Accidents happen; especially if you have pets. Whether your house sees wear and tear from muddy pawprints, chew marks, shed dog hair, or even slobber, you have likely become accustomed to cleaning up Fido’s messes on a near daily basis. However, dealing with dog poop and diarrhea in furniture upholstery or carpeting is a particularly challenging task that no owner relishes having to deal with. Since diarrhea and fecal matter can damage delicate carpet fibers and leave behind an unpleasant odor, thorough cleaning is necessary to prevent staining from occurring. What is the best way to remove diarrhea or dog poop from your carpet?
Purchasing the Necessary Supplies
It is always a good idea to have supplies on hand to clean up any dog-related messes that may arise in your home. Having a well-stocked pantry of cleaners allows you to get on top of messes quickly before they have opportunity to penetrate fabrics and destroy the fibers or leave a lasting stain. As with most stains, diarrhea or poop on carpet should be addressed as quickly as possible. This will help to reduce the opportunity for damage to your carpet to occur.
Here is a list of the supplies you should have on hand to remove diarrhea or poop from your carpet safely:
- Disposable gloves
Since feces carries a lot of bacteria, it is extremely important that you never handle it without gloves on your hands for protection. Disposable gloves can be purchased inexpensively at most pharmacies or department stores such as Walmart or Target.
- Enzymatic, fabric-safe cleaners
When it comes to removing odors and residue from pet urine, feces, or diarrhea, an enzymatic cleaner is an absolute necessity. These cleaners have been specifically formulated to address the unique chemicals found in pet waste. One of their key benefits is their ability to accelerate chemical reactions for quick and easy elimination of stains and unpleasant smells, thus preventing any potential damage to your carpet.
Enzymatic cleaners that are designed for use with pet waste are also safe to be used around animals, ensuring your dog will not be harmed if they are hanging around the area where you are cleaning.
If you prefer a more natural approach to cleaning, there are a few other materials you can stock to help with this such as regular household dish soap, rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda.
- Paper towels and wet wipes
A key component of effective stain removal involves removing as much of the diarrhea or feces as possible before any cleaning occurs. Paper towels are generally the best suited to this job as they combine the perfect amount of absorbency with durability to assist you with sopping up the mess without being left with disintegrating paper in your hands. Best of all, paper towel is easily disposable and can be thrown away once its job is done.
Clorox or Lysol wipes contain bleach or other cleaning chemicals which could remove color from your carpet. For this reason, they are best avoided. However, baby wipes are perfect for removing diarrhea or dog poop since they are formulated to be sensitive and also contain a pleasant smell that can help make cleaning the mess a little more tolerable for you.
- A vacuum or steam cleaner
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to do a thorough removal of diarrhea from any fabric surface without the use of a vacuum and/or a steam cleaner. Vacuums are excellent at assisting with picking up any remaining bacteria that sits on top of the carpet. Any vacuum that is manufactured with pet use in mind will provide the additional deep cleaning you need.
However, a vacuum can only do so much, and that is where a steam cleaner comes in handy. Vacuums remove dirt, debris, and bacteria particles, but the hot water contained in steam cleaners acts as a sanitizing agent, removing unpleasant smells and killing any remaining germs in the fabric.
The Cleaning Process
Carpets are comprised of many different materials; some of which are more delicate than others. To prevent any stains from setting, it is advised that you always use cold water to clean diarrhea or poop from your carpets.
Here is the recommended course of action to remove diarrhea from any fabric:
- Address any solids
Though diarrhea can contain some solids, it is most typically liquid. In order to make the cleaning process as easy as possible, you should first remove as much of the diarrhea from the carpet as you can.
Paper towels are usually the most effective means to remove excess waste. It is also a good idea to have a scrap of cardboard or a dustpan on hand, so you can push any mess from the floor onto these items for easy disposal. Any dirty paper towels or cardboard should be placed in a plastic bag and thrown away.
It is very important that you work quickly and carefully when removing the diarrhea, being certain not to apply any pressure that could cause dirt or bacteria to be ground into the fibers of the carpet. Blotting should not take place until after the carpet has been properly cleaned with the appropriate enzymatic cleaners and natural solutions.
For any dried fecal matter lingering in the carpet, a plastic disposable knife will allow you to gently pry it from the fibers, so it can be gathered then thrown away.
- Consider using a pre-treatment solution
You likely have stain removers in your laundry room. Items such as Shout or OxyClean can help lift the stain from the carpet, making it easier for you to remove any lingering residue with your cleaner.
If you opt to use a pre-treatment, be sure to read the label on the product and allow the solution to sit for the appropriate amount of time before moving to the next step of the cleaning process.
- Soak the affected area
Once the area has been pre-treated, it is then a good idea to soak the stain with a mixture of water and two tablespoons of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent. In place of this mixture, an enzymatic cleaner or homemade natural solution can be applied to the surface and allowed to soak for a minimum of ten minutes.
- Blot and scrub the area
To help remove all bacteria, it is important to scrub the stain once the cleaning solution has had time to work its magic. A brush with soft bristles can make the process go much more quickly, allowing you to keep working the area until all traces of the stain and its odor are gone. Always work from the outside of the affected area towards the center; this way, you will be certain to address the stain in its entirety.
- Carefully rinse out the cleaning agent
Making use of a bucket with clean water, gently remove all soap by blotting the affected area with wet cloths. Once no soap remains in the carpet, you can then use soft, dry cloths to remove as much moisture from the carpet as possible. Since damp carpet can be prone to developing mildew or mold, you may want to use a fan to help dry the area more quickly.
- Use a natural solution or odor-remover to refresh the carpet’s fragrance
If the stain is no longer visible but an odor still remains, it is a good idea to make use of an odor remover to restore the carpet to a more pleasant smell. Since dogs possess stronger olfactory capacities than our own, this is an important part of the process as a smell you can’t detect may still be strongly present to your dog, increasing the likelihood that your dog may soil the area again in the future.
A simple solution of one-part white vinegar to an equal amount of spring water is an excellent odor-reducing agent. Add the solution directly onto the affected area and blot dry.
- Add a touch of baking soda
Baking soda naturally neutralizes unpleasant smells. Once the cleaning process is complete and the carpet is thoroughly dry, sprinkle some baking soda over the stain, allowing it to rest on the surface for a minimum of 24 hours. Once the resting period is complete, simply vacuum it up, and your carpet should look and smell as good as new!
Did your dog leave a mess on your carpet? Wondering if you’ll ever get it to look and smell clean again? Follow our top tips for cleaning diarrhea or poop from your carpet, and you’ll have the problem solved in no time!