How to Clean a Pet Mess and Eliminate Odor

You open the door to enter your home after a few hours away and instantly your nose alerts you to a problem. Fido or Fifi has had an accident. Indoor pets occasionally miss the litter box or leave us a “present” on the floor. In either event, we must clean up the pet mess and eliminate the odor. Not a pleasant task, but it’s part of pet ownership. If you want to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible, use these tips so your home won’t smell like your pets.


Clean up the liquid or solid waste as soon as possible. Urine will turn to dried uric acid after 12 hours and be much more difficult to remove. Dried droppings are not fun to pick up either.

Don a pair of gloves and pick up solid waste with tissue paper and flush down the toilet. Place several layers of paper towel over the wet area to absorb all moisture. For hard floor surfaces, dampen paper towel or a rag with your usual floor cleaner to clean away the stain. On carpeting, rugs or upholstered furniture, change out the paper toweling until all liquid has been absorbed. Dampen an old rag and squirt a little dish soap on it and work the soap into the pet mess using a circular motion. Use a separate rag dampened with clean water to rinse the soap out of the rug or fabric. Blot with the clean water, rinsing the rag as needed. Place a clean, dry towel over the damp spot and set something heavy on top it that will not be damaged by the moisture. Wait 1 hour and check the towel, the stain should have transferred to the towel.

Banish the Smell

When pet accidents occur on soft surfaces, the smell may linger after the mess has been cleaned. Banish the smell by dampening a cloth with white vinegar and blotting the area with it. Do a small spot check first to ensure that the vinegar will not break down the material. If the smell is still noticeable after a vinegar treatment, allow area to dry, then sprinkle with baking soda and let sit overnight. Vacuum up the baking soda and the smell should be gone.

When your nose smells something your eyes can’t find, use a black light to find the smell-producing spot. Clean with dish soap and water, followed up with a vinegar treatment.

Professional Cleaning

Sometimes our home smells so much like our pets that we just can’t get rid of the odors without professional help. Hiring a residential cleaning company to come in a clean away pet hair, dander and remove all pet odors may be the best option.