Pets and upholstery

PORTLAND, OR – George Eliot famously said, “animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” 

While cat owners might disagree with that second part, the heart of the quote is true: we love our pets! All our employees have a pet, and we have our own family dog, Amber, who is often sleeping at our feet while we talk with you over the phone. We know how pets and upholstery get along… and how sometimes, they don’t. 

Unfortunately, when you know the joys of pet ownership, you also know the downfalls. Training, feeding, walking, bathing. And for many of us, cleaning up after accidents and fur left behind is a part of a regular routine. Animals add a certain strain to keeping your floors and furniture clean, but owning a pet doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your home looking and feeling fresh! When you bring in local Portland professional cleaners like A+ Carpet Cleaning, you know that we’ll get the job done right. And, best of all, you won’t have to lift a finger.

Now, pets and upholstery… those two things don’t often co-exist well. Whether your dog has left a perfectly shaped dog crevice on your cushion, or your cat accidentally threw up on the armchair, or you aren’t sure what color your couch is anymore because of all the fur… you may need to call a professional! BUT, there are many things you can do on your own to maintain your way to a happy home for both you and your animals.

How it Looks

One of the most common issues pet owners face is shedding. Dogs and cats naturally lose hair, which can quickly accumulate on fabric surfaces. Pet hair can embed itself into the fibers of upholstery, making it difficult to remove with a standard vacuum cleaner. Additionally, some pets have oily coats, which can transfer oils to the furniture, leading to discoloration and odors over time.

Scratches and claw marks are another concern, especially for cat owners. Cats often use furniture as scratching posts, which can result in frayed fabric or leather surfaces. Even well-trained pets can inadvertently cause damage by jumping on or off furniture, digging their claws in for traction.

Accidents and stains are inevitable when living with pets. Whether it’s a puppy still in the process of being house-trained or an older pet with occasional bladder control issues, urine and other bodily fluids can leave behind unpleasant stains and odors if not promptly and properly addressed. Pet vomit, which can be acidic, can also damage fabric if not cleaned immediately.

How it Smells

Love is blind, right? Sometimes, so is our nose! Pets can leave behind a pet odor that can be difficult to get out on your own. While some people do their best to keep their pets off their furniture, they still can’t prevent dander and other pet debris from eventually clinging to the fabric of their upholstery. Regularly taking a vacuum to your upholstery not only helps pick up our messes, but it helps with our pets and upholstery as well! A non-commercial vacuum’s suction can still do a good job at removing loose hairs and debris from your upholstery. Any debris left within the fabric can eventually break it down and affect its integrity, so making sure you are regularly maintaining your upholstery is very important.

As professional upholstery cleaners in Portland, we don’t recommend that you do a quick Google search for upholstery odor removal. Instead, call a professional (like us) so that we can help you navigate what the best next steps could be, whether it’s a simple solution that we can give you or if we think it’s a situation best left to the pros.

Spot Cleaning

Accidents happen. And they seem to happen somehow most often around the things we care about the most, like our cream colored couch! We know that it feels natural to immediately panic when a new substance has splashed onto your precious furniture, but handling the situation immediately and correctly can save a life—well, the life of your upholstery, anyway!

Don’t treat the spot yourself with a home brewed cleaner. Each piece of upholstery has a tag that will demonstrate the method of cleaning that the manufacturer recommended. A professional upholstery cleaner can take a look at the upholstery (either via a photo or in person) and will mostly likely be able to tell you what kind of fabric we’re probably dealing with and how that fabric needs to be treated.

Don’t leave the spot for another day. Taking care of a new spill when it happens is much wiser than leaving it to the future you to deal with. If you don’t handle a new spot right away, you make it more difficult to remove by either yourself or even a professional cleaner. Flipping the cushion over does seem like a good band-aid solution in the moment, but what are you going to do if that side gets a spill, as well?

Don’t rub. For some reason, many of our client’s first instincts when it comes to treating a stain is to rub the cloth to soak up as much as they can. Do not rub. You are most likely rubbing the substance farther into the carpet, not out of it. For the very first step, we typically recommend a careful blot on the affected area in or to absorb as much moisture as possible without sending it further in.

Seriously. Call us. We don’t charge a “consultation” or anything like that to give advice over the phone. If you have a new spot on your upholstery and need help, please let us help you! We will be completely transparent with you and are happy to walk you through an at-home upholstery cleaning method if we feel like you can take care of a spot on your own. It is always a true joy to share our expertise and educate folks on how to best take care of their home and possessions.


Preventing damage before it occurs is key to maintaining when you have pets and upholstery. Using pet-friendly furniture covers is one effective strategy. These covers can be easily removed and washed, protecting the underlying fabric from hair, scratches, and spills. Another option is to choose pet-friendly upholstery materials such as microfiber, leather, or synthetic fabrics that are more resistant to stains and easier to clean.

Regular grooming of pets can significantly reduce the amount of hair they shed. Brushing your pet frequently removes loose fur before it has a chance to embed itself into your furniture. Additionally, keeping your pet’s nails trimmed can minimize the risk of scratches.

Training your pets to stay off the furniture can also be effective, though it requires consistency and patience. Providing your pets with their own comfortable spaces, such as pet beds or designated areas with soft blankets, can make it easier for them to avoid the furniture.

Professional upholstery cleaning when pets and upholstery mix?

If your home has pets, we’d highly recommend having your upholstery professionally cleaned every once and a while to improve its longevity. Your furniture is an investment, and having it professionally cleaned is typically cheaper and more earth-minded than having to replace your living room set every two years.

A+ Carpet Cleaning utilizes hot water extraction with a truck mounted machine. We’ll pre-spray your furniture, go through with water that gets over 200 degrees Fahrenheit to rinse, and then go through once more with a dry stroke so that the upholstery will dry as quick as possible and will help to prevent wicking. For pets, we have a special enzyme oxidation treatment that we can use with the pre-spray that helps us to reduce pet odor and dander. It also helps cleaning up any accidents (feces/urine/vomit) that may have occurred.

If you have upholstery that you need cleaned, or if you need some help with a spot or stain, call A+ Carpet Cleaning 503-314-7453.

A+ Carpet Cleaning – Portland
2885 NW 111th Ct, Portland, OR 97229
(503) 314-7453 

Pets and upholstery

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