How to Clean Cat Pee and Poop Stains Out of Carpet?
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Let me guess - your fluffy pal has a dedicated litter box which he deeply loves, yet every now and then, you still find some nasty surprises delivered (with lots of love!!) straight to your carpet or furniture.
Unfortunately, a litter box doesn’t make your home absolutely odor- and stain-proof (yes, even if it is an automatic one). The good news is you are not alone, and the bad news is… it is highly likely to find another spot on your precious carpet in future.
Although you can’t control cat’s nature calls, there is something you can do to avoid or reduce these accidents - to clean right after they happen! Why? Let’s see...
Here are the factors you should take into consideration when dealing with cat urine and poop stains on carpet or other types of flooring:
- Your cat will be tempted to repeat it. Again and again…
- Bacteria will build up over the stained area.
- The unpleasant odor will sink into the walls.
- The bacteria in cat urine and poop can cause health issues and trigger allergies.
- If not dealt accordingly, cat stains leave permanent stains on carpets and rugs.
- Urine smell is quite unpleasant and may be bothering your household members and guests.
Alerted already? Good, let’s move on then. Let’s find out what are other dangers to cat urine, feces, smell, and how you can actually clean and neutralize them.
What are the threats of cat urine, poop and odor?
Except extremely unpleasant to look at, both smell and stains caused by urine and feces are harmful to health. Human reactions to your feline's and poop include coughing, red eyes, skin itchiness, to name a few. Here is what more you should know about the pee and poop of your dearest friend:
They contain bacteria.
Your feline’s waste contains a pretty large number of bacteria which are harmful to your health.
Whether it is in the litter box or on the carpet, cat pee and poop are packed with dangerous microorganisms. They can be the cause of worm infestations, toxoplasmosis and E.coli infections.
So, it totally makes sense to wash and clean carpets and rugs right after each accident, otherwise, everyone in the household is exposed to a lethal bacteria and potential health issues.
Ammonia can make you sick.
Cat urine is extremely rich in ammonia and when the liquid starts to crystallize, the concentration becomes even higher.
Some of the symptoms of inhaling ammonia include a runny nose, rashes and respiratory problems. That said, feline’s urine can be extremely uncomfortable for people with bronchial conditions like asthma, pneumonia and etc. It can not only cause the above but also worsen the symptoms.
They can trigger allergies.
Unfortunately, even a healthy person who is not suffering from cat allergies can develop them from inhaling the lingering odors of cat pee and feces. Fresh stains can be the cause of allergic reactions, so make sure you wear gloves when you clean up the mess.
NOTE: Allergen particles are airborne, meaning the sooner you tackle the stain, the fewer particles will spread in your home.
Your cat will most likely try to do it again.
Here it doesn’t matter how well-taught is your furry friend, it is about primal instincts -- if your carpet smells like (and looks like) a litter box, you can be sure that your cat will start to recognize it as such.
Urine and poop stains, along with odor, will tempt the cat to do it's business outside the litter box. What’s even worse is that every accident outside the litter box increases the health risks for all household members.
Usually, cats use their scent-glands to mark their territory, but they can also let everyone know that this is their spot by pooping there. To find more facts about your cat’s behavior, visit the dedicated Q&A page.
How to Clean Cat Urine and Poop Stains from Carpet and Rugs?
For the cleaning part of this post, I’ve invited Dean Davies who is a professional at the rug and carpet cleaning company Fantastic Services who knows the ins and outs of the proper carpet maintenance.
He shares his best piece of advice on how to tackle cat stains on carpets and rugs without messing things further (which turns out to be pretty easy).
He'll help us answer to following important questions: "How to get rid of cat pee smell?", "Which cat urine cleaner to use?", "How to get rid of cat urine odor in house", and others.
Here are his words of wisdom:
There are three options:
- You do the clean entirely by yourself using homemade solutions;
- DIY using commercially available products;
- Arrange a professional carpet cleaning service (the majority of firms use pet-safe detergents, so don’t worry about it).
However, as with the cat condo cleaning, this is something you can do yourself, all you need is some elbow grease.
NOTE: Regardless of the method you choose, it is best to perform a spot test first. Always test the solution on an inconspicuous area of your carpeting to save yourself the hassles of carpet replacement or furniture rearrangement.
