Scooping our pup’s poop might not be a glamorous job, but it’s definitely an important one. While the process of dog poop clean up probably seems straightforward, there are some things you can do to maximize the cleaning and pick-up process to ensure it’s done quickly and properly.
Whether poop occurs in your yard, while you’re out in the world, or in your house (accidents happen!), the following are some of the best, expert-provided suggestions for picking up, cleaning up, and moving on.
Dog Poop Clean Up: How to Do It the Right Way
Yes, there is a right way to scoop your dog’s poop, and doing so is very important. Besides the “ick” factor of leaving feces where it is, there are other potential consequences. “Leaving dog feces around for any amount of time can do serious damage to homes, such as staining carpets, floors, and even walls in terms of odor,” says Kevin Geick, manager at Bio Recovery, a biohazard cleaning specialists company.
On top of that, “dog feces are known to be a hotbed for bacteria and parasites,” Geick adds.
How you go about cleaning the feces will depend on the scenario you encounter.
Best Way to Clean Up Dog Poop in Your Yard
If you’re dealing with a standard amount of feces from one dog, picking the poop up with a bag is usually enough. Wearing gloves for your own safety can’t hurt, Geick adds.
For ease of cleanup, keep a garbage can (with a lid) near your cleanup spot. Make sure it always has a garbage bag inside. Simply dispose of your dog’s waste in the can and then empty it every week for garbage day. This will prevent a buildup in your yard and in the bin.
If you don’t want to use a small bag to pick up the dog waste in your yard each time, you can also use a small shovel or a dog pooper scooper to grab the poop and put it in the large bin.
“There are sprays available marketed as ‘pet residue cleanup’ products that can be used that are on the safe side,” says Geick, “but they are not always totally necessary.” In the case of situations that need a thorough outdoor spraying or involve cleanup of several messes, you might consider a professional service.
How to Clean Dog Poop on a Walk
Cleaning up after your dog on a walk or while outside away from your yard involves generally the same process as cleaning in your yard, but it tends to be a bit more inconvenient.
The same method of using a biodegradable bag works on walks (and you can use gloves if you want for extra safety). To keep everything sanitary, put your hand in the bag, grab the poop, and then carefully flip the bag inside out and tie it up tight.
If your walking route doesn’t have public garbage cans for easy disposal, consider opting for a poop bag holder with a clip that can hold the used bags so that you don’t have to carry them for extended periods of time during your walk or outing.
How to Clean Dog Poop Indoors
If your dog poops indoors, start by putting on gloves to be sure you don’t make direct contact with the stool. Next, Geick suggests picking up the solid pieces with either paper towels or a bag and disposing of them immediately. “Many people prefer to put the stool right in the toilet and flush it down, which is certainly a sustainable way to get rid of it,” says Geick. Just don’t flush paper towels or dog poop bags in the toilet, since they can potentially cause clogs.
If you plan to throw the poop in the trash, Geick says using a biodegradable bag works fine. “Just be sure to close it up right away to contain the mess and mitigate the odor, and then throw it away in an outdoor garbage bin.”
After that, use a cleaning solution to help remove and disinfect the remainder. “This can include either a store-bought bleach-and-ammonia-free solution aimed specifically at cleaning up this sort of mess, or a homemade solution made of dish soap or laundry detergent, water and vinegar,” says Geick.
Either spray or blot with your solution-of-choice and begin scrubbing with a towel or soft brush. “Once the stain is no longer visible, we recommend utilizing an enzyme cleaner to remove any possible remnants and odors,” Geick added.
How to Clean Dog Poop from the Carpet
The same process from above can be used if the accident occurs on carpeting. Carefully pick up any solid pieces and discard them appropriately. Then use a cleaning solution that is safe for your carpet. It’s a good idea to test an area of the carpet ahead of time with the cleaner to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration.
Geick also recommends scrubbing the carpet from the outside of the mess towards the center. This helps “to not spread it even further out of the unaffected areas,” he says.
Once you finish cleaning and disinfecting the carpet, use a pet odor remover to keep any lingering odors at bay.
For particularly bad accidents (dog diarrhea on the carpet is never any fun!), do your best to mitigate the mess, but you may want to have your carpet professionally cleaned in these situations.
Dog Poop Clean Up Services: Are They Worth It?
Local and national dog poop clean-up services are gaining in popularity. Deciding if these services are worth it will also depend on several factors, including things like your budget, schedule, and whether or not you’re willing to clean up the mess yourself.
Some popular national dog poop cleanup services include:
What you’ll pay depends on several factors including things like where you live, what type of service you need (indoors or outdoors, the size of your yard, etc