How To Remove Pet Stains From Carpet

One easy way to remove pet stains on carpet is with white vinegar and baking soda.

I learned how to remove pet stains from carpet from an OGT reader named Shauna, who wrote in to tell me about a simple carpet cleaning method that sounded almost too good to be true! Luckily for all of us pet owners, her method turned out to be every bit as effective at removing pet odors and stains as she claimed, and I’m happy to have gotten her blessing to pass this tip on to all of you!

I now consider this pet stain tip to be one of the best stain removal tips in my arsenal, and you only need baking soda and vinegar to do it! Cleaning with baking soda and vinegar can be highly effective in the certain situations, and now I know that tackling pet waste stains is one of them. (To remove blood stains, reach for your hydrogen peroxide instead!)

And this method doesn’t just work on standard pee stains — it even removed the stain and odor of the highly concentrated doe urine we used in the photos throughout this post. (We didn’t have any pet stains sitting around waiting to be addressed, so we had to get creative!)

With as well as this tip worked on a pungent, dark-colored doe urine stain, you should have no trouble using it to get dog pee (or cat pee) out of carpet or upholstery!

Using vinegar and baking soda is the easiest way I know of to remove pet stains.

How To Remove Pet Stains From Carpet

You’ll need:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Large dish
Step one in pet stain remover is to saturate the dog pee on the carpet with white vinegar.

Directions:

Step 1 – Saturate The Stain With Vinegar

Start by blotting the spot with a towel or thick layer of paper towels to absorb as much of the urine or waste as possible. Next, pour enough white vinegar on the stain to saturate it, but not so much that your carpet is sopping wet.

Pet Stain Remedy step 2: sprinkle baking soda generously over the vinegar on the carpet dog pee stain.

Step 2 – Sprinkle The Spot With Baking Soda

Next, sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda over the area. You’ll hear it start to fizz, signaling that the baking soda and vinegar reaction is starting to lift the stain and odor out of the fibers of your carpet.

Step 3 in pet stain removal is to cover the stain and wait until the vinegar and baking soda have dried.

Step 3 – Wait For The Area To Dry

The next step is simple: just wait until the area dries. It may take a day or two for the baking soda to absorb the stain and dry out, so I recommend covering the area with a large dish to prevent anyone from stepping in it (and to remind you to come back to it later!)

Once the vinegar and soda have dried, you should be able to vacuum up the pet stain remover and your carpet is clean!

Step 4 – Vacuum It Up

Once the spot is completely dry, scoop as much of the hardened baking soda as you can into a dustpan and discard it. Finally, go over the area with your vacuum to pick up any remaining waste and baking soda, and the previously stained area will be looking and smelling fresh and clean!

These before and after photos show jow well this technique works to remove pet stains.

More Tips For Cleaning Pet Stains

Use An Enzyme Cleaner For Stubborn Pet Odors

If you’re trying to get cat pee and odor out of your rug or carpet fibers and it’s proving difficult to remove, you may have more luck using an enzymatic cleaner or diluted vinegar solution. 

How To Get Old Pet Stains Out Of Carpet

Generally speaking, waiting too long to tackle a stain is one of the biggest stain removal mistakes you can make. But if you just weren’t able to get to a stain promptly, or maybe you inherited a stained carpet, getting out old stains is still possible! Try my carpet stain remover recipe, or my method for getting tough stains out of carpet using ammonia and an iron.  

I’ve also found that Folex, the highest rated stain remover on Amazon, can be extremely effective against old stains of many varieties, including pet urine stains. I’ve also gotten great results with my Ultimate Stain Remover Spray, which works well on old oil stains and organic stains. But the vinegar and baking soda trick is still my go-to pet stain remover, not least because I always have vinegar and baking soda in the house, especially since vinegar never expires — I buy it in gallon jugs!

Who knew it was so easy to remove pet stains? This little guy loves the vinegar and baking soda pet stain remover.

