Pets can really wreak havoc on nice carpets and rugs, mostly when they have accidents. Cats and dogs both may pick your rug as their new favorite bathroom spot, leaving you with a ruined rug unless you can do something about it. Learn about the best tricks for Oriental rug pet stain removal and keep your rugs clean and smelling fresh.
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: Hi, John.
How to Clean Pet Stains from Oriental Rugs
John: Sam, today we’re talking about Oriental rug pet stain removal, and if my dog or my cat has stained my Oriental rug, what’s the best way to go about cleaning it?
Sam: My favorite line is that dog is not man’s best friend, he’s a rug man’s best friend. Those guys have made us a lot of money, and they’ve ruined a lot of beautiful rugs as well.
[Pet stains are] a big issue, and we see that [they’re] one of the most common problems, especially with the older rugs or used rugs. [There’s a] gorgeous rug that’s got a nasty stain that’s always in the middle of the rug where you can just see it. For some reason, it always happens right there.
John: Yes, right there in the middle of the rug or something.
Sam: I don’t know how they can do that but it has to be right there. It’s just one of those things. One of the big problems for owners of Oriental rugs or any fine carpet is the pet stains. I would say the biggest thing is speed.You’ve got to react quickly to it, and it depends on your pet. What are you feeding it, how healthy it is, or if it’s taking medicines. Certain things can react to the urine or the feces to make it a different type of pH than it normally would be. So you have a lot of things that can play into this and [every situation is different.]
Sometimes this works and then sometimes there’s just extenuating circumstances where you think, “Wow, what’s so different about this pet stain than the next one?”
John: Right. “I cleaned up the last one and it was fine, and then all of a sudden this one won’t come out.”
Steps for Successful Oriental Rug Pet Stain Removal
Sam: The big thing for cleaning is to, again, get it right away. If it’s a wet stain, blot it up as fast as you can, and what I mean by blotting is to get just anything white or clean that you can basically stomp on and try to absorb as much of that as quickly as you can [before it gets too deep into the rug].
If it’s the other kind of stain, the number two, I would say the best thing to do is scrape it up, get a knife or whatever and a baggie, and just try to scrape as much of that residue off.
If it’s a running residue, that’s even worse, but you need to just scrape it up to get as much [off as possible], then blot it as much as you can.
And what I like to use is an old grandmother’s recipe, and believe me, it’s been around probably from the beginning of time. My grandmother taught me this, and I’ve used on my rugs and really have had no problems with it. It is a teaspoon of white vinegar and teaspoon of something you do your clothes with, like Tide or Dreft, and if you have children, the stuff for kids clothing is even better for the pH. It’s more balanced for skin and things like that and safer for wool.
If you can use that, great. I don’t like concentrated, and I know a lot of detergents today are in those powdered forms basically where they’re coming in cubes and things like that. Just that and a quart of lukewarm water, and shake it up.
I always keep it in like a container that you can make orange juice in and you just snap a little off of it, pull the suds out, and then wipe the suds in one direction with the pile of the rug. Don’t try to scrub it or circle it or whatever. It’s more of a pushing to keep it from rotating the cloth. It has to be a clean white cloth, and just basically just keep washing the suds through that stuff as much as you can.
If you have a Jet Vac or if you have a carpet cleaning type of thing, just clean water would be the best thing to do as well. Just kind of rinse through that. Get as much [of the stain] as you can out of [the rug]. Usually, that’s it, a lot of people get overaggressive with it, and I would warn not to be that aggressive.
Be gentle, take your time, it’s not a speed contest. I would say [about] 90% of those things will come right out without a problem.
John: Right. When you’re saying to go with the grain, you want that fabric of the carpet to kind of lay down. Like when you’re rubbing a dog the wrong way, and the bristles stand up on the end, you don’t want that. You want it to lay down.
Sam: That’s a good point to compare it to. I’ve seen rugs where people brought them in and they got the stain out, but they’ve totally distorted the finish on it. We can try to steam and brush [the rug] and try to get it back down, but a lot of times they’ve just destroyed the tips of those fibers. [Sometimes] only way to remedy that is to shear the rug down, and that’s no fun and expensive.
John: Right. If you have a rug, the best thing to do here is to make sure you keep some of that old style [homemade cleaner] made with gentle detergent. Keep that on hand even if you don’t use that for your laundry. Just have it available in case this happens to your rug.
Sam: That’s why I keep it in like a Tupperware container, like you would make orange juice in, and I would just leave it underneath my sink. If [you’re having a party] or something’s going on and you don’t want to make a big deal out of it, you just get out [the cleaner], shake it up, take five minutes and boom. It’s taken care of and it’s no big deal,just keep on going on like nothing happened. It’s great if you can prepare it ahead of time and just keep it for when you need it because you’re going to need it eventually. Things happen.
Oriental Rug Odor Removal
John: Right. Great advice. What about odors? I know that with this kind of stain on a carpet, one of the problems that people have is lingering odors. Can you fully remove the odor from a pet stained rug? I know that when you have that odor in a rug, the pets tend to smell it and they go back there and maybe they want to do this again and it just repeats the process. You’ve got to get that odor out somehow in order to stop them from doing this.
Sam: Yes, I think that is the big thing. The cleaning will not take the odor out, and a lot of people always assume [it will] when they send their rug out to be cleaned, and it comes back and it still has the odor to it.
Like I said, the pet– they’re sensitive to smell and they know exactly where it is and it’s like a tree or a fire hydrant. They always go back to that same place and do it again.
I don’t know why but that’s just instinctive and it happens. There are lots of things on the market today that we use, [such as] different enzymes we can treat it with and different masking agents we can use. I think we get the majority of that in our cleaning process. Part of the cleaning process is deodorizing and it’s part of the chemical mix that we use as far as the whole solution. I would say on some days when it’s really humid out or whatever, you may notice that bit of that odor still in there because it’s very difficult to remove 100%.
I would say most people can’t notice it but [pets] are very sensitive to it. I would say at that point, roll up the rug until the pet just got better behavior, and maybe it’s an older pet and just having end-of-life type of stuff that you [can’t help], or ifyou got new puppies that you’re training, maybe roll it up until you get them trained.
Tips for Owning Oriental Rugs & Pets
John: Right. Any other tips that you might have for people who own both Oriental rugs and pets?
Sam: I think the big thing for pets is when you first introduce a new rug to the home. I’ve seen this sometimes. When you deliver a rug, immediately the pet marks it because it’s something new. Dogs are very territorial and they like to mark their stuff. Be hands on with your pet. You need to be with them in the room, you need to get them comfortable with [the rug], don’t leave them in the room alone after you deliver something new like that, especially with floor coverings. It’s like turf again to them so watch them, get them acquainted to it, then they’ll be fine with it. I’d say 90% of the time it’s not a problem, but you do want to be aware that it could be an issue.
John: All right. That’s great advice. Thanks for speaking with me today, Sam.
Sam: All right, John. You’re welcome.
John: And for more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery, and Oriental rugs and carpets, visit www.ruggallerycincy.com. Or call 513-793-9505. And make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes, and we’d appreciate it if you could give us a review on iTunes as well. I’m John Maher, see you next time.