can dogs and white rugs get along

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Question: what do you get when you cross a very active large dog like Charlie with a very white area rug? Unless you’re a neat freak with a lot of time on your hands to bathe your pet every day (which I am noticeably not), the answer is a rug that needs the occasional cleanup. I knew when I bought my new living room rug that I was probably going to have to step up my carpet cleaning game, so I have consolidated the living room chores with three handy shortcuts that make life a little easier. Charlie may not sit still much, but somehow she winds up in my staged shots:

spot shot - behind the scenes - charlies feet just out of shot

At any rate, read on to find my three favorite shortcuts for how to clean a white rug and help it stay that way:

Preventing & Treating Rug Stains


1. Charlie’s new dog toy basket

Remember how I mentioned my source for inexpensive (but pretty) storage baskets? I tend to pick them up in sets so I know that they are all the same size, but on my last trip, I found one on steep clearance but wasn’t sure if I had any others to match the same height/storage size. At first I thought I’d use it in the guest bathroom, but when it proved to be just a little too tall for the vanity, it found a new home in the corner of my living room for Charlie’s many stuffed, not-yet-fully-gutted toys.

toy basket for dog toys

While Charlie will happily drag out all of her toys whenever the mood suits her, it’s nice to have a place to quickly corral them (and keep slobber-soaked toys off the rug).

2. Pre-treating with a stain preventer

Most of the first floor in my house has laminate flooring, so I don’t even own a steam cleaner, not that I’d bust my butt using it. Vacuum cleaners and sprays? That’s more my speed). But since buying the new rug and the new sectional, I’ve got that obnoxious buyer behavior where I’m trying to keep everything pristine for as long as possible (because hello, I’ve waited long enough to have them!). I like to call it “New Car Syndrome” because I behaved pretty much the same way when I bought my SUV and flipped out the first time I found a ding from another driver’s door on the side. Not a great day for me.

Anyway, I first did what I could to make sure that if something falls on the carpet or Charlie tracks in muck, it won’t get as much opportunity to set in thanks to a spray-on stain preventer. It seems to have done a really good job so far, but I know it won’t be 100% fool proof and stains are bound to happen. Which is why I’ve added…

3. An easy rug cleaner stored directly in the living room

If avoiding cleaning were a sport, I could probably win the gold at the Olympics — I’m only going to do as little work as I possibly can. That’s how I wound up figuring out that if I just store my carpet cleaner in the living room instead of in the kitchen or closet, I will take care of the mess right away instead of getting sidetracked (and letting a stain sink in is kind of the opposite of what I’m trying to do).

I know that probably sounds ridiculous to those of you who are masters at cleaning, but 1. I really am that lazy sometimes if I’m working on a DIY project. 2. Knowing myself enough to focus on overcoming those simple details that have thwarted me in the past is how I came to have a well-organized entryway closet and a clean laundry room… so I know that it works for me. And 3. If I have to keep track (and stock) of DIY remedies that might not even work like club soda, white vinegar, baking soda, or rubbing alcohol, I’ll never actually do the cleaning. Having to keep track of just one product makes it way easier and faster to knock out a spot cleaning when needed.

The bright colored cans and busy labels aren’t necessarily a decorator’s favorite aesthetically, so I place them in a storage ottoman much like I did with detergents and other products in the laundry room.

dab the spot to lift stain

What I like specifically about Spot Shot® Instant Carpet Stain Remover is that it doesn’t need scrubbing or rinsing. The instructions are perfect for low-maintenance cleaning. You shake *shakeshake* shake, spray it on and let it sit for a minute or two, and blot it off with a clean towel (repeat if necessary, but I usually only have to do that if it’s something like spaghetti sauce spills or red wine. Luckily Charlie doesn’t have accidents but if she did, I would definitely hit urine spots twice. Once for removal, second for peace of mind.). The cleaner also has stain preventer in it, so I won’t have to pretreat again. Lazy girl tip: If you’re really not in the mood, use paper towels. Boom. All that dust, fur, odors, and pure funk go straight in the garbage. Adios.

spot shot carpet stain remover - before and after
random dirt & spaghetti sauce stains

My boyfriend saw me using it the other day and was surprised; not only because holy crap she’s actually cleaning, but apparently when he used to work as a project manager for a construction company, this was the product they would use to remove Georgia red clay (notoriously frustrating in the southeast) from carpet before they would turn the property over to the new owner. Tested by professionals? Check. Dirtless carpet fibers? Check. Good to know, since I’m also tracking a lot of dirt, debris, and mud into the kitchen with some of the back yard’s garden improvements.

And that — short and sweet — is how Charlie and the new rug are cohabitating without much fuss.

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  1. Wow have to give Spot Shot a whirl. We got stains fro all the rain we had on my white bedroom carpeting. Kind of like rusty and the occasional fireball hack gift.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m going to try this spot stuff! For large areas (you can see by the track of dirt from the door to the kitchen from my dog Lucy) I use Resolve Rug Foam (they also have a “dog” spray). I spray on at night- scrub in with a damp mop if really bad-usually don’t cause I’m like you) go to bed and quickly vac in the morning. Seems like a lot of work but really isn’t and the results are great. The only other option was to put her swimming pool at he bottom of the stairs so she could rinse before coming in! So then there were wet paw prints all over the house… your new living room. Looks great.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I was looking for some product to use on my new rug because it can be really exhausting to maintain a white one clean.