How To Get Rid of Pet Stains On Carpet

removing pet stains

Several months ago a reader shared a tip in the “One Good Thing By You” Contest that at the time I thought was BRILLIANT…but not one I could personally use. It was her tried-and-true method for dealing with Pet Stains (or as she so adorably referred to them…Pet Potty Spots!)


While I don’t have a dog myself, No. 1 son (Erik) and his wife Kaitlyn have a boxer named Milo that we were dog-sitting for over Christmas. He’s not quite a year yet and while he’s completely trained when he’s at THEIR house…at OURS he got a little confused and accidentally left us with a “pet potty spot” on our carpet. That was over a month ago and while I tried to clean it up the best I knew how at the time, over time it has continued to get darker and darker and to bug me more and more. That’s when I was reminded of Shauna’s great tip and decided to give it a try!

All I can say is….WOW! It literally worked its’ “magic” right before my eyes!

Here is how it works….in Shauna’s own words:

“My best tip is for pet potty spots on the carpet. I use good old vinegar and baking soda. The steps are the important part. Pour enough vinegar to soak the stain and THEN add a small amount of baking soda. If you do the reverse, you will have a noisy, bubbly mess. Do it the right way, and you can hear the recipe cackling away, telling you how it is cleaning and deodorizing without leaving any residue. You need to let the spot dry for a day or two before sweeping up and then vacuuming. We cover the spot with a bowl or plate so that we don’t have baking soda kicked from heck to breakfast. You can actually see the yellow color being absorbed up into your little mountain of baking soda. Works on old stains too! Boo yaaaaaah!”


removing pet stains

I can personally vouch for every claim in Shauna’s tip! This method worked SO well and was SO easy! No rubbing, scrubbing or blotting necessary.  Just pour on the vinegar, sprinkle on the baking soda, and WAIT!  You literally see the yellow “potty spot” start to be absorbed by the baking soda. It’s crazy! (And kind of gross!)

removing pet stains

I did my very best to show the difference in the before and after pictures…but unfortunately (and FORTUNATELY!) our berber carpet is pretty good as disguising stains in general! But hopefully you get the idea. Plus, it’s impossible to deny that the stain is being removed from the carpet just by looking at the color of the once white baking soda!

removing pet stains

So dog owners, cat owners and grandparents of dog & cat owners REJOICE! Now you know a simple and EFFECTIVE way to clean those pet potty spots! Now go and SPREAD THE GOOD WORD! :-)


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    • says

      It works so well in fact, that I had big white spots of “clean” in my older carpet. When we shampooed I figured what the heck and sprayed hydrogen peroxide and water over the whole traffic pattern area. At least the white spots blend a bit now. Not sure if it’s taking the color out or not, but it looks better. Ohhh, the challenges of having an elderly but much loved pet.

    • Jo-Anne says

      I tried this method, didn’t work for me but I will definately try the vinegar and baking


  1. says

    Thanks for posting this! We had a friend visit with her dog this summer and the dog peed on our basement carpet, which is white. I did my best to clean it but over time the stains show more and more. It’s driving me nuts. I will definitely be giving this method a try!

  2. Caty says

    Great idea! Any idea if the spots still show up under a black light after this baking soda and vinegar process? I’m going to have to buy industrial sizes of each, to get all my old stains out. LOL.

  3. says

    Our pup is 5 years gone but her stains live on. (I have a feeling she laughed and pointed when we found some of her “gifts”) There’s one in my studio that seriously bothers me. I’m hoping this works because nothing else has!

  4. Marcia K says

    I just have the pee pee puppy, and couldn’t stand the smell of the pee pee any more. I had researched how to get the smell out of my carpet. I had already steam cleaned my carpet with the pet odor version of steam cleaner and they still smelled. UGH. I was desperate. I put vinegar in my shampoo dispenser and hot water in my regular water dispenser, just yesterday, and “shampooed” again.. OH MY GOODNESS… The smell is GONE!!! YAY

  5. Terri says

    @Morwenna–let us know how it works. I have OLD stains that I’d like to get out, but our carpet cleaning guy told us the same thing–they’re there until I REPLACE the carpet. It’s a nice berber carpet like Jillee’s and I suppose most people don’t see the spots, but I do. Some days I feel like the spots have got neon signs spelling out “ha ha! We’re still here!”

