How To Clean Food & Pet Stains From A Wool Rug

updated Sep 28, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(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. 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 clean pet stains from a rug.

How to Clean Pet Stains From a Rug

Materials 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 the mixture onto the area with a clean towel or sponge, and 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

Have a really great DIY project or tutorial that you want to share with others? Let us know! We love checking out what you’re making these days, and learning from our readers. When you’re ready, click here to submit your project and photos.