We love our pets. In fact, the American Pet Association estimates that Americans provide homes to more than 130 million animal companions. But with great companionship comes great responsibility (to borrow and amend a quote from the Spider Man film franchise), and our pets do have a way of leaving their mark on our homes. If you've noticed an unwanted “gift” on one of your area rugs, there is no need to worry. You just need to take a deep breath, give you pet a big hug, and then tackle the stain like a pro.
Locating Pet Stains
When it comes to pet urine, it's important to act quickly, because the sooner you clean up the mess, the easier your job will be. Sometimes the stain is obvious, but sometimes it can be hard to detect, especially if you have an extremely dense or dark-colored rug. If you can smell the stain, but you can't quite see it with your eyes, try shining a black light over it. The urine should emerge as a yellow or green shade.
Cleaning Pet Stains
Locating the stain is easy. The real trick is getting rid of it. For this, you're going to want to use a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar. Use a soft cloth or sponge to dab the stain, and then use colorfast towels to dry the liquid. It's important that you use a damp cloth, but not a dripping cloth, as you want to minimize your use of water. After you finish, place colorfast towels over the stain and weigh them down with heavy objects over night, in order to absorb all of the water.
Of course, if the stain has had time to set and dry, you may find mere water and vinegar to be ineffective. If you need something a bit stronger, add a drop of mild household detergent to your homemade cleaning solution. This will help to loosen those older, stubborn stains, and make your cleaning efforts much easier.
Avoid using ammonia-based cleaning products on urine. Pet urine also consists largely of ammonia, and the smell may encourage your pet to relieve itself in the same spot again. Finally, never steam clean pet stains on an area rugs, as the excess heat will actually set the stain, leaving you with a truly frustrating situation on your hands.
The Joys of Area Rugs
Area rugs can add an enormous touch of class to a room, and you shouldn't allow pets to dissuade you from incorporating these gorgeous accents into your home décor. Just be proactive about keeping them clean, and remember that accidents will happen.