Sensitive readers, if you don’t currently have to deal with messes of a bodily nature, just make a mental note or better yet, bookmark the page and mosey along.
Dear Home Ec 101,
I have four dogs, they are housebroken, but every once in a while they have an accident. What is the best way to clean up after their mess on hardwood and tile flooring? I think I’m doing enough, but I want to be sure.
Seeking Assurance in Assumption
Pets are wonderful companions.
What comes out of and off of your pet is far less pleasant, but it’s just part of life so we may as well know how to deal with it.
In the past we have learned:
- How to clean pet urine off of linoleum
- How to remove potty training or poop stains from carpet (Yes, toddlers are comparable to pets in their mess making abilities)
- How to remove [dog] urine odor from a couch
- How to remove [cat] urine from a mattress
- How to deal with a cat marking its territory
- Somehow in all of that we never got around to cleaning up pet messes on hardwood and tile.
- Let’s assume your hardwood is sealed and that if you’re cleaning up tile that the grout is sealed.
If your pet pooped on the floor and it’s solid, life isn’t too hard. Just get a few paper towels*, dispose of the solid waste, grab your favorite cleaner for your hardwood (either what the manufacturer recommended, dilute vinegar, or a dilute cleaner like Murphy’s Oil Soap). I keep Wood for Good by Method around the house and it comes in a handy spray bottle. It’s up to you.
Spray your cleaner on the affected area, wipe it up, wipe with plain water if you choose and allow it to dry.
Bacteria in fecal matter is gross but does not possess super powers, if it has been wiped away, it is gone. No fuss, no muss, you’re done.
If the dog’s poop was runny or diarrhea, you’ve got a bigger job ahead of you as the mess can more easily seep into tiny crevices.
Grab more papertowels, a bucket, gloves, a trash bag , warm soapy water, a soft scrub brush, a few more paper towels, and a strong stomach.
Put on the gloves, wipe up all of the solid-ish material you can with the paper towels. Over the years – 3 kids and several dogs add up- I’ve learned that it’s easiest if you sort of surround the pile and scoop the mess into a single blob and pick it up that way. Deposit this mess directly into the trash bag.
Gently scrub the area to loosen any fecal material that has worked its way into nicks in the grout or crevices in the wood. Use more rags or paper towels to wipe up the cleaning mess you just made and go over the area with a damp rag or paper towel to wipe up any soapy residue.
Make sure the area is well ventilated so it can dry quickly, running a fan over the area is a good idea.
If your flooring is no longer sealed, the mess must still be cleaned up, but please know that there is a chance that the mess caused staining.
For hardwood flooring you’ll need to contact a professional on the best way to proceed after the mess has been cleaned. If your grout was stained, it is possible to restain and seal your grout to prevent future headaches.
Pet urine can be a nightmare on hardwood, if it has seeped into the flooring. If it is fresh, wipe it up, then clean thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner like Kids ‘N Pets to break down the odors that could cause pets to revisit the same area. Tile and grout just treat like the diarrhea clean up above, if the grout is not sealed.
If the urine has soaked into hardwood flooring. You can try applying hydrogen peroxide -test in an inconspicuous place- and placing papertowels to wick the urine out of the wood. Please note that some finishes can be affected by hydrogen peroxide and are must be taken. If you are unsure, please consultyour manufacturer on the best way to handle a stain like this. Sometimes the area will need sanding and refinishing depending on the level of damage.
Now smile knowingly at your friends, look away and say, “But they’re worth it”
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*You can use rags if you are averse to using paper towels, but please wash them separately from your other laundry.