The carpet is plush, cozy, and extra helpful during cold winters. Unfortunately, all those fibers tend to trap dirt and microbes. If you have pets, your carpet collects even more dander and grime — especially if your furry friend has an accident.
Over time, your carpet becomes smelly and unpleasant. What do you do when household cleaners can’t remove the odor? Is it possible to restore your carpet’s beauty and comfort?
It often takes a professional touch. Read on to learn about professional carpet cleaning and how to eliminate pet odors.
Cleaning a carpet to get rid of dog and cat smells
Pets can be amazing companions, but they can also bring mud, grime, and excrement into your home. They naturally release oils to protect their coats, which contributes to that well-known doggy smell. In short, there’s a lot of organic material that becomes trapped in your carpet, especially since pets tend to lie on it.
And of course, dogs and cats may urinate, defecate, or vomit on your carpet. By cleaning up accidents as soon as possible, you can minimize the risk of lingering odors. However, carpet’s dense fibers often trap bits of waste, as well as bacteria and ammonia.
How do you get pet odors out of carpet permanently?
To permanently remove pet odors, you must remove all traces of grime and bacteria. Many household cleaners contain fragrances to mask the smell, but this is only a temporary fix. You need something to “neutralize” the odor by chemically altering the source. For example, cat urine contains alkaline salts with bacteria that release that infamous ammonia smell. By cleaning the spot with vinegar, which is an acid, you neutralize those uric crystals.
Unfortunately, pet waste (especially urine) can often soak through the carpet. If left untreated, residues can be set into the fibers. You may need to call in professional carpet cleaners to remove lingering odors or set-in stains.
Will a steam cleaner remove pet urine?
A steam cleaner uses “hot water extraction” to clean your carpets. It injects heated water into the fibers to loosen trapped debris and grime, then sucks everything up. However, this process also rifles up bacteria. Many people notice a stronger urine smell after steam cleaning their carpets.
Still, steam cleaning is an excellent way to extract dander, dirt, or feces that your pet may have tracked in. While the carpet may initially smell worse after hot water extraction, the process does remove some sources of odor — if done correctly.
Carpet cleaning professionals can ensure that the steam penetrates the entire carpet. And if the smell is caused by caked-on uric crystals or stains on the underlying floor, they’ll identify and remove those substances. Otherwise, every steam cleaning will simply reactivate the stench.
How can you make carpets smell better naturally?
Many carpet cleaning products fall short in actually removing odors. They often contain surfactants, which create foam that decreases the surface tension on fibers. This helps loosen up dirt and debris. They also have fragrances to make your carpet smell good.
However, pet odors are caused by bacteria and chemicals that are lingering on your carpet. Those cleaning sprays essentially remove the debris and cover up the stink. You need to go deeper to tackle the issue.
Natural cleaning methods can help — at least until the carpet cleaning professionals arrive! Baking soda is an alkaline compound that neutralizes acidic waste. It also absorbs moisture that may be feeding bacteria. Try sprinkling it over the carpet before vacuuming.
As mentioned above, vinegar is helpful for neutralizing urine odors. Spray a blend of water and vinegar on offensive spots. This vinegar solution works on both new messes and lingering stains. You can also combine vinegar with baking soda for a potent cleaning foam.
It’s also critical to keep your home’s air as clean as possible. Reduce humidity, install a HEPA filter in your HVAC system, and vent any cooking fumes or smoke ASAP.
Avoiding pet urine on carpets
Ideally, pet waste never even makes it onto your carpet. Accidents happen, but there are some ways you can help your furry friend avoid them.
- While potty training, be consistent in where you take them out to relieve themselves. If using training pads, place them in the same spot every time. Never use negative reinforcement as stressed dogs are more likely to have accidents.
- Use an accessible litterbox and scoop it every day. Cats naturally want to bury their waste. If they refuse to use the litterbox, try changing the litter type as the typical clay-based litter bothers some cats. Make sure the litterbox is far away from where they eat, as well as any loud or persistent noises (e.g. furnaces, refrigerators).
For both dogs and cats:
- Protect your pet from anxiety that can lead to accidents. Pheromone diffusers and “thunder vests” can help during storms or fireworks. If your pet gets upset while you’re away, leave a sweater or shirt that you’ve worn near their favorite sleeping place.
- Provide plenty of toys and enrichment so your pet doesn’t get bored. When animals are bored, they’re more likely to dismiss their potty training.
- Dogs and cats may spray urine to mark their territory. Neutering male animals can help with this.
Professional carpet cleaning vs replacing carpet: best options for bad pet odor
Is there ever a situation where your carpet just can’t be saved? If it’s been neglected and soaked in pet stains for years, it’s best to replace it. However, you’re probably not at that point yet!
If natural cleaning methods or store-bought products aren’t working, you could try DIY hot water extraction. You can rent a small steam cleaning machine. However, keep in mind that those devices may not penetrate deeply enough. And if you leave moisture behind, you’ll likely end up smelling the pet odors more strongly.
Carpet cleaning professionals can lift the carpet to get stains from underneath. Their equipment is also much more powerful. Most importantly, they have chemicals that will actually eliminate the bacteria and uric crystals causing the stink. By using UV lights and thermal readers, they may even discover stains you didn’t know existed!
In sum, professional carpet cleaning can do much more than you could with store-bought products. While it may be tempting to rip up stinky carpet, you likely don’t need to make such a drastic move.
Remember, replacing the carpet is expensive! You’ll pay more for new carpets than for a professional-quality deep cleaning. And when combined with good carpet maintenance, you’ll save money in the long run.
So, reach out to your carpet-cleaning pros and ask them to come to eliminate your pet odors. You’ll be amazed by how much they can fix the problem.
Need to de-stink the carpets in your Snohomish County home? Reach out to Royal Carpet Cleaning!