Pet stains, like any other stain, will be easier to clean up if you can address it quickly. The longer your pet’s urine remains in your carpet, the more likely it will attract and harbor bacteria and the smell will spread throughout your home. If you discover pet stains while they are still wet, place paper towels or rags over the wet area and walk on them or press them with your hands to absorb as much of the moisture as possible.
There are some ways that you can help neutralize the odor of pet stains before it becomes a problem. Whether they are new or old stains, a vinegar solution that is made up of one part white vinegar + one part water will neutralize the strong “ammonia” smell that often accompanies pet urine. Vinegar is also safe to use on your carpet and won’t bleach or damage carpet fibers.
Once you have created the mixture, pour it over the stained area of the carpet and give it about 10 minutes to soak into the lower fibers of the carpet (removing the vinegar too soon might leave traces of pet urine in the lower areas of the carpet and the smell will still be there). Soak up any remaining liquid with paper towels, and let the carpet dry for a couple of hours. After it’s mostly dry you can use a little baking soda to absorb the odor, leave it on for about 15 minutes, and vacuum it up.
While homemade remedies are often recommended first, some pet stains won’t come clean with just vinegar and baking soda. In that case you might consider a commercial pet stain remover, deodorizer, or air freshener. However, it’s important to review the chemicals used in these products before you bring them into your home to decide if you want to use them on your carpets, especially if your pets and children are likely to be playing on the carpets later.
Even if you manage to remove most of the pet stain and keep odors at bay for a time, if you have pets in your home you should hire a professional cleaning service to come about once a year to remove deep stains or clean up pet accidents that you are unable to clean all the way with at-home or commercially available products. These professional cleaning solvents and the machinery available to professional cleaners can often get deeper into your carpet and provide more long-lasting pet stain removal.