Today’s post is from Bailey Harris, who writes about homeowners insurance for www.homeownersinsurance.org. There are a great many topics covered over there, and you should saunter over there (if sauntering is an option with your browser, of course) to see what I mean. But, not before you read Bailey’s piece about a common problem that arises when those of the canine and feline persuasion meet your carpeting; stains! What do you do about them? Take a look.
Removing pet stains and odors from carpeting can be a difficult task. If you skip a step or do something wrong, you may never be able to completely remedy the mistake. But if you go about it the right way the first time, your chances of success are greatly improved. Most pet stains–old or new–can be removed in four easy steps.
Find the Stain
New pet stains are relatively easy to spot on carpet, but old pet stains can be more troublesome. To make sure you aren’t missing anything, it is a good idea to shut off all of the lights and scan the carpet with a handheld black light. This will expose even the smallest of stains.
Rinse the Stain
Although it may be tempting to immediately use a cleaning solution on a pet stain, it is better to rinse the area with clean water first. This is true of both old stains and new stains. The water should be cool, not hot. Using hot water or a steam cleaner on the area will set the stain and may even make it impossible to remove later on. After rinsing both the carpet and the underlying padding thoroughly, use a wet vac or extracting machine to remove as much of the water as possible. If you do not have access to one of these tools, you can blot the area repeatedly with paper towels or a clean, dry cloth.
Neutralize the Odor
After rinsing and drying the area thoroughly, there may or may not be a lingering odor of pet urine. Either way, you should use an enzymatic based product to neutralize the odor. Your pet will be able to smell the old stain–even if you can’t. If the odor is not removed properly, your pet will likely sniff out the spot and soil it again.
You can purchase odor neutralizers from pet stores. They may also be available at your local hardware. It is a good idea to test the neutralizer on an inconspicuous piece of carpeting before using it on the stain. You will also want to follow the manufacturer’s directions on the container for best results.
Use a Stain Remover
If a stain is still visible after all of the rinsing, drying, and neutralizing, you may need to use a quality carpet stain remover. You should avoid using homemade solutions with vinegar or ammonia, as these may intensify the scent of urine and encourage your pet to mark the area again.
Remove and Replace
If all of the above steps fail to banish an old pet stain or odor, you may need to consider removing and replacing the affected portion of the carpet. Should it come to this, be sure to check both the padding and the subflooring beneath the carpeting. These items may also need to be removed and replaced to completely correct the problem.