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Cleaning Old Pet Stains From Carpet

By September 17, 2016Pet Stains and Odor

If you are a pet lover like we are, you may experience the occasional pet pee problem.  Cleaning old pet stains from carpet is sometimes necessary when you did not catch the problem right away. Sometimes you find the pee because of the odor you (or your guests!) experience. Treating a fresh urine spot is usually easier, but there is hope for older stains.

If you are working with dog urine, you’re a bit more fortunate.  Dog pee is water based and easier to break down and remove than cat pee.  The reason cat urine is hard to remove is because it is oil based.

Tools You Will Need

To go about cleaning old pet stains from carpet you will need a few items.

  1. A black light (ultraviolet light) to identify urine in the carpet.
  2. Clean water and a bucket or carrying vessel.
  3. Vinegar or Commercial strength Urine Pre-Cleaning Treatment* (We Can Provide)
  4. Pet Odor Enzymes* (We can provide)
  5. Odor Eliminator* – NOT a cover up scent! (We can provide)
  6. Wet – Dry Shop vacuum that can extract water.
  7. An SOS Sub-Surface Extraction Tool is very helpful but not necessary.
  8. Towels
  9. Hydrogen Peroxide
  10. Box fan or air mover
  11. Patience

Steps for Cleaning Old Pet Stains from Carpet

  • You probably know where some of the urine spots in your house are. We utilize a black-light and moisture probe to identify all pee spots that we can before beginning treatment. This is best done in the darkest room possible. Mark the spots with sticky notes, chalk, poker chips, paper scraps or something that will allow you to find the entire issue and plan your remediation.  Keep in mind that urine spreads as it hits the sub-floor, so what you see on top is sometimes only half the size of the real issue.
  • First you will want to vacuum the dried urine spot slowly and thoroughly to remove as much soil as possible. Sometimes spots wick back due to the amount of soil on and in the carpet.  You must do your best to control this soil and prevent wicking or soil rings. Remember to replace your markers if dealing with multiple spots.
  • Next, you will need to soak the spot with mixture of water and 3% Vinegar solution. Regular store bought vinegar is usually 5%, so dilute it 3 parts vinegar to 2 parts water. Saturate the affected area and allow the acidic vinegar to dissolve the alkaline urine salts. A 10 minute dwell time is usually sufficient.
  • Extract as much as possible with the wet/dry vac. The SOS Sub Surface Extraction tool is helpful (but not necessary) for improving the water recovery.
  • Following the initial extraction, flush with mixture of water and deodorizer, such as Fresh Wave. Flush the area until the recovered water is clear. You may also choose to use enzymes to consume the bacteria remaining after your cleaning attempt, but keep in mind that enzymes are living cultures that kill other living cultures. They can create an odor, can be sudsy, and require time to work effectively (follow manufacturer’s directions).  We also recommend flushing the area after using the enzyme treatment with a deodorizer.
  • After you feel you have sufficiently flushed out all urine residue and have run your deodorizer of choice through the area, you need to extract as much water as possible. Again, using your wet/dry vacuum and the SOS extraction tool remove water until you feel you cannot remove any more water.
  • After extracting as much as possible, blot the area with a towel to absorb as much surface moisture as you can.
  • If you still notice yellow discoloration on the area, you will need to determine if it is a stain or if there is still urine in the carpet. Do this by smelling the area. If you smell urine, repeat your process as you have yet to remove all of the urine.  If you do not have an odor, it is likely your nylon (or wool) carpet has stained. Apply light spray of 3% peroxide (can be diluted to 1.5% to decrease strength, always test for color loss in an inconspicuous area.) to remove yellowing.  This stain correction process sometimes produces better results when performed on dry carpet after the cleaning has been completed. (Always test peroxide for color loss in inconspicuous area.)
  • Put a fan on the area to dry quickly. An industrial powered centrifugal air mover is suggested and can sometimes be rented at hardware stores. A ceiling fan, box fan or other home fan can also be used. Drying the area quickly will reduce spots wicking back up from deep in the pad.  If you do have a spot wick back on you (reappear after a few days), you will want to repeat the process as it is likely that you still have urine in the pad or carpet.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, even your best efforts will not remove all of the urine. Your carpet or rug may be permanently stained. Sometimes the odor will not be removed for various reasons. Cleaning old pet stains from carpet is a salvage attempt and should be taken on after considering the replacement value and the need to stop further contamination and repair structural damage.

If all of this sounds like more than you are willing to take on or if you have tried this method but still have a problem, then it may be time to call a professional. Decker’s Carpet Cleaning specializes in cleaning old pet stains from carpet. We have years of experience dealing with this issue in our customer’s homes and even in our own home. We can help you, too!