    • Brenda says

      Hilarious! Some days I feel like my floors would have more dishes over the spots, than I have in my kitchen cabinets. Our 4 pound Maltese “Biscuit” thinks he has done us a favor, by not making us go outside into the cold with him and he has certain rooms that he loves more than others. Unfortunately, those hiding places are the rooms with carpet. I will certainly try this as soon as I get home today. Btw, Jillee, I LOVE your website and look for my newsletter from you before I read any of my other emails. Lots of great info!

  6. Morwenna says

    Going to try this out right now!! We had our carpets cleaned by a man with a van full of all kinds of carpet cleaning contraptions and he told us we will never get those stains out. Will have to take before and after photos too… Thanks for sharing :)

    • Bob says

      If the urine spots look like bleach spots no they will not come out, the colors of the carpet were bleached by the urine. The acid in the urine is what bleached it.

    • says

      It works!!!! It got the stains up, the only thing that I had trouble with the baking soda caked up around the edges. I had to use a brush and water to get it up. I will be using the method again, Thank you so much for posting it!

      • angela rimmer says

        I tried this on an old piece of carpet that had been used as a front door mat many years before we brought our house it worked a treat but unfortunatly it bleached it so it is just as well I didnt use it on my main carpet

      • Bob says

        That mixture cannot bleach your carpet, It was the urine, Urine is a acid base that can & will bleach out the carpet.

      • Becca says

        The same happened to us. :-( It wasn’t urine, but throw up (bile) from our lab. I’ve heard of this happening if you leave mixture on the surface for too long. I knew this, but still took a chance.

    • Sasha says

      Anyone who reads this article and thinks it is a good idea, STOP!!!!! This is one of the worst things you can ever do to your carpet and to your pet. There are so many things just wrong with this.

      1) You might discolor your carpet – baking soda & vinegar. Think about it. It’s a paste that can interact with the chemistry of the carpet. Don’t believe me? Start reading through the comments. There are some people who say it works, but do you want to be one of the readers who was left with ruined carpet?

      2) Vinegar can direct your pet (cat, dog or rabbit), to pee in the spot where it was used. Don’t believe me? Read the human society’s website. If you put vinegar down, you are just going to have more accidents from your pet going in that spot.

      3) You might be treating a surface stain, but this does nothing to clean the padding. That’s where the odor comes from. That’s where bacteria grows. You have to kill what’s in the padding to make the carpet clean and to stop it from smelling.

      I strongly advise that if you are contemplating the above instructions you stop. There are cleaners that can remove the stains and smell without you having to play laboratory and creating things that can ruin your home. My choice of cleaner for pet stains is Genesis 950. Cleans better then anything I have tried . . . and I have been through a lot of different products. But even if you don’t use that, use anything . . . just don’t do the vinegar/baking soda thing.

      • Christina says

        Vinegar is actually a very good disinfectant. And IMO, I find using two household items less like “playing laboratory” than using chemical-laden cleaners.

      • says

        Dear Sasha, I think you have vinegar , ammonia and peroxide mixed up, distilled white vinegar is less apt to discolor a carpet than peroxide. tha’ts why you test a small inconpicuous spot of your carpet before you go gung-ho all over. you also have vinegar confused with ammonia , ammonia is what calls them back. if you paid attention to what you were reading then you would have seen that those who had repeat offences used ammonia. And the discolored carpet they used peroxide. I have even used white vinegar in my towels before and colored ones at that. And ammonia and peroxide need to be diluted with equal parts water not used full strength.

      • Sarah says

        I always used vinegar to neutralize a fresh pee spot when ‘accidents’ happen in the house. I have also used vinegar to set colour when dying cloth. :-)

      • Marissa says

        Unfortunately, I followed up on he humane society page as the commenter suggested and it quoted both vinegar and ammonia as “bad”.
        So, while the method may reduce or eliminate human perceived stains ans smells, MrDoggie is not fooled and may choose to remark the spot, again, and again, and again.
        search ‘ humane society vinegar’ on google

      • Marissa says

        On theartofdoingstuff blog there is a recipe for a DIY enzyme cleaner which is all natural. This targets the smells which your dog perceives and attracts him to former pee spots. Maybe between this and that a total solution can be reached.