To Puke, Perhaps To Clean
April 1, 2016 12:19 PM   Subscribe

My cats' preferred barfatorium is the one carpeted room in the flat. Steam cleaning removes all the stains. I don't own a steam cleaner. Hope me please.

Their food does not contain dyes, and sometimes I can scrape it up and then just run a dry scrub brush over the area, which makes the mark disappear. I know it's not clean, but it looks clean. This is gross but.

The times when I have to use water/soap/whatever, it always leaves marks of varying degrees. When I have the carpet professionally cleaned, voila, brand new. It looks so nice the kitties immediately run in and barf in celebration.

How can I keep the carpet looking clean between annual steam cleanings? I can't afford a machine of my own (although I do have a rather useless Dirt Devil Spot Scrubber) and don't have room to store one if I did.

Thanks, hive!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet to Home & Garden (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
what about a portable steamer? They can be used on clothes, carpet, upholstery and all kinds of stuff.
posted by cubby at 12:22 PM on April 1, 2016

I use a baby wipe to scrub the crud out of the rug- it's damp enough to clean a bit, but probably not damp enough to leave a water spot, and it doesn't leave much lint. When any remaining barf is dry, if little catfood crumbs remain and the rug has short pile, you can also comb out the crumbs using, ironically, a wire cat brush.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:28 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

1. OxyClean
2. Handheld pressurized steamer
3. Put down a washable rug where they like to puke

Good luck.
posted by ananci at 12:31 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know if it's the same as the Dirt Devil you have, but when I lived in a house with a lot of carpet, I had a Bissell Spot Bot which actually did a great job of cleaning up cat puke.
posted by primethyme at 12:37 PM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

I use Woolite's Pet Stain and Odor Remover +Oxygen to spot clean and it does a great job without lifting the color out of my beige carpet. (Other cleaners completely removed all the color in the carpet and I had to redo a room in my apartment to hide the damage.) My cat barfs a lot, too, so I've grown quite dependent on the spray these days. My system is this:

1. Use toilet paper or paper towel to remove the main part of the barf.
2. Soak a paper towel and ring it out so there's still plenty of moisture, then squeeze the excess water onto the barf spot.
3. Using a dry paper towel, blot by pressing your fist down onto the paper towel.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you feel you've lifted up most of the barf.
5. Spray the Woolite onto the spot and let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute.
6. Blot the Woolite until you don't see any barf or marks on the carpet.
7. Cover the cleaned area with a towel so kitties don't immediately run in, re-barf, or roll in the Woolite treated area because they're weirdos who like rolling in chemicals. oh sorry, is that just my cat? nvm

May the barf gods be ever in your favor!
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:37 PM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

I don't know if you mean you can't afford to BUY a steam cleaner, or you can't afford to RENT a steam cleaner more regularly? Because you can rent them. My Home Depot search shows $20 for 4 hours with a $50 deposit. Just search "Steam Cleaner Rental [City]"
posted by Crystalinne at 12:42 PM on April 1, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice so far. The handheld steamer mentioned above seems to work well on everything except carpet.

I don't own a car, so renting a steamer is difficult. Also I'd be renting one twice weekly. The carpet is in my guest room, and they like to puke everywhere EXCEPT where I've put down area rugs.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 12:45 PM on April 1, 2016

Keep the guest room door closed. I've had to do that with my dogs.
posted by pearlybob at 12:52 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Not an option
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 12:55 PM on April 1, 2016

Did you try soaking it in a Borax solution, then steaming it?

Honestly, when I had puke demons, I just bought a room-sized rug that I tossed when I moved.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:56 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you considered attempting to train the cats not to go in that one room? An automatic cat deterrent could be set up - trying it out looks like it would cost less than a professional steam-clean. Or you could frequently spray the room with something like this homemade spray. There are a number of other diy options you could try, like particular plants or citrus.
posted by lizbunny at 1:00 PM on April 1, 2016

Response by poster: That room is where their litter box is so I definitely don't want to discourage their presence.

