Pets are one of flooring’s worst enemies, and carpet is one of the most susceptible types of flooring to pet damage. Carpet’s absorbent nature makes it vulnerable to toilet-training accidents. Sharp claws can also damage the carpet’s fibers.
Removing Pet Stains from Carpet
If your pet has a toilet accident on the carpet, it can cause numerous problems. With wet stains, moisture sinks into the fibers. If you can’t get it dry, it may become absorbed into the pad beneath the carpet.
Although the moisture from one accident shouldn’t cause too many issues, the ammonia from the urine can create complications. As the moisture evaporates, it leaves behind this noxious chemical, which can emit lingering odors. The smell tells your pet that the spot is an ideal location for future elimination. Therefore, it’s important to clean and dry the area thoroughly.
When pets continue to soil the same area, the moisture will likely seep through the carpet and carpet pad, leaching into the subfloor. Once it penetrates this layer, it is very difficult to remedy.
Even if you dry the spot adequately, you might have trouble eliminating the odor. Urine salts that remain in and underneath the carpet absorb moisture from the air. As that moisture evaporates, ammonia gas emanates from it, causing a noxious scent.
Therefore, it’s vital to clean the area thoroughly, dry it out properly and eliminate stains and rings.
Dealing With Wet Stains
It’s essential to attend to a urine stain as soon as possible. As urine interacts with the oxygen in the air, it can stain the carpet fibers. This color change may become permanent if it is not cleaned immediately.
Take the following steps to handle pet stains quickly:
- Soak up the excess liquid by blotting the carpet with a clean, absorbent cloth.
- Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts hot water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the soiled area with the solution.
- Blot with a damp rag.
- Use a dry cloth to remove all traces of moisture from the carpet.
If the urine hasn’t saturated the base of the carpet, don’t introduce too much water when cleaning. You don’t want to push the urine salts into the fibers. Instead, blot as you go. Consider aiming a fan at the spot to dry it completely once you have removed all of the urine.
Odors can set in when urine compounds become trapped beneath the carpet. If you have lingering odor or moisture problems from your pet’s accidents, you may need to replace the carpet pad.
This is a more complex solution that requires the following steps:
- Pull up the affected area of carpet.
- Cut out the soiled pad.
- Place an absorbent cloth under the affected area of carpet.
- Lay the carpet back down.
- Slowly pour boiling water through the damaged spot on the carpet without saturating it too much.
- Blot the excess moisture from above.
- Lift the carpet again and clean the underside.
- Treat the carpet and underlayment with an enzyme cleaner.
- After the carpet and flooring dry, replace the carpet pad
- Re-stretch the carpet.
In extreme cases, the urine may saturate the underlayment. If it is completely dry, you may wish to apply an odor barrier to prevent any lingering scents from making their way into your space. You should replace the underlayment if it shows signs of rot or mold growth.
Some pet accidents are messier than others, creating unsightly stains. When cleaning up after your pet, remove solid messes without pushing them into the fibers. After you have removed as much waste as possible, use the following methods to eliminate stains:
- Sprinkle baking soda on the stained area.
- Spray the spot with a solution of 50:50 vinegar and water.
- It will become foamy; allow the solution to sit for 15 minutes.
- Blot the area with a damp cloth until you have removed all traces of baking soda.
- Dry the carpet with an absorbent towel.
Fixing Snagged Fibers
Cats are notorious for using carpets as scratching pads. Dogs with long nails can snag the fibers as they run and play. It’s frustrating when you notice that a patch of carpet looks rough. If the problem is serious, you’ll notice long, floss-like strands emanating from the pile.
Here are some methods for fixing a snagged carpet:
- If one or two loops stand taller than the rest of the carpet but are still intact, try pushing them down at the base using a narrow tool, like a screwdriver. Use a small dab of hot glue to keep them in place.
- If a loop has become torn and is sticking straight out of the pile, trim it flush with the rest of the carpet using sharp scissors.
- If the damage is extensive and long, plastic-like threads are dangling out of the carpet, you may need to patch the rug. Trim the strands or the time being, and follow the instructions in the next section for patching the area.
Sometimes, the snag occurs at the seam. You should be able to correct it by following these guidelines for hiding carpet seams.
Repairing Pet-Related Holes in Carpets
When a pet has created more damage than a simple snag, you may need to patch a section of carpet. Installers often leave behind scraps for this purpose.
- Using a sharp utility knife, cut away the damaged part of the carpet.
- Place the section that you removed on a piece of paper or newsprint. Alternatively, you can place it on the missing section of carpet.
- Trace the edges of the area that needs to be repaired.
- Cut out the template. Place it on the new carpet, and trace around the edges.
- Cut the new carpet to the correct shape.
- Clean the area beneath the carpet, if necessary.
- Apply double-sided carpet tape to the underlayment, and adhere the new carpet segment to it.
Dos and Don’ts for How to Repair Carpet Damage by Pets
As you tackle the job of repairing pet-related carpet damage, follow the guidelines below for the best results.
- Vacuum after cleaning and drying the carpet to remove lingering soil or cleaning product
- Vacuum before cleaning dried pet stains to remove solid waste
- Rub the carpet gently, using linear movements, for stubborn stains
- Use enzyme cleaners to combat the compounds in pet fluids that cause odors
- Consider installing carpet tiles, which can be replaced easily if they become soiled
- Provide scratching posts for cats so that they don’t claw the carpet
- Place something heavy over the towel that you use to blot the carpet dry
- Use a steam cleaner — Heat sets the stain and locks in odors
- Scrub the carpet with too much pressure to avoid damaging the nap
- Soak the carpet with water unless you’re lifting it and can dry the area underneath
- Use commercial spot removal products that are not intended for pets. These may lock in the stain, making it permanent.
- Use a carpet cleaner until you have blotted away as much of the mess as possible
Sometimes, old pet stains can reappear even though you have cleaned them. This usually happens because some of the liquid or mess became trapped in the lower fibers or pad of the carpet. In these cases, it’s best to replace the carpet or repair that section. If you have pets, you might think about replacing your carpet with an easy-to-clean, water-resistant flooring, such as laminate or tile.