While you may have heard the cliche that dogs are a man's best friend, statistics confirm it. Between 38 percent and 48 percent of Americans have one or more dogs. Dog ownership has undeniable benefits, including reducing risk of depression, improving your physical health, and even preventing allergies.
But owning a dog also means facing this fact: healthy dogs pee and poo up five times each day. If it ends up on your floor, the best-case-scenario poop can just be picked up, bagged for the trash, cleaned up, and forgotten about.
But what about the unfortuate accidents that end up in your house?
Just like human poop, all that dog poop is full of nasty bacteria, and potentially even parasites. If you don't clean up dog poop outside, it can lead to algae blooms. If you don't clean it up inside, you will either own a stinky house or potentially lose your pet deposit if you're renting. To help pet owners get a handle on pet stains and the odors that come with them, we asked cleaning experts for advice. Here's what they said:
"The best advice is to handle pet messes as soon as possible," says Melissa Witulski, a home-cleaning expert at Merry Maids. "The longer they sit, the harder they are to remove."
When cleaning up your dog's accidents, "Along with the stains, you have to think about removing the smell and stains too," says Dean Davies, Cleaning Supervisor at Fantastic Services. "For pet urine,you can try removing the pee stains using detergent, vinegar, and water.
Davies adds, "Make sure you test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first." Starting with a small dab in an out-of-the-way area makes sure that you aren't making a bigger problem trying to tidy-up.
"Use baking soda to clean their ‘gifts’ on the carpet; poop is sometimes hard to clean," suggests Abe Navas, the General Manager of Emily's Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas. "Baking soda will make it a breeze. You simply put a lot of baking soda on the poop, and you remove it from the carpet. It will eliminate the odor and make the scrubbing so much easier."
Melissa Witulski is a home-cleaning expert at Merry Maids. She shares this tried-and-true method for cleaning up pet stains:
"Things you need: towel or absorbent rags, bacteria/enzyme digester, plastic wrap, vinegar, water
Urine has probably penetrated the carpet and pad, so use enough solution to reach as far down as the stain. Once the solution is applied, put plastic over it, and step on the spot several times until the area is well saturated. Then, leave the plastic on the whole time the digester is working to make sure the spot doesn't dry out.
To neutralize stain odors, mix a solution of one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Rinse the area with this solution and apply a fresh batch of bacteria/enzyme solution."
Club soda can work wonders when it comes to cleaning up your pet's leftovers.
Sarah Brunette, Brand Director of Molly Maid, suggests club soda for liquid stains as well:
What about saving your hard floors from pet stains and the bacteria that come with them? "When removing pet stains from hard surface floors, wear gloves," advises Witulski.
"The same solution may be used on upholstery," she says, "blot the stain using a clean side of cloth until cloth remains clean.
"While only a professional cleaning by a trained specialist can completely remove stains, undesirable odors, pet dander, entrenched allergens, bacteria and other things hiding in your carpet," White advises, there are still a few things to keep in mind when DIYing your own carpet stain removal. This general advice should help you to make sure that the process is as easy as possible, while preserving your floors, rugs, and upholstery.