How to Clean Dog Diarrhea from Your Carpet

washing hands with soap

To your horror, the gagging smell coming from your carpeted room turns out to be diarrhea from your dog. It is not an easy task to clean, but it can be done and the stain can be treated at home without hiring a professional.

Your carpet will back to normal in no time, if you know the steps to take when it comes to how to clean dog diarrhea from carpet. Act quickly, though - the faster you get to the diarrhea, the easier it will be to clean.

We've included recommendations for natural cleaning remedies as well, so that you can rest assured that your pet is safe throughout the process.

​How to Clean Dog Diarrhea from Carpet

You will want to clean up and treat the area as quick as possible to prevent a deep stain or drying of the diarrhea. Being able to remove the mess quickly also

However, sometimes you can’t get to it as soon as it happens. If the diarrhea does dry before you can get to it, then rest assured, we do cover that in a separate section a little further down. When you are learning how to clean dog diarrhea from carpet, it can seem like a lot of work. But these step by step instructions can help you take on the mess and save your carpet.

​1. Remove the Diarrhea

The first thing that you need to do is get down and remove as much of the liquified poop as possible. If you don’t get up a majority of the diarrhea then you could end up smearing it further instead of actually cleaning it up in the next step.

There are a few steps to the removal process to make sure that you can get up as much of the loose stool as possible before you begin actually cleaning the carpet and finally lifting the stain. 

​Protect Yourself

When you are learning how to clean dog diarrhea off carpet, the first and most important step is to make sure that you are properly protected. This not only covers creating a safe barrier between you and the germs, but it also refers to protecting what you are wearing from any accidental exposure to what you are cleaning up.

It is always helpful to keep some plastic gloves around the house for cleaning. These will protect your hands from the toxins that live in the poop, as well as keep your hands protected from the harshness of some general cleaning products.

You may also want to use a face mask while you are cleaning up the diarrhea. This will help lower the pungent smell while also creating a barrier between you and the loose stool so that you aren’t potentially breathing in any harmful bacteria.

Woman wearing yellow gloves while holding a spray bottle and brush to the carpet

If you don’t have any face masks on hand, then you can tie a bandana around your face or use a scarf. Just make sure that any loose ends are secured and tucked away so that it doesn’t fall down into the mess that you are cleaning.

Finally, you will want to change your clothes really quick. While you want to jump on the cleaning as soon as possible to prevent any staining, the difference in five minutes really won’t matter that much, especially if you end up accidentally getting some smeared on your nice pants or shirt. So throw on something you don’t mind getting dirty before you kneel down to start cleaning. 

​Be Gentle

When you are equipped and ready to begin cleaning up the diarrhea, then the first thing you need to bear in mind is to be gentle. Since it is loose stool, there is a high chance of liquids seeping down into the carpet fibers.

You don’t want to smash anymore down into the fibers, since pulling up what is already down there will be enough of a challenge. In order to best clean up the diarrhea you will want to have:

  • ​A flat surface for scraping - cardboard or paper plate is best.
  • ​Paper towels
  • ​An empty grocery bag or trash bag
  • A small pan of water.

To begin cleaning, you will want to remove as much of the surface diarrhea. The best method for how to clean dog diarrhea off carpet is to lightly scrape it off of the surface of your carpet. The flat surface of cardboard or the edge of a paper plate are both great options due to the durable materials that are strong enough to hold the weight of the loose stool.

These two options are also great because they are easy to throw away so that you don’t have something else to clean after.

Soak up the Residue

​​Now that you have scraped off as much that you can, it’s time to pull up any loose stool that has penetrated into the fibers. This is the best way to get dog diarrhea out of carpet so that you can really clean it.

You will need the water and paper towels that were on the above list. 

  • 1
    ​Have a clean cloth in the small pan of cool water to help you distribute it. You won’t put the cloth on the carpet, instead you will dip it in the water, wring it out and then move the cloth over the stained area to wring a small amount of water over it.
  • 2
    ​You don’t want to drench the area, this is important because then you will be dealing with an over-saturated carpet that may not fully dry. Instead, just allow some droplets to be transferred from the cloth to the carpet.
  • 3
    ​The addition of water will help break up the feces in your carpet to make it easier to pull up. Now you will want to take a few sheet of paper towels and gentle blot the area. Don’t push down too much, since this can push the diarrhea deeper into the carpet.
  • 4
    ​Your paper towels will be bringing up the brown or discolored liquid along with some of the water. So after you blot it twice, drip a little more water over the area and repeat the blotting.
This step will be repeated until you are only absorbing clear liquid with the paper towels. This means that you have been able to soak up most of the loose stool that was down in the fibers. It’s probably not 100% all cleaned up, but it is enough to allow the cleaner to pull up the rest and sanitize the area.

