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Oh crap! How to remove poop stains from clothes, carpets and furniture

Toddlers and pets know no limits when it comes to relieving themselves, so “stuff” really does happen. For advice on handling these messy moments, we asked our cleaning experts to share their savvy tips. Follow their directions and you, too, will master these disasters.

Before doing anything, pick up and dispose of the waste. A pet waste pick-up bag or a plastic baggie will do the trick. Then, follow instructions below.

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Drains, cutting boards, light switches: The ultimate spring cleaning guide

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How to completely remove poo stains from clothes

Taylor Nations, chemist for Earth Friendly Products recommends the following for removing poop stains from clothing:

  1. Wear protective gloves when handling poop-stained garments.
  2. Flush cold water through the underside of the stain. Remember, hot water sets stains.
  3. Pre-soak the article overnight, or at least for several hours, with an enzyme-based stain remover, such as Earth Friendly Products Everyday Stain & Odor(TM) Remover or ECOS(TM) for Pets! Stain & Odor Remover.
  4. Wash with a quality detergent in the hottest water recommended on care label.
  5. Before machine-drying the item, check to make sure the stain is gone.
  6. Repeat process as needed.

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Removing poop stains from a carpet

The following directions are for nylon, polyester and polypropylene (olefin) carpets. Wool or silk carpets should always be professionally cleaned.

  1. Remove the waste.
  2. Moisten the soiled area using a cloth and some cool water. Don’t apply too much water; just enough to rinse the stain.
  3. Blot with a dry towel to lift the water/stain.
  4. At this point, you have a couple of options for cleaning the stain. Use a DIY method or a commercially prepared enzyme- or oxygen-based product. If the store-bought product is on hand, I’d opt for it as it’s designed specifically to remove stains like this.

The DIY approach:

Cleaning coach Leslie Reichert recommends the following DIY method. Saturate the stain by spraying it with a solution of equal parts distilled white vinegar and cool water. Scrub the stain well, using an old soft-bristle toothbrush. Blot the area with paper towels or, better yet, extract the liquid faster using a wet/dry vac. Allow the area to dry.

Sprinkle baking soda over the area and liberally spray it with a 1:4 solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and cool water (2 ounces hydrogen peroxide to 8 ounces cool water). Work the solution into the carpet using a soft-bristle brush. Remove excess water with a wet/dry vac or by blotting with towels or paper towels.

Vacuum the area when dry to restore the pile.

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How to treat stains with commercially-prepared products:

If you’d prefer a commercial product, Matt Smith, vice president of marketing for Simple Solution pet care products, recommends using those that are enzyme- and oxygen-based, such as Simple Solution Orange OxyCharged Stain and Odor Remover. Generously spray the soiled area with the product and allow it to work on the stain as directed on the bottle.

Let the cleaning product dry naturally as it allows the enzymes time to break down the feces (and any urine that might be there, too). “Many people spray and remove the cleaner immediately,” says Smith, “but that’s not the right way to clean a pet stain. You need to let the product work to get great results.”

Once the cleaner is dry, vacuum the area. If the stain still remains, repeat the above process.

Soiled bedding and blankets should be cleaned in the washing machine after obvious poop has been removed. Pre-treat the soiled area with enzyme- or oxy-based cleaners. Let the product sit for an hour or two, then wash the bedding in warm water, or according to directions on the care label. For really stubborn stains and odors, you may have to repeat the process.

RELATED: Dog peed on the carpet? Don't fret! Here's how to remove urine stains

Removing feces stains from upholstery

For cotton and man-made fabrics, you can use the same stain-removing techniques as for carpets, except do not wet the fabric too much. If the upholstery is vintage or silk, hire a professional cleaner to handle the stain.

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