7 Expert Tips to Get Pet Smells Out of Carpet: Pee, Poop, Puke + More

For over two decades, I’ve been a part of dogs’ lives, from raising adorable puppies to caring for sweet seniors. Along this journey, I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping our home fresh and welcoming, despite the little accidents our furry friends tend to have. Today, I want to share my insights and experience to help you tackle one of the most common pet parent challenges: how to get pet smells out of carpet.

Raising dogs for the past 20 years means I’ve encountered my fair share of messes. From puppyhood through their senior years, dogs, no matter how well-trained, can have accidents.

But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! With a sprinkle of patience (or baking soda!) and the right know-how, we can keep our homes smelling fresh and clean.

Not only have I been a dog mom for decades, but I love to clean and I worked for a flooring company for many years! Below is my dog Lucy visiting a showroom with me one day. You can trust my advice in this post including:

How to get pet smells out of carpet dog

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop with my links I may earn a small commission that affords me the opportunity to keep this blog running. Thank you for your support! 

Understanding Pet Odors: Why They Happen

The battle against pet odors starts with understanding them. It’s not just about urine, feces, or vomit.

Our furry friends can leave behind a variety of scents from accidents and even their natural doggy smell. These odors often seep deep into our carpets, where they can linger at a microbial level.

At the microscopic level, these odors can be stubborn, but with the right approach, they’re not invincible.

In this post I’m sharing 7 tips on how to clean up pet messes that cause smells – think pee, poo, and puke! The three Ps!

However, beyond these occasional messes, your pet might bring a general doggy smell into your home. Keep up with regular vacuuming, mopping with pet-safe cleaners, and washing their bedding to cut down on smells. 

I also shampoo my dogs on a regular basis using dog shampoo (check out my home dog wash!). In between shampooing, I wipe them down with a doggy wipe.

Following this consistent maintenance will cut down on a lot of the smells that pets bring with them. Now… if you have an accident to clean up, keep reading for 7 tips and products that will help you. 

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Immediate Action for Pet Accidents on Carpet

When accidents happen, timing is vital!

Take action as quickly as you can to blot up fresh stains with paper towels. Avoid rubbing which can worsen the situation and embed gross residue in the carpet fibers.

If the mess you’re trying to clean up is dry after blotting, you should thoroughly vacuum to remove as much debris as possible before using wet stain removal techniques.

Accidents left to sit for too long will be much harder to clean up. So even if it’s the middle of the night, try your best to at least blot it up right away then do a more thorough cleaning first thing in the morning.

Below are several ways that you can approach cleaning to get rid of those stinky pet smells for good!

Common Household Solution to Pet Smells: Baking Soda and Vinegar

These kitchen staples are your first line of defense against pet odors.

After blotting up the liquid of a dog’s accident, sprinkle baking soda over the affected area to absorb odors. Let sit for 20-60 minutes, then vacuum up.

If you have a more serious mess, create a paste from a solution of baking soda and white vinegar. White vinegar is known for its natural disinfecting properties. Apply this paste to the area, let sit for 20-60 minutes or until dry. Then vacuum up. While vinegar may initially leave its own scent, this usually dissipates quickly.

You can also deodorize a large area of carpet with just baking soda.

A few times a year, I sprinkle a whole box of baking soda all over my living room rug. I let it sit for about an hour, then vacuum it up. The baking soda will deodorize the rug and leave my house smelling clean (bye-bye dog smell!).

You can buy a whole pound of baking soda for around $2, so this is the most affordable cleaning product to have on hand.

Common Household Solution to Pet Smells Baking Soda and Vinegar

Choosing the Right Cleaning Product: Look for Bio-Enzymatic Formulas

Need something beyond baking soda and white vinegar? In the world of pet stain removers, not all products are created equal.

In the 20+ years that I’ve been raising dogs, I’ve discovered the magic of bio-enzymatic cleaners. These use a combination of enzymes and natural bacteria to tackle the root of the smelly problem.

I know it sounds strange to clean messes with bacteria. But there’s good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria in these enzymatic cleaners will fight the bad bacteria in your dog’s accident to remove the smell and clean on a microscopic level.

When choosing a cleaning product, I recommend products designed specifically for pet messes. Avoid really strong chemicals. Not only can these cause permanent damage to your carpet, but they can make your dog sick if they come in contact with them.

