What to Do If Your Dog Poops on Your Carpet

Dogs are man’s best friend, but they’re no friend to carpets. Dogs bring in dirt and debris, and they can scratch carpeting to mark their territory. But that’s not the worst of it. Sometimes, no matter how well-intentioned, our beloved dog will poop on our carpeting. Whether that accident becomes a source of anguish or a mild inconvenience depends a lot on what you do to clean up the mess.

If you’ve been around dogs for a while, you know that not all dog poops are created equal: Some are firm, and easy to pick up; others are runny, and much more difficult to remove. When the poop is firm, it can be easily taken up and away. Simply turn a plastic bag inside out. Place your hand inside the bag. Grab the poop. Turn the bag right-side out, and then close to seal it.

When the poop is runny, things get more complicated. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to remove carpet spills or stains as quickly as possible; the goal is to keep the stain from setting and becoming more difficult to remove. Not so with runny poop.

In this case, the greatest concern isn’t that the stain will set – it’s getting as much poop out of the carpet as possible. As always, you’ll want to get to work quickly; but this clean-up will take an extra step or two. The first step is to scrape up the poop, working outside-in. When you can’t scrape away any more, leave the remaining poop to dry.

After the poop dries, resume scraping. When you’re again no longer able to free any poop, then it’s time to apply some cleaning solution.

A 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water can be very effective, whether the poop is firm or runny. The reason is simple: Vinegar is acidic. When combined with another acid, both vinegar and the other acid will dissolve away. Wet a white cloth with your vinegar solution, and gently dab the solution into the stained area. After a few minutes of dabbing, both the stain and the odor should have disappeared.

While vinegar is also effective at killing most bacteria, it isn’t completely effective at killing germs. You’ll want to have a more effective solution on hand. Both hydrogen peroxide and diluted bleach are more effective than vinegar when it comes to killing germs. But be careful: No matter the cleaning solution, make sure it won’t stain your carpet before applying it in a conspicuous area.

Some homeowners insist on arranging for a professional carpet cleaning after a dog poop. Chem-Dry, in particular, has very effective treatments for dealing with pet-related stains and odors. But if you work patiently and carefully to clean up dog poop, you may be able to forgo a visit from an expert – at least until your next scheduled cleaning.

If you find that poop stain or odor remains in your carpet, a professional cleaner should be able to resolve the issue, even if you’ve already tried and failed. Professionals have more powerful solutions and extraction equipment, and they can remove deeper stains than you can.