The 101 Guide to Cleaning Pet Stains from Your Upholstery

For all the fun and excitement that pets bring to the table, they can also make up for that with some truly disheartening messes that even the magical powers of Mr Proper won’t be able to fix. From mud and grass paw prints on suede sofas to smelly accidents on comfy mattresses, our animal companions can sometimes really give us a small taste of what hell might look like.

Well, we’re here to change all that. For your convenience, we’ve gathered several handy tips on how to clean your sofa, mattresses, blinds, chairs, and other upholstered furniture based on the type of stain you’re facing. To help you avoid yet another nervous breakdown, we also shared some advice on how to prevent Archie from staining your furniture in the future.

“Refrain from using harsh cleaning chemicals or too much ammonia or vinegar. Although overwhelming to humans, their smell will not be enough to mask your pet’s natural scent.”- Dmitri Kara from Fantastic Cleaners London says.

Common Types of Pet Stains and How to Get Them Off Your Upholstery

The most important bit you’ll have to remember is that you have to completely deal with the stain as soon as it appears. The longer you leave it be, the deeper it will embed itself into the fabric and the harder it will become to remove it. The average cost to reupholster a couch is surely an expense pet owners can’t undertake on a regular basis. By cleaning the mess on time, you will also discourage your pets from re-staining the same spot in an attempt to mark their territory.

Find out what you’re up against

Urine, fecal, and vomit stains all require a different cleaning approach, so it’s important to know what the stain is and where it’s located. While the odour will often give you a pretty good hint of what you have in store, the stains themselves are not always easy to spot. If you’re having trouble locating your pet’s wrongdoing, get an ultraviolet lamp and switch the lights off. This will make any biological material on your furniture to fluoresce, revealing its exact location.

Good news – mucus stains are the easiest to clean

As with humans, mucus plays a vital role in the wellbeing of animals in that it keeps their internal organs lubricated and protects them from malevolent bacteria. However, it’s not uncommon for this slimy substance to land on your brand new sofa, especially if your furry friend has ingested some grass or hair shortly before taking a nap. But even then, mucus stains are pretty simple to clean as they are pretty much odourless both for upholstery and carpet cleaning. To remove them, mix some water with about a teaspoon of dish soap. Apply this mixture on the stain and blot it with a clean rag until it’s gone.

What if we told you that you can do something about that pet hair?

While not exactly a stain per se, pet hair can be exceptionally annoying to deal with, specifically due to its impressive ability to glue itself to your clothes almost as soon as you sit in your favourite armchair. Luckily, there are plenty of efficient and low-cost solutions out there that will make your woes a thing of the past. Here are some of the things you can try out for yourself.

One way to deal with your pet’s shedding fur is by wrapping your fingers with some sticky tape. Make sure that the sticky part is faced outwards, then simply press the tape against the fabric and repeat this process until all the hair has vanished. You can also use dampened rubber gloves or a slightly wet sponge to achieve the same effect. Other alternatives include:

  • Applying a mixture of water and fabric softener and wiping it from your upholstery;
  • Using a lint brush or dry sponges (both can be obtained from your local pet store);
  • Purchasing a hand vacuum cleaner with a motorised beater-bar attachment.

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When dealing with dog or cat urine stains, speed is everything

No, we’re not saying that just because of the permeating odour. Pet urine is slightly acidic, which can lead to fabric discolouration if you don’t act quickly! Given enough time, it can also sink deep into the fabric, and your only choice then would be to call in professional upholstery cleaners and use diapers.. So, what can you do if your pet has decided to relieve himself due to stress or as an act of revenge?

To do away with the stain, mix 1 cup of warm water with two tablespoons of white vinegar inside a plastic spray bottle. Then, simply apply the solution to the stain and blot it with either a soft cloth or a newspaper to absorb as much of the moisture as possible. Once the vinegar acid merges with that of the urine, the resulting reaction will eliminate the smell entirely. Finally, fold a clean towel and place something heavy on top for a few hours to absorb the remaining moisture.

Vomit and feces are not as scary as they look

Accidents happen even to the most disciplined of pets, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for them. If you suspect that your pet mistook your furniture for his bathroom or that he has a tummy ache, be sure to act as soon as you spot his deed. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Scrape off any solid material from your fabric using a small dustpan or a similar tool.
  2. If the stain has dried, make sure to vacuum it thoroughly to get rid of all remaining solids.
  3. Mix 2 cups of water with dishwashing detergent and vinegar (1 tablespoon of each).
  4. Apply the solution to the stained area and blot it with a kitchen roll or a clean cloth.
  5. Keep blotting the stain as many times as needed until the whole mixture is absorbed.

