Pet Urine – Can You Remove It From My Rug

By Lynn Tall, Rug Advocate®

Customer Question: Can you get the dog pee out of my rug?

We might miss a pet accident as it happens – we’re usually at work when they occur. But after a few days, we’ll notice a foul odor or a yellow stain caused by the urine which has soaked into the rug fibers. If this happens in the same areas over and over again, the foundation yarns may eventually rot and disintegrate! Frustrated rug owners even throw their rugs away thinking that there is no way to bring them back to their pre-pet damaged condition. What should a pet owner do?

When pet accidents happen, you need to blot them up as soon as possible with a dry paper towel. DO NOT RUB! Rubbing causes permanent pile reversal. Also, if you do decide to blot with water (no seltzer bubbles necessary) do not get it too wet. Using too much water may cause dye bleed and may spread the contamination to other areas. Please avoid using any over-the-counter product that promises pet stain removal. Even though these products are available most everywhere, they are usually too strong a chemistry to use on finer rugs or textiles. They may even cause more damage like chemical burn, dye migration, or bleaching. Bring the rug to a professional for a deeper pet urine decontamination as soon as you can, especially if you’ve found the stain after it has dried. 

Once pet stains have dried, you really do need to consult a professional to remove odor causing bacteria and yellow stains. The process will include mechanical action to break up any urine salts, full immersion pre-treatment so that the decontamination solutions will reach the foundation yarns of the rug, a pH balanced wash to protect the dyes, a cold water rinse, and temperature controlled drying. This type of deep cleaning simply cannot be achieved at home.

If a pet stain has already caused dye bleed or yellow stains, do not panic! These conditions can often be improved to some degree to keep the rug useable and in the family for generations to come. Color correction and dye bleed removal are more an art than a science, but can be done, and is certainly less that the cost of replacing most rugs.

To help keep pets from re-marking an area, be sure to replace the rug pad that sits under a pet stained rug while that rug is out for cleaning. It’s virtually the same cost to clean a rug pad as it is to replace it, and because the synthetic fibers of a pad don’t release the urine the same way as a rug does, replacement is the only way to guarantee that there will be no residual stain that may attract a pet.

In the worst cases, rotted foundation yarns caused by extreme and repeated pet urine damage can be repaired, but these types of repairs are typically visible on the back of the rug and sometimes on the face. We are certainly able to recommend a course of action in these cases. Sometimes replacement will be recommend if the cost of repair and cleaning exceed the value of the rug. If a rug is particularly sentimental in value, be sure to let us know.

To summarize – blot quickly when pet stains happen and if the stain has already dried, call us for advice before using an over-the-counter product. Replace rug pads as necessary to help eliminate future bad pet behavior. If necessary, we can quote color repair or foundation repairs, but remember that this type of correction is never perfect – improvement is the goal.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, pet stain and odor removal makes up about 80% of our business! Please do not feel upset or embarrassed about the potential condition of your rugs. We see it every day and know how to set realistic expectations and achieve excellent results.


Southern Idado Rug Washers
628 Blue Lake Boulevard North
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
(208) 595-1882


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