How to Clean Pet Stains From Carpet

3 Ways to Clean Pet Stains on Carpet

The Spruce / Xiaojie Liu

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to 25

When you have a furry friend living with you, accidents can happen. If you're dealing with a pet stain on your carpet—urine, poop, or vomit—a combination of immediate action and deep cleansing can typically restore the carpet to pristine condition. Even if you don't notice a stain until it has dried and set into the carpet, there are still ways to clean the area. When cleaning pet stains on carpet, never use harsh chemical cleaners that have a strong, caustic smell. They rarely remove the odor from the carpet fibers and might actually cause pets to want to mark the spot again. Instead, there are several nontoxic homemade cleaning products that can tackle pet stains.

The following tips will help you to neutralize the odor and remove the stain. Unless all traces of the accident are removed, your pet might continue to relieve itself on the same spot. All of these carpet-cleaning processes can be repeated as many times as necessary to get the job done.

 Stain type  Protein-based
 Water Temperature  Room temperature

Before You Begin

The site of a pet accident often will be fairly apparent visually. If not, you can typically locate the affected area by smell. If both of these processes fail, you can use a black light to detect areas where accidents have occurred. Unless you remove all traces of the stain, your pet might continue to use that spot to relieve itself.  

If you spot the accident while the area is still wet, then immediately try to soak up as much of the moisture as possible. The more liquid you can get up before it dries, the easier and more successful the entire process will be.

  1. If there are pieces of vomit or feces, use a plastic bag to pick them up off the carpet, being careful not to further embed anything into the fibers. Work especially fast with vomit because the acid in vomit can quickly discolor carpet fibers. 
  2. Drop paper towels onto the affected area, and firmly blot the carpet. Rags can be used for this as well, as long as you later sanitize them in the wash.
  3. Remove the paper towels. Then, put a fresh set down, and press firmly once more. Repeat this process until a dry paper towel is no longer picking up much moisture.
  4. Place a final layer of paper towels over the stain, and apply heavy foot pressure for at least a minute. (Make sure you are wearing shoes for this!)
  5. Remove the paper towels. Now, you are ready to apply a cleaning solution to lift the stain and odor.
blotting carpet with paper towels

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spray bottle
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet cleaner machine (Optional)


  • Paper towels
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Hydrogen peroxide (Optional)
  • Baking soda (Optional)
  • Liquid dishwashing soap (Optional)
  • Carpet cleaner shampoo (Optional)


Remove Pet Stains With Vinegar

  1. Mix Ingredients

    Mix a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% lukewarm water in a clean, empty spray bottle. The vinegar will act to neutralize the stain and eliminate much of the odor. Make enough solution so you'll be able to thoroughly soak the pet-stained section of carpet.

  2. Spray the Stained Area

    Apply the solution liberally to the stain. Spray enough so that it soaks down into the carpet and the pad underneath.


    If treating a pet stain on an area rug that's over a wood floor, move the area rug off the wood before saturating the stained area with liquid.

  3. Scrub the Stained Area

    Work the solution thoroughly into the stained carpet fibers. Use a soft-bristle brush to prevent damage to the fibers. An old toothbrush is good for small spots, but you'll want a larger brush if the pet stain is extensive.

  4. Blot Dry

    Blot the area dry with a clean cloth or paper towels. Allow an area rug to dry completely before laying it flat on a wooden floor.

spraying the affected area on the carpet with vinegar

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Remove Pet Stains With Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

If there is still staining or an odor after cleaning with the vinegar solution, you can try a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. These products will break down the stain, kill bacteria, and absorb odors.


Before getting started, you might want to test this process on a small, discrete section of the carpet first to ensure that it won't discolor the fibers.

  1. Apply Baking Soda

    Sprinkle a generous handful of baking soda on the stained area, making sure it covers all the affected carpet fibers.

  2. Mix Your Solution

    Mix 1/2-cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups of water in a clean, empty spray bottle. You can also add a teaspoon of plain dishwashing detergent if you wish for extra cleaning power.

  3. Spray the Stain

    Spray this solution over the baking soda, saturating the area well. Be sure the entire stained area is covered with both baking soda and the spray solution. You'll see some bubbling action as the vinegar reacts with the baking soda. Again, if the stain is on an area rug over a wood floor, remember to lift the rug to prevent floor damage.

  4. Scrub the Stain

    Work the solution into the carpet using a soft-bristled brush. An old toothbrush is good for a small spot. Use a larger brush for more extensive stains.

  5. Let Dry Before Vacuuming

    Leave the solution to dry for an hour or two. Once it's dry, you should just see dry baking soda on the carpet. Vacuum up the baking soda.

spraying peroxide on the affected area

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Additional Tips for Cleaning Pet Stains From Carpets

If the stain persists despite cleaning with vinegar and the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda treatment, you may want to try using a carpet cleaning machine, which can be rented from most home improvement centers or even many grocery stores if you prefer not to purchase one, or don't already own such a device.

These machines forcefully flush the carpet with clean water, along with added detergent if you choose, and then vacuum out the resultant dirty water. This is particularly useful for pet stains, as the water can reach deep into the carpet fibers and then draw out any residual waste particles along with odor. However, when using this type of machine, it's best to clean all of the carpet in the room, rather than only the stain, as otherwise you could be left with a noticeably cleaner section of carpet than in the rest of the space.

Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for using the carpet cleaning machine. Generally, you'll need to hook it to your sink with the included water hose or fill a reservoir with clean water before getting started. Once the machine is prepared, you use it much like a regular vacuum cleaner, working your way in one direction and then the other across the entire area of carpet.

Let the carpet dry completely before walking on it or replacing moved furniture.


Never use a steam cleaner to deal with pet odors and stains. The heat from this process will set the stain on the carpet, making it permanent.