Refresh your pet-stained bedding with enzymatic cleaners!

Unfortunately, the realm of pet stains does not end at your living room. And every now and then, your beloved fuzzball may do something unpleasant while snuggling with you in your bed due to digestion issues or because you’ve shut the door that leads to their designated bathroom.

Whatever the case, the best course of action is to immediately take your bedding to the washing machine. Then, add one pound of baking soda to the wash to eliminate the odour. If the smell or the blemishes persist, add an enzymatic cleaner before giving your sheets another wash.

More on enzymatic cleaners: These eco-friendly products contain hungry bacteria that will quickly eat up all organic matter. They are great for dealing with blood, grass, urine, sweat, and other similar stains. You can purchase these solutions at any pet or grocery store in your area.

Facing Stubborn Stains? Here’s What Else You Can Do!

Use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia

Before trying out this formula, make sure to apply a single drop of both hydrogen peroxide and ammonia on a “hidden” spot of your upholstery to prevent potential discolouration. If the treated surface doesn’t show signs of damage, then go ahead and apply a couple of hydrogen peroxide drops and a few drops of ammonia directly on top of the stain. With the stain defeated, use cold water and a clean cloth to gently blot the area until all traces of the cleaning solution are gone.

Rent a steam cleaner or a carpet shampooer

If the stains are still visible or your pet soils your upholstery much more often than you would like, a good solution is to head online and rent a steam cleaning machine. However, this method doesn’t come cheap, so make sure to do some research first to find the steam cleaner that best fits your needs and budget. Also, do note that steam cleaners are NOT suitable for cleaning urine stains as the heat emitted by the machine will permanently ingrain the stain into the fibres.

As an alternative, you can also rent a carpet shampooer. Despite its name, this piece of equipment is just as efficient at cleaning upholstery blemishes, particularly with urine stains. To use it, you’ll need nothing but standard carpet shampoo and warm water. The machine works by pumping water into the fabric and then extracting it back along with all dirt particles. Before trying this treatment, check the material of your upholstery as not all fabrics react well to water. If you still have a hard time tackling the stain, learn how to maintain an immaculate carpet in the presence of pets.

Purchase a pet odour neutraliser

In some instances, unpleasant odours can persist even after the original stain has been dealt with. To combat this, you can get the best pet odour neutralising product from just about any pet store. Before using such a product, always refer to the instructions on the back of the bottle and test some of its contents on an inconspicuous area of your upholstery. According to Mark Whitman from Accelerate Homes, both odour and signs of pets can significantly affect the market price of a property if you want to either sell or buy. It is absolutely mandatory to take care of all signs of odours.


For best results, make sure that your upholstery is stain-free, otherwise the effect on the upholstery will be far weaker, not to mention that some fabrics may never get fully rid of pet odour.

A Few Prevention Tips to Make Your Life Easier

Sure, knowing how to deal with pet stains on the spot is useful. But wouldn’t it be great if you also knew how to prevent them from ever coming to light? Well, we’re going to help you do just that. Check out our tips below to ensure that your home will remain stain-free no matter what.

Tired of cleaning animal hair? Give your pets something to lay on

Nobody has the time to wrap their hands with duct tape three times a day. Which is why we are proposing an even better solution – placing an old towel, a sheet, or a cosy sweater on the couch or any other piece of upholstery that you know your pet really likes. This way, all that annoying fur will land straight on the covering instead of on your furniture. Just shake the improvised bed outside every once in a while to keep your place nice and tidy. Combine this with regular grooming for best results. Your pet will make sure to thank you later.

Use positive reinforcement every chance you get

This is especially important if you’re looking after a kitten or a puppy. Potty training your pets from an early age will cut your accidents rate by half. Don’t forget to also compliment your cat or dog each time you make some progress to encourage them to adopt this positive behaviour.

If you have an older pet who breaks the rules more often than usual, take him to the vet to rule out any potential health complications, such as chronic diarrhea or vomiting/urinating issues. With the proper medication and a good diet, your pet will be back on its paws in no time.

Make the stained area unattractive for your pet

As long as you pet can sense his personal smell, he will do anything in his power to maintain it. This could turn into a bad habit really fast, which is why you should work towards neutralising not just the stain, but its corresponding odour as well. Eventually, this will discourage your animal companion from repeatedly going back to the crime scene.


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