PET STAINS... A Most Difficult Dilemma

Interior fabrics and floor coverings are subject to many different types of stains and soils, but perhaps none is more damaging than pet urine. Unchecked, it can cause fiber damage, stains that are impossible to remove, and odor problems that seem never to go away.

Pet Urine 1024x512

Nylon, olefin, and other man-made non-cellulosic fibers are less prone to being stained by pet urine. Stain resist technology has also helped, although pet urine isn’t covered by most of these warranties. But there is a big problem —and most of it lies beneath the carpet.


Where Does All That Liquid Go?

Because nylon, olefin and other common carpet fibers tend not to absorb moisture, the urine has no place to go but down. The urine then starts to spread out in the backings, padding, and sub-floor. What appears to be a three-inch spot on the surface can be over a foot in diameter underneath. Complicating the situation is the animal’s instinct to revisit contaminated areas, making the problem even more serious.

Often, a spot cleaner will remove the stain on the surface but do nothing to the area below. The next humid day activates the urine and the odors return. In some cases, the urine can wick to the surface, making the stain reappear.

Some spot cleaners and deodorizers do nothing but mask the odor. Once the “fragrance” wears off, the odor returns. Even worse are the products that cause the secondary backing to delaminate, compromising the integrity of the face fibers.

Wool Carpets and Rugs

Wool carpet and rugs are altogether different. Wool will hold several times its weight in water. This means that the urine will tend to soak into the fibers in the immediate area, leaving a larger looking stain. Again, because pets tend to revisit contaminated areas, the stained area tends to grow outward. Eventually it will penetrate the backing and padding but much of the damage has already been done to the surface fibers.

Complicating the problems on wool fibers is the urine itself. While it starts off as an acid, with time and a few microbes, it turns into an alkaline. Alkaline substances can be very damaging not only to the dyes but also to the fibers themselves.

Then there are the issues with stain removal. While urine odor removal can be achieved with professional services, stains caused by pet urine can be quite difficult, if not impossible. Wool is up to 20% weaker when wet and wool yarns are subject to fuzzing from excessive rubbing, making spot removal tricky.

Further Complications

Adding to the problem is the diet of the animal, age, sex and type of animal. All of these factors add to the complexities of removal.

The age of the spot also comes into play. If the spot is attended to immediately, blotting and rinsing with plain water will usually do the trick. However, if a spot is overlooked and has a chance to “soak in” or dry, then removal will be more difficult.

Last Word on Removal

When pet urine gets to the padding of a floor covering it’s time for professionals. In extreme cases the carpet will need to be removed, the sub-floor cleaned and sealed, the padding replaced and the carpet cleaned and reinstalled. This is quite time consuming and costly.

Living with Pets

Pet lovers will enjoy the book titled Animal House Style, Designing a Home to Share With Your Pets by Julia Szabo. The book has a wealth of knowledge and there is a host of ideas on how to live with pets. Topics include what fabrics to use, design, safety and more.

The book also discusses the need for fabric and carpet treatments that help resist staining.

Unfortunately, even with fabric treatments, a spot that goes unnoticed and is revisited by your pet can eventually turn into a problem.

Let Us Help!

The professionals of the Fiber-Seal Fabric Care System are trained to deal with all types of stains and soils, even the most difficult. With the latest in carpet and fabric protection technology and the most effective spot removal products and procedures, your local Fiber-Seal Service Center is ready and willing to help.

Need Help With Fabric Cleaning Or Fabric Protection?

Your local Fiber-Seal Service Center is ready to help and just a few clicks away...  find out which one is closest to you by clicking here.

You can always give us a call at 214.333.9400 or email us at

Always use fabric experts to clean and protect your upholstered furnishings.