The tools you will need:
No job can be successful without having the proper tools for it, right? Here are the cleaning tools you’ll need to remove your feline’s urine and poop stains from carpeting:
- White cloth rags or paper towels (avoid colored rags as they transfer dye)
- Large bucket
- White vinegar (distilled)
- Baking soda
- Rubber gloves (recommended!)
- Spray bottle (optional but will ease the process)
- One-use mask (optional, cat owners with respiratory problems can check masks with odor respirator)
The pre-treatment phase.
First and foremost, remove as much liquid and solid particles as possible from the affected area.
For wet spots, grab a dry white rag and dab (don’t rub!) the stain. For poop accidents, put gloves on and pick it up. For smaller stains, you can also use a paper towel.
Fold the rag and press it on top of the stain until the rag comes up dry. For fresh stains you may have to use several cloths). To speed up things, you can place a heavy book on top of the rag/s.
The pressure will help to soak more of the liquids in a faster manner. Again, blot the surface, and avoid rubbing and scrubbing as they can cause damage to your carpet fibers which may result in pushing the stain deeper into the carpet.
Take your bucket and combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. Hot water is not suggested as heat can cause the stain to set and make it permanent.
There are two cleaning methods you can choose from:
Gradually add four to five tablespoons of baking soda into the bucket you’ve mixed water with vinegar in. You want to do it slowly, because soda will start to bubble up if you pour it all at once.
When the solution is ready, apply a generous amount of it onto the affected carpeted area.
Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then blot the surface until the stain is gone. Depending on the stain, you may have to use multiple rags to blot. Again, DO NOT RUB!
Check for signs of discoloration, if the carpet looks untouched sprinkle more baking soda over the affected area to entirely remove the remaining odor. This time let it sit for 2-4 hours (you can even leave it overnight, but do not forget to vacuum the area first thing in the morning).
When the carpet is fully dry, suck up the baking soda residue using a vacuum cleaner and you are done! You got yourself a poo- and pee-free carpet without having to replace it.
This time sprinkle the baking soda straightly on the stained area. Wait for 10-15 minutes and then pour the cleaning solution (made from water and vinegar) onto the soda. Don’t be scared of the bubbling, it will loosen the dirt particles from the fibers making them easy to extract.
Note: The process of bubbling is known as effervescence. According to Wikipedia, effervescence is the escape of gas from an aqueous solution and the foaming or fizzing that results from that release.
Wait until the effervescence has slowed and start blotting the surface. Simply follow the instructions from Method #1 to complete the stain removal successfully.
Commercial cleaning products?
I’ve already discussed a variety of commercial pet urine removers in my blog. There you can find more info on the best cat urine removers and reviews of the most efficient enzyme-based cleaners available at retail stores or online.
An enzymatic cleaner cat urine remover contains natural enzymatic bacteria, which tackles odors and stains until they are completely eliminated. That's why an enzyme cleaner is preferred by many pet owners , when they want to take care of accidents that have been done outside the litter box.
Professional carpet cleaning service.
Although a professional service is a pricier option compared to the rest, if all else fails, consider having your carpeting cleaned by an expert carpet cleaner. A large portion of the carpet cleaning companies use pet-friendly products, so your feline is safe.
A professional cleaner has seen and removed more stains than you can imagine so they know what works and what not. Sometimes their expertise can be priceless. If you don’t have anyone in mind, check this carpet cleaning directory.
How to clean dried cat urine from carpet?
Regardless of which method you'll follow, if you're dealing with a dried cat urine stain, repeat the steps two or three times.
Older stains are more stubborn to clean up compared to fresh ones, so you may have to repeat the process several times until the area is completely cleaned. You can also use an enzyme cleaner.
If you're wondering "how to get rid of cat urine smell in your home?" - method #1 and method #2 in this article will help you clean both the stains and remove the smell.
If the stains are not visible, but your house still stinks, consider purchasing a black light tool which will reveal the feline urine stains. You can get one at the larger pet stores near your neighborhood or get one online.
Why my kitty is not using the litter box?
When was the last time you cleaned your feline’s litter box? Cats tend to use it only if it is well-maintained. If the is contaminated and has a nasty odor, do not wonder why your cat is not enjoying it.
There is a wide range of different cat litter boxes, from manual, to automatic ones which have an electric rake which scoops up your cat's dirty litter.
However, just as humans, cats are different and what might work for one might not do the job for another cat. Make sure to check out our article on the best automatic cat litter boxes.