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How to clean up dog poop in your home

The essentials

  • Poop happens — Remain calm, no matter how bad the poop-nado is. Most inside accidents are manageable with a prompt cleanup.
  • Pick the right cleaner— The solution you use will typically come down to the carpet or material type and your personal preference.
  • You may want to enlist help — While you can deal with most cleanups yourself, others may require professional help to ensure a thorough cleaning.

It’s fairly normal for dogs to have accidents, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a pleasant experience — especially when it happens all over your favorite rug or couch. The good news? You don’t have to panic. 

We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for the best techniques and products to cover messes on (nearly) all of your home’s surfaces.

Supplies for cleaning up dog poop

While no one wants their pet to have an accident inside, there’s no harm in having all the necessary tools on hand — just in case — so that they can be handled without delay. Here are some staples you’ll need:

  • Paper towels or a plastic bag. For solid waste, you’ll need something to use to remove and dispose of the feces. For liquid waste, scoop up what you can. The poop bags you use on walks can work for this!
  • Rubber gloves. Dog poop carries several types of microorganisms that can be harmful to humans. Protect yourself with gloves when you can.
  • Baking soda. An incredible scent neutralizer, baking soda helps deodorize pesky scents. You can find this for a few dollars at your local grocery store.
  • White vinegar. When it’s mixed with plain water, or with dish soap and water, white vinegar is a great stain remover. Any white vinegar from the grocery store will work.
  • Dish soap. Dish soap can clean mild stains and messes easily when it’s mixed with plain old water. This fix is accessible, cheap, and reliable for most pet messes.
  • Enzymatic cleaner./These types of cleaners are odor eliminators and the best at removing smells from any kind of accident. We recommend Rockin’ Green because it’s safe for pets, plant-based, and great at removing foul odors.
  • Deodorizing solution. Sometimes the smell of poo can linger. Use a deodorizing spray to make the affected area smell fresh again! Our tip? Try Arm & Hammer’s Pet Fresh line that specifically targets pet smells.

How to clean dog poop from carpet

There are a few simple steps you should follow before you begin to apply any products to your carpet:

  1. Remove the poo — Excess poop from your dog’s accident that is hard or solid should be carefully picked up with a paper towel, dustpan, and brush (or other kind of pooper scooper). Dispose of it immediately to get rid of the lingering bad smell. Soft dog poop should be removed with a flat surface to avoid smushing into the carpet.
  2. Grab your cleaner — Anything you can’t extract by hand is going to need a cleaning solution. There are a variety of options when it comes to what you use to treat your carpet or upholstery whether it be DIY (white vinegar, dish soap, and water) or from the store. 
  3. Test your carpet — The methods and products you should use to clean your carpet depend on its material. Use your solution on a small, unnoticeable part of your carpet to see if the solution causes discoloration or visible damage.
  4. Treat the stain — Gently blot your solution onto the affected area. Remember not to rub, as this can push stains further into the material. Let the solution sit on the area for up to ten minutes, and then blot it until all excess moisture is removed.
  5. Rinse and dry — Apply water to the messy area, and then blot until dry once more to make sure that all cleaning products have been removed. While you should always use a pet-safe cleaner, ingestion can be harmful to your dog.
  6. Deodorize the area — Now that the mess is cleared, it’s time to tackle those poop smells! Apply baking soda, deodorizing solution, or an enzymatic cleaner to the area until it smells fresh and to your liking. 

What cleaning solutions to use (and how to use them)

There are a range of different products and cleaning solutions that you can use to help you clean up dog poop, but it’s important to know what type of fabric your carpet is made of and which solutions should be used with it before you attempt to clear a stain. 

For example: Nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and acrylic carpets respond well to a similar cleaning method; while wool carpets require different care.

Natural remedies

You might not have to go further than the kitchen pantry cabinet to clean your dog’s mess. One of the most common and reliable at-home solutions for cleaning dog poop includes stuff you’d find around your house, such as:

  • Dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, or dish soap. If they can remove stains from your clothes with ease, they can lift pet stains too.
  • Vinegar. As an acid, vinegar is particularly good at removing stains by lifting the stain from the fabric. 
  • Hot water. The higher the water temperature, the more efficient the detergent is in expediting the stain-removal process. Cold water isn’t as effective. But do not use hot water on wool carpets! 

👉 Dog-poop-be-gone-spray recipe: Mix the ingredients using a ratio of 1 tablespoon of soap, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water for a quick and easy cleaner.

Cleaning different carpet types: A comprehensive guide

Different fabrics and surfaces respond differently to cleaners. Some chemicals, like bleach, can permanently damage wool carpets while scrubbing can weaken the fibers of Berber carpets.

Additionally, synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon typically have fewer restrictions on cleaning, while natural fibers like wool, jute, and sisal may be more sensitive. 

🚨 Always refer to your carpet’s cleaning instructions before attempting to remove a stain.

Bleach containing products Hot water Stain Protector Alkaline products
Wool No No Yes No
Sisal Yes No Yes Yes
Berber Yes, if not combined with wool fabric No Yes Yes
Polyester Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nylon Yes Yes, if warm, not hot Yes No
Olefin Yes Yes Yes Yes
Carpet pad Yes Yes Yes Yes

Other tips for cleaning dog poop

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when tending to your pet’s mess — from how to care for your carpet, to staying safe when using chemicals. Here are some tips you can follow for a safe and effective clean-up:

Follow the carpet cleaning and stain remover instructions — To avoid improper use, make sure to read the care instructions for your carpet type and follow the steps laid out for your preferred cleaning method.

Blot the stain and avoid rubbing — Rubbing a stain can push it further into the carpet, making it more difficult to remove. Dab and blot the stain instead.

Test your product first — Sometimes carpet cleaning can be tricky — so to avoid any more mess, test out the cleaning method on a small spot to see if there are any adverse reactions.

Use baby wipes — Baby wipes are the best at cleaning up poop in general, so don’t be afraid to use them to pick up more solid pieces. 

Be careful — When using cleaning chemicals, it’s best to wear protective equipment like gloves and avoid mixing products.

Vacuum — When using a baking soda mixture, wait until it dries and then vacuum the excess up. No mess and no fuss required! 

Call in help — Sometimes a stain is too big to handle alone, and that’s okay! Calling in reinforcements from a professional is encouraged, especially if you’ve tried to remove the stain multiple times with little success.

Tackling an old carpet stain

Now that we’ve taken care of fresh accidents, let’s cover older ones and how to address an accident that has left a stain.

If the accident has dried, you will need to re-wet the surface so that the poop loosens from the carpet fibers. We recommend equal parts white vinegar and water to wet the stain as the first step. Afterward, follow the same steps outlined below as though it is a fresh stain.

👉 Make sure to use the correct cleaning technique so you don’t spread the stain further. 

  1. Pick up what you can — If there are any residual pieces, pick them up and dispose of them. 
  2. Loosen what’s left — Using a soft-bristle brush or scraping tool, loosen up the dried poop as best you can.
  3. Use an enzyme cleaner — Spray this on the stain to break down the coloring and odor. Blot the stain dry towards the center.
  4. Blot — Once you apply the solution to the affected area, blot it with a cloth or a soft-bristled brush. 
  5. Mix your ingredients or pick your product and apply — Apply a small amount of your chosen solution over the stain. Alternatively, dip a cloth into the solution and soak the stain with a clean cloth.
  6. Blot again — Continue this process (using clean towels or bristles each time) until the stain begins to fade. Scrub or rub from the outermost part of the stain inwards. 
  7. Leave the stain to dry — Once it has dried, vacuum the area to get rid of remains.
  8. Repeat if needed — For the best results, take a few passes over the stain to remove stubborn marks and odors.

🚨 If the odor from the accident continues to linger over time, consider replacing the padding or backing of your carpet. The stains may have seeped through the carpet and caused the smell to persist.

A note about professional carpet cleaning

Especially messy or repeated accidents may require the help of a professional carpet cleaner to utilize a commercial carpet stain remover on your stain. Depending on several factors, including your carpet type and how large the stain from the accident is, professional carpet cleaning can be costly but may be necessary.

Accident prevention

There are plenty of reasons why dogs might have an accident. Those with GI issues and those experiencing dog dementia are more likely to have accidents in the house. Similarly, dogs experiencing separation anxiety or aren’t fully house-trained may go potty inside from time to time. 

Be sure to consult your vet if you think your dog may have a digestive issue, anxiety, or cognitive issues that lead to tummy troubles. They can help to elevate your pet’s quality of life, and preserve the life of your carpet in the process! 

Accidents inside are never fun. If you find yourself caught off-guard, remember, your dog didn’t mean to upset you by having an accident. While it’s never fun to have to deal with indoor accidents, having the right tools and being prepared will make the process much easier on both you and your pup. If you’re a pet parent, keep pet-safe cleaners, baking soda, vinegar, and soap on deck — and thank us later.

Frequently asked questions

How do you clean dog poop off carpet?

The best method of removing dog poop stains is by following a fairly basic cleaning process. First, remove the dog poop. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when doing this. Next, spray the stained area with a spray bottle full of cleaning solution or apply it with a soft cloth. Blot and rinse the area with clean water and dab again to dry.

After you’ve vacuumed up the starch, if you still notice a stain, repeat the above method. If you continue to smell an unpleasant odor use a deodorizer. You can also check out our guides that tell you pet parent-approved tips for how to clean dog urine and cat urine out of surfaces.

What takes poop stains out of carpet?

Several products can remove poop stains from carpets — most of which you can find at the supermarket. Add hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing detergent, baking soda, and white vinegar to the list to stay poop-proof and ready to roll when the next mess hits. 

Avoid combining chemicals, especially those that contain bleach as they can create toxic fumes. 

Does dog diarrhea come out of carpet?

Yes! The best method for removing diarrhea starts with cleaning up the bulk of the mess with a flat surface to not further push the poop into the carpet fibers. From there you should blot your cleaning solution on the affected area and repeat as many times as necessary. 

If a latent unpleasant smell sticks around, apply an enzymatic solution, which will break up any lingering scents.

Should I let dog diarrhea dry before cleaning?

We wouldn’t recommend it. A dried stain is harder to get out and creates more of an opportunity for smells to seep further into the fabric, which can make removal difficult. It’s not fun, but we suggest tackling a diarrhea accident as soon as it occurs.

Does Dawn remove poop stains?

Mixed with water, Dawn can be a powerful solution for pet owners when addressing an accident inside. Sometimes certain stains may require a more heavy-duty means of removal. 

 Bissell Professional Pet Stain may come in handy in these cases. 

Does hydrogen peroxide get poop stains out of carpet?

It sure can! Spray your hydrogen peroxide solution on the affected area (or dab it on) and leave it for half an hour. If the stain is old or stubborn, let it sit for an hour. Blot the carpet with a microfiber cloth and repeat if necessary. Once stain-free, let the area dry, and you’re good to go.