How to get rid of pet stains and smells

get rid of pet stains and smells
How to clean pet stains and smellsCyndi Monaghan - Getty Images

We're a nation of animal lovers and over half of UK adults own a pet, according to PDSA. But while we wouldn't be without our furry friends, most of us are a lot less keen on the mess they can make around your home.

Whether it's treading mud from grubby paws into carpets and rugs after a walk, ignoring the litter tray, or simply shedding hair on soft furnishings, our pets can leave a not-so-desirable trail in their wake.

To help you tackle pet stains and odours and keep stray fur at bay, we've complied this handy guide packed full of expert advice.

Pet hairs on upholstery

Even if you ban your pets from the sofa or your beds, fur still ends up there somehow.

To get rid of unsightly pet hair, always start by vacuuming using the upholstery attachment, then switching to the crevice nozzle to vacuum up fur from between seat pads and other tricky-to-reach spots. Vacuum other soft furnishings including sofa cushions and upholstered footstools while you're at it.

If you find any remaining pet hair, it can be removed by wrapping your fingers in sticky tape (sticky side out) then sweeping your fingers over the affected areas.

Another great trick is to put on a rubber glove then sweep your hand over soft furnishings to collect up pet hair.

how to get rid of pet stains and smells
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Removing cat urine and dog urine

Whether they're marking their territory or have just had an accident, pet urine is a stain you don't want to leave to linger. Here's how to remove cat and dog urine stains:

  • On carpet, flush the affected area with cold water and blot until nearly dry. Sponge with a proprietary carpet cleaner, such as BISSELL Spot & Stain Pet Formula. Rinse well with cold water containing a few drops of disinfectant. Blot to dry.

  • On a mattresses, sponge with a cold solution of washing-up liquid or upholstery shampoo. Wipe with cold water containing a few drops of disinfectant.

  • On non-washable fabrics, remove fresh stains by sponging with a vinegar solution (15ml vinegar to 500ml water). Dried stains should be cleaned professionally.

  • On washable fabrics, rinse the stained area with cold water, then soak overnight in a solution of biological detergent (except if you're treating silk, wool or another protein-based fibre). Machine-wash as normal.

  • On hard wood surfaces, apply white vinegar to the affected area.

How to get rid of the smell of cat urine

The smell of stale cat wee can be particularly tricky to get rid of. This is because the uric acid crystals and salts in cat urine are insoluble and bond tightly with any surface they land on, making them very resistant to regular household cleaning agents. If any type of moisture gets on the crystals, they are activated and release that 'tom cat' aroma.

The only way to completely get rid of the smell of cat urine is with an enzyme-based cleaner designed specifically for pet urine. These usually also come with a special ultraviolet light torch that can show you exactly how far your pet has sprayed. There are lots of brands available – ask a vet or pet supply store which one they recommend.

How to remove muddy paw marks

For mud on the carpet, apply Lakeland's White Wonder and allow it to work for a few minutes. Blot with lightly dampened paper towels. Repeat as necessary until the stain has been removed. Rinse with clear water and blot dry.

Alternatively, use the Dr. Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover to remove mud from carpets. Apply to the stain, leave for 3 minutes and then remove all residue with a damp cloth.

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