​2. Clean the Area

Now that you have gotten up as much of the diarrhea that you can, it’s time to use a cleaner that will help pull up and eliminate the rest of the leftover fecal matter on your carpet.

Choose a Cleaner

When you need to know how to get dog diarrhea out of carpet, then the first thing you need to have is an enzyme based cleaner. These types of cleaners are common, like laundry detergents and it is important because they are cleaners that do more than just act as a vessel to move dirt from one surface to another. Enzyme based cleaners are able to eat and eliminate particles so that the original mess is completely cleaned.  

In stores, you can find good enzyme based carpet cleaners that are focused for pet poop and diarrhea. Most of these cleaners are made with various chemicals. While they are good for cleaning and stain removal, they are not always pet and kid friendly.
Natural Remedy with ​Baking Soda

​​Bicarbonate soda, commonly referred to as baking soda, is a great option for cleaning up dog diarrhea stains. We love this option if the diarrhea was especially runny, because baking soda is alkaline based and soaks up the liquid nicely.

  • 1
    ​Generously cover the stain with baking soda.
  • 2
    ​Gently rub the baking soda into the carpet fibers.
  • 3
    ​Let the baking soda sit for several hours. You can even let it sit overnight. You want the baking soda to soak up all of the liquid.
  • 4
    ​Vacuum the baking soda up. You can use a cheap vacuum for this, as it doesn't take much suction to pull the baking soda off the carpet.

​This baking soda approach is one method, but we recommend combining it with some of the following methods. Start with baking soda to soak up all of the liquid and then add the vinegar or dawn methods if a stain still exists. 

Related: Cleaning Your Wool Rugs with Baking Soda

​Natural Remedy with Vinegar

​A lot of people will instantly grab vinegar to clean and sanitize the area. ​Vinegar is a great option for dog diarrhea because it is enzyme based​, which allows it to quickly and easily break down the excrement. 

  • 1
    ​Mix vinegar with water in a 50/50 solution.
  • 2
    ​Spray the solution onto the area.
  • 3
    ​Soak the area, and then blot with a cloth.
  • 4
    ​Rinse with cold water and repeat as needed.

An additional benefit of vinegar is that it is a natural odor neutralizer, so you'll kill off some of that bad smell in the process. You will get a vinegar smell in exchange. If that smell bothers you, add a few drops of scented essential oils to your mixture before you spray it.

Also, thanks to its high level of acidity, vinegar is able to sanitize the area. It isn’t a certified sanitizer, so I would still use another method like the ones we recommend a little further down in the article. However, you can’t sanitize an area too much, so adding in the cleaning and sanitizing effects of vinegar can help you rest a little easier after it’s all said and done.

Natural Remedy with Baking Soda & Vinegar

​Our favorite method is to combine both the baking soda and vinegar methods. When put together, baking soda and vinegar create a chemical reaction that can cut through the toughest of dog diarrhea stains.

Before utilizing this method, make sure that your type of carpet is able to handle vinegar and baking soda together. It is possible that this will discolor your carpet, so if you need to, test it in a covered area.

  • 1
    ​Cover the stain in baking soda.
  • 2
    ​​Gently rub the baking soda into the stain and allow to sit for several hours.
  • 3
    ​​Spray a 50/50 vinegar/water mixture onto the baking soda.
  • 4
    ​As the solution bubbles, gently scrub the mixture in and through the carpet.
  • 5
    ​​Rinse with cold water and dry with towels.

Make sure that you are using a controlled spray bottle to administer the vinegar so that you are not over soaking the carpet. When a carpet gets too wet, it soaks through the fibers and into the padding under the carpet. When the padding get wet it can become almost impossible to dry, causing damage to the flooring beneath and possibly mold

Natural Remedy with Dawn Dish Detergent

​Dawn dish detergent can sometimes be a better choice when you are choosing how to clean dog diarrhea out of carpet.

Dawn is a great choice because it foams up really well on the carpet and will penetrate the fibers to reach the poop. Mix Dawn with some water and then spray the carpet.

If you use a sprayer then you can better control how much water you are putting on your carpet. You don’t want to completely soak it because too much water can cause further damage if you cannot completely dry it.

​Blot, Don't Rub

While your first instinct may be to scrub the stain out, this is not a good thing to do. Experts always say to blot the stain and don’t scrub. When you rub back and forth on your carpet it can cause the fibers to separate and fray.

