How to Clean Up 7 of the Worst Dog Messes Known to Man

We've yet to meet a dog who can clean up after himself -- that job falls to humans. Here's how to get it done quick and easy.

Kelly Pulley  |  Jul 18th 2012


No matter how smart your dog is, you can’t train him to clean up his poop or vacuum the carpet to remove traces of his hair. Though everyone’s dog clean-up needs are different, some messes really stand out. Here are some quick and effective ways to deal with them.  

1. Diarrhea and Other Liquid Messes

If cleaning up the yard always consisted of solid mess, it wouldn’t be such a chore. But if your dog has an upset stomach and you come across diarrhea, you have to be creative to get it all. Sawdust will help most liquid heaps return to a soild mass for easier pickup.

2. Pet Hair

We love our pets, but must admit that pulling their fur out of food gets annoying. The best way to attack pet hair problems is from many sides. Vacuuming is your main weapon, and investing in a good one will be helpful. But before you vacuum, run a damp cloth or pet-hair roller or duct tape over the furniture. Next, use a wire brush to brush the carpet, removing the pet hair from it frequently. After you vacuum, run static cling sheets over everything, including your clothes. And don’t forget to brush Fido or Fluffy — outside if possible — with an effective brush. 

3. Urine Stains on Carpet

These stains have a way of seeming to disappear only to reappear with full smell-power later on. They can be almost impossible to remove, but you should try. Start with an equal-parts vinegar-and-water mix and let it soak for half an hour or so. The acid in the vinegar helps neutralize the smell. Next, sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and vacuum. A professional product made specifically for urine stains is a good idea, too.

4. Inside Poopie Accidents

Even the most well-trained pet can have a poopie accident inside, perhaps because he was left alone too long or had a change to his diet. It can be tough to get it all up easily, and the residue it leaves behind must be treated, even if you can’t see it. The best way to start is to put on rubber gloves, get a plastic bag, and scoop up what you can. If it’s on a blanket, throw it in the wash on a hot-water cycle with some bleach. If on carpet, use a carpet cleaner or just a dish soap/water mixture and a sponge, which you can throw away. If on wood or tile, clean with vinegar and water. Then, for all surfaces, spray on it a disinfectant such as a solution of equal-parts vinegar and rubbing alcohol. 

5. Blood

We don’t like to think about it, but drops of blood on the floor or furniture can be a common thing when you have pets. The first thing to do if you spot some blood is to give your pet the once-over and see where it’s coming from. If it’s a small wound, you can treat it at home with peroxide and Neosporin. A larger wound means a trip to the vet. Also go to the vet if you suspect the wound comes from something rusty or otherwise unclean. Once Fido or Fluffy is taken care of, clean the mess up by soaking up the blood from fabrics and floors using a cornstarch or cornmeal paste. Let is sit for about 15 minutes. Apply vinegar full strength, then club soda. If you’re having trouble getting the last bit out, consider using a commercial product with enzymes.

6. Mud

It’s a familiar scenario — you’ve been cleaning the house while hubby or the kids took the dog out for a hike, only to have them come running in at lunchtime bespeckled with a dark brown substance. You glance at Fido, see him getting into position to shake, and yell, “Don’t!” But, of course it’s too late, and your clean floor and walls are now covered with mud. With mud, efficiency comes in handy — the quicker you can get it off, the better. Using a mop on the floor is just going to spread the mud around, so you’re best off using lots of paper towels, which you can throw in the wash. To get the mud up quickly, use downward strokes on the walls and floor and change towels often. And don’t be tempted to get the mud off the carpet right away — it’s better to let it dry and then vacuum it up.

7. Slobber

Some pet owners have delicate dogs who rarely pant or slobber. Others have slobber hounds whose thick saliva pours onto everything. Slobber can be tough to get up. Your first line of attack is keeping hand towels around the house, to mop up the waterfall before it hits the floor. But you can’t spend all day tailing your pooch. So, arm yourself with a good pet-safe cleaner and a nontoxic sponge and clean the walls and floor once a week or so. And train Fido not to rub his slobbery jowls on the furniture.

Do you have some clean-up tips we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments! 

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