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How to Care for Your Carpet if You Have Pets at Home

white dog sitting in lapWhen you own pets and have carpet in your home, it can be difficult to keep the carpet looking clean all of the time. Cats are generally cleaner than dogs since most cats are indoor animals. They do still shed and spread pet dander, so vacuuming twice per week is suggested. It is also ideal to have a carpet with a medium tone and that has a few colors woven in to help hide some pet dirt from showing. 

Regardless of which pet you have, it's never easy getting the pet smell out of your carpet. Let's explore a few tips that just might help.


Purchase Stain Resistant Carpet


If you are able, stain-resistant carpet is always the way to go. Consider this option if you are replacing the carpeting or wish to carpet a wood or tile floor. This type of carpet is often more costly but also lasts for an extended period of time. Stain-resistant carpet already has a protective layer applied to the fibers. There is no need for scotch guarding practices as it can withstand being steam-cleaned, vacuumed and spills without losing too much of its integrity.


Scotch Guard Non-Stain Resistant Options


If you have carpet that is a few years old it is best to scotch-guard the carpets. This will put a protective guard on the carpet. It will need to be repeated after a period of time to help the fibers maintain their structure and help protect additional stains from being possible. You should have this done professionally to ensure that every fiber is treated. Missing a spot by doing it yourself can cause stains to get under fibers that are treated. This can cause stains that do get past the scotch guarding to be harder to get out.


Cat watching dad and daughter play guitar

Cleaning Pet Urine


Pet urine is one of the toughest things to battle when it comes to carpet care. In order to get accidental urine spots out of the carpet, you need to catch it rather quickly. Get several paper towels first and step on them, a few at a time, with shoes on. This will help you to pull up the urine without spreading it. Continue to do this until the paper towels come up nearly dry. Make a mixture of 1-teaspoon of ammonia and 1-cup of water. Spray this on the area and let it sit for 5-minutes. Use a stiff brush and make small circular motions from the inside of the spot outward. Use a wet/dry vacuum to pull up the rest of the area. This should prevent the urine from staining and should pull all of it up from the carpet. 


Keep your Pet’s Nails Trimmed


The length of your pet’s nails can cause damage to a carpet. When a pet gets excited and runs around or scoots across the carpet, it can snag the strands of material. This can cause an unraveling effect that would eventually leave spots that are bare, disheveled looking or less fluffy than the rest of the carpet. When trimming your pet’s nails it is also ideal to use a pet nail file on them. This removes the rigidity left to make the nails feel smooth again. This also helps to protect carpet and hardwood floors as well.


Use a Hardwood or Tile Entrance


After taking the dog for a walk when it has been raining or snowing, a hardwood or tile floor entrance with a rug that they can walk over first is ideal. This prevents wet and muddy feet from making prints on the floor and prevents the mud from getting on the carpet. Some dogs will play in mud or splash a little due to their size. Keep a towel handy, next to the entry door, to wipe them off. Some types of mud can be more difficult to remove from carpet than others.


Vacuum Twice Per Week


Even if your pet does not shed a lot, dander is still created. This can cause a carpet to get weighed down and have a pet odor to it. To prevent this from being an issue, you should vacuum twice per week. One of these times you should move furniture and thoroughly vacuum. Pet dander and hair can travel, causing it to get on carpet that is underneath furniture. If the pet eats on the carpet or plays with toys on carpeted areas, it is also ideal to vacuum their play areas. Drool and particles from toys can get into the carpet as well. Pet saliva can leave an unpleasant odor over time.


Use a Carpet Powder for Homes with Pets


There are several carpet powders for homes with pets available. Sprinkle it on generously and allow it to sit for the amount of time suggested on the package. Vacuum thoroughly by going over the entire carpet twice. The first pass will pull up the powder and topical particles. The second pass, which should be performed in a slower motion, gets down further to pull up hair, dander and other particles that are deeper into the fibers.


baby laughing at dog

Steam Clean at least monthly


Steam cleaning carpets monthly not only helps to wash the carpet but it also helps to clean any dander, hair or saliva that is embedded into the carpet. Use a mild cleaner so that it does not break down the structure of the carpet pile. Since you are steam-cleaning monthly, it is best to use a cleaner that is designed for just freshening up the carpet or one that is designed for homes with pets. These are often a more diluted concentration and are easier on the carpet pile.


There are several steps to taking care of your carpet when you have pets. Some of the items do require pet maintenance.  Maintaining your carpet is a representation of your home and shows that you have pride in how clean and fresh it always looks. It also shows guests that you take care of every element of your home. When you own pets, there are a few extra steps to keeping the carpet looking fresh and clean.

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Author bio: Christopher Wayne runs a business offering professional cleaning services. Writing is as much a passion of his as his business, and the two often cross paths.


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