How To Get Rid Of Pet Stains On Hardwood Floors

Sealed Wood Flooring

I wouldn’t advise using undiluted vinegar on hardwood floors — instead, use a diluted vinegar solution. Add 1 part water and 1 part vinegar to a spray bottle, then use it to wipe down the area. If that doesn’t eliminate the odor entirely, clean the area again using a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts cool water.

Don’t attempt to use a steam cleaner, which could set the stain and odor. 

Unsealed Wood Flooring

Removing dog or cat urine from old, unsealed wood flooring will likely require some time and attention. Start by blotting the stain with cold water, then scrub the area with white vinegar and rinse with more cold water. Blot the area with a towel until it feels dry, and avoid leaving the vinegar on the wood for too long.

An enzymatic cleaner may help neutralize the odor, but do be aware that enzymes could damage or discolor unsealed floors. I recommend testing the enzyme cleaner in a small, hidden area first to see how your floor reacts before using it on a larger area. 

If the stain and odor are still present after you’ve taken these measures, the urine may have soaked into the wood, in which case you may have to sand down the area to remove the stain and odor completely. (This is why it’s absolutely worth it to have wood floors professionally sealed!)

Do you have any pet stain tips to share?

Pet Stain Remedy

How To Remove Pet Stains From Carpet

Jill Nystul
Removing pet stains from carpet has never been easier — and all you need is a bit of vinegar and baking soda!
5 from 1 vote
Active Time 5 minutes
Waiting Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 5 minutes

Equipment

  • Large dish
  • Dust pan
  • Vacuum

Ingredients
  

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda

Instructions
 

  • Pour white vinegar directly onto the stain until saturated.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar.
  • Cover the area with a large dish and let it sit, undisturbed, until completely dry (which could take a day or two).
  • Scoop up the baking soda with a dust pan and discard.
  • Vacuum the area to leave your carpet clean and fresh (and most importantly, stain free!)

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • Just don’t mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together!

    Mixing vinegar and hydrogen peroxide makes peracetic acid, which is corosive to skin, lungs, eyes, nose, throat, etc.

  • Ok, I know this is an older post, but here goes: My beloved male Boxer puppy (3 yrs old and knows better!) has decided that it is a good idea to piss on the side of my leather sectional down to the carpet. He does that when I go someplace without him to get even with me. Last night, I walked out to take him and his brother (another male Boxer, 8 yrs old) outside and stepped in one of his “gifts” to me. I cleaned it up, I cleaned up the pee on the side of the couch and carpet, it still stinks. I used vinegar and dawn and it still smells. Will the vinegar and baking soda clean up the huge pee stain by my couch? I think by this time, it has gone down to the padding. We rent our house and I haven’t told my hubby about it yet, because he makes noise about taking my baby to the pound. Ugh! Such drama! I am going to try the baking soda and vinegar. I love your tips! Thank you.

    Debby

  • can baking soda and distilled white vinegar be mixed in a spray bottle and used in the liquid form to spray on a clean rug and the vacuumed up to remove any remaining odors

  • This worked like magic! My cat used to leave little presents behind her door so they would smear across the carpet when you opened it (gross I know!). I’ve used multiple pet cleaners but there was still a stain. I let this sit for two days and scooped up the baking soda with a spoon. The soda was still damp so I couldn’t vacuum the rest. I wiped it with a wet rag & it came right off. Stain was gone! This is amazing- thank you!

  • Help please! I have a chihuahua and a million small pee spots (she IS house broken but I recently went back to work and often leave for work before my teenagers are up for school! I am about 99% sure my kids are not crating her before they leave for school OR when they are home delay in walking her…..NOT happy about that and sorry to go off on a parental tangent! Needless do say, I paid for carpet cleaning services and I think it helped some, but because the urine stains are old (mixed with some newer ones), and likely down to the pad, it is still an issue. Also, I notice when it rains and is humid out, the odor comes out strong again. I have scrubbed on my hands and knees with Pet strength resolve and oxy clean commercial cleaners. I am reluctant to try vinegar or peroxide since I rent, and don’t know it will make it worse. Can you recommend a modified technique for all these many chihuahua sized pee spots? Thanks!

