In the Southeast, the rainy season begins in the summer and sometimes picks up again in the fall. Throw in the occasional snowfall during winter months and the risk of muddy pawprints throughout the year increases dramatically. If you have hardwood, vinyl or tiled floors, this may not matter very much. For homeowners with carpets, those muddy pawprints could quickly begin to set in like permanent stains. Do you know how to get rid of them?


At the first sight of muddy pawprints in your home, you may feel tempted to drop everything and begin cleaning right away. However, the first thing you should do is investigate the source of those pawprints. Otherwise, your dog or cat may continue to track mud throughout the home. Before you know it, the couch and even the bedsheets are also covered and need cleaning.

Once you clean up your pets, you may also need to determine how they became so muddy in the first place. For instance, did your teenager bring the dog out for a bathroom break but not wipe his feet after bringing him back in? Did Mister Whiskers escape through a window in the rain and come running back inside after a day of adventuring?


There are many different ways to clean your carpet. How you choose to do so may come down to several factors:

  • The type of mud relative to the color of your carpet
  • The fibers your carpet is made of
  • How far the muddy pawprints have spread
  • How long the muddy pawprints set in before you noticed them

For minor cases, you may only need a washcloth and the cleaning agent of your choice to clean up the mess. For more serious cases, you may also need to employ the use of a wash brush or toothbrush. The worst cases may require commercial cleaners. Also, be sure to pick up any excess pieces of mud or dirt that you can before beginning.

Dishwashing Detergent and Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a form of bleach, so take special care if you choose this option. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands.

  1. Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Use your fingers to rub the solution into the affected areas.
  3. Rinse the area with warm water and then blot the area to remove excess moisture.
  4. Let it air dry. 

Dishwashing Detergent, Salt and Baking Soda

The most common remedy people turn to for cleaning up muddy pawprints is soap and water. Dishwashing detergent remains the most effective remedy for this, but some people have also had success with shampoo or even laundry detergent. Whichever option you chose, these steps can help:

  1. Mix a pinch of salt with some baking soda and sprinkle the powder onto the stain.
  2. Wait a few hours for the mixture to soak up some of the mud and dry.
  3. Vacuum the powder from the carpet.
  4. Use two cups of warm water to dilute one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid or an alternative form of soap.
  5. Use a sponge or washcloth to treat the remaining spots on the carpet.
  6. Once the stain is removed as best as possible, use some cold water to wipe the soap from the carpet.
  7. Blot the area with a paper towel to dry the excess moisture and then let the carpet air dry.

Dishwashing Detergent and Vinegar

If you don’t have baking soda, you can use dishwashing liquid and vinegar instead. You may also prefer this option if vacuuming feels like a process you prefer not to tackle:

  1. Mix a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with half a cup of vinegar in a bowl.
  2. Use a brush to tackle the muddy paw prints with this mixture.
  3. Use a clean cloth and cold water to rinse away the soap.
  4. If the stain is not gone on the first try, repeat the process a few more times.
  5. When you’re done cleaning up, use a towel to blot away the excess moisture and then air dry.

White Rubbing Alcohol

Green isopropyl alcohol may stain your carpet, so be sure to use the clear or white one. Before using it to clean, complete a spot test to see if it causes any damage. Alcohol can be harsh on the skin, so wear gloves to protect your hands.

  1. Use some isopropyl alcohol to blot the stain.
  2. Use cold water to rinse the alcohol from the area.
  3. Use paper towels to blot the excess moisture away and then let the carpet air dry.

Commercial Stain Remover

If none of these easier home remedies work, all is not yet lost. You still have the option of renting a commercial stain remover from your local home improvement store and putting it to use. Be sure to do some research on the following:

  • Rental cost
  • Products needed 
  • How long cleaning will take
  • How much time it may take to dry

Take the location of the carpet into consideration when determining how long it may take to dry. For example, the carpet in the sunroom may dry quickly as long as you let the natural light in. However, a darker back room with less sunlight and poor circulation may take a much longer time to dry. Be sure to vacuum the carpet before using a commercial stain remover. Otherwise, dirt already trapped in the fibers may create more mud.


If your home remedies caused damage to the carpet or you have not been able to remove the stain at all, you can replace a patch of it. If you do not have a standard carpet color or fiber, however, you may have a difficult time finding the right match for the job. Consequently, you may end up replacing the entire carpet.


To reduce the likelihood of needing to tackle this problem again, put some preventative measures in place. Here are a few worth considering:

  • If you have a cat, close windows and doors during and after rainfall.
  • If you have a dog, reconsider leaving the doggie door open to the backyard when it rains.
  • Leave baby wipes by the door so you or children can wipe off the dog’s paws after a bathroom break.
  • Train your dog to stop and to come when called to avoid him or her continuing to trek mud through the area once discovered.

If you prefer not to replace the carpet but no home remedy has worked so far, consider hiring professional cleaners. Our Safe-Dry® Carpet Cleaning services rely on all-natural products to lift dirt and stains out of the fabrics in your home. This includes not just your carpets but even the upholstery Fido or Mister Whiskers may have also tracked the dirt onto. Need same-day cleaning service? We have you covered there too. Call 1-336-560-9630 to schedule an appointment today.