There will be barf. A room-sized barf rug is also not desirable.

Cleaning the barf so that it does not leave stains between professional cleanings, though, please keep those suggestions coming! Thanks.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 1:12 PM on April 1, 2016

"Steam" cleaning carpets usually doesn't use an actual steamer; it's actually wet cleaning. I guess "wet cleaning" doesn't sound good in advertising :)

I have this small wet carpet spot cleaner machine and it has worked great. After a few years, it did develop a small leak, but I got it repaired and it's great again.
posted by amtho at 1:24 PM on April 1, 2016

Seconding the Spot Bot. I have two older cats, a dog, and a potty training toddler and it's been a lifesaver. I bought one 3 years ago and have had to use it at least weekly since then. You just pick up any solids, put the machine on top, and it does all the scrubbing for you. If it's a really bad stain, you may have to run it twice.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 1:37 PM on April 1, 2016

Peroxide. Do a spot test in a corner first (leave it for 30 minutes).
posted by zennie at 1:50 PM on April 1, 2016

Nthing the small portable cleaner. I have something similar to a SpotBot (it uses a handheld scrubber tool instead of sitting on the stain) and it cleans up all cat issues. Just clean up the waste matter first, put some enyzmatic cleaner on and let it soak a bit, then scrub.

And look into why your cats are puking, because it's not actually normal to have consistently vomiting cats.
posted by Nyx at 1:51 PM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

Thirding the SpotBot. We have off-white wall-to-wall carpet in our apartment, and two barfy cats, and the SpotBot is indispensable. We use it a couple of times a week with the pet stain formula cleaner. Worth every penny.
posted by briank at 2:09 PM on April 1, 2016

We have pretty good luck with Resolve spray and a cloth rag. Because it's a damp spray, there's a different texture to the carpet nap after it dries, but fluffing the area with a stiff brush fixes it up pretty well.
posted by aimedwander at 2:43 PM on April 1, 2016

I have a barfy 80 pound dog who occasionally eats and throws up dog poop on rugs, so I can't imagine that anything your cat can throw up is anywhere near as horrible as that. The Bissel Spot Clean totally takes care of it.
posted by cecic at 3:06 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I totally love this stuff. It works on everything my dog ejects.
posted by bearwife at 4:12 PM on April 1, 2016

I had a cat who barfed in my guest room for the 6 years she lived in this house. I sort of threw up my hands while she was alive and cleaned it the best I could. But there were still stains everywhere.

When she died, I attacked every spot with a bottle of Oxy Clean carpet cleaner. When I say "attacked," I mean I just saturated every spot, walked away, and totally forgot about it in my defeatist, "nothing will work" attitude. When I came back the next day, there were ZERO spots on the carpet.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:39 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

We use Resolve spray. That's what the vet recommended, and usually easy to find locally.

Btw, we changed cat food brands (sorry can't recall which brand we got at costco) to TraderJoes's and the barfing has almost completely stopped. Thanks TJ!
posted by artdrectr at 4:43 PM on April 1, 2016

Several years ago I bought myself a Hoover Carpet Cleaner for about $150. I have gotten SO MUCH USE out of the darn thing! It's the size of a regular vacuum and really isn't too much of a hassle to pull out and do a quick clean. If I had consistently puking cats, I'd totally invest $150 in a steam cleaner.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:47 PM on April 1, 2016

(Oh, and investing once and doing it yourself is probably far cheaper than having it professionally cleaned every year.)
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:49 PM on April 1, 2016

+1 for the small cleaners such as the Bissel Little Green Spot. We store our pre-filled with solution downstairs, and it has a heater to heat the solution. The elapsed time from puke (or poop) to clean carpet is literally less than 5 minutes.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 6:15 PM on April 1, 2016

Maybe a different food will help too? We changed from one brand to another accidentally (picked up wrong bag and couldn't be bothered to go back to exchange it), and although it didn't stop the actual barfing, the texture of the barf changed to something that was drier. It didn't soak in as badly and was easier to pick up.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:00 AM on April 2, 2016

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