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If you are a dog parent dealing with a Parvo outbreak, this is a guide on how to clean parvo out of your carpet and completely out of your house. If you haven’t experienced it or have experienced it before, you may want to bookmark this just in case.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious and resilient virus that poses a significant health risk to dogs, especially puppies. It can survive on various surfaces, including carpets, for months, making it crucial to thoroughly clean and disinfect any areas where an infected dog has been.
If your dog has had a bout of Parvo, you should know that the virus is now EVERYWHERE. In your carpet, upholstery, deep deep inside your furniture, on your curtains. Stuck to your shoe soles, breeding inside the dog’s toys. Waiting and multiplying so it could get back into the host.
Even worse, the virus is notoriously difficult to exterminate. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
Deep cleaning, if you do it right, will prevent the dog from picking the virus back up and getting sick again.
To clean your carpet after Parvo, you’ll need a steam cleaner and a dedicated disinfectant (not at the same time, though!). Just one or the other aren’t guaranteed to kill any lingering bacteria and stop the spread.
Before I proceed with the hows and the whys, let me tell you that there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to kill the virus, but we CAN’T use it on most carpets because well, it’s bleach.
Bleach will, well, bleach your carpets. Done. Bye. Ruined. So you should only use it on white carpets only – no exception!
Step 1: Steam Clean
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Steam cleaning is an effective and environmentally friendly method of deep cleaning and disinfecting various surfaces, including carpets.
Choose a steam cleaner for pets so that you can effectively clean carpets that are ridden with dog hair.
If your steamer has adjustable pressure and temperature, make sure to max it out! You need to attack the virus with all power you can muster.
The high-temperature steam kills a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, including the resilient parvovirus.
The heat produced by steam cleaning is the key to its effectiveness. Parvovirus is known to be resistant to many common household cleaners, but it cannot withstand temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well within the range of a typical steam cleaner.
Feces from animals who have Parvo have an INSANELY high number of viruses in them. If your carpet has pet feces or vomit in it (even if the stains aren’t obvious), it’s a prime spreader for the parvovirus disease.
Make sure that you get every part of the carpet covered. I recommend slightly overlapping your steam cleaned lines to make sure that you don’t have any gaps in your steam cleaning method.
Now I know this article says to remove the virus from carpets, but a steamer can help you disinfect basically all surfaces in your home. From bathroom to tiles to your kitchen sink. And it’s very important to not skip any single nook or cranny. Because, as I said, the virus basically lives everywhere.
Step 2: Enter Disinfectant
You can do this by looking for a pet-safe disinfectant label. Look for labels that have EPA approval for killing parvovirus and that won’t harm your dog.
Bear one thing in mind, though.
As you’re freaking out because of the virus, make sure you don’t overdo it with the disinfectant. Some types of disinfectants need to be diluted with water. You don’t want to make matters worse!
Once you’ve got it right, you can go on and spray generous amounts throughout the carpet all the way to the padding. Let it sit for some half an hour – or more, if the manufacturer recommends it.
Step 3: Allow the Carpet to Dry
Before I proceed, let me warn you. Some guides will tell you to pour the disinfectant into the steamer’s tank and have another round of steaming.
But that’s a singularly BAD idea!
If you add any chemicals into your steamer, either or both of these two things will happen. You may damage the machine. But even worse, the steam will lift those chemicals and lead them straight into your lungs.
Steamers only work with steam! That’s why I love them, and that’s why they are the most eco-friendly and human-friendly thing about them.
(The only thing I sometimes do is pour a drop of essential oil onto the steam mop pad. But that’s another story, not a “parvo-on-my-carpet” thing!)
So back to the parvo situation! The last step is to allow the carpet to air dry. Open all the doors and windows in the room and turn on the ceiling fan to speed up the drying time.
Stay out of the room until the carpet is fully dry. It should take about eight hours for your carpet to completely dry.
What If There’s Still Parvo in My Carpet?
Parvovirus can be stubborn. So in many cases, you’ll want to repeat the process 2-3 times or even more! The best indicator that you can finally stop is when your dog finally tests negative.
This is exactly why steam cleaners are so good (if not ideal) against parvo. You can rinse and repeat the process as many times as needed, without a single shred of risk for your dog or yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kills Parvo on Carpet?
The 3 best ways to kill Parvo are bleach, dedicated disinfectants, or steam. Since you can’t use bleach unless your carpets are white, you can either use an EPA-approved disinfectant or a steam cleaner.
To be 100% sure you’ve got rid of the menace, steam clean first and disinfect again with the solution. But never the other way around!
How Long Does Parvovirus Live in Carpet?
In carpets, parvovirus can live for up to six months. On other surfaces such as soil, parvovirus can live for as long as nine months or even a year. But that’s only if you don’t do a thing about it!
How Do You Clean Your House from Parvo?
Even after steam cleaning your carpet, it’s best to wipe down all surfaces with bleach. Bleach will kill the virus on contact and prevent you from spreading it around the home and reinfecting your pup. As for carpets, upholstery and other non-white fabrics, steam cleaning will do a great job.
How Do I Clean My Dog’s Carpet After Parvo Virus?
If your dog has their own special rug or carpet that he sleeps on, you’ll need to clean that too. That’s because parvovirus can live in the fibers of this rug and continue to cause your dog to get sick. To get rid of the virus, steam clean the doggo’s carpet, then spray it with a parvo disinfectant that’s safe for dogs.