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How to Clean Dog Poop Out of Carpet and Get Rid of the Smell

You’ve landed in exactly the right place you never wanted to be – reading about how to clean dog poop out of carpet! Believe it or not, cleaning up dog poop correctly is a bit of an art. And guess what? Most pet parents are doing it wrong. 

I’ve had more than 30 pets in my lifetime, so I have cleaned up my share of poop, including diarrhea, poop that’s been unnoticed for a long time and hardened (we all know it happens!), and fresh poop. I’ve also had extensive conversations with folks who manufacture cleaning products and I’ve tried literally dozens of cleaning products. 

So here’s the poop on cleaning up poop! 

Poop Cleaning Supplies

Contrary to popular belief (i.e. what you’ve read on other blogs about cleaning up poop), simple household cleaners just won’t cut it. I’ll explain why in a bit, but first, grab your cleaning bucket and fill it with the following items: 

  1. Rubber/latex gloves
  2. Paper towels – lots of ’em if you’re dealing with diarrhea
  3. Garbage bag
  4. An enzymatic cleaner (this one is the one I recommend
  5. 1-2 Clean white rags
  6. Fork (optional)
  7. Vacuum (optional)
  8. Carpet extractor, like this inexpensive one (optional)

Now, let’s get to work! 

How to Really Get Dog Poop Out of Your Carpet

I’ve heard some people make specific recommendations about cleaning up diarrhea as opposed to firm poop, but they often include letting the diarrhea sit and harden… um, eew! 

The fact is, the faster you can clean up poop the better. Ultimately, what creates the stain and smell is the same for any kind of poop – biological bacteria from your dog’s digestive tract. Just because it has more water in it, doesn’t mean you should delay in cleaning it. You wouldn’t leave dog pee on your carpet until it dries, right? 

But, I will admit cleaning it up right away means you’re going to have to stomach a bit more cleaning. But not to worry, I’ll help you make the process as painless as possible. 

how to use an enzyme cleaner

So put your gloves on, get your paper towels and garbage bag ready, and let’s go to work!

1. Scoop Up as Much Poop as Possible

No matter the consistency of the poop, use your paper towels to lift as much waste away from the carpet as you can and dispose of it in your garbage bag. Avoid touching the carpet so you don’t “smush” any of the poop down into the fibers. 

If the poop has hardened and is stuck to the carpet fibers, you can use a fork to free the small pieces. Vacuum them up if necessary. 

Dog Sniffing carpet with enzyme cleaner in foreground
My dog, Tulip, can no longer find the stink!

2. Saturate the Spot with an Enzyme Cleaner

Here’s where your enzymatic cleaner reports for “doody.” Some may recommend vinegar, baking soda, or ordinary household cleaners, but here’s why I take issue with those options: 

  • Vinegar may stain your carpet and it’s typically not safe for use on wool carpet.
  • Baking soda may absorb some of the smell, but it will do nothing to kill the bacteria causing the smell.
  • Household cleaners aren’t designed to neutralize bacteria from biological sources. They are a spray and wipe-away formula that won’t neutralize the bacteria causing the smell and stain. 

On the contrary, an enzymatic cleaner like this one (it smells sooo good!) will literally eat the bacteria in your dog’s poop (or pee or puke for that matter)! Have you tried an enzymatic cleaner in the past without success? You may not be using it properly. 

The number one mistake pet parents use with these cleaners is to spray and then wipe away. However, the product needs to saturate the mess, preferably overnight in order to interact with the organic material and render it dead. 

So here’s how to use your enzyme cleaner: 

  1. After the poop is scooped away and you’re left with the “spot,” saturate it with your enzyme cleaner. Kinderbean’s No Stress Mess Eraser has a squirt top designed for this exact purpose. 
  2. Use the bottom of the bottle to agitate the product into the area. 
  3. Place your white rag over the top of the area and let it sit, preferably overnight. 
  4. Re-treat in the morning if necessary. 

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3. Use a Carpet Extractor if Necessary

You may find using a carpet extractor gets up any residual stain, but be sure to let the enzyme cleaner do the dirty work first, as you want to neutralize that biological material and its resulting smell. 

If you were to reverse these steps, the brush in the carpet exactor may force the poop deeper into the carpet, making it harder for the enzyme cleaner to reach it and effectively eat the odor and stain-causing bacteria. 

How to Deodorize Dog Poop Smell

If you’ve properly cleaned up the dog poop, there shouldn’t be any smell leftover! However, if you’ve cleaned up the area and there is still an odor, you may need to re-treat. 

If this is the case, simply go back and repeat steps 2 and 3 above. 

I don’t recommend using any kind of synthetic spray, as this will merely mask the odor. Trust me, your dog can still smell it! An enzyme cleaner should have a light scent to it, with natural substances. I find many enzyme cleaners to have a rather noxious odor, and some can be downright too strong for pets. 

Getting Poop Stains Out of Carpet

If the poop has been there for a while, it may have left a stain, especially if it was not well formed. After completing the steps above, you may need to re-treat the spot. 

Lastly, follow up with an inexpensive carpet extractor like this one. You can even add some of your enzyme cleaner to the tank. Amazon reviewers have remarked how well this cleaner works for old stains and I agree!

The Tail End

Almost every dog will have a poop accident in the house at least once in their life! However, if your dog has repeated accidents, it’s time to do a little detective work. First up, make an appointment with your vet to rule out anything medically serious. 

If your dog is in good health, it may be time to look at training, or retraining, your dog to go outside. If your dog is peeing indoors on the regular, it’s definitely time to curb the behavior! 

Many of the tips in my guide, “Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Your Dog Peeing Indoors,” are also relevant for serial indoor poopers, including those who poop indoors when the weather is bad. 

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Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience in the industry. She's helped millions of pet parents provide the best care at every stage of their pet’s life.

Her blog, Pet Living with Kristen Levine has been featured in Pop Sugar, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, USA Today, and more.

She's also the founder of FWV Fetching, the first marketing agency exclusively serving pet and animal health companies.

Her early work with the SPCA led her to a lifelong career in the pet industry, advocating for pet adoption and rescue as well as for pets and their parents here on her blog and in the media.

She’s frequently booked on satellite media tours and national shows, like FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, and Daytime, to talk about pet trends and new products.

Insanely passionate about pets since she was a little girl, Kristen has had more than 30 pets in her lifetime — including dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, a horse, a gerbil, mice, and chickens!

In 2022, she launched to help pet parents keep pet homes clean -- to love more, stress less.

Kristen is married and lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her dog Tulip.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. The blog’s tips on cleaning dog poop out of the carpet are a lifesaver for dog owners. Thanks, author, for these practical cleaning methods. My carpets will be poop-free and clean again!

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