How to Get Dog Poop Out of Carpet

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Did your pet have an accident? Whether it's an old mess or a new one, here's how to get dog poop out of your carpet.

Accidents happen, particularly when you have a puppy or even an older dog. Fortunately, cleaning up pet messes is a lot easier than you might think, especially if you tackle the (stinky!) situation ASAP. Whether you’re dealing with a fresh stain or an old one, we’ve got everything you need to learn how to get dog poop out of carpet.

“Pet waste, particularly dog poop, should be cleaned up quickly for a few reasons,” says Guy Peters, owner of Mop Stars Cleaning Service. “The most obvious is that the smell will permeate your whole home almost instantly. But another reason is that feces is full of bacteria and parasites that are dangerous to pets and people, such as E. coli, salmonella and parasitic worms.” Also, the longer the mess sits, the more it seeps into your carpet’s fibers and padding, causing long-term damage that can only be fixed by replacing the carpet.

Similar to how to get dog pee out of carpet, how to get rid of dog smell, and how to get rid of pet odor, mastering how to clean dog poop out of your carpet without leaving behind permanent stains or smells requires a little bit of work. You’ll also need to have the right cleaning supplies and appliances—including the best pet stain removers and carpet cleaners for pets—on hand.

How to clean fresh dog poop out of carpet

Peters suggests following these steps for getting dog poop out of carpet when it is fresh:

1. Remove the pet from the area

If you’re able to catch your pet pooping in the act, don’t scold or punish them, Peters says. “They may be sick or too young or old to control what just happened,” he points out. Instead, remove them from the area to ensure they don’t step in the mess.

2. Use a plastic bag to get rid of the mess

Grab a plastic bag or dog poop bag to remove as much of the material as you can. “If you’re dealing with diarrhea, use paper towels to soak up as much as possible, but be careful not to push too hard on the carpet, as that may drive the mess deeper into the carpet fibers,” says Peters.

3. Spray the area with an enzymatic cleaner

After you’ve removed the bulk of the mess, spray and lightly dampen the area fully with an enzymatic cleaner. (More below on why an enzymatic cleaner is the way to go.)

4. Wipe away more of the mess

After spraying, use paper towels or a rag to wipe away more of the mess.

5. Repeat

Spray the area again, this time fully saturating the stain, plus about an inch of space surrounding it. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. “It’s important to let it sit, as that allows the enzymes time to do their job,” Peters notes.

6. Blot the area again

After blotting the area again, repeat the last two steps if needed.

7. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain

Next, sprinkle a light layer of baking soda over the area, and use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub it. “Baking soda will help with odor removal, discoloration and staining, but it is not an enzymatic cleaner,” says Peters. “Don’t skip the enzyme-cleaner step.” Let the baking soda sit for 30 to 60 minutes or until completely dry.

8. Vacuum

Finally, use a vacuum to remove the baking soda. In case you’re in need of a new one, here are the best vacuums for pet hair.

Bonus: Use a steam carpet cleaner

If you have a steam carpet cleaner, you can use that instead of, or in addition to, any of the above steps, “as long as you are using an appropriate enzymatic product in the cleaner,” says Peters. “I like to use the enzyme cleaner and baking soda, and then go in one more time with my carpet cleaner to ensure I’ve really gotten the area clean.”

How to get old poop stains out of carpet

Believe it or not, cleaning dog poop that has been sitting on your carpet for a while doesn’t require too much more work. In fact, sometimes it even requires less. “If you find an old pile of poop that has dried into your carpet, don’t panic!” says Peters. “Sometimes dried messes are easier to clean up than fresh ones.” Here’s what you need to do:

1. Use a plastic bag to pick up the mess

Just like with a new accident, use a plastic bag to pick up as much poop as you can. With an old mess, use your fingers (with the bag over them, of course) to grip and pull off pieces.

2. Loosen old excrement

Use a bristle brush or scraping tool, like a putty knife, to loosen as much of the dried poop as possible. “The more you can remove while dry, the less unpleasant the cleaning process will be,” Peters says. “Once you add a liquid to the soiled area, smells are released, and the material can again start staining and seeping into your carpet.”

3. Spray the area with an enzymatic cleaner

Housewife cleaning carpet.scyther5/Getty Images

Spray the area thoroughly with your enzymatic cleaner, and let it sit for around 30 to 45 minutes. “Make sure the area stays saturated throughout this time,” says Peters, “as it’s not effective if it dries out.” Reapply as needed.

4. Scrub the area

Using a soft-bristle brush, scrub the area gently. “Take care not to rub too hard, as that will force more of the mess into your carpet fibers,” notes Peters.

5. Blot

Blot the area, repeating the last two steps if necessary.

6. Sprinkle baking soda on the area

After you’ve thoroughly cleaned with the enzymatic cleaner, sprinkle a light layer of baking soda over the area, and use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the area. Let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes or until completely dry.

7. Vacuum

Vacuum up the baking soda.

8. Repeat if needed

Repeat the whole process again, if necessary. “Sometimes old messes need a few treatments to be fully removed,” Peters says.

Supplies you’ll need

So, now you know how to clean dog poop out of carpet, but in order to do it properly, you’ll need the right tools. Here are the pet-mess must-haves that you should always have in your home, according to Peters:

  • Plastic bags
  • Paper towels or rags
  • Enzymatic carpet cleaner
  • A soft-bristle cleaning brush
  • Baking soda
  • A vacuum

For a stain that’s also producing an odor, like pet urine, vomit or poop, opt for an enzymatic cleaner, which is designed to provide thorough cleaning. “The enzyme action found in these cleaners is like that of healthy probiotics found in some types of yogurt that help ‘eat’ the microscopic particles that make up the stain,” explains Jay Kellis, a chemist for Consumables Development at Bissell. “Once the spray is released from the bottle, the probiotics are activated and begin working. If kept moist, they’ll continue to multiply and remove the material until it’s gone. That’s why we recommend keeping a moist towel on the stain and giving it plenty of time to work—to ensure that the stain is [completely] removed.”

When looking for an enzymatic cleaner, Peters stresses the importance of using one with protease enzymes, such as Nature’s Miracle Advanced Dog Enzymatic Stain and Odor Eliminator, since those types of enzymes break down proteins. Other great options? Folex Carpet Spot Cleaner, Angry Orange Odor Eliminator, and Bissell Professional Pet Stain and Odor Removing Formula.

An enzymatic cleaner is also essential if you want to prevent future accidents. Yep, you read that right. These cleaners remove the odor-causing bacteria that may confuse your pet and cause them to continue defecating in that area. “Pets use their sense of smell for all forms of communication, including where they go to the bathroom,” say Peters. “Even the most potty-trained pet may get confused by the smell of the previous soiling and think that’s an appropriate place to go.”

If you’re a pet parent, you should also have excellent carpet cleaner in your arsenal, especially a smaller spot-treating one. The Bissell Little Green Machine, Bissell Pet Stain Eraser, and Rug Doctor Pet are a few of our favorites. And here are some more tips on how to clean your carpet like a pro, whether you’re dealing with another kind of pet stain or simply looking to keep your carpet in tip-top shape.

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Leah Groth
A general lifestyle writer, Leah covers everything from cleaning hacks and consumer products to travel and pets for RD.com. When she isn't working you will find her chasing after her four children (two humans, a Vizsla and a German Shorthaired Pointer) or working on her 100-plus year-old-home outside of Philadelphia.