How to clean pet stains on hardwood floors

cat on hard floor stairs
(Image credit: Alamy)

Worried that pet stains on hardwood floors are going to ruin the home decor look you’ve always wanted? With these cleaning tips, and products to avoid for the sake of your pup or cat’s health, you’ll have every base covered, and nothing to worry about as you set to work getting rid of paw prints or more serious pet-related flooring accidents. 

While pets can provide boundless joy for their owners, they can be a little less joyful when it comes to the health of hardwood floors, with urine and faeces capable of causing you a headache in more ways than one if deposited on the surface. Armed with the knowledge on how to clean hardwood floors in a pet friendly manner and what floor cleaners are safe for pets, you’ll be prepared for the next accident that might arise, though we’ve got our fingers crossed for you that it won’t happen. 

Can pet stains damage hardwood floors?

Unfortunately, if left untreated, pet-related stains can spell trouble for your hardwood floors. If urine seeps into your flooring, then it won’t be quite as simple as a quick clean up operation with your best vacuum cleaner or best steam mop, and there may be more structural damage occurring to your floors beneath the surface. Though it’s easier said than done, it’s better to treat any pet stain early, and to take preventative measures, such as laying down absorbent pads for when your puppy is toilet training. Over-scrubbing your hardwood floors with abrasive materials can also be a dangerous move, which is why it’s best to tackle any stains with care, in order to prevent worsening the stain.

Cat Henstridge, expert vet at Zoflora comments: “Pets can move around the home with speed and ease, and this means they can also spread nasty bugs they've picked up from outside, so it's important to be aware of this and disinfect areas that pets walk on at least once a week. 

Cat continues: “As hardwood floors can be hard clean, I would firstly, recommend litter trays or puppy pads and encourage your pet to go to the toilet in these dedicated areas.  

Home remedies for pet stains on hardwood floors  

To prevent discoloration or further structural damage, there are safe home remedies that you can rely on when it comes to pet stains, meaning you can act with appropriate speed to tackle the problem. The first involves white vinegar, which many people have handy in their homes to help with everyday cleaning in sinks. To spot clean pet stains, mix half a cup of vinegar with warm water, and set to work using a cloth, or similarly non-abrasive aid, in order to bring the stain out. If more full-scale clean-up is needed, add a cup of white vinegar to your mopping bucket, and treat the affected area, whilst being careful not to over-water the area. 

Toxic floor cleaners for pets  

Above all, pet safety is of paramount importance, which is why it’s crucial to isolate toxic floor cleaners and steer clear of using them while there are dogs around. Laura Bronner, cleaning expert and granddaughter of Emanuel Bronner, the founder of Dr Bronner’s explains “Household cleaning items can contain ingredients that are potentially dangerous for pets, such as bleach, chlorine, ammonia or Glycol Ethers. These can cause irritation if your pet gets them on their skin, or make them very unwell if they are ingested”. 

Though these ingredients can be extremely effective for lifting pet stains, steer clear of using them with pets in the room, and leave ample and adequate time for these cleaners to dry before reintroducing pets to the area. 

Cat Henstridge, Zoflora’s resident vet, adds “The good thing about the cleaners available on the market, is that they have been extensively tested, which means that if you follow the usage instructions and ensure your cleaning supplies are kept securely away from your pets, they don't present any significant danger to them. Zoflora Fresh Home products are all safe to use around pets if instructions are followed. Don't allow your beloved furry friends to walk on or lick any wet or treated areas until they are completely dry”.

Pet friendly floor cleaning tips 

Finding pet-friendly floor cleaning tips can be tricky, aside from the basics of keeping them away from the area and remembering to shut your cleaning cupboard and toilet lid. Cat Henstridge, resident vet at Zoflora, reveals some pet friendly cleaning tips to bear in mind:

“Consider your pets’ noses when you are purchasing cleaning products! Some animals are sensitive to the fragrances used in some cleaners, and you might find they prefer one kind over another. Using Zoflora’s Mountain Air Fragranced Product Range is a great option, as they are specially designed with pets in mind and formulated to be better tolerated by your pet’s sense of smell. 

“After picking up any mess, spray Zoflora’s Mountain Air Multipurpose Disinfectant Cleaner directly onto the surface, leave for 5 minutes, and wipe away to leave the area hygienically clean and beautifully fragrant. Just remember to remove your pet from the area before use and ensure any surface is dry before allowing your pet into the treated area.

“Use 4 capfuls of Zoflora Mountain Air Concentrated Disinfectant diluted in a 1.5L bucket of hot water to mop floors. This will not only disinfect the areas your pet has trodden but will also leave uplifting and beautiful fragrance around the home, removing any unwanted pet smells.

“It's not just the floors that need cleaning with animals in our homes! Pet beds need a quick refresh in-between washes, use Zoflora’s Mountain Air Disinfectant Mist to eliminate any unwanted odours, whilst killing 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. Simply spray over pet bedding, excluding your pet from the area until the fabric is touch dry.”

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Molly Cleary

Molly is the Staff Writer for the Home Section at Top Ten Reviews, joining the team after finishing college. When she's not writing she enjoys baking and embroidery, as well as getting stuck into a good book. She now enjoys writing about kitchen appliances, gardening tools, and will even dip her toe into writing about fridges and ovens.

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