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When Pets Go Potty Indoors: Chemical Free Rug Cleaning

Posted on May 21, 2015 by | Comments Off

Credit: Sommer Poquette

Credit: Sommer Poquette

Anyone with a new puppy understands how frustrating it is when they “mark their spot” on your nice living room carpet or a favorite indoor rug. It seems like it only takes a matter of minutes for this furry bundle of joy to have an accident, even after you’ve just let it outside.

The odor left from the first accident attracts the puppy to return, again-and-again, creating a vicious cycle unless the odor is eliminated. A pet owner can spend lots of money buying over-the-counter pet products that promise to eliminate odor and remove stains. Some work and others do not, and many of these products have harmful chemical ingredients that aren’t good for your home, your new puppy or your carpet. If you’re not sure which cleaners are safe to use around children and animals, visit The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit focused on the environment and public health.  They have a great green cleaning guide on cleaning floors!  

Avoid products that contain sodium salts (they affect the endocrine and reproductive systems) and nearly anything that starts with the prefix “methyl”—read: potentially toxic! Instead, look for products with active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, essential oils and citric acid.

If that sounds too simple to be worth paying for, you may be right! A great alternative that saves time and money is to make your own DIY cleaner. You won’t have to worry about chemicals that can provoke asthma and impact the air quality of your home. The last thing you want to do is make your new puppy—or your children—sick! 

By taking these simple steps you will help to eliminate odors, stains and help stop your puppy from returning to the same spot on your beloved indoor rug. No conventional cleaners needed!

  1. Immediately soak the urine with a dry cloth. Press down with force to soak as much of the wetness up as possible.
  2. With clean hot water, blot the spot with water to dilute any remaining urine
  3. Make a 50/50 vinegar and water mixture in a clean spray bottle. Spray the spot where the puppy urinated but do not soak the area. This helps to neutralize the odor
  4. Sprinkle generously with cornstarch to naturally soak up the wetness. This even helps if the urine leaked into the padding of the carpet
  5. Cover the area with a chair or box to mark the area. Let the area dry for 24 hours
  6. After 24 hours, vacuum the cornstarch. For an extra measure, sprinkle the area with baking soda and vacuum again.

You’ll notice that after you vacuum, the area is dry, it is not stained and there is no smell. No expensive cleaners and unnecessary chemicals are needed.

If your pup is taking their stains beyond “level #1,” it’s also important not to simply haul the carpet outside and dump waste into the yard. Feces left in the yard will end up washing away into storm drains, causing bacteria to flourish in nearby waterways (and potentially closing them for your summer swim!). Take the pledge to always scoop the poop!

Likewise, if you go the extra step and rent a carpet steam cleaner, make your own cleaning fluid by mixing one part water with one part white vinegar, plus a few drops of natural dish soap. This can be safely washed down the drain, rather than a commercial chemical solution that may not be completely broken down by a typical wastewater treatment plant.

Good luck with your puppy training! Hopefully this easy step-by-step cleaning and DIY recipe will help make your home smell better and save your indoor rug from any more accidents.

Guest post submitted by Sommer Poquette of Green and Clean Mom. Sommer writes on environmentally friendly home-cleaning solutions for The Home Depot

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