Pet Accidents Happen: What Should You Do?

Even the best-trained dogs and cats can have a bad day at the expense of one of your rugs. In fact, a very high percentage of the rugs that come into American Rug Laundry for cleaning have suffered from one or more pet accidents. As a pet owner and a rug owner, what should you do if Fido or Mittens urinates, vomits or has a loose stool on your carpet?

DO: Flush the area as soon as possible using a sponge and clean, warm (not hot) water. It’s a good idea to test the dyes first to make sure they are color-fast by dabbing a colored area with a damp paper towel and checking to see if the towel picks up any tints. Use plenty of water, sponging on both the front and back of the rug. Use a shop vac to suck out the water and residue, and continue flushing until the water you remove is clear and odor-free. Hang the rug on a fence or clothesline to dry, or at the very least stuff some wadded newspaper beneath the rug to allow air circulation. A fan helps, too. And, of course, get the rug professionally cleaned at your earliest convenience to completely remove all of the residues and aromas. Once a pet has marked a spot it is likely to make a repeat visit if any odor remains.

DON’T: Apply commercial spot removers or carpet-cleaning products. Many of these will cause the stain to spread or set into the fibers. Some can even discolor the rug pile. If you will not be bringing the rug in for professional cleaning, it is okay to use a very mild detergent such as baby shampoo to clean the area, as long as you rinse thoroughly and dry the rug immediately. Rugs that remain wet or damp for more than a day will develop a musty odor.

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