  • Hi! Thanks so much for the recipe. Question, though. I’ve used heavy duty Resolve Pet Stain Remover twice and I am still smelling the urine. The carpet looks fine, but jeez, that smell! Can I still do the vinegar+baking soda trick AFTER the Resolve? Thank you SO much!

  • I have wood flooring throughout my downstairs but have a very large thick cream wool rug. i also have 2 dogs. I mop everyday however find the rug smells . It was expensive and we have bought a few now. I was wandering if anyone as any ideas how to get the smell out? its too big to keep getting dry cleaned.!
    Be nice to have it smelling brand new again. would the vinegar and baking soda work ?

    • This is more of a spot treatment – I wouldn’t use it for the whole rug. Instead, you could sprinkle the rug with baking soda, let it sit for an hour or two, and then vacuum. Baking soda is a great odor absorber!

  • I had a stain on my fabric car seat. We bought it used, so I had no idea what it was from. I tried this on it and worked great. I did it twice and most of it is gone now. This was the easiest cleaning I’ve ever done and actually fun too. As soon as I sprinkled the baking soda on and it was bubbling up, you could see it turn brownish. I only wish I had taken pictures. I love your cleaning tips and really appreciate that they are environmentally sound too. Thanks for all your great advice!

  • I read your article about using vinegar/ baking soda to remove dog urine / stains on rugs .
    I have been trying to help out someone who has ALOT of dog urine stains ( that has been there for YEARS .. on wool carpet) Has anyone else had this same situation & it worked ? Tearing out the carpet isn’t an option for them at this time .
    Thanks
    Deb

  • I tried this using my bisell extractor. After 2 hours of working on the stains, most of it was up, but I could still see the stain. Then I used Oxy Clean and it helped a bit, so I used it a second time and the stains are now barely visible. I think for the Oxy Clean to work, the stain has to be mostly out, so I think using the method outlined here first is best and then finishing with the Oxy Clean.

  • Great tips! I always trust my carpet for messes like this but these tips will save me in a bind because my dog is always making messes on the carpet! Thanks!

  • And then follow up with a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide to take care of the odor and the bacteria left behind. In all the years I have used H2O2, I have found it only stained one thing, a 100% cotton pair of capri pants that then went to a lovely yellow. MOST of the time, it will not effect whites and will never effect colors.

  • I’m wanting to know the same as Robin A.: does this vinegar/baking soda work on OLD SET-IN STAINS? I have a few of those from Lucy’s potting training days. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.

  • I use vinegar on all stains on my carpets. Just wet it good be it coffee, coke, soup, etc. and even dog vomit, soak it and lay a white towel over with heavy object on top (I usually put the big bottle of vinegar on it and let it sit overnight. You could come to my house and see a towel and vinegar bottle sitting around often (my husband is a spot “finder”),

    • It works either way! It’s always best to get to stains as quickly as you can, but this method will still work surprising well on set-in stains. :-)

  • I used to have a cat. This method worked a lot of the time. I would also sometimes use a bottle of club soda too. A lot of the hairballs I could clean up just using baby wipes. I would also keep a can of spot shot carpet spray for the hard. to remove stains.

  • I have three cats and beige carpeting in the bedrooms. For some reason, they run to the rug when they have a hairball. Ugh! I have used this method at least three times and it does get rid of the pet stains. However, there are three white spots on the carpet. (I hope to replace the carpeting with hardwood so I continue to use this method because it works.) Be sure to test it in an inconspicuous spot because it will bleach the area.

    • I have had that problem too. only it isn’t bleached out. I had to buy a rug cleaner. one that squirts on water and sucks it up. when my dog got very old and got sick all over my carpet I had these huge white spots everywhere. that rug shampooer cleaned those white spots right up. I think it was just where the baking soda dried in the carpet fibers. my rug is almost as good as new. it is 15 years old so as good as an old carpet can look

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