How to clean poop out of your carpet

August 13, 2010 1 comment

Don’t panic!

There are five steps to this process:

1. Identify the source.
2. Secure the area.
3. Remove the big pieces.
4. Cleaning the remainder bits.
5. Final disinfection and deodorizing.


Step One: Identify the source

  • Before you do anything else, it is important to locate and address the source of the poop.
  • Is your baby still pooping? If so, this should be your primary concern.
  • Clean your baby.
  • Don’t worry if your baby ate some of the poop: Because it came out of her, there is nothing in it that will hurt her. Just to be sure, try a Google search for “my baby ate poop”.
  • Now that your baby/child is safe and clean, this is when you return with your child to the scene of the crime and say with exasperation: Why did you poop on the carpet?!? Really make it count because, honestly, how many times do you get to ask this question. Cherish the moment.

Disclaimer/Warning: Call your doctor immediately if you are concerned about your child’s well being. Always call your doctor if your baby eats another child’s poop or poop from an animal. (She may catch a parasite or intestinal infection.) Of course, there is always the risk of choking. (yuk!) If your child is choking on poop or having problems breathing after eating poop, get help immediately.

Step Two: Secure the area

  • Be extra dramatic when you set up your boundaries and barriers. Use upside down chairs. Toy baskets. Sofa cushions. Anything big and upside down will work. Also, muss up your hair as best you can.
  • If the poop is fresh, this step will save you from additional cleanup jobs. (e.g., poop on the wall or poop on upholstery.)
  • If the poop is dry, this step will let your family know that   IT IS NOT OK TO POOP ON THE FLOOR, EVER!
  • Make sure the offending party can see you cleaning up their poop. Place her in a high chair with some cheerios. This is a good time to cry, you want to make a lasting impression.

Tip: This is also good time for pictures. Trust me, they will come in handy in about thirteen years.

Step Three: Remove the big pieces

  • Gently press a piece of toilet paper onto the poop and lift. This should allow you to retrieve the big and medium chunks without making too much of a mess on the unsoiled part of the carpet. Repeat until no more poop sticks to the toilet paper.
  • Before you begin, be sure to have a place to put the poopy toilet paper: a paper bag or trash container is perfect.
  • Do not wet the toilet paper. Poop sticks better to dry stuff. Some readers have noted that two or three-ply toilet paper works best. Our researchers are investigating these claims.

Tip: Do not rub or wipe the poop with the toilet paper. This makes it worse.

Step Four: Clean the remainder

  • This is the dry-to-damp stage of the cleaning process.
  • Baby wipes are perfect for this step. Moist paper towels will also work.
  • Baby wipes are good because they are moist enough to clean, but not so wet that they will create a soggy poop mess.
  • If the poop is dry, use a light lavender mist to carefully rehydrate the desiccated turd.
  • With a delicate pinching motion, use your baby wipe or paper towel to gently pull the smaller bits of poop off the carpet fibers.
  • Depending on water content, the poop may start to smear a little on the carpet fibers. This is unavoidable. Consider making the switch to hardwood floors.
  • Continue pinching up the poop until you’re not getting any more. Some have had success with a mist-pinch-pull technique, but the studies were inconclusive.

Tips: Don’t let the area become any wetter than is necessary. Be sure to retrieve as much of the dry poop as you can before you begin any sort of misting. Also, some like to use a chamomile mist, but I think chamomile is a weird way to go in this situation.

Step Five: Final disinfection and deodorizing

  • You should be looking at slightly discolored carpet, usually a coffee-brown smudge. Time for the wet clean.
  • As noted in step four, do not let the area become any wetter than is necessary. You do not want to be dealing with a poop water soaked carpet pad.
  • Soapy water is fine for this step. Our family uses cloth diapers, so we have a natural poop-eating-enzyme spray called BACK-OUT by Biokleen. There have been good reports about BACK-OUT from pet owners: Apparently, this spay eliminates whatever it is that would make your dog want to obsessively sniff and lick the poop location.
  • Spray area until damp and let it sit for about five minutes. Blot the area with a towel until dry. Repeat if necessary. If you need to rub and scrub the area, this is when you do it.
  • If you have a glorious new poop stain, hydrogen peroxide works wonders. First, test the peroxide in a closet in order to ensure that you will not bleach or fade your carpet.
  • Once all signs of the poop have been removed and the area disinfected, I like to go back in with a bit of pre-agitation, soapy laundry water. I usually scrub the area until my mind is released of all the imaginary germs that our ultra-sanitation obsessed culture has programmed me to sense in any mess. This is also a good time to cry.

Tip: You may want to invest in a small bottle of BACK-OUT. It works wonders. Moreover, I promise you, if it happened once it will happen again. You might as well be prepared.

If you have additional tips or other poopy carpet solutions, please leave a comment.