Pet Stain Removal
A large majority of the area rugs and carpet stains we’re asked to clean involve a pet accident. They’re an unfortunate fact of life when it comes to being a pet owner! At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, we understand the frustration that can come with discovering a stain on your expensive rugs and carpeting. Our office typically has at least one canine companion on duty during the week so it’s safe to say we’re pet people.
Our staff has taken rigorous courses on stain removal of various types of fabric, in each course there is always a section covering the removal of pet stains because they’re so common amongst our customer base. Cleaning these stains doesn’t always require a professional, with a little bit of research and some elbow grease you can get rid of the marks your four-legged friends leave behind. Timing is everything when it comes to avoiding irreversible damage to fabrics; the faster you begin reversing the damage, the higher the chances of removing the stain completely.
It’s crucial that you identify the type of rug or carpet you’re cleaning before you begin. If you turn a rug over, there is usually a label the identifies what material it’s composed of, and often has cleaning instructions to make your task even easier! If your rug is deemed an “oriental” rug, or composed of wool, silk or cotton you should NEVER use these products: Folex, Resolve, Oxyclean, Simple Green, Woolite, salt, baking soda, or bleach. These products are not designed for use on these materials and can cause more damage than your pet already has.
Items You Will Need:
- White/light colored terrycloth towels
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Small bowls & sponges
- A soft brush
- Hair dryer
- An enzyme based cleaner
- We recommend our SERVPRO brand Urine Treatment Solution
Pick It Up
Remove any solids from the floor. If this is a urine stain, use a towel or paper towels and apply pressure until there is no longer any liquid being extracted from the surface. If a stain remains, or this is a urine stain, dampen the area with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and cold water.
Dampen the Area
Be sure to bend the fibers back and dampen the entire fiber, not just the top. This can be done by using your hand and pulling in one direction, dampening the area and repeating until the fiber is completely dampened. You never want to saturate the area.
Blot, Blot, Blot!
Using a cotton towel, blot, DO NOT RUB the stain until there is no longer transfer on the towel. Using a light-colored towel makes this easier because the stain is more visible.
Sandwich the Fibers
Place a towel underneath the stain and on the top of it. If you’re working on carpet it may not be possible to place a towel underneath, be diligent about this step using just the top. Use your body weight and stand on the top towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. The “sandwich” method will assist in wicking away as much moisture as possible.
Dry the Stain
Using a hairdryer on a cool setting (be careful not to melt the fibers), dry and groom the nap of the fibers with the soft brush
Some carpet cleaners and stain removers offer a fragrance that often covers the odor, which doesn’t eliminate the root of the problem. Using an enzyme based cleaner breaks down any lingering odor-causing bacteria. It’s important not to skip this step and invest in a quality solution, especially if pet accidents are a regular occurrence in your home.
Prop it Up
Don’t let the rug to lay flat on the floor after you’re done. Place an object under it to allow air to flow through both sides while it dries. If the stain is on carpet you should place a fan blowing on the cleaned area.
The Science Behind Pet Stain Removal
Pet urine is hot and acidic, it penetrates the fibers in the affected area. Most rug dyes are acid based, meaning the urine essentially re-dyes the fibers yellow and then begins to set. Stains can become permanent if not cleaned immediately.
Old pet stains (more than 7+ days) transition from acidic to strongly alkaline in their pH. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic, therefore this chemical imbalance begins to dissolve the rug dye and can lead to loss in color and what we call “bleeding”. Bleeding means the colors run into other areas, imagine a watercolor painting being held out in the rain.
Carpet and rugs are expensive, but with the help of these guidelines we hope you’ll be able to prolong the life of them and protect your home from harmful bacteria. If you’re unsure on any of these steps, or would rather have our technicians take care of them, give us a call!