How to Clean Up Dog Diarrhea and Vomit the Right Way

Picking up dog diarrhea and vomit is the not-so-cutesy side of pet ownership. But, it must be done, and it must be done the right way, otherwise your pet’s mess could be permanently stained to your floors. Or, if you don’t get the smell up all the way, your dog could continuously come back to that same area to release, because it smells like a “potty spot.” 


How to clean up dog diarrhea

On carpet/upholstery:

First, get your gloves. Next scoop up the feces with paper towels and put it in a plastic bag. Try not to rub in the poop, because it will only push the stain further into the carpet fibers. After you’ve picked up as much as you can, fold a few paper towels together and press into the leftover liquid with your foot. (You can place a plastic bag over your foot to prevent nasties getting on your shoe.) 

Mix one cup vinegar and one cup water together into a spray bottle. Spray the designated area, and also twice the size around the area. Liquid messes tend to spread out, so it’s better safe than sorry. 

Next, blot (not rub!) the sprayed area with more paper towels and repeat until the stain comes up. 

On hardwood:

Vinegar is very acidic in nature, so even diluted amounts can ruin the finish on your floors. In this case, grab some 3% hydrogen peroxide once you’ve picked up as much poop as  you can. Rub it in with paper towels and repeat until the stain comes up. 

If it’s seeped into the cracks in the floors, you can use a toothbrush to scrape up the hard-to-reach places. Throw away the toothbrush after use! 

When you can’t get to it right away:

Your dog diarrheas on your carpet right as you’re walking out the door for work. And you’re already late! This has happened to me so many times, where you just can’t get to the poop mess until later. Even though it’s much better to get it right away to prevent permanent staining, sometimes you don’t have a choice. 

In this case, when you get to it, use the above mentioned vinegar water mixture, but instead of pressing it in right away, let it sit for at least ten minutes in order to loosen the now hardened stool. After ten minutes, come back to it, and repeat pressing in with paper towels. 

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Even though hardwoods are better than carpet when it comes to stains, until I had a dog, I didn’t realize how easy it is to stain hardwood floors!  

How to clean up dog vomit

On carpet/upholstery: 

Once again, grab your gloves. You can scoop up the vomit using a spoon or even a spatula, since most of the time vomit is a little less runny than diarrhea. After you’ve picked up as much as you can, place it in a plastic bag. Grab your vinegar and water spray bottle mixture and repeat just as you would for dog diarrhea. 

On hardwood:

On hardwood, it’s best to use your 3% hydrogen peroxide again. Pour onto the stained spot, and blot with paper towels until the stain comes us. Remember to not use vinegar on your wood floors! If the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t work, you can always use a commercial pet cleaner designated for hardwood, such as Nature’s Miracle Hard Floor Cleaner. I’ve found that this one works best for my floors.

When you can’t get to it right away:

Yet again, a mess that will just have to wait. When you get around to picking up the vomit, first sprinkle baking soda over the area. Then, place a towel over the baking soda and wait fifteen minutes. Make sure to keep your pets and small children away from the area during the wait! 

When at least fifteen minutes has gone by and you’re ready to deal with the stain, throw the towel in the washer and vacuum up the baking soda. (Or sweep if you don’t want vomit chunks in your vacuum like me.)  Once again, grab your vinegar and water spray bottle and spray the affected area. Then blot with a paper towel and repeat. 

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Anytime you’re picking up dog feces, vomit, or even urine, make sure to grab your rubber gloves to prevent bacteria spreading onto your hands. Don’t use the same gloves for your dishes again! Throw them out and remember to wash your hands afterwards.

Best Commercial Stain and Odor Removers 

Sometimes commercial stain and odor removers contain harmful chemicals for your pets. Even though you can’t smell it, doesn’t mean your pet can’t. Their powerful sense of smell makes them more susceptible to toxic chemicals. 

However, sometimes you don’t have time to whip together an all-natural remedy, so commercial is the way to go. Just be wary of using products that aren’t considered non-toxic too often.  

The Earth Rated Stain and Odor Remover is non-toxic, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Even though the bottle can be a little tricky to use sometimes, I’d say it’s well-worth the investment when it comes to its stain and odor remover qualities. It also has an amazing lavender smell, which I really appreciate when it comes to picking up gross diarrhea.

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Marigold and Peppa’s pet stain and odor remover is another great natural, non-toxic buy. It’s a little bit more expensive, but I’ve found it does wonders for those difficult stains and smells. I also love that it’s plant-based. I have a hard time finding plant-based pet cleaners so this was a plus for me.

