Best Way To Deep Clean Carpets, Couches, etc After Feces And Puke
April 28, 2019 7:42 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for the equivalent to using disinfectant wipes on a counter top for my carpets, couches and bed. They were exposed to vomit, feces and urine. I am a bit of an OCD neat freak and am skeeved out and don't feel comfortable sitting on my furniture or carpet now.

I am looking for the equivalent to using disinfectant wipes on a counter top for my carpets, couches and bed. They were exposed to vomit, feces and urine. I am a bit of an OCD neat freak and am skeeved out and don't feel comfortable sitting on my furniture or carpet now.

What are my options? A steam cleaner? Servpro? I don't mind investing in something or purchasing a cleaner. I am really looking for something to sanitize and freshen like new.

Bonus points for something that doesn't have a strong chemical smell. I don't know what you put in the cleaner.....water? A cleaning solution?

I'd also be up for suggestions on how to sanitize wooden dresser and nightstand as well.

Thank you in advance
posted by kbbbo to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you need to be a bit more specific about what "exposed to" means. The right way to clean will differ considerably depending on what happened.

Did someone urinate/defecate/vomit on your couch and bed, and it soaked through the surface (upholstery, sheets and mattress pad, carpet) to the material below (the foam cushion, the mattress itself, the floor or pad below the carpet)? Did something that had previously been in contact with urine, feces, etc. come in contact with these surfaces, possibly rubbing some of the offensive material off? Is there visible...soil? Or were these items in the room with, for instance, a urine/feces/vomit miasma but there wasn't physical contact?
posted by pullayup at 8:04 AM on April 28, 2019

Response by poster: Yes. Vomit and Diarrhea on the carpet. Diarrhea on the couch and bed. Surface, but a little bit of soaking in. We cleaned it pretty quickly, but I feel that it is "in there"
posted by kbbbo at 8:07 AM on April 28, 2019

There is no consensus that you need to sanitise your counters although advertising would have us believe we are in mortal danger if we don’t and we clean all these substances off humans using soap and hot water. Presumably, you were quite happy with you mattress before this contamination even thou you sweat into it every night so I’d challenge the goal of ‘as new’.

So for your garden variety somebody was sick or intoxicated and that resulted in this contamination I’d go very old school - hot, soapy water and sunlight are used to clean and restore dirty cloth diapers to this day. By all means add a bit of the non bleach disinfectants you can buy to the solution. You can use that on all the items listed and if at all possible, drag them outside in the sun for a few hrs. For the carpets a normal carpet cleaner used as instructed and enzyme cleaners used to clean such animal mess in the house. Not all surfaces react well to cleaning with water so bear that in mind.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:15 AM on April 28, 2019

Since it will make you feel better, definitely steam clean your crapets, bed and upholstery. You can rent a steam cleaner but really, they are cheap to own now. You can use it with the Hoover cleaner made for it, though that is really for stains. The cleaner isn't doing anything that steam isn't in terms of sanitizing.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:43 AM on April 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you feel like it’s still there, then the steamer would work well. Pretty amazing and scary how dirty the water gets. If you’re that OCD about it, then buy your own steamer. Use the Pet miracle carpet steamer stuff. Vomit, feces, etc is exactly what it’s designed for.
I have a big carpet cleaner kind with a hand attachment. I love it. And I’m not a clean freak at all.
posted by Neekee at 8:45 AM on April 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'd also suggest buying your own steam cleaner unless you think your OCD may insist you use it too often. In that case, I'd rent one, do the cleaning, then return it and move on. Maybe also get a few blankets or print throws to cover the furniture so you can remove the association and sit comfortably.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 9:03 AM on April 28, 2019

If "kill germs" is a criteria and you're thinking of using a carpet steam cleaner yourself, there are disinfectant/cleaning solutions for carpet machines based on quaternary ammonium compounds (usually shortened to "quats"). These are what professionals like Servpro would likely use. They do have an odor to them, think "hospital hallway", but it's not overpowering. You can steam clean a second time with only water to reduce the residual smell. Examples 1, 2, 3 (all pdfs).

