How To Clean Food & Pet Stains From A Wool Rug

How To Clean Food & Pet Stains From A Wool Rug

Ashley Poskin
Jan 8, 2015
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

It's inevitable. If you have a pet and a nice wool rug, you will, at some point, have to clean your pet's mess off said wool rug. You'll get angry, you'll assign a time out, then you'll use this cleaning method to remove the funk and all will be well. Snuggles will resume, life will be good again. Repeat.

This is our go-to method for cleaning up pet messes on our rugs around the house. If caught quickly, it's really the best possible, non-toxic way to remove the odor, and the...other stuff.

What You Need


  • Baking soda
  • 1/4 up white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • Small bowl
  • Towel
  • Scrub brush (optional)


1. Pet or food messes should be blotted up immediately—remove as much as you can with a towel. Once the bulk of it has been removed, sprinkle the area liberally with baking soda. Allow this to sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Add vinegar, dishwashing detergent, and water together in a bowl. Be sure to stay away from clear detergents with "extra bleaching powers" for obvious reasons.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Blot mixture onto the area with a clean towel or sponge, scrub in small circles. If your rug has a pile to it, go easy on the rubbing so you don't make one area look like a hurricane while the rest stays nice and neat.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Using clean water and another clean towel, apply cold water to the area and blot. Lay a dry towel over the area and press, absorbing as much of the moisture as you possibly can.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. Prop the dry part of your rug up on another piece of furniture or on a box to allow air to flow under the rug. Wipe up any moisture that seeped through the rug onto your floor. If you have a small fan or heater, place it in the room to speed up the drying process.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

As always, spot test your rug in an inconspicuous area before cleaning any large areas. Don't leave out the vinegar as it acts as a bonding agent for the fibers to hold fast to their color and not allow the colors to run, it's the most important part!

Edited from an original post by Sarah Rae Trover published on February 23, 2010

More great tips and tutorials: Cleaning Basics

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