Carpeted floors present a lot of advantages. Your pet’s feet stay warm, even during the coldest winter mornings. You don’t have to worry about your senior dog sliding around. Even if you know the fur’s there – so long as the color doesn’t clash – no one can see it. Then the weather turns rainy, and muddy footprints track through the house. Or your cat decides to register a negative review of dinner. Before you rip out your carpet in favor of hardwood floors, check out these pet carpet cleaners. They’ll save your wallet (and your sanity!).
The Low-Down on Carpet
Why do carpeted floors get such a bad rep? People seem to hate carpet with a passion. Probably because carpet and pets don’t mix. After all, pets that venture outside track dirt, grass, and everything else back indoors with them. Natural oils and pet dander embed into carpet fibers, causing discoloration. And accidents happen. Even if you’re not potty training a new puppy, cats tend to vomit – usually in the middle of the floor where you’re sure to step on it.
Pet carpet cleaners help you stay ahead of the mess. You keep your indoor environment clean and healthy. While most people believe pet allergies come from fur, the culprit is shed dander. If you scrub the dander, you’ll find it easier to breathe.
Which Type of Pet Carpet Cleaner to Choose?
You have several options when it comes to pet carpet cleaners. If you only have a couple of throw rugs around the house, you likely won’t want to invest in carpet shampoo and a bulky rug shampooer. Each pet carpet cleaner has its advantages and disadvantages, as you can see below:
|Pet Carpet Cleaner||Pros||Cons|
|Carpet Foam||Easy to Use; Useful for Oils and Dirt; No Machine Required||Requires a Long Dry Time|
|Carpet Powder||Fast; Short Dry Time; No Machine Required||Complicated to Use; Must Keep Pets Away Until Dry|
|Carpet Shampoo||Lasts a Long Time; Penetrates the Carpet||Long Dry Time; May Stain if Not Used Properly; Machine Required|
|Carpet Spray||Works Well on Carpets or Upholstery; Targeted Stain Removal; No Machine Required||Not Ideal for Large Areas|
Choosing Your Pet Carpet Cleaner
Once you’ve settled on a type of pet carpet cleaner (or even multiple cleaners, depending on your situation), it’s time to start hunting for the best option. Not all pet carpet cleaners are created equal. If you want to keep that carpet looking its best for the longest time possible, make sure you keep a few things in mind.
- Stain Remover: The best pet carpet cleaners can handle ALL of the stains your pet throws at you: grass, mud, vomit, urine, feces, and even blood. (Nothing major – just the occasional broken toenail) If the cleaner doesn’t clean, what’s the point?
- Odor Remover: The biggest problem with urine accidents is the possibility of repeat offenses. You don’t want to cover up the smell, you want to obliterate the scent. Good pet carpet cleaners neutralize odors.
- Speed: You find a lot of variation between pet carpet cleaners, especially the different types. Some start working within 30 seconds, while others need 30 minutes or more. Ideally, you want to tackle the mess as fast as possible.
- Enzymes: Enzymatic cleaners tackle stains through (you guessed it) enzymes. They also work the best at neutralizing odors. You don’t NEED an enzymatic cleaner, but they are the best tool for the job.
- Scent: If you’re sensitive to smells, proceed with caution. Some pet carpet cleaners use added fragrances to cover up the unwanted odors from a mess, but the chemicals are worse than anything produced by your pet. It would be best if you aimed for unscented or lightly-scented cleaners.
- Gentle Formula: You’re trying to preserve the carpet, not destroy it. You don’t want to bleach the original color or end up damaging the fabric. You also shouldn’t have to ban pets and children from the room due to harsh chemicals.
Pet Carpet Cleaners to Avoid
You may need to spend a little extra to find quality pet carpet cleaners. The unique formulas to handle the messes produced by cats and dogs don’t always come cheap. However, using household products to save on expenses won’t save you in the long run. The following chemicals are TOXIC to pets:
- Formaldehyde (this is toxic to humans, too!)
- Isopropyl alcohol
If you notice one of these ingredients on a label, skip using the product around the house. While it may clean the carpet, it could land your pet in the emergency room.
Best Pet Carpet Cleaners
No one likes having to clean up the carpet after their pet has made a mess. As a matter of fact, people cite the stress of clean-up as worse than stumbling onto the accident in the first place. (Anyone else startle out of a dead sleep when they hear that first cat retch out in the hallway?) Pet carpet cleaners make the process much easier. When you know you have a solution, you’ll relax and stop hunting for flooring contractors.
Best Enzymatic Pet Carpet Cleaners
If you want the best bang for your buck, enzymatic pet carpet cleaners are your go-to. The enzymatic formulas break down the stains (even set-in stains, most of the time), eliminate the odor, and leave your carpet looking fresh and new. You spray the cleaner onto the spot, give it a quick scrub to penetrate down through the fibers, and you’re set.
Are you worried about the safety of your carpet? Rocco & Roxie earned approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). Their pet carpet cleaner won’t bleach or damage your carpet; it’s completely color-safe. No need to worry about your pets, either – the formula is just as safe for them. The enzymes tackle stains and odor all at once, leaving you with a clean and fresh rug.
Downsides? Again, this pet carpet cleaner’s expensive. There is a strong odor. In fact, people recommend you use the spray in a well-ventilated area and consider wearing a mask.
