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Our pets, the love and care we give them can be pushed to its limits sometimes the moment we discover that ominous little “gift” they left for us on our family room carpet. Once our disappointment wears off after finding the urine, feces or vomit they left behind, we now have the not so fun task of removing it from the carpet.

In the preceding article (part one), I explained how to deal with the most common of pet accidents, urine. But now I would like to discuss what needs to be done about the other two “gifts” our pets occasionally leave us – feces and vomit. So what can you do when they happen?

Many of the steps in treating pet feces and vomit are the same as in treating urine, but with some variation.

As with any pet deposit, the sooner you act in taking steps to remove it, the better your chances are in it not becoming a permanent stain on the carpet.

The first step in treating pet feces or vomit involves removing as much excess contamination as possible. You are going to need some disposable gloves, a spoon (use a plastic one if you have it so you can just throw it away once you are done with it), white paper towels and a small trash bag.

  • After putting on the disposable gloves take the spoon using its edge and scrape the excess starting from the outer edge towards the center, scooping it up and then placing it in the trash bag. After each scrape, it’s a good idea to wipe the spoon off with a paper towel. The reason for using the spoon edge is because it acts like a squeegee in pulling the excess contamination away from the carpet fibers. Once you have removed as much as you can, wipe the spoon off to get it ready for the next step. (If a feces deposit is relatively solid, you can just pick it up with some paper towels; throw it in the trash bag and move on to the next step.)
  • For this step, you will need an enzyme protein digester spot remover that you can get at your local pet store. Spray enough of the digester to dampen the contaminated fibers. Using the spoon edge, gently agitate the fibers to work the digester in and allow it to dwell on the carpet for 10 to 15 minutes. This dwell time will give the enzymes in the digester a chance to break down the proteins in the feces or vomit which will help dislodge and suspend the contamination off the fibers.
  • After the dwell time is up, spray more of the digester on to the carpet and use the spoon edge again to scrape slowly across the spot from the outside towards the center.  (Avoid scraping too hard so as not to damage the carpet fibers) You may notice some foam as you do this but this is okay because it’s removing some of the suspended particulates on to the spoon which is a good thing. Wipe the spoon off with a paper towel after each scrape.

Now it’s time to rinse. Get a glass of purified water. Distilled or reverse osmosis water is best, but if you do not have either one of those, tap water will do.

  • Slowly pour a little of the water on to the spot. Take some paper towels and blot the area from the outside towards the center. Blotting in this way will help contain the spot from getting bigger. If you possess a wet vacuum or some other kind of water extraction equipment, this will work even better. Use it the same way by extracting from the outside towards the center. Flush the carpet a few times this way or until you feel it has been rinsed thoroughly. Once you have blotted (or extracted) out as much of the water as you can, it’s time to go to the next step.
  • This next step may sound a little strange but it’s an important one. Take several paper towels (five or more) and layer them over the spot. Now weight it down with something a little heavy. Something that water can’t damage. You can even use a stack of books, but put a plastic trash liner on top of the towels so no moisture will soak into the books. The reason for doing this is to absorb any remaining water and residue left in the carpet. Leave the area weighted down for at least 12hrs. By then, most of the wicking will have taken place. After 12hrs, remove everything off the spill area and allow it to finish drying.

After drying, if there is a discoloration stain from the feces or vomit, you can spray a little hydrogen peroxide on the area to slowly fade the stain away. It can take up to eight hours for the peroxide to work. Peroxide should only be used on synthetic fibers (which are what most wall-to-wall carpeting is made out of), do not use it on natural fibers like wool or cotton.

By following the steps as I outlined above, you should have pretty good success in removing the feces or vomit from the carpet. If you feel the area needs more attention, avoid the temptation to use other chemicals or cleaners on the spot. Doing so could set the stain making it permanent.

Instead, contact the I.I.C.R.C. (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) and they will direct you to a local certified carpet cleaning company in your area that can assist you further. If you are in the San Diego California area, you can contact me by email or by leaving a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Part One

We all love our pets! They are part of the family. They bring comfort and joy into our lives. Yet, there are times when that love or joy can go right out the window when we discover, much to our dismay, that ominous deposit they left us, right in the middle of our living room carpet. Whether it is urine, vomit, or feces, no pet owner ever enjoys this aspect of having a pet(s). So what can you do about it when it happens?

You see, most carpet out there is made from nylon. And the way color is added to a nylon carpet when it is manufactured is by using a heat-based acidic dye. So when an animal urinates, vomits or defecates on the carpet, the same chemistry is happening to add color to a carpet; the heat from the animal, the acid in the urine, vomit or feces, as well as the dye (or color) from it. This is why pet contamination can permanently stain even the best stain-resistant carpet.

