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Top Tips to Easily Clean Dog Diarrhea from Carpet

Dog lying down on carpet.

Our pets are full of surprises, some pleasant and some not-so-pleasant. Dog diarrhea is almost inevitable for any puppy parent, and the most you can do is hope it happens on a hard floor away from the house.

But now you’re here, meaning you must not have been so lucky. There’s no time to waste when there’s dog poop on the living room rug, lest it becomes a permanent part of the carpet fibers. Follow along as we walk you through how to clean dog poop stains to keep your carpet looking and smelling fresh. 

How to Clean Dog Diarrhea from Carpet

After tending to your dog and taking them to a safe room (preferably with no carpet), focus on cleaning the diarrhea stain before it sets. If you have a robot vacuum cleaner, turn it off. You don’t want it wandering across dog poop and smearing it around the carpet (though newer models are solving this issue for pet owners).

When the room is clear, start cleaning. The following steps are for synthetic fibers, such as nylon, polyester, or polypropylene, as wool rugs demand special care. If you’re dealing with your dog’s poop on your natural fiber rug, skip to the section on cleaning wool carpets.

Tools and Materials

  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bag
  • Paper towels, baby wipes, or clean rag
  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic fork or dull knife
  • Soft or medium bristle scrub brush (optional)
  • Cleaning solution (options described below)

1. Scoop as Much Diarrhea as Possible

To make your cleaning solution more efficient, you must remove as much excess pet waste from the carpet as possible. Wear rubber gloves while working. With a large fork, putty knife, spoon, or dull knife, carefully scrape the dog poop into your plastic garbage bag.

Do not rub or press hard while working. Rubbing drives poop particles deep into carpet fibers, making them more challenging to remove. Gently pick and lift the dog poop into the bag. Start at the outer edge, and work toward the center to avoid spreading the stain.

2. Blot the Stain (or Suck It Up)

After scraping, use paper towels, baby wipes, or an old but clean rag to blot up as much poop as possible. Avoid rubbing, and do not press the poop hard into the carpet.

You can use a wet vac to ease the cleanup process. Rather than press in and risk worsening the stain, the vacuum lifts to clean dog poop. The one downside is it can get messy. You’ll want to remove as much dog feces as possible during the previous step to keep your machine from getting too gunky.

Flush the stain with cold water as you vacuum to help the diarrhea flow and dilute it as it enters the vacuum. Removing as much diarrhea as possible will help you remove the stain more effectively with less cleaning solution in the next step.

3. Clean the Stain

Having an enzyme cleaner or another pet accident cleaner, like Resolve, handy at all times is a wise idea for any dog owner. But if you have an immediate pet stain and no cleaning product, you may not have time to run to the store to pick one up. With everyday ingredients, you can try this DIY approach to cleaning dog diarrhea stains using the cleaning power of vinegar and dish soap.

DIY Cleaning Solution with White Vinegar and Dish Soap

  1. Combine 1–2 tsp of mild dish soap, 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of warm water in a bowl or clean spray bottle
  2. Spray or blot the poop stains with the cleaning solution
  3. Let the solution sit for 5–10 minutes
  4. Blot with a clean cloth until the dog poop lifts away
  5. Continuing spraying and blotting the area until the stain disappears

If you aren’t concerned about damaging carpet fibers, try a medium or soft-bristle brush to release excess poop particles as you work your cleaner.

Whether you use a store-bought enzyme cleaner or homemade cleaner, rinse the affected area of the carpet thoroughly with cold water. Soap residue will end up attracting more dust and dirt. Without proper rinsing, you could have a worse stain than before. Blot the stained area with  paper towels before moving on to the next step.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide for Stubborn Stains (Optional)

Stubborn stains may require a different approach from a white vinegar cleaner. If you’re still not getting results after several rounds with it, try hydrogen peroxide. An effective disinfectant and oxidizer for protein stains, hydrogen peroxide can break down dog poop marks and refresh your carpet.

