Carpet cleaning tips for cat and dog owners

When neutralizing pet odors in your carpet, be sure the cleaner penetrates through each layer. (Photo courtesy of Russell Hiner)

When neutralizing pet odors in your carpet, be sure the cleaner penetrates through each layer. (Photo courtesy of Russell Hiner)

Regular cleaning is the best way to keep a home fresh, hygienic and free of the odors, hairs and messes caused by your beloved pets. Follow these carpet care guidelines to clean and maintain the carpets in your home without banishing your cats or dogs to the backyard.

Removing dog or cat odors from the carpet

Most homeowners know that you should clean up a pet accident right after it happens to minimize lasting staining. But sometimes, that accident can leave a lingering odor in the carpet. One way to prevent this is to sprinkle a little white vinegar on the soiled area while cleaning up the mess. The vinegar helps neutralize any odors. 

If you still notice an odor after the vinegar dries, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on the soiled area, wait 15 minutes and then vacuum. Baking soda is a well-known deodorizer.

How to stop pets from making a mess on your carpet

One of the first things to do is to wipe your pet's paws after it comes in from outside. Having a doormat near all the entrances also helps reduce the amount of dirt a pet tracks onto the carpeting. 

Good house-training prevents dogs from making a mess. Taking the dog out regularly and on time also helps. For older dogs with incontinence issues, a doggy diaper can help. 

Cats are more difficult to train, but you can restrict a cat to an area of the home without carpeting. Keep things out of reach that a pet might consider a toy but which can make a mess, such as a fountain pen.

Tips for getting pet hair out of carpets

One method for removing pet hair from carpets is to fill a spray bottle with one part fabric softener and three parts water. Spray the carpet lightly and let it dry. Then vacuum the carpet. 

Another method is to start by vacuuming up as much pet hair as possible. Then dampen a sponge mop with a spray bottle of water. By mopping the carpet, the pet hair forms clumps that you can pick up with a paper towel or with a vacuum cleaner. 

You can also use a long-handled squeegee, a carpet rake or broom with plastic bristles to pull up the pet hair.

Best carpeting for pet owners

Carpeting comes in many colors and materials. It is often a good idea to choose a color that hides pet accidents, such as beige, brown or another dark color. 

Some carpeting fabrics are better for pet owners. Wool carpeting may be soft and comfortable for pets that spend a lot of time lying on the floor, but wool is also expensive and harder to make stain-resistant. Synthetic fibers, such as nylon, are inexpensive and stain-resistant. Using carpet tiles instead of one large piece of carpeting is also a good choice for pet owners. When an animal makes a mess that leaves a stain or odor you can't get out, you can just replace that section with a new carpet tile.

When to call in a professional cleaner

At some point, you may realize that the stain on your carpet isn't coming out. If the problem is in a noticeable area, call in a professional to clean your carpet. Check Angie's List to locate top quality carpet cleaners in your area. The site offers reviews from satisfied and not-so-satisfied customers. This information helps you to make a good choice in hiring the company that has experience in cleaning carpets stained and soiled by pets.



I bought a Pet Hair Magnet squeegee from Pet-Smart to help rid the carpet of my dog's hair from the carpet. I have back problems and kneeling down for long periods of time will only aggravate my back and make it hurt more. I wondered how much pressure to use to get the hair out of the carpet, whether light pressure of hard/firm pressure, and if it's light pressure could I just connect the squeegee to the end of a broom or another long handle to use it on the carpet. Please answer at you earliest convenience as I am moving soon and would like to get this issue taken care of asap. Thank you for your time and assistance with this matter.

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