  • 1
    Instead of scrubbing, you can use your gloved fingers to gently massage the mixture into your carpet. This will allow the cleaner to work its way into the fibers to clean. If you have a foaming cleaner, then the gentle agitation will help the cleaner to activate and begin foaming on your carpet. .
  • 2
    ​​Let the cleaning mixture set for fifteen minutes. You will then use a damp cloth to blot it up. Have a clean pan of cool water with a washcloth in it for this step. Start by wringing out the cloth and then blot it on the area to help soak up the cleaner.
  • 3
    ​Continue to dip, rinse and then squeeze the excess water out of the cloth before continuing to blot the cleaning mixture up. If your water become too dirty, replace it with clean water and continue to blot the cleaner up.
  • 4
    ​If you are still feeling like the carpet is not clean then you can repeat adding a carpet cleaner onto the area again, let it sit and then blot it up. The pan of water will begin to turn a dirty color if you are still pulling up fecal matter from your carpet fibers.
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​Dry

Finish by using dry cloths or paper towels to blot the area dry. If you do repeat the cleaning step, make sure that you dry the carpet in between. This avoids the carpet getting soaked and damaging.

Paper towels are our go-to when it comes to pulling up excess water. Since they are thinner, you can feel the water as it comes up. This allows you to know when you have absorbed as much moisture as possible from the area.

Once you cannot pull up anymore moisture, then you will allow the carpeted area to continue air drying. You can help the carpet dry faster by having the ceiling fan on. This will allow air to circulate in the room and encourage the carpet to dry a little faster.

​3. Treat the Stain

Cleaning is only the first half of learning how to clean up dog diarrhea on carpet because most cleaning efforts will not remove the stain right away. There are a few products you can find around the house that will help you when you are dealing with how to get dog diarrhea stain out of carpets.

Hydrogen Peroxide

​You can purchase stain removers from the store. However, if you are digging in your pantry for cleaning supplies then you can use hydrogen peroxide for the stain.

It’s good to use a small eye dropper to control how much you put on the area. You don’t want to soak the spot, instead add a few drops to cover the stained area, then let it sit and dry.It may take a few treatments to clear the stain. If you find that one method is not working, then you can test other stain removing methods.

​Shaving Cream

If you don’t have any hydrogen peroxide, then you can run into the shower and grab your (or your spouse’s) can of shaving cream. Colors and smells don’t matter but if you are concerned then spray a little on an inconspicuous area of your carpet to make sure it won’t discolor light carpets.

When you are ready to use it, simple spray the shaving cream over the stained area. You can let it sit on top, or use a soft brush to rub it in some. Let the shaving cream sit for 15-20 minutes and then blot it up with water or you can simply vacuum it up.

Hand of man squeezes shaving foam from the bottle close up

4. Sanitize

​Even if you chose the vinegar route, you still want to go that extra mile and sanitize the area to make sure that your pets or little ones aren’t playing on a still dirty carpet.

Sanitizing is super easy, all you need is some rubbing alcohol or a small amount of vodka. Put the alcohol on a cloth and blot the area. Making sure that the alcohol dampens the carpet some, no need to soak it.

Then let the area completely dry. Rubbing alcohol and Vodka both contain sanitizing elements that will take care of any lingering bacteria in your carpets.

​5. Deal with the Dried Poop

If you need to know how to clean diarrhea from carpet when it is dry, then this extra step will make it easier. The dried poop needs to be rehydrated so that you can scrape it up and begin cleaning.

The best natural method is to mix a half and half white vinegar/water mixture. The water will rehydrate the dried poop while the vinegar’s acidic properties will begin to break it down for cleaning.

Let the mixture sit on the dried poop for ten minutes and then you can go back to the first step and follow along to finish clean your carpet.​

​If you have really thick carpets, this process could take several passes. Use a vacuum designed for thick carpet to pull up everything that you loosen up, and be patient. 

​6. Prevent Future Accidents

If dogs have an accident once on the carpet, then there is a chance they could revisit the same spot at another time to go. It is because dogs will be able to smell the odor hidden in the carpet fibers.

You can purchase odor remover sprays to help keep dogs away, or make your own by using a citrus based spray or essential oils to lightly mist the area. Most dogs do not like vibrant citrus smells and will avoid that area.

Related: Cleaning Your Dog's Bed

​Move on from the Diarrhea

​Before moving on from the diarrhea, you need to give the area a good pass over with a vacuum. You'll do better if you use one specifically designed for pet hair and toxic allergens, since there is probably still a little residual toxins in your carpet. 

If you used harsher chemical cleaners then it is a good idea to block that area off for a few hours to make sure no pets or children come into contact with it.

​Conclusion

Now that you know how to clean dog diarrhea from carpet, you can handle the task when it occurs. If this is something that you have to clean on a more frequent basis, then it might be a good idea to invest in a carpet steam cleaner to help alleviate the difficulty of the task.

About the Author Lauren Moldvay

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.