Pet Safe Carpet Cleaning

Pets may be sensitive to some carpet cleaners.
i portrait of old husky dog image by sarit saliman from

Being able to keep your carpets clean is important, but many products on the market can cause eye and lung irritation, and some may even lead to long-term health problems. To keep both you and your pets safe, try using more natural ingredients and avoid the toxins.


Frequent, regular vacuuming is one of the best pet-friendly ways to keep your carpet clean. Removing surface dirt and dust before it has a chance to get ground into the fibers doesn’t require the use of any chemicals and will help, rather than harm, your pets. Vacuuming also has the advantage of removing anything your pal might bring in with him from outside, such as fleas and their eggs, plus it removes excess dog hair and other debris. If your pet tracks in mud, let it dry before vacuuming. Vacuum the carpet at least twice a week for best results.

Odor Removal

Some products that you’re likely to have in your kitchen can help you clean your carpet by removing all kinds of odors from your carpet, including those caused by accidents in the house and doggy odor in general. Baking soda has a well-deserved reputation for removing odors, and, surprisingly, vinegar does a great job as well, and both are safe for you and your pets. Sprinkle baking soda over a smelly spot, brush it in with a broom and leave it for a few hours, then vacuum it up. The odor will go along with the powder. Put equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spritz it over stinky areas, and when it dries the odor will be gone.

Spot Cleaning

For tough spots on your carpet, make a paste of equal parts salt, vinegar and borax. Rub this paste into any soiled areas on your carpet, and let it dry, usually a few hours. Vacuum the area thoroughly to remove the cleaner, and the stain and odor will come up with it. This mixture is particularly good when you’re housebreaking a puppy, since it is especially effective on urine stains, but is harmless to your pet. Particularly stubborn, set-in stains may require a second application. It’s always a good idea to test the mixture on a hidden area of your carpet before you use it the first time, though it is unlikely to cause any harm.

Commercial Cleaners

If you want to clean the entire carpet, renting a steam carpet cleaning machine may be your best bet. This type of machine will actually do a pretty good job of cleaning your carpets without any soap or detergent, or you can add 1 to 2 cups of vinegar for every couple of gallons of water to deodorize the carpet. If you need to add a detergent, look for green products with as few chemicals as possible, and avoid those that contain benzyl benzoate, tannic acids or perfumes, all of which can irritate your pet’s eyes and lungs. Also avoid any that contain other potentially hazardous ingredients, including sodium hydroxide and formaldehyde.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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