So, let’s first deal with the pet accident that happens most often and can be the hardest of the three to remove – urine.

Pets will urinate on a carpet for several reasons: to mark their territory, anxiety, sickness or simply out of need. But whatever the reason, the quicker you take steps to remove it; the better your chances are from keeping it from becoming a permanent stain and a source for bad odor.

Urine is mainly comprised of water, proteins, hormones, inorganic salts, urea, uric acid, urochrome (a yellow natural pigment), and many other components too long to list. So because of this long list of ingredients that make up urine, trying to remove it after it dries can be quite difficult, even for professionals.

What about the smell?  How does that happen?

Urine starts out as an acid (uric acid) when it comes out of your pet. But as it sits on the carpet and begins to dry, it chemically changes to an alkaline. As soon as the urine hits the carpet, the bacteria that exists on everything, begins to feed on the protein-based urine. The bacteria then off-gas ammonia and sulfur as they feed on the urine, thus creating the bad odor we smell.

That’s enough though, about the chemistry of urine. Here’s what you can do to remove as much of it as possible yourself before having to call a professional.

On a Fresh Urine Spot:

  • Grab several paper or cloth towels, and begin blotting from outside the spot towards the center to remove as much of the urine as possible. Make sure you start from the outside because the size of the spot you see on top is actually three times bigger underneath. Pushing down on the spot from the middle can make it become bigger. (ie: What would happen to the water in a kitchen sponge if you were to push down on the middle of the sponge? It would come out the sides would it not?) So, since the pad underneath the carpet acts like a sponge, you will want to blot from the outside towards the center to confine the spots’ size.
  • Once you have removed as much as you can, next get a glass of cool purified water (distilled or reverse osmosis) if you have it. If not, tap water will do. Slowly pour some of the water on the spot and again, blot from the outside towards the center. If you happen to possess a wet vacuum or some other piece of water extracting equipment, even better. Just remember to use it the same way – extract from the outside towards the center. You may have to do this step several times depending on how much urine was initially deposited. (A Chihuahua will not have nearly as much urine as say a German Shepard would.)  But why just plain water?  Because water is technically a solvent and has a neutral pH, so it will dilute and slightly neutralize the urine.
  • Once you have blotted (or extracted) out as much of the water as you can, you will then need to get several layers of paper towels or a few cloth towels and place these over the area. Now get something heavy like a stack of books and place them on top of the towels. (You can place a plastic trash liner between the books and towels so the books aren’t affected by any moisture that is absorbed into the towels). The reason for doing this strange but important step is so that as the carpet dries, any remaining diluted urine will bypass the face yarn of the carpet and wick into the towels. Leave this on for at least 12 hours so that all the wicking can take place.
  • After 12 hours, remove the books and towels. If you feel the urine and smell are not completely gone, you can then apply a digestive enzyme product you can buy at any pet supply store. The enzymes in these products are specifically made to break down and digest protein-based deposits like urine. Just make sure you follow the directions from the manufacturer on how best to use it. Most will usually say to leave the product on the carpet for at least 24hrs to allow the enzymes to do their work. If after this step, it is still not satisfactory, call a local professional carpet cleaner and he (or she) will to come out and assess what needs to be done further to finish the task.

On an Older Urine Spot:

As I mentioned above, as urine dries it chemically changes. Once dry, it actually bonds tighter to the carpet fibers, the carpet backing, the carpet pad below and even into the substrate floor, which will either be wood or cement.

If the deposit is from a small pet and it’s not an area that’s been visited several times by your animal, you may be able to remove it with an enzyme product as I referred to above. But if it’s a larger spot where the carpet has been saturated by a large pet or repeated visits in the same area, to remove it properly requires expertise. It calls for a carpet cleaning professional who has the right equipment, chemical knowledge and field experience to handle the situation.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called to a job were the customer has used every chemical they have under the kitchen sink, every wives tale do-it-yourself home remedy or latest infomercial miracle spot remover, only to be disappointed with the results and then ask me if I can get it out. The problem is though, that by this time, my hands are tied. By playing chemist, they have made it virtually impossible to remove the stain and may have done irreversible damage to the carpet.

Sometimes just finding where the pet urinated can be a challenge. You can walk into a room and smell that your pet has been in there, but you just don’t know where the smell is coming from. You could crawl around on your hands and knees sniffing with your nose, but who wants to do that! Here again is where a professional comes into focus. They will have the right tools to help locate where the areas are, how extensive they are   and what needs to be done to treat them.

So basically what I am saying to you is – call your local IICRC certified carpet cleaning company first before heading down that road of trying to find and treat an old urine deposit yourself. See what they can do to help you out. If you are in the San Diego, CA area, please call me and I would be more than happy to take care of it for you.

In the following article, Part 2 will discuss what you can do regarding the other two pet accidents, vomit and feces.

