Sam Presnell of The Rug Gallery discusses how to clean rug and carpet stains caused by pets, including a new three-step process and cleaning recipe for tackling stubborn stains.
John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm John Maher and I'm here with the owner of the rug gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hey, John.
Dogs Are The Rug Man’s Best Friend
John: Sam, today we're talking about how to get rid of rug and carpet stains caused by pets. How can pets cause problems for rug and carpet owners?
Sam: As you know, Sam's best slogan is that dog is not man's best friend, he is the rug man's best friend.
Sam: Those guys create a lot of work for rug cleaners…
John: I'm sure.
Sam: …and rug repair guys, and carpet guys as well. That's the big issue, is pet stains, and I think a lot of people have this issue. Pets are so popular but sometimes, just accidents happen, and sometimes there's just some bad puppies out there that…they love to pee on stuff. They'll be outside all day but they'll come inside and do it or else they get excited and they can't help themselves. It's just crazy stuff, but it's a big issue.
Recipe and Steps for Cleaning Pets Stains on a Rug
I have a new recipe I just picked up from a good friend of mine who's an incredible cleaner and he does all of our cleaning work. I brought the issue to him because I knew we're going to talk about that today. He recommended this, and I've never used this before, but we use a dishwasher powder like you would use when you have a dishwasher. That powdered stuff like Cascade, or the Kroger brand, or whatever you like, are good choices to do that with.
It's a very small amount, and it's an eighth of a teaspoon of that powder, so a very tiny amount. It's like a pinch kind of a situation of the powder, and then a quart of warm water. That would be your cleaning solution for that pet stain. Now before you ever get to that point, you've got to get that mixed up and get it ready, is that you want to take a white cloth or anything, white paper towels, not anything that has color in it, just put it on the spot and just step on it. Then put another clean towel down, step on it again. Just keep stepping and stepping on those cleaning areas until you realize you can't get any more off it, you've wicked as much of the liquid as possible.
Now you get to that point, then you want to apply that solution. You either spray it on, use a sponge to put it on, or you put on with a towel or cloth, but the big thing is not to rub, just apply it. That's all you want to do. Then at that point, once you've applied it, then go back with the clean towel, dry towel, and blot again by stepping on it. Don't rub it. The big thing that I see is a lot of people get crazy with scrubbing and they get the stain out but then they leave this fuzzy area in their carpet that's never coming out. It can really create damage by over cleaning that, being too aggressive with it.
- Soak up the stain with a clean white cloth or paper towel
- Spray on a mixture of 1/8 teaspoon dishwasher power and 1 quart of warm water
- Soak up the stain & cleaner with the clean white cloth
It's more of a blotting and absorbing type of a thing you want to create there, so do that. Once you've got that all absorbed as much as you can, at that point, take a quarter cup of white vinegar, which was to have around the house, and three-quarters of a cup of water. Apply it the same way as you did the cleaning solution. Just basically rub it in or spray it on, and then at that point, blot it up until you get it as dry as you want it. At that point, stop, let it dry out and see what you've got left.
- Spray on a mixture of ¼ cup white vinegar and ¾ cup water
- Soak up the stain & cleaner with the clean white cloth
- Get it as dry as possible, then let it air dry
What happens if it's an old urine stain, it'll yellow and you’ve got yellow residue left behind which is very common. A lot of times urine will not change to a yellow color until after it sits for a long period of time and it starts crystallizing. When it crystallizes it changes more from an acid to an alkaline and that's where you get that yellowing coloring to it. At that point is where, if you look at it after it's dry and everything's done, perfect. Just don't worry about it anymore. It's clean, you don't have to do anything else to it. Just let it dry. If you want to maybe sweep the area, that's all you have to do.
If you do have that yellow residue, maybe the spot's been there a long time and you haven't been able to get that yellow out of it, the next one is the more proper thing. If you have a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide in your cabinet, throw it away. Go out and buy a brand new one, and get it down at the local drugstore, and bring it home, because once you open up that bottle, it's about two weeks that that peroxide is active and in a quality that will work. A lot people I don't think understand that about that, once you get that exposed, it's not 3% peroxide anymore.
Go get a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and in pretty much the same way, you want to basically just either get a…I would recommend getting a new spray bottle, like a plastic spray bottle. Just stick some in there and just mist it. At that point, just let it lay there. Don't clean it, don't blot it, don't walk on it, don't touch it, just spray it. Then if you come back to it the next day and it's still yellow, spray it again. Go back the next day later, spray it again.
Spray it as much as you can until you realize it's not doing any good, maybe three or four times. At that point, you realize you've done everything you can and at that point, you're probably going to have to replace the carpet, call a professional, or have something cut out and replaced in that spot where it's colored or whatever. Those are the latest techniques as far as getting those pet stains out.
- Get a brand new bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)
- Put the hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle
- Mist the stain with the spray, and let it air dry
- Repeat daily for 3-4 days until the stain is gone (or won’t come out)
John: That's great. That sounds like a good process. You've got three steps there where you have the dishwasher powder with warm water and you're blotting it and drying it up with the towels. Then you're going to a vinegar and water solution, you're doing kind of the same thing. Then, if that still doesn't do it, then you'd go into the hydrogen peroxide and spraying it and misting it until that stain goes away. Is that sort of the rough three-step process?
Sam: That's a simple explanation of it. Yes, that's exactly what you have to do.
When Might You Have to Throw Out a Rug?
John: In what situations, like you said, would a carpet or a rug need to really be just thrown out because of a stain? Just when you've tried all of these options and it doesn't work?
Sam: It depends on how good the rug is and if it's worth cleaning by a professional, because it's not cheap to really spend the time to work on stubborn stains like that. If it is, it's a little more expensive by most cleaners and it takes a long period of time of just doing a little bit at a time. You can't aggressively do it all on one swoop and be done. You have to come back, and come back, and come back until you realize, "That's all we’ve got. That's as light as it's going to get," or "That's the best it's going to look."
I would say there comes a point to where the rug value means, "Do you want to go any further or do you want to get a new one? Do you want to get something replaced in it?" If it's wall-to-wall carpeting, that's usually another issue. Sometimes you can patch those things, sometimes you can't. There's other things you can do, but sometimes I think you’ve just got to do a gut intuition thing where you realize that, "You know what? I think it's time to get a new carpet or a new rug."
Do Animals Scratch Rugs and Carpets?
John: Right. I have a cat who seems to love to scratch everything except for her scratching post [laughter] which she just leaves alone. Is that an issue with rugs and carpets as well, animals scratching or digging at the rug or carpet?
Sam: Oh, my God. I've got an upstairs bedroom, a Berber carpet. I wouldn't invite anybody up there because one of the cats got locked in the room and started to scratch his way up underneath the door. It just pulled all those loop fibers, there's just a bunch of runs throughout the entire spot there, as you come in the door. Yes, cat scratching is a very popular thing. Not only just your furniture, but also your rug.
We try to recommend to people who buy rugs or carpets that if they have pets, especially cats that like to claw, don't buy something that has a loop to it, buy something that's got a cut pile to it because it won't be able to grab on to something, whereas, cats do a lot of damage by pulls and things like that and sometimes it's -- there is no way to correct those problems sometimes.
John: All right. Well, that's really great advice, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: All right, John. My pleasure.
John: For more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and oriental rugs and carpets, visit ruggallerycincy.com. That's rug gallery, C-I-N-C-Y.com, or call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes. If you can take the time to give us a review on iTunes as well, we'd appreciate that. I'm John Maher. See you next time on The Rug Gallery.