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I’d have to rate Nature’s Miracle one as my all time favorite when it comes to removing stains and odors, but it’s not at the top of my list since it’s not considered non-toxic. It’s very inexpensive. Since it isn’t non-toxic though I’d only recommend using it when you have to, and if you’re sensitive to strong scents, I would avoid this one because the smell can be overpowering to some. It could be a great choice if you need some heavy-duty stuff, however.

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The Petpourri Pet Odor Eliminator and Organic Stain Remover is non-toxic, biodegradable, and smells great. Since it’s very inexpensive, it might be for you if you’re still potty training your puppy and need all the stain remover you can get. I wish I had found this when my pooches were still piddling all over the house.

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The Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator isn’t for stains, but it might do the trick if you have an odor that won’t seem to flee the scene. Of course, it’s non-toxic and as a plus, biodegradable. The smell can be overpowering for some though, and it’s a little more expensive. If you need a high power odor remover however, this could be the one for you.  

Best Home Remedies for Odors and Stains

If commercial products are out of reach, you still have options. Here’s a list of my favorite home remedies for odors and stains.

  1. Baking Soda: Not only is it an inexpensive staple in almost every home, but it does wonders to remove odors and stains. Sprinkle baking soda over the leftover liquid and let it sit for as long as possible, even overnight if you can. When the baking soda has absorbed the liquid, vacuum it up! 
  2. Vinegar: This one is my personal favorite, because I think it works the best for my dogs’ accidents. Use the vinegar method I mentioned in the cleaning up diarrhea and vomit on carpet sections. If the smell is a little too much for you, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Remember to not use it on your hardwood! 
  3. Baking Soda and Vinegar: Before you begin this method, be sure to test it first in an unnoticeable spot. Sometimes it can discolor light colored carpet. After you’ve let baking soda sit on the stain for a few hours, spray the vinegar method on top of the baking soda. Rub it in, and then pick up the baking soda vinegar mixture with cold water. Don’t completely soak the carpet however, as that will create further damage. Dry with some paper towels. 
  4. Dawn Dish Detergent: Combine the dawn soap with water into a spray bottle and spray the needed area. Use your gloved fingers to gently rub the surface, and then rinse. Repeat as needed. 
  5. Hydrogen Peroxide: I mentioned this one should be used for hardwood floors, as it’s extremely important to not damage your finish, but it can also be used for carpet. You can use an eyedropper so you don’t accidentally overdo it, and use paper towels to soak it back up.
  6. Shaving Cream: I wouldn’t recommend only using shaving cream, as it doesn’t really clean the spot or remove the smell completely. But, it can be effective in stain removing. Test it out first to make sure it doesn’t discolor your carpet! The scent and color doesn’t matter so much, just leave it on the stain for about 15-20 minutes. After it’s sat for a bit, you can use a wet paper towel to get it out.
  7. Club Soda: Again, this one is good for stain removal, but not cleaning. Sprinkle the stain with a bit of salt, and then cover the area with club soda. Let it sit for a few hours or even overnight, and then soak up the water with paper towels. Vacuum to pick up the salt. 

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My poor dog, Levi, after an accident, and my two best buds when it comes to picking up really bad stains! It’s best to use paper towels since it’s easy to tell how much liquid you’re picking up and how much stain is coming out. They’re also easier to discard!

Don’t Forget to Sanitize!

After you’ve cleaned and treated the stain from your dog diarrhea or vomit, now it’s time to sanitize. I don’t even have to tell you how much nasty bacteria is on your flooring now, especially from diarrhea. 

If you want to keep your floor’s hygiene, it’s important to sanitize. You can do this either through rubbing alcohol or vodka. Gently blot one or the other onto the surface area, being cautious to not completely soak your carpet with alcohol. Then use a paper towel to pick up the excess. 

When it comes to your hardwood floors, I wouldn’t recommend sanitizing with alcohol, as it could ruin your floors. Instead you can purchase a heavy duty floor cleaner designated for hardwoods.  

How to Help Your Dog

I couldn’t finish out the article without mentioning how to help your poor doggo if it’s suffering from diarrhea or vomiting.

Feed your dog bland foods, such as boiled white chicken meat and rice. If this doesn’t calm your dog’s stomach, I would suggest going to your vet. It could be a parasite or another medical condition needing to be diagnosed.

I hope these tips help to save your floors from the dreaded accidents!  

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