  1. Add 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water
  2. Spot test it on an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t bleach the carpet (a heavily diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide likely won’t affect the carpet fibers, but better safe than sorry)
  3. Blot the stain with a paper towel or clean rag
  4. Repeat until the stain is gone
  5. Rinse with water

Rinse any vinegar solution from the carpet with cold water before cleaning it with hydrogen peroxide. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide mix to form peracetic acid, a potentially dangerous and irritating substance. At such low concentrations of acid and peroxide, it’s unlikely to be hazardous, but best not to take any chances.

5. Sprinkle Baking Soda to Finish Up

Finish cleaning the stained area with baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate is an excellent deodorizer throughout the home and will absorb excess moisture.

Sprinkle baking soda over the stained area. Let it sit for 15 minutes or more. Vacuum the baking soda when the time is up.

6. Use a Carpet Cleaner (Optional)

After vacuuming the remaining baking soda, you’ll hopefully be rid of the pet stains and smell. But when those extra-tough pet messes shrug off every cleaning attempt, it’s time to upgrade to a carpet cleaner.

You can rent a Rug Doctor for random pet accidents and generally see satisfactory results. For many pet owners, a portable carpet cleaner is an excellent investment for moments like these. These machines are popular for cleaning pet messes and general soil stains from fabric sofas, carpets, and upholstery.

How to Clean Dog Diarrhea from Wool Carpets

Wool demands special consideration because of its adverse reaction to alkaline cleaners and enzymes. With a pH above 7, alkaline cleaners like ammonia remove proteins, fats, and other substances. That’s why we love them in detergents. Using bacteria and protease enzymes, enzyme cleaners also break down protein.

Alkaline cleaners and enzymes are perfect for many fabrics and materials. The problem with wool is that it’s made of keratin. As a protein, keratin doesn’t hold up well against substances that degrade organic matter. And with many of their colors coming from acid dye processes, wool rugs will likely lose color even if the fibers don’t wear out.

As an important note, studies have shown that enzymes may not destroy wool carpet. But unless it has a WoolSafe certification, it’s safest to avoid using an enzyme cleaner.

Vinegar for Dog Diarrhea on Wool Carpets

High-pH cleaners aren’t ideal for wool carpets. To preserve the fibers and the color, you’d need a weak acid, like acetic acid or citric acid. Coming back into the equation, vinegar can answer the call when you need a DIY wool cleaner for dog poop stains. Follow these steps to get dog diarrhea out of your wool carpet:

  • Scrape and blot as much of the wet poop and dried diarrhea as you can
  • Mix ½ cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 1–2 teaspoons of wool-safe detergent (optional) in a spray bottle
  • Spray the stain
  • Blot with a paper towel or clean rag. Avoid paper towel because it may leave lint
  • Repeat spraying and blotting until the stain is gone
  • Rinse with cold water
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stain to let dry
  • Vacuum the baking soda after 15+ minutes

The WoolSafe Organisation, an industry authority and certification provider for wool-cleaning products, offers resources for maintaining wool carpets. Use their consumer carpet care product lookup tool to find cleaners that meet their standards for cleaning and protecting wool.

What Gets Dried Dog Diarrhea Out of the Carpet?

An enzyme cleaner is one of the best ways to deal with pet stains both old and new. Available online or in grocery stores, these contain helpful bacteria and enzymes that break down organic waste. They dissolve tough pee, poop, and vomit stains in carpet, making the smell and mark disappear and preventing repeat accidents in the same spot.

Find Local Cleaning Help with Anita’s!

If your carpet cleaning troubles extend beyond the random bout of dog diarrhea, get the help you need to maintain a healthy home by working with a local cleaning expert. With our hassle-free booking system, you can find and schedule cleaning appointments that fit your life and needs in only a few quick minutes. Request a booking today, and take the effortless approach to keeping a pristine carpet.


Anita's Housekeeping Editors