Removing Pet Stains
~Pooja Chakrabarty

The Basics of Removing Pet Stains

Pets may be a lot of fun to keep, but taking care of them is quite a task. Pet care however does not just include feeding them, cleaning them, or keeping them well. You also have to pick up after them. Pet stains are a fact of life if you share your home with animals.

Pet stains include food, urine, stool, vomit as well as mud. Like babies, pets can end up making your clothes look quite messy. Removing pet stains is not terribly difficult, perhaps because they are so very common.

First of all, having read the garment care instructions, you should scrape off as much of the stain as possible with a blunt knife. Most pet stains are protein-based. On the whole, protein stains are removed easily by immersing them in cold water and rubbing the stain before washing. Do not use hot water to remove pet stains. Hot water will cook the particles of protein present in the stain, and the stain will then bind itself more tightly to the cloth. Removing pet stains from such a fabric will then become doubly difficult.

For removing pet stains that are older, allow the stains to soak for 2 or 3 hours

For best results, soak the stained cloth in cold water with detergent for half an hour. For removing pet stains that are older, allow the stains to soak for 2 or 3 hours.

This should then be laundered in water that is warm, but not hot. In case of a residual stain, the same process could be repeated. But this time soak for no more than 30 minutes.

Do not put a stained garment into the dryer because the heat generated in the dryer only helps to further set the stain in the fabric.

Any remaining stain should be washed with chlorine bleach but only if the fabric is bleach-safe. Also check the fabric for colorfastness before going into any bleaching treatment.

However, do note that urine stains are not usually of the same composition. They differ; hence different stains require different methods of removal. But in doing this you would most likely have to go through a trial and error process before figuring out the best method.

Mostly, urine is acidic in nature. Hence you could sponge the area with a wash that contains sodium carbonate. Otherwise, you could use a solution of ammonia (1 tsp ammonia in half a cup of warm water). This should be rinsed thoroughly. However do not use this treatment for cat urine.

If the urine is alkaline, warm water and vinegar can be used. The cloth should be rinsed very well after treatment.
If the stains are extremely tough, then you could sponge them with some diluted hydrogen peroxide, and then rinse well with warm water.

Be aware that the older the stain the greater the likelihood of it damaging the color of the fabric, and this damage is usually irrevocable.

For vomit, you could sponge the stain with a warm water solution of ammonia. The cloth could also be soaked in a sanitizer that contains sodium percarbonate.

However, don't let the fear of removing pet stains keep you from getting a pet. Just bear in mind the basic rules for removing pet stains, and get home your new dog, cat, or lizard.

[The picture used in this article has been taken from the photo library of stock.xchng.]