I wanted to write an article that will help you the consumer, clear up some of the confusion in selecting a company for the cleaning of your carpet. Why? Because as you have seen on the internet and in the phone book, there’s quite a few businesses in the carpet cleaning field!

So what I would like to do right now is to answer some of the more commonly asked questions to assist you in making your decision on which company to choose.

First question:  Will the company you choose, be using the best cleaning method for the cleaning of your carpet?

Choice of the proper cleaning process is important. Some methods can leave behind chemical residues, which would promote rapid resoiling, and this of course, would defeat the whole purpose for cleaning. So which method is best?

Is it absorbent powders, like Host or Capture? Is it the bonnet method, often referred to as dry-cleaning? Is it the dry foam method? The shampoo method?  Or, is it the hot water extraction process?

Well, Shaw Industries, the largest carpet manufacturer in the world, asked themselves that very same question!  So instead of just taking anyone’s word for it, they decided to do their own research on the matter. The results of their findings were to go into their Carpet Care brochure.

Here’s what they did:  Since there are basically five different cleaning methods being used today by carpet cleaning companies, Shaw Industries took five identical pieces of carpet and soiled them all the same. (They measured the same amount of “laboratory soil” that would go into the carpet so they would know how much soil would have come out of the carpet after each piece was cleaned)  They then asked five cleaning professionals, each one professed in one of the methods, to clean the carpet piece given to them. What was the result?

Well, I’ll quote this straight from their Carpet Care brochure – It says: “Shaw Industries recommends the hot water extraction system, which research indicates, provides the best capability for cleaning.”

Why do they recommend this process? Because the hot water extraction method (often referred to as “steam cleaning”, although no steam is actually generated) is a restorative deep cleaning process that removes the soil, spots, indoor pollutants, allergens, dust and other particulates from your carpet!

And if you stop and think about it for a moment, how do you wash your hair or your clothes? You see, all fiber, whether it grows out of your head, whether you wear it or walk on it, all needs to be cleaned the same way. So it’s no wonder that this is the best method for the cleaning of your carpet!

Are their other benefits that come from using the hot water extraction cleaning process? Yes! Shaw Industries says that with periodic cleanings every 12 to 18 months,  your carpet will look better, smell better, last longer, and most importantly, provide a healthier home environment for you and your family!

That’s why my company uses a state-of-the-art truck mounted hot water extraction system and equipment, coupled with our residue-free hypoallergenic cleaning solutions, as our primary way of cleaning carpet!

Second question: How can you know that the company you select, be the best qualified to take care of your carpet cleaning needs?

First, make sure they are licensed and insured! (You would be surprised how many are not) Then, make sure they are certified by the I.I.C.R.C. (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification). The IICRC is an international independent certification organization founded in 1972, to set standards for the carpet cleaning industry. An IICRC certified firm is your assurance that the company has pledged to provide you with the best professional care of your carpet and furnishings!

IICRC certifications cannot be purchased! They are acquired through field experience, study courses and by successful completion of written examinations of those courses!  In addition, certified technicians have pledged to do business with you honestly, observing the IICRC code of ethics in maintaining the highest standard of service and workmanship for your home!

Third question: In pricing out the job, is it better to be charged by the room or by the square foot?

For the most part, the majority of the carpet cleaning companies out there, charge by the square foot. Why? Because that way, you only get charged for what is being cleaned.  But whether a company charges by the room or by the square foot, (and this next part is very important) make sure they follow the industry cleaning standard set by the IICRC.

The industry standard consists of five steps –

  1. Vacuum – to remove as much dry soil as possible from the carpet. Many companies skip this most important step because of the time it takes to do it. They will ask you to vacuum before they arrive or charge you extra for the service. This should not be the case with an IICRC certified firm as they are required to perform this step (as well as all the others) as part of being certified.
  2. Chemical Prespray and Conditioning – to loosen and suspend the soils from the carpet fibers.
  3. Rinse and Extract – this step flushes and immediately removes the suspended soils up and out of the carpet.
  4. Grooming – this step helps to lift and separate the carpet pile to allow it dry more evenly.
  5. Drying – making sure the carpet is brought back to normal use within 24hrs. by utilizing all available air movement and ventilation to speed up the evaporation of the moisture off the carpet. This can be done by opening up windows, using portable fans and turning on the fan from your central air unit. Some companies even use specialized fans made specifically to cut down on the drying time.
  6. Protectant – this step is optional, it is not a required step but one that is highly recommended. And that is applying a carpet protectant to the freshly cleaned carpet to provide an invisible shield around the carpet fibers to help protect them against most oil and water based spills. This adds longevity and cleanability to your carpet.