My favorite products to get pet smells out of carpet are:

My go-to lifesaver is the Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator from Unique Pet Care. It’s a game-changer, using a blend of bacteria and enzymes to break down organic matter deep within your carpets.

I got to interview Julie Holmes of Unique Pet Care on my podcast and she explained their formulas and why it’s important to have a clean-up solution with bacteria, not just enzymes. This is the good bacteria that will clean up a mess and keep working until it leaves nothing behind.

I now use this on pee and poop accidents on my rugs. It was amazing to have on hand when I fostered 2 puppies last year.

There’s a selection of Unique Pet Care products on Amazon, but if you go to their website you’ll see specific cleaners for carpet, hard floors, cat smells and more. 

My friend recently told me that her dog got skunked and she used Unique’s Skunk Odor Eliminator to clean him!

unique pet care odor and stain remover

–> I also have to mention Spinkle and Sweep! This is better for hard surfaces, but it’s great to have on hand! It makes puke on a wood floor so easy to clean up!!

Maybe I’ll get around to writing a whole post about cleaning pet messes on hard surfaces. Let me know if you want to see that in the comments at the end of this post!

Spot Cleaning Pet Accidents with Help from the Little Green Machine

For pet owners looking for a powerful solution to get pet smells out of carpeting, the Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe Portable Carpet Cleaner is worth considering. The Little Green machine is the OG of spot cleaners for carpets and upholstery. This is the pet version.

Its combination of portability, effectiveness, and pet-specific features make it a valuable tool for maintaining a clean, fresh-smelling home. Plus, Bissell is a bog pet-loving company and gives back to rescue all the time!

Key Features of the Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe:

  1. Portable: This compact, portable cleaner is designed to make it easy to move to where a stain is in your home (or even in your car). It’s a great choice for quick clean-ups and spot treatments.
  2. Powerful Cleaning: Despite its small size, the Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe packs a punch with strong spray and suction. That suction can really get debris out of your carpet to eliminate stains and smells.
  3. Pet-Specific Design: This is made specifically for homes with pets. It includes features like a special pet stain tool and a trial-size bottle of Bissell’s professional pet urine eliminator formula, enhancing its effectiveness against pet-related messes.
  4. Easy to clean: Not only does this machine make cleaning easy, but the parts are also easy to clean. This is really important if you’re cleaning up a yucky mess that you don’t want to touch too much.

The only downside of this cleaner is that it’s really best for small spots. Most of the time, that’s just what you need! But for large areas or a whole-house clean, you might want to choose something else.

spot clean pet messes on carpet

Try A Carpet Cleaner to Remove Pet Odors from Big Carpeted Areas

Everything I’ve shared so far is going to be great for 90% of pet odors and stains on your carpets. But what if you want to clean stains and smells from a big area? You need a bigger machine to tackle that!

For cleaning pet odors and stains in large areas, I recommend the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner. This machine is designed to handle bigger areas and tougher stains, making it a great choice for extensive carpet cleaning.

This machine is designed for homes with pets. It includes:

  • Deep Clean Mode: Professional-grade cleaning to remove deep-seated stains and odors.
  • Express Clean Mode: A quick clean that dries in about 30 minutes, ideal for maintenance cleaning.
  • CleanShot Pretreater: Targets and removes tough pet stains with a concentrated cleaning solution.
  • 2-in-1 Pet Upholstery Tool: Removes pet hair, stains, and odors from upholstery.

Depending on where you buy this, it might come with a sample of BISSELL’s professional pet urine eliminator formula that goes in the machine.

I’ve tried that out in my Bissell CrossWave PetPro. To be honest… I think all of their cleaning formulas have a very strong smell and I don’t like to use strong-smelling chemicals around my dogs. Instead, I use the bio-enzymatic formulas from Unique Pet Care.

Of course, you should try to use the products designed for your machine. But I’ve been replacing the Bissell cleaning liquids with the Unique Pet Care ones for years, and I’ve never had any problems. I think they work better and are safer around my pets.

Should You Try Steam Cleaning? Maybe!

OK, here we go! I have one last choice for tackling pet smells in your home.

Incorporating steam cleaning can elevate your approach to removing pet odors and stains from carpets. I’m adding this last because steam isn’t suitable for all pet odors, so you want to be careful with this.

