Dog Cleanup Strategies

Messes: Minimization and Clean Up Strategies

Having a pet can be messy. In addition to the house training accidents, there is hair everywhere! Here are some tips for minimizing messes and cleaning up.


  • Brushing and combing your dog daily will help keep hair from showing up on clothing and furniture, especially during shedding season.
  • Put an easy-to-wash dog blanket on chairs, couches or pet beds.
  • Clean filters in dryers, air conditioners and furnaces regularly.
  • On carpets and rugs, use a vacuum cleaner with both a beater bar and a brush.
  • For hardwood floors, spray an anti-dust spray on the mop, let it settle and mop.
  • Use damp paper towels or a damp cloth to wipe down counters or corners.
  • Use a damp cloth, paper towel or rubber glove on upholstery, bedding and drapes. Rub in one direction only.
  • Clothing: Tape rollers are best. Or, use wide packing or masking tape rolled sticky side out around your hand. Keep a tape roller in the car.
  • Velour brushes also work well on clothing and upholstery. Rub in one direction to remove hair, rub in the other direction to remove hair from the brush.
  • Washable items: Shake them out and use one of the above methods to remove most of the hair. "Dry clean" some items, such as cushions, in a dryer set on "air" along with a damp towel and fabric softener sheet.

Urine, Solid Waste and Vomit:

  • Get to the spot ASAP. Clean or blot up what you can, using paper towels. Use a knife or piece of cardboard for solid waste.
  • Do not use cleaning products with ammonia. They will attract your dog to the spot again! Use an all-purpose cleaner or dish soap for most accidents and rinse. When clean, wipe the spot with a rag or sponge dampened with white vinegar.
  • For accidents on carpets, put a towel or multiple paper towels on the stain and stand on it, changing towels until you've soaked up as much wetness as possible. Then use a carpet cleaner or a little dish detergent in water. Blot, don't scrub, so you won't spread the stain. Rinse with a wet sponge and then soak with club soda for 10 minutes. Blot it up and place other paper or white cloth towels over the stain with something heavy, like books, on top and leave overnight.
  • The next day, spray on an enzymatic bacteria odor neutralizer like Nature's Miracle. A laundry enzymatic pre-soak product also works well. The enzymatic product must soak as deeply as the urine. The treated area must remain wet and warm for 24 hours to really be effective. Cover the area with plastic to keep it from drying out.
  • Launder urine from washable items by putting them through one washing machine cycle with a cup of vinegar and no detergent. Then wash them again as usual.
  • Hardwood floors and porous concrete floors are very difficult to rid of urine odor. Use an odor remover to temporarily solve the problem. In severe cases, a thin coating of concrete may have to be poured on concrete floors. Hardwood floors may have to be sanded and/or bleached and the protective finish re-applied. Badly stained wood floors may have to have the wood replaced.
  • Open containers of vinegar in the corners of the room help keep the room smelling fresh.
  • Dogs have very sensitive stomachs and vomit at the slightest provocation. Feed your pet dog food without dyes (such as iron oxide) to avoid red or orange stains on your carpet.
  • If soiling is a recurring problem, discuss the problem with your veterinarian. Your dog may have a medical condition.

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 10/9/2018: 8:09:06 PM ET
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