I hope this article has helped you in choosing a company for your carpet cleaning needs. Please feel free to email me at or leave a comment in the space provided, if you have any questions about what you just read.

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. We reach for that full glass of soda, milk, wine, coffee or juice, and oops! we knock it over, right onto our carpet.

Many people’s first reaction, after the panic sets in, is to grab a bunch towels, start rubbing the spill or standing on the towels to blot up as much of the spill as possible. After that, they begin spraying any cleaner that is handy to try and clean out the spill. When one cleaner doesn’t work, they move on to the next one, not realizing though, they could be doing more harm than good, and possibly turning the spill into a permanent stain! Nobody wants that!

So what is the best way to handle a fresh spill?

Well, the first reaction, as mentioned above, was right! You need to remove as much of the spill from the carpet as you possibly can. But removing it properly is the key first step.

Get a few terry cloth towels or a handful of paper towels (white ones with no print) and start blotting, not rubbing the spill. Using both hands, blot from the outside of the spill towards the center (like you are kneading dough). Why do it this way? Because if you push down or stand on it with the towels, you are only going to make the spot bigger!

You see, when a full glass of anything spills on the carpet, a lot of the liquid has bypassed the face yarn and has now gone into the carpet pad, which acts like a big sponge.

The size of spill you see on top is actually twice as big underneath. So blotting from the outside towards the center is the best way to contain the spill and keeping it from getting any bigger.

(What works even better yet, if you possess a shop vac or some other piece of equipment that can extract water-based liquids, use it in the same manner by vacuuming from the outside towards the center)

Once you have removed as much of the spill as you can, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Now, get yourself a glass of water. Preferably, purified water – reverse osmosis or distilled is best. If that is not available, then tap water will do. Next, pour a small amount of water where the spill was and then blot again. [Remember, outside towards the center.] Do this a few times or until you feel you have rinsed a good portion of the spill out of the carpet. You may need to use several towels to accomplish this.

But you may ask, “Why just plain water?” The reason is – water is technically a solvent. A “solvent”, as defined in the dictionary, is “A substance, usually a liquid, that is capable of dissolving another substance.” And that’s exactly what water does! Water is also neutral on the pH scale so it can slightly neutralize and dilute whatever water-based spill fell on the carpet, lessening the chance of it becoming a permanent stain.

After blotting as much water out of carpet as possible, you might think you are done. Not true! The next step may sound a little strange, but it’s an important one!

What you need to do now, is get yourself a couple more dry terry cloth towels OR layers of paper towels, and lay them over the spill area. Now weight it down with something a little heavy. Something that water can’t damage. You can even use a stack of books, but put a plastic trash liner on top of the towels so no moisture will soak into the books.

The reason for doing this is to absorb any remaining water and spill residue left in the carpet and pad. You see, as carpet dries, it dries from the bottom up, not from the top down. So anything that is left underneath in the pad, will want to wick to the surface. Since moisture always seeks its driest point, the remaining water that is left, will now bypass the face yarn on the carpet surface and go straight into the weighted down towels.

Leave the area weighted down for at least 12hrs. By then, most of the wicking will have taken place. After 12hrs, remove everything off the spill area and allow it to finish drying.

After drying, if there is still a spot or discoloration where the spill was, call a certified I.I.C.R.C carpet cleaning professional like myself to remove what’s left. If you are in the San Diego area, you can call me. If you are not, look up the I.I.C.R.C online and you will find one in your area.

We will have the proper chemicals, techniques and expertise that can finish removing the stain. If you use any chemicals on the remaining stain, you could set the stain. This will also make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the trained professional to remove it.

While many stains can be removed, sometimes due to what the carpet is made out of and what was spilled on the carpet, after attempting to remove the left over stain, the technician may have no other choice but to do a patch with a spare piece of carpet. But, if you follow the steps as I outlined for you above, the chances of that happening can be reduced.

As you know from our website,  Drummond’s Cleaning Service has been in business since 1974, we specialize in the cleaning of carpets, upholstery and area rugs, as well as the cleaning of natural stone, ceramic tile and grout.

We service many cities in San Diego and North County of San Diego including:

Aviara                                        Poway

Bonsall                                      Olivenhain

Carlsbad                                    Oceanside

Carmel Valley                             Rancho Bernardo

Cardiff-by-the-Sea                     Rancho Santa Fe

Coronado                                   Rancho Penasquitos

Del Mar                                      San Diego

Encinitas                                    San Marcos

Escondido                                  Scripps Ranch

Fallbrook                                    Solana Beach

Hillcrest                                     Tierra Santa

La Costa                                    Vista

La Jolla                                      Valley Center

Pauma Valley

We look forward to sharing many carpet cleaning tips with you and hope you will find our next entry entitled “Oh No! I just spilled a whole glass of —- on my carpet! Now what do I do?” very informative.