Removing the most disgusting substance known to man from carpet.
May 31, 2006 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Suggest ways I can get rabbit pee out of white carpet.

Our two male rabbits both like to pee near the others' cage. One is neutered, the other is not. They don't like each other much, though one is, shall we say, romantically interested in the other, and seems irked by his continued rejections. We don't let them out of their cages at the same time because they always fight, so I assume the peeing is related to that. They don't pee anywhere else in the house (except inside their cages, of course).

We rent. We're moving soon, and I'd like to get the pee completely out of the very light-coloured off-white carpeting. The carpet is just dark enough that I don't think bleach is a good idea even if it works.

I have read in a number of places that the best thing to use is white vinegar, which I've purchased for the purpose, but nowhere have I been able to find directions. Do you just pour it on and then soak it up with a towel? Is soap involved? Are there other, better ways to clean up rabbit pee?

Tips for getting them to behave better would also be appreciated, but our more immediate problem is not losing our security deposit.
posted by joannemerriam to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
I use Nature's Miracle when my cats forget that they've been trained to use litter boxes. It is, as advertised, miraculous. It's brought back from the dead all sorts of garments, furniture and rugs. I've seen it at most pet stores.
posted by nevercalm at 6:34 AM on May 31, 2006

Step One: go to the pet store and get a enzyme urine treatment. This will neutralize anything active and stop it from smelling (which will be essential for your final days in the place and for the next tenant because you're going to make the stain invisible in the next steps.) This might even be enough, but you might need the next steps for such a light carpet.

Step Two: Let that dry for a day and get some Oxy Clean (I use Trader Joe's generic equivalent), make a solution, and saturate the spot. (Test this in a tiny, inconspicuous spot. I have never seen it discolor anything, but don't take chances.) Let it dry.

The problem I see with vinegar is that it's going to soak into the pad and smell even if it reduces the spot. Our rabbit is a female, so her pee is slightly less noxious, but I think this will work great.

Good luck and get that unneutered rabbit fixed!
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:43 AM on May 31, 2006

Once vinegar dries, it doesn't smell. I use it all the time in a spray bottle to freshen up our couch after the dog's been on it. It's a good disinfectant, but I would try the products mentioned above first, as those are stronger and will work better and faster.

One thing that might work for soaking up wet spots (whether it's the actual pee, or the cleaner used to clean the pee) is activated charcoal. It also soaks up smells. Check for color-fastness first.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:01 AM on May 31, 2006

Seconding MC's recommendation. We have hardwood floors whose seal has long since faded, so once pee sets, it's there forever. The enzyme stuff has been great for reducing the amount of discoloration.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:02 AM on May 31, 2006

I know there's at least one thread around here about the Bissell Little Green, which you may want to look into. I soak the spot with Nature's Miracle and let it work for several days (that's Part I: Neutralizing the Pee), then hit it with a fresh squirt of NM, suck that up with the Little Green, and then use hot tap water in the LG to spray and suck repeatedly (Part II: Removing the Stain). It's worth the $40 for the device if you've got pets, and you can do a much more thorough cleaning job. Plus, in the future, you can have it on hand to get all the pee up ASAP when they do their dominance thing.

I recently discovered that a little Dawn dishwashing detergent scrubbed in, then neutralized with vinegar to suck back up (otherwise your dirty water tank will get really foamy), works just as well as carpet cleaner for getting stains up.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:15 AM on May 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

slightly off topic - are any of these products more successful in eliminating dog odors from cars?
posted by any major dude at 8:19 AM on May 31, 2006

I have two rabbits who hate each other to the extent that, like you, we only let one out at a time and the one that is out pees near the other's cage. Recently we had our carpets professionally cleaned and while it got some of the stains out, many of them are impossible. What the carpet-cleaning person told me is that the pee sinks into the carpet fibres and literally kills the dye in the carpet fibres. This means that even if you can get the pee out, you will never have your carpet colour back because it's gone. Think: bleach. It removes the colour and for that reason is completely irreversible. So, while the various techniques people are giving you may work for some of the stains, be aware that not all of them will come out.

Since other people have given some great stain-removal tips, I'll focus on the other part of the question: behaviour.

Now, as far as getting them to behave better. Getting the un-neutered one neutered may be a start. that also MAY reduce the peeing, as the hormones that cause the territoriality will be reduced. My rabbits are both spayed/neutered and they still pee at each other, though, so it didn't work for us. What has been working of us is the car-ride trick, where you put them in the back seat and drive around with them. The idea is that they will be so terrified by the ride that they won't even think of fighting. Maybe they'll even seek each other out for comfort. It seems a little mean, but it's for thier own good. I can't imagine the constant stress of living in a house with an enemy, so a little car-induced terror is in order.

It took us a while to get the guts to actually try it because our rabbits really hate each other. Gabe (the female) has attacked Iggy Pop (the male) and torn his stomach open, so we were leery of putting them together even in such circumstances. So how we started was with both of them in a harness and leash, and with me sitting back there with them while my partner drove. It worked so wonderfully that by the second time I didn't have to sit with them, and by the third time we were comfortable taking their leashes off (although we left the harnesses on). Now, we just throw them in the car when we have errands to run, and they sit back there quivering and cuddling. It's adorable.

The next step, of course, is to get them to do it in the house, and that's where we have stalled a bit. What has worked best for us is to bring them in from the car and immediately put them together in the house, but someone neutral. On top of our bed has worked for us. By this time they aren't terrified, and are usually curious. Sometimes they will just hop around the bed exploring and sometimes they will cuddle up. After the bed we tried the upstairs hall, with the idea that it's the floor (therefore more "normal" to them) but in an area which is usually inaccessible to them, therefore neutral. Here is where we have problems, Gabe attacks Iggy. Sigh. So, we just have to keep trying and eventually they'll get it I'm sure.

In the meanwhile, the peeing has virtually stopped. They still have a couple of spots where they like to pee at each other, but we have solved it by putting out another litter box and by putting rubber-backed doormats at their usual spots.

Good luck with your rabbits.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:21 AM on May 31, 2006

Anti-Icky-Poo has always worked miracles in my three-cat household.
posted by yogurtisgenocide at 12:51 PM on May 31, 2006

Thank you everybody, this is very helpful.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:40 PM on May 31, 2006

So, because I had already bought the white vinegar, I decided to try it before getting something new. It works! You pour on a capful, let it sit for maybe ten seconds, and then sop it up with tissues or a towel (I went through half a roll of toilet paper and then switched to a towel, which I then put directly in the wash). About half of the time - seemingly for the fresher stains - it fizzes up dramatically and those stains came out a little bit better. Where it didn't fizz, the carpet is still very slightly darker than the surrounding carpet. That's not a problem on our carpet since it's already stained and mottled a bit anyway.

So it looks like we'll get to keep our security deposit after all.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:35 AM on June 4, 2006

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