TriNova uses a plant-based enzymatic formula to tackle your worst stains. All of the ingredients are 100% natural, providing you with the relief of knowing your kids and pets are completely safe. The pet carpet cleaner starts working within a couple of minutes, eliminating long wait times. There IS a light herbal scent, but most people weren’t too bothered.
The downsides? This isn’t the cheapest option out there, but it DOES work. (You’ll need to decide if it’s worth the cost) The straw within the bottle doesn’t reach the bottom, so it gets harder to spray as you use more. Also, while it’s excellent for fresh stains, the track record on older, set-in stains isn’t as good.
Best General Pet Carpet Cleaners
While these pet carpet cleaners lack enzymatic formulas, they still get the job done. They don’t contain ingredients that pose a risk to your pets, but they eliminate the messes of dirty feet and potential accidents. You’ll still get a clean carpet and a fresh-smelling house, which is what’s important.
If you want to get the most out of your purchase, Angry Orange is the pet carpet cleaner for you. One bottle of the concentrate dilutes out to four 32-ounce spray bottles. (That should last a while!) The orange peel-based cleaner removes tough stains and deodorizes the carpet, leaving behind the scent of (you’ll never guess) orange.
Downsides? Citrus oils are toxic to dogs and cats, so you need to keep your pets out of the area until the pet carpet cleaner dries. Also, that orange smell? It persists for 2-3 days, and it’s STRONG. Just be prepared in case you’re sensitive.
Bissell has an entire range of pet carpet cleaners, many formulated with pets in mind. The nice thing about the Destroyer Pet Plus is that it works for stains, as well as a pre-treatment for people using carpet shampooers. (Two-for-one is always nice!) The strong formula gets to work in just 30 seconds. Even difficult stains like blood are no match for Bissell. Odors lift out, even from deep in the carpet pile.
The downside? There’s a strong chemical smell, and a lot of people felt it was overpowering.
Are you concerned about exactly what your dog might be tracking in from outside? Woolite thought about that. Not only does their formula lift out those pesky stains and odors, but it also sanitizes the carpet, killing 99.9% of the bacteria in the mess! You get a beautifully clean carpet that’s also healthy and safe.
So what’s the downside? Unhappily, this pet carpet cleaner doesn’t handle tough stains very well. You’ll need to find another cleaner.
Best Shampoo Pet Carpet Cleaners
If you handle accidents or messes frequently, odds are you’ve invested in a rug shampooer. Even if you have a small machine, shampoo pet carpet cleaners fit the bill nicely. These cleaners work with machines. Trying to use them without proper dilution and mixing could result in damage to your carpet. So if you’re ready to take a step toward a shampooer, these are the pet carpet cleaners for you.
Bubba’s works nicely for both carpets and upholstery (provided your machine has the proper attachments). While the cost IS a little steep, just one ounce per gallon works perfectly. Not only will this pet carpet cleaner remove stains and neutralize odors, but it also cuts down on allergens and bacteria. That means allergy sufferers get a chance to breathe a little easier. They’re so confident, they offer a full money-back guarantee.
Downsides? The scent overwhelmed some people, so be careful if you’re sensitive. Also, some people found the formula wasn’t strong enough to tackle tough stains in one application – they needed multiple rounds to eliminate the mess.
Rounding out the familiar carpet names, Hoover offers a little bit of everything. Their pet carpet cleaner works best in a machine, but you CAN use it on its own. After attacking and cleaning the mess, the formula helps prevent further stains from settling into your carpet. Both old and new stains lift right out while odors get replaced with a light “cotton breeze” scent.
The downside? While the claim is a “light” scent, some people found the smell too much to bear.
Nearly all pet owners recognize the Nature’s Miracle label. You can find various stain removers by Nature’s Miracle, but this one is designed to work with machines. The enzymatic cleaners continue to work long after you’ve stored the shampooer, breaking down the stain deep within the carpet pile. Brighteners return your carpet to its original color. Meanwhile, those enzymes destroy the odor molecules, ensuring you won’t see any repeat offenses.
So what are the downsides? People found it took a lot of solution to eradicate dark-colored stains. Also, due to the nature of the enzymes, you have to wait a long time for the entire stain to break down. (How patient are you?)
Sunny & Honey took the extra step of making sure their pet carpet cleaner was also biodegradable. So if making environmentally sound decisions is important to you, this is the choice for you! The formula tackles stains on carpets and upholstery in all standard machines. You won’t smell any lingering odors, but you will notice your carpet looking fresh and bright. If you’re not satisfied, Sunny & Honey offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee!
Downsides? There’s a strong chemical scent, and a lot of people didn’t appreciate it. Other people noticed their pets marking in the same spots again, so some urine smell remained.
Keep the Floors
Having carpeted floors might make you want to tear your hair out at times. (Every time our cats bring up a hairball, I swear the carpet’s going) The truth is, though, pet carpet cleaners make owning carpets okay. The cleaners tackle all of the accidental messes, leaving fresh smells and bright carpet colors behind. They’re also much cheaper than finding a contractor to outfit your entire house with hardwood floors.
With the right pet carpet cleaners, you’ll appreciate your carpets all the more.