Quat-based cleaners are targeted towards the professional market but will be available from places that rent steam cleaners. Be sure to read the instructions, pay attention to your dilution ratios, don't mix with other cleaners, and test fabrics for colorfastness. Or hire a professional.
posted by peeedro at 9:58 AM on April 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

I’d suggest buying your own cleaner if you have OCD tendencies. They’re really pretty cheap. I don’t trust the cleanliness of the rentals. God knows what they were used for.

When I had to have a steam cleaner repaired years ago, the repair person said he wouldn’t even try to fix any brand but a Hoover.
posted by FencingGal at 10:12 AM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

OxiClean is basically made for exactly this.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:34 AM on April 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would rent a steamer and use an antibacterial cleaning solution. I wouldn't worry about the rental cleaner;you're going to be using an antibacterial cleaner. Feces is full of germs that are bad for you; vomit and urine much less so, generally. Also, they all have smells that are not pleasant. And I would steam twice, the 2nd time as a rinse. You should be able to remove cushion covers and wash on a gentle cycle, preferably in a front loader.. You can use the steamer on upholstery and the mattress.

Sunshine and fresh air are antiseptic. If you can, put the mattress outside to dry after steam cleaning, it will dry faster and smell better. After carpet cleaning, run fans, open curtains and windows if you can. Run any exhaust fans (kitchen, bath). Germs don't do well in dry environments, and it will help with the wet carpet smell.

Whatever happened sounds quite horrible; I hope everyone's okay now.
posted by theora55 at 10:50 AM on April 28, 2019

Is this human or animal origin?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:22 AM on April 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I use a steam cleaning company for my carpets and upholstery. I get them done every 2 years but would call them for a situation like yours. We do have carpet cleaner, it isn't as good as truck mounted cleaner.
posted by Ftsqg at 1:56 PM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

You might feel better with a professional company. I would, in your situation.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:37 PM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

In general you want disinfectant AND a deodorizer. Not everything works well in the presence of organic gross, so you sometimes want to add a little bit of a surfactant (i.e. dish soap) to help lift the hydrophobic elements.

Resolve carpet cleaner is great at killing lab-grade fecal bacteria in my labs. It's what I use when I get grossed out in small gross situations. I have not tested these situations for fecal bacteria after treatment.

Resolve is basically a foamy, scented, sprayable hydrogen peroxide, which is my favorite household sterilant / disinfectant. In the case of serious gross, you can mix up hydrogen peroxide (available in bulk from your favorite Costco-like store) to large amounts in a carpet cleaner with roughly equal amounts of water and a touch of dish soap. It works to kill the germs and odor, it may also slightly discolor the carpet. If you do the whole floor rather than a spot treat, or you're just that grossed out, this might be less of an issue.

If you have access to a microbiology textbook, read the chapter on disinfectants and sterilants. It's full of useful advice on household cleaning problems.
posted by arabelladragon at 5:04 PM on April 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I recommend getting an enzyme based cleaner and a lot of it. Use the pet stuff which is designed to deal with this kind of trauma. If you get one with oxy clean even better but first comes enzyme cleaner to break down the squalor/aroma/protein bits then oxy clean and finally, steam clean if you are real paranoid. My experience is based on being the owner of VENGEFUL cats, befuddled dogs, potty training mammals, assorted Ill children and family members. It is the battle of the ooze.
posted by jadepearl at 7:37 PM on April 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Nthing an enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle and lots of it. If this is pet mess, I would be less worried about sterilizing and more concerned with getting the scent out so your cats don't keep coming back to pee on the same spot.
posted by yeahlikethat at 9:17 PM on April 28, 2019

If it were me, I'd call my carpet cleaning guy, who also does crime scene cleanup.
posted by caryatid at 3:25 PM on April 30, 2019

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