Steam cleaning uses high-temperature steam to penetrate deep into carpet fibers, effectively loosening and removing entrenched dirt, bacteria, and allergens.

This method is particularly useful for deep-set stains and lingering odors that regular cleaning might not fully address.

However, it’s important to avoid using steam cleaning on certain types of pet stains.

For example, when it comes to pet urine the heat from the steam can actually set the stain and odor into the carpet fibers, making it more challenging to remove. In these cases, it’s better to use the bio-enzymatic cleaners I mentioned above.

If you decide to use steam cleaning, follow these steps:

  1. Pre-treatment: Begin by treating the stained area with a pet odor neutralizer or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This helps to break down the organic matter and neutralize odors before steam cleaning.
  2. Choosing the Right Equipment: Opt for a steam cleaner that is suitable for the type of carpet you have. Some steam cleaners also have attachments specifically designed for pet hair removal, which can be a bonus.
  3. Post-Cleaning Care: After steam cleaning, it’s crucial to ensure the carpet dries completely to prevent any mold or mildew growth. Using fans or opening windows can speed up the drying process.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Regular steam cleaning can not only address pet odors and stains but also contribute to a healthier overall home environment by reducing allergens and improving air quality.

I have the Bissell SteamShot and found that it’s really great for cleaning the dried-up drool my dog Burt leaves on the upholstered bench in my entryway.

Burt lays on this bench every day waiting for me to come home. For some reason, his drool leaves a dark brown gunky build-up on the end of the bench. I started to notice a smell coming from it.

I tried cleaning it up with some sprays and a cloth, but that didn’t really remove the spot. So I hit it with my SteamShot and the steam dog the dried drool gunk to kind of flake off! It cleaned up the bench as good as new, basically!

So, I can tell you that steam cleaning is effective on drool on hard and soft surfaces.

Professional Help for Persistent Odors

Sometimes, the situation calls for the big guns – professional cleaners.

When choosing a cleaning service, I recommend that you make sure they’re pet-friendly and experienced in dealing with pet odors.

You’ll want to tell them what kind of carpet and other surfaces you have in your home you have and what kind of mess or smells you’re dealing with.

I would also ask them about what kind of cleaners they use. If your stains and smells are bad enough, it might require professional chemical cleaners. If that’s the case, I would keep your dog out of the area until it’s dry. Open up some windows and air out the space, too, if you can.

Professional cleaners deal with all kinds of messes every day. So they might be able to achieve better results in getting pet smells out of carpet than you can with the regular household products I mentioned in this post.

What Cleaning Method is Best to Get Pet Smells Out of Carpet?

Let’s recap everything in this post. Pet smells can be caused by accidents like pee, poop or puke. But they can also be caused by your dog’s natural oils and odors that penetrate into your carpet. I’ve also had smelly spots in my home caused by dried dog drool.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on the best way to clean each of these problems:

  • Dog Pee on Carpet: Blot up liquid and follow with Unique’s Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator
  • Dog Poop on Carpet: Remove solids and blot up any liquid. Follow with Unique or a paste of baking soda and vinegar
  • Dog Vomit on Carpet: Remove solids and blot up any liquid. Follow with Unique or a paste of baking soda and vinegar. For tough stains, try a carpet spot cleaner like theBissell’s Little Green.
  • Dried Dog Drool on Carpet: Loosen with steam (I like the Bissell SteamShot for this). Then spray liberally with a bio-enzymatic cleaner like Unique and follow instructions on the bottle.
  • General Dog Smell in your Carpet: Once a season, sprinkle your whole carpet liberally with baking soda. Let sit for an hour, then vacuum up.

I’m confident that with these expert tips and product recommendations you’ll now be able to get pet smells out of carpet anywhere in your home!

Want to learn more about making the most of life with dogs? Check out these posts:
The Best Cleaning Tools to Get Dog Hair out of Everything
How to Hand Wash Your Dog Collar
The Best Sprayer for your Home Dog Wash
Built-In Dog Wash Renovation Reveal (Before and After Photos)

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop with my links I may earn a small commission that affords me the opportunity to keep this blog running. Thank you for your support! 



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Tori Mistick is a blogger, podcaster and certified Canine Enrichment Specialist. You might call her a professional dog mom! Tori has a soft spot for senior dogs and loves the color pink. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.


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