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The Best Way to Clean Up After Your Dog's House-Soiling Accidents

By: Alex Lieber

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There is nothing like that new car smell, the odor promising thousands of worry-free miles. Unfortunately, your beloved dog had an accident in the back seat and that new car smell is now just a dream within a dream.

You can get your car (or area rug, or carpet) clean again, but you need to work fast. Cleaning up accidents is a race against time and chemistry. The longer the urine sits, the more time it has to leave a permanent impression. Even if the stain is lifted, the smell may remain. It is extremely important to get the odor out completely – so that your pet's supersensitive nose can't detect it. Otherwise, your pet may hit the same spot again. And again. And again.

Urine Stains

Mop up the puddle as quickly as you can, especially on carpets. You don't want the urine to seep into the underlying carpet pad – otherwise the smell will always be there. Use absorbent material, such as a sponge or paper towel, to soak it up and be sure not to make the situation worse by spreading the urine around.

Getting the odor out is extremely important because the odor signals that the area is an "acceptable" toilet.

There are many products available to get out pet stains and odors. These are typically pet bacteria/enzyme digesters designed to eliminate stains and odors completely. (Products such as Nature's Miracle® work very well on both.) Use enough of the digester to penetrate the carpet pad. Let it sit for as long as the directions say – it takes time for digesters to break down the urine.

Cover the area with plastic and step on it several times to make sure the area is well saturated. Leave the plastic on, so the area does not dry out before the digester has had time to work.

To ensure there is no after odor, try mixing lavender oil (about 10 to 12 drops, depending on the size of the stain) with 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda. Sprinkle the mixture over the spot; let it sit for a couple of hours, then vacuum.

Fecal Stains

The same principles apply to fecal matter, except that you want to be careful in scooping up the poop. The concept, of course, is to get it all up without pushing any into a pile or spreading it further than you have to. Try using a spatula (one you will not ever use again for cooking!) or a piece of cardboard.

Use paper towels or coffee filters to absorb the moisture. Then sponge the area with warm water (ring the sponge of excess water). Apply a digester to the spot.

Older Stains

Unfortunately, getting old stains out of carpets ranges from the very difficult to impossible. You can give the enzyme digester a shot, but if the area has been used many times by a pet, the digester may not work. If this is the case, try the following:

  • Let the digester work for about 4 hours, then apply a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water.
  • After rinsing the area with the mixture, try the digester solution again.

    If this doesn't work, you may need to cut out that section of rug and replace it with a patch taken from a hidden area of the rug (such as under the couch). Remember that you have to replace the pad underneath as well. This is one reason why tiled or laminate flooring and pets go together so well.

    Cleaning Vomit

    Vomit presents a special challenge because it is very acidic. If not cleaned up quickly and well, the color of your carpet or floor may change. You should treat the area with a professional carpet detergent and then rinse it with hot water.

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