Why is it important to clean with eco-friendly products?
You may not realize it, but many of the air fresheners, cleaners, and disinfectants that you use for your home can actually be harmful to you and your pet’s health.
In a study conducted by the National Resource Defence Council (NRDC), they found that “14 different air fresheners sold at a Walgreens drug store contained chemicals that could cause developmental and reproductive problems, especially for infants [source: HowStuffWorks.com]”.
And while disinfectants are great at killing germs and bacteria – something very important – some have also been found to cause bouts of dizziness, vomiting, breathing problems, and irritation of mucus membranes in the eyes, mouth, and nose. Prolonged exposure from disinfectants and their volatile orgainc compounds (VOCs) can potentially even lead to “cancer, liver and/or kidney damage, and damage to the central nervous system. [source: PetMD.com]
Because they’re in much closer proximity to the floor than we are, the effects of any harsh chemicals will affect our pets much more than they will for us. Plus the natural curious behaviour of some of our pets will lead them to sniffing or tasting things that they shouldn’t be getting too close too. So the less we use manufactured cleaners on our floors, the less we expose our beloved pets to any harmful chemicals.
No matter how well trained your pet is, accidents can still happen. And when that happens, it’s up to you to clean it because leaving it is definitely not an option.
Why you need to clean the mess ASAP
According to the Humane Society:
As long as your pet can smell his personal scent, he’ll continue to return to the “accident zone.” And even if you can’t smell traces of urine, your pet can, so you must be sure to remove (neutralize) that odor—this means following all the recommended cleaning steps. If you fail to completely clean the area, your re-training efforts will be useless.
Then when you do have the area clean, it’s just as important to make the “accident zone” unattractive or unavailable to your pet and to make their proper “bathroom” area more attractive.
If the problem persists, it’s a good idea to have your pet checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues that might be causing the accidents. If and when your pet is healthy, use positive reinforcement to re-train them to eliminate in the proper spot.
So what’s the best “least icky” way to clean our carpets and rugs from pet stains that actually works?
Below is an amazing 3-Step Method for Cleaning Pet Stains on Carpet and Rugs that we highly recommend.
It’s a home remedy that uses only natural, eco-friendly products that most people have in their pantry or cupboards. It works just as well as any store bought stain remover that uses chemicals to eliminate pet stains.
So next time your puppy or kitten leaves a bit of a mess for you right in the middle of your living room, give this cleaning method a shot and let us how well it worked for you.
If you do decide to buy store bought cleaners and disinfectants, make sure to look for ones with an Ecologo or Green Seal certified label. These certifications guarantee that the product performs as well as the regular manufactured cleaners but with ingredients that are all biodegradable and non-toxic. (More info: the David Suzuki Foundation)
An All-Natural 3-Step Method For Removing Pet Stains From Carpet and Rugs
**Note: This method also actually works for a variety of stains like spaghetti sauce and other mild stains.
Pro Cleaner Tip: React quickly
Before we get started, the single best thing you can do to clean any pet stain on carpet is to act fast and clean it up as soon as possible. The less time that it soaks into the material, the easier it will be for you to get rid of all stains and smells. Also, animal urine can affect the dye in the carpets causing it to discolour or run.
Plus, if the urine gets soaked into the padding underneath the carpet, it may be almost impossible to get out. At that point you may need to replace the carpet or get a professional carpet cleaner that uses water extraction methods to get your carpet clean.
**Note: This method also actually works for a variety of stains like spaghetti sauce and even old carpet stains. The best part is this method cleans and deodorizes without leaving any residue.
Materials You’ll Need
- Paper Towels or Towels (paper towels seem to work best)
- Equal parts Vinegar & Water
- Baking Soda (…and Time for the baking soda to absorb any smell)
Step 1: Blot, Don’t Rub
Use a paper towel to blot the stain dry.
Rubbing the stain with paper towel only serves to spread the stain more, so unless you plan on rearranging your furniture to cover that stain, pat the stain with a paper towel.
Replace the paper towel if it’s no longer soaking up the urine.
Keep patting the stain until the spot is fairly dry.
Pet Owner’s Tip: Place one of the urine soaked paper towels in your pet’s proper bathroom area
By putting some of the urine soaked paper towels in the proper bathroom area, you’ll be reminding your pet the next time he or she has to go, where they should be doing their business.
Step 2: Bring On The Vinegar
In a bucket, water bottle, or spray bottle, mix together a solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar. Soak the area with this water/vinegar solution.
This does two things: it helps to cut through the stain if it’s being especially stubborn and re-wets the stain so you can make sure that all the pet urine is lifted off the carpet. The vinegar neutralizes the ammonia in the urine, helping to neutralize the smell.
Now is the time to indulge your inner scrubbing beast. Scrub hard to make sure you get deep into the fibres below the carpet’s surface to remove any lingering pet urine.
(For particularly bad smells or stains on your carpet, use a 100% vinegar solution)
Step 3: Dry Out That Stain & Get Rid of Any Smells
While the spot is still wet, apply baking soda and little the mix of vinegar and baking soda. Right away you’ll see and hear it fizzing and cackling as it starts to work at lifting the stain and smell from the carpet. It helps to rub in the baking soda with your hands or a brush to get it deep down into the carpet fibres.
Leave the baking soda on the carpet until it’s completely dry. This might take a day or two, or it could just be overnight, depending on how much of the water/vinegar solution you put.
Once it’s completely dry, vacuum the baking soda from the carpet and voila, your carpet is as good as new.
Pro Cleaner Tip: DO NOT use a steam cleaner
Avoid using a steam cleaner to clean pet stains. The heat actually bonds the protein from the urine into the carpet fibre, making the stain and smell virtually permanent. Go with a professional cleaner that will use a water extraction method to get your carpet clean.
Here’s another baking soda method that works well too. It uses 3% hydrogen peroxide and dish soap instead of vinegar. Some of our cleaners swear by it so I’ve decided to included it in here.
Just remember to test how your carpet reacts to hydrogen peroxide by applying a small amount to an area that won’t be seen. Also, do not use hydrogen peroxide over 3%.
- Pour enough baking soda to cover the stain.
- Mix a half cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a small amount of dish soap (about a teaspoon should do it).
- Pour the hydrogen peroxide and soap mixture over the baking soda and rub it into the stain.
- Leave overnight and pat dry and vacuum the next morning.
Note: Make sure to test the hydrogen peroxide on a hidden part of the carpet to check for discolouration. Only use 3% hydrogen peroxide because anything above 3% can cause discolouration and bleaching.
Related Articles & Resources:
Are there safe alternatives to disinfectants? via the David Suzuki Foundation
Are air fresheners bad for your health? via How Stuff Works
How to Remove Pet Stains and Odors via The Humane Society
Easy to Make DIY “Pupsicles” for Dogs via Scrubbi
Clean Carpet Pet Stains Naturally via The Bark
Do you know people who have a problem with getting their carpets and rugs clean? Make sure to share this post!
Scrubbi is a professional house cleaning company that cleans homes throughout Canada including Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa.