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essential tips

How to clean up dog poop in your home

A guide on what to do when your dog poops on your carpet, upholstery, or bedding

Updated July 23, 2021

Created By

Victoria Lancaster,
Chihuahua puppy looking up from the floor

The essentials

  • Remain calm— Poop around the house is manageable if you are prompt in cleaning it up.
  • Knowing your carpet can be the key to success— By knowing the material you’re working with, you will be able to choose the right cleaning solution.
  • Store-bought or at-home remedy?— The solution you use comes down to the carpet type and personal preference. Store-bought enzyme cleaners, however, are great for odors and leftover stains.
  • Whatever you do, don’t overdo it — While you can deal with most feces DIY, others may require professional help.

Doggie accidents can happen

It’s fairly normal for dogs to have accidents. Whether they are a puppy or have an upset tummy, sometimes there will be poop around the house. The good news is that you can get rid of most poo evidence and stains and still salvage your carpets, upholstery, or bedding.

How to clean dog poop in carpet

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

  1. Determine the type of carpet. The methods and products you should use to clean your carpet depend on its material. Nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and acrylic carpets respond well to a similar cleaning method. Wool carpets require different care.
  2. Gather equipment. You will need paper towel, a plastic bag, gloves, a dust pan, your chosen cleaning product, a bucket, a brush with soft bristles, and a vacuum. Bonus points for baking soda!

👉 It is very important to wear gloves while you clean to avoid contamination or exposure to parasites. If your dog is on chemotherapy for cancer, you must avoid any contact with their stools for 48 hours. 

3. Pick up solid pieces. Any parts of your dog’s accident that are 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. Avoid picking up any runny stools or diarrhea.

Create a mix of 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.

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. Some are concoctions made with household products, while others are store-bought products that are used to fight foul odors.

Natural remedies

You might not have to go further than the cabinet to clean your dog’s mess. One of the most common and reliable at-home solutions for cleaning dog poop includes the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, or dish soap, like Dawn
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 2 cups of warm water

🚨Do not use hot water on wool carpets.

Stain removal techniques

  1. Mix your ingredients or pick your product and apply. We recommend mixing your ingredients in a spray bottle for easier application to the stained surface. Begin by spraying light amounts of your chosen solution over the stain. Alternatively, dip a cloth into the solution and soak the stain with a clean cloth.
  2. Blot. Once you apply the solution to the affected area, blot it with another cloth or a soft-bristled brush. 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. If you’re using one of the storebought solutions recommended in this article, you should consult the application instructions.
  3. Use an enzyme cleaner. After you have applied your cleaning solution we recommend using an enzyme cleaner to break down the remaining stain and odor. Blot the stain dry towards the center.

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

  1. Leave the stain to dry. Once it has dried, vacuum the area to get rid of remains. If you’re still noticing a funky smell, use one final technique. Sprinkle a light layer of baking soda over the stain and leave it on overnight.

🚨 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. 

👉 Cleaning pet urine mostly follows the same steps. An enzyme cleaner is key to removing smells from any kind of accident.

Our recommended enzyme cleaner and why we chose it

We chose the following product because it’s safe for pets, plant-based, and great at removing foul odors.

Diarrhea and old poop stains

When it comes to diarrhea or runny stools you should avoid rubbing the stain away at all costs. Blotting repeatedly with your cleaning solution is the key.

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 above) as though it is a fresh stain.

A note about professional carpet cleaning

Especially messy or repeated accidents may require the help of a professional carpet cleaner. They will use ingredients that are tailored to the specific carpeting. Depending on how bad the damage is, carpet cleaning can be costly.

The no-nos when it comes to cleaning dog poop

There are a few things that you should avoid at all costs when cleaning dog poop from your carpet:

  • Don’t scrub or blot the stain outwards as this will widen the stain
  • Stay away from using ammonia (it can make the odor worse)
  • Don’t use bleach
  • Never use perfume on the carpet
  • Don’t hesitate to call a professional

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Accident prevention

Dogs with GI issues are more likely to have accidents in the house. If you think your dog may have a digestive issue or anxiety that leads to tummy troubles, you should see your vet.

After cleaning the poo, pet owners should continue to make sure any odors are completely gone. That way, their dog won’t return to the spot of the crime again and again.