9 Genius Tips to Maintain and Protect Your Carpet from Pet Stains

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Updated October 11, 2021
cleaning up pet hair with vacuuming
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You can help rescue your favorite rug with these tips for dealing with pet messes

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You just came home from a long day at the office and are looking forward to a stress-free night at home with your dog—so when you’re greeted with a tattered carpet mess, you’re not happy. We love our furry friends, but they can be pretty messy sometimes, especially on carpeting. 

Luckily, taking a few steps can help you salvage your rugs and get back to that game of fetch. Below are some tips to help protect your carpets from pet messes and keep them damaging your floors.

1. Clean Pet Messes Right Away

Being proactive can help prevent odors and rid your carpet of stubborn stains that develop after your pet leaves you a present. Although it can be tempting to ignore or avoid a fresh pet mess, this will only make it more difficult to remove later. Use newspapers or an old cloth to soak up wet stains as soon as possible.

Note: This is particularly important for wet spots. If you can, try to soak up as much moisture as possible, which will make it easier for you to eliminate bacteria and remove the smell of pet urine from your carpet.

2. For Solids, Avoid Rags and Paper Towels

When cleaning a house with pets, you’ll have to clear away a few different types of messes. Avoid using rags or paper towels on solid messes because they can push bacteria deeper into your carpets. You can instead use a putty knife and dustpan, which will allow you to clear the mess cleanly and swiftly.

3. Consider Buying a Black Light

Let’s be real: It's impossible to be there every single time your pet has an accident. That’s where the blacklight can come in handy. Blacklight flashlights allow you to survey every room, even on your busy schedule. This tool reveals urine spots when overhead lights are off, an inexpensive and simple strategy to monitor your pet messes. Black lights usually cost around $10 to $20.

4. Vacuum Multiple Times a Week

If you have a pet, you’re probably pretty used to breaking out the vacuum. Not only do pets have accidents, but they shed, leaving hair all over your carpets. If you don’t take action, their fur will embed itself into the carpet fibers. Additionally, if your pet often plays on the carpets, they’re likely drooling and leaving bacteria particles from their chew toys. 

Frequently vacuuming your carpets helps to eliminate fur and grime before it gets deeply embedded into the carpet fibers. Depending on how messy your pet(s) is, you should vacuum anywhere from two to four times per week.

5. Trim Your Pet’s Nails

Cutting your pets’ nails isn’t exactly a pleasant activity; we totally get it. However, this can be a worthwhile endeavor, as your pet’s long nails can damage your carpets by allowing them to tear or unravel carpet strands. A regular trim can make a big difference around the house (and helps keep your pet well-groomed, too).

6. Consider Pet-Friendly Carpet Materials

Adding extras like carpet padding with moisture barriers can help you better keep up with cleaning. This step ensures your carpet won’t absorb liquid, preventing pet messes from developing into stains and protecting your carpets from embedded pet stains.

You can also purchase stain-resistant carpets. Although they can be costly, they are durable and, as the name implies, resist carpet stains. Stain-resistant carpets tend to be roughly between $.80 and $4 per square foot.

7. Use a Fiber Protector

By repelling debris from the carpets, carpet protection tools such as fiber protectors help reduce your necessary manual labor. Fiber protectors eliminate dirt accumulation from your carpets—typically, they cover the carpet fibers, warding off the liquid that passes onto the carpet. Ideally, you’ll want to apply a fiber protector right after you clean your carpets to ensure they are not contaminated.

8. Get Your Carpets Professionally Cleaned

If you have pets, getting your carpet professionally cleaned will protect your carpets and keep them looking good as new. You should get your carpet professionally cleaned every six to 12 months, but this may need to be a more frequent job if you have pets. Depending on your pet’s behaviors, you may be looking at hiring professional cleaners two to four times each year.

9. Wash Your Pet’s Paws

Save yourself some time by cleaning your pet’s paws regularly, which in turn will protect your carpets. For dogs, this is a great tactic since they are typically outside regularly. By cleaning their paws, you’ll reduce the amount of dirt and outdoor debris they’re transferring onto your clean carpets.

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