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Cleaning Stains and Removing Odors

1.Keys to Successful Cleaning
Photo credit: charlene mcbride / Flickr

Your dog gives you love, affection and loyalty, but he may also sometimes leave you other things that you don’t like quite so much – odors and stains. Accidents happen sometimes, and knowing how to clean up the mess and remove the odor can go a long way to keeping your human-and-canine household running smoothly.

Keys to Successful Cleaning

The first step to successfully cleaning up pet stains and removing odors is identifying where your dog made the mess. In some cases, the damage is obvious, such as when your pup poops in the middle of your living room floor.

In other cases, your pet might have hidden away the evidence by peeing on a hidden area of carpet or in your favorite potted plant. If you can smell the problem but can’t see it, you can use a black light to find hidden urine stains, so you know how big of a problem you are dealing with.

Once you’ve identified the location of the problem, you can use commercial solutions or natural methods to eliminate the problem. Before applying an odor-removing solution, soak up any urine or moisture in the area using paper towels or newspaper.

Keep in mind that as long as the slightest odor remains, your pet is likely to return to the same spot later and soil the area again. Tackling stains and odors early helps prevent a recurring problem from developing.

Commercial Solutions

Commercial pet odor eliminators work by sending enzymes into the affected material. These enzymes break up the chemical bonds in urine and destroy its scent.

The neutralizers only work on a completely clean carpet, so if you’ve recently used a carpet cleaner you will need to rinse the carpet out with a wet extraction vacuum cleaner, before using an enzyme-based pet odor eliminator. Otherwise, the product you are using will simply break up the cleaner in your carpet instead of getting to work breaking up the urine.

You can use commercial enzymatic cleansers on carpets, rugs, bedding and upholstery, but they won’t work to remove stains on most walls or hard floors. Don’t use a steam cleaner to remove pet stains. The heat and moisture are more likely to set the stain and make it harder to remove in the future.

Natural Methods

The most natural way to remove pet stains and odors is to use plain soap and water. If the mess is fresh and hasn’t set yet, this can be a simple, quick solution.

Vinegar and baking soda are useful for removing pet odors and stains on sheets, comforters, removable pillow covers and clothing. Either can be added to your normal washing machine during a regular wash cycle.

Some companies sell natural cleaning solutions that use botanical ingredients to clean stains and eliminate odors on fabric, upholstery and carpets, but these may not be as effective as enzymatic cleaners. Hydrogen peroxide can help remove pet stains in hardwood flooring, but you will have to sand and refinish the surface of that portion of the floor when you are done.

Cleaning up pet messes can be a challenge, but catching the problem early makes things easier. Keep in mind that after you’ve removed the odors and stains your pet created, you’ll need to retrain your canine not to repeat the offense.

Try placing the paper towels or newspapers you used to soak up the original mess in the backyard to create a new scent marker that is stronger than the one he left behind inside your home.

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