process with a wet vacuum or carpet cleaning machine.

6.   Air Your Rugs

Sometimes fresh air and sun may be what you need to eliminate stubborn pet odors after cleaning. And while you may not be able to air your wall-to-wall carpets, you can do that with area rugs.

7.   Install Air Purifiers

Even though they won’t eliminate pet smells from your carpet, air cleaners will clean your indoor air and eliminate pet dander from your room. However, not all air purifiers will do if your carpet has pet smells. In that case, you would need to install an air purification system that uses both HEPA and activated carbon filters.

Activated carbon filters, which usually consist of activated charcoal, tend to absorb odors from the air because they are highly absorbent. They will then retain that smell and keep your room smelling fresh.

8.   Hire a Professional Carpet Cleaner

There are times when you cannot effectively remove carpet stains and smells. It could be that you can’t pinpoint the exact spot where the pet smells are coming from, or you neither have the time, tools, or expertise to clean the carpet correctly. In such a situation, you need to hire a professional carpet cleaner.

The best carpet cleaners will have access to advanced technologies and knowledge to clean your carpet correctly. For example, they know which cleaning product will work on the type of carpet you have and how to get rid of stubborn pet urine stains or other kinds of stains that have accumulated over a long period.

In addition, professional cleaning companies have the human resources and equipment to clean your carpet and eliminate the unpleasant smells from your pets quickly, leaving your home clean and smelling fresh.

9.   Vacuum the Carpet

Regular cleaning of the carpet will reduce the amount of odor-causing pet dander. Also, when cleaning with a liquid or removing wet spills, it may be better to use a dry/wet vacuum cleaner afterward to ensure the carpet is no longer wet. However, it would be best, in that case, to first neutralize the odors so that your vacuum doesn’t smell terrible.

What Not to Do

When cleaning your carpet and getting the pet smells out of it, you must be cautious.

For starters, avoid steam cleaners when dealing with organic stains. The heat from the equipment will set the pet stains, and the unpleasant odor will remain within your carpet fibers.

Also, ensure that any stain remover and odor eliminator product you use is pet friendly. The last thing you want is that your pet gets sick from the cleaner you use.

You may also want to keep your home well ventilated when cleaning your carpet. In addition, avoid mixing chemicals if you have no idea of what the resulting mixture will be. Some of the chemical cleaners may be bad for your respiratory health.

And when using smelly cleaning solutions, always remember to rinse the affected area and mask or neutralize the smell with something else. Otherwise, your pet may continue to potty train on that spot.

Always determine what’s causing your pet smells before tackling them. Also, consider the type of material your carpet consists of. Then you can choose the correct cleaning product that works on the stains and smells simultaneously. And start with simple natural ingredients first to save money.

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Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services

Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services is the mother of two adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. Brandi has 20+ years of experience helping people with developmental disabilities.
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