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Removing Pet Odors from Carpets and Upholstery

March 3, 2024

Removing Pet Odors from Carpets and Upholstery


Pet odors can be a frustrating issue for pet owners. Over time, odors from pet urine, feces, vomit, and shedding can build up in carpets and upholstery. While strong cleaners may mask the smell temporarily, they don’t get to the source of the odor. To fully remove pet odors, you need to use products and techniques that specifically target the source. With some work, you can get your home fresh and odor-free again.

Identifying the Source

The first step is to identify the exact location of the odor source. Pet odor problems tend to originate from:

  • Urine spots – These are often hidden and can wick into padding and subfloors. Inspect the surface thoroughly and use a UV light to detect old or faint stains.

  • Feces accidents – Look along baseboards, under furniture, and in closets. Feces has a strong, lingering odor.

  • Vomit stains – Common on upholstery, stairs, and in entryways. Vomit leaves behind odor-causing bacteria.

  • Shedding and dander – This causes a general pet smell over time. Look for buildup of hair, skin flakes, and oil.

Isolating the specific area(s) allows you to focus cleaning efforts for best results.

Products and Techniques for Removing Odors

There are several effective products and techniques to remove odors:

Enzyme Cleaners

  • How they work: Enzymes break down odor-causing organic matter.

  • When to use: For urine, feces, vomit, and mild pet odors. Spray or blot directly on stains.

  • Examples: Nature’s Miracle, Anti-Icky Poo, Bubba’s Pet Stain and Odor Remover

Baking Soda

  • How it works: Absorbs odors rather than covering them up.

  • When to use: Lightly sprinkle on carpets, upholstery, and in pet beds. Let sit for several hours and vacuum up.

  • Notes: Safe for regular use. Mix with vinegar for added odor removal.


  • How it works: Acidic properties help break down stains and odors.

  • When to use: Dilute with water and spray over affected areas. Blot up excess moisture.

  • Notes: Safe for most surfaces. Test first for colorfastness. Avoid on marble and stone.

Hydrogen Peroxide

  • How it works: Oxidizing compound helps destroy odor molecules.

  • When to use: Lightly mist affected areas, let sit for 5-10 minutes, and blot dry.

  • Notes: Test on small area first. Can lighten or discolor some fabrics.

Deep Cleaning

  • Steam cleaning – Hot steam helps sanitize and deodorize carpet fibers.

  • Upholstery shampoo – Use pet odor formulas and scrub with a brush.

  • Subfloor treatment – Odors in padding may require sealants or antimicrobials.

Preventing Odors

Prevention is key to keeping odors at bay:

  • Use puppy pads or litter boxes in problem areas.

  • Clean up accidents immediately using paper towels.

  • Shampoo upholstery and carpets frequently.

  • Sprinkle baking soda before vacuuming.

  • Open windows regularly for fresh air.

  • Wash bedding, blankets, pet beds often.

With some periodic deep cleaning and odor removal, you can keep your home fresh for both you and your pets to enjoy. Properly identifying problem spots and using pet-specific products is key to eliminating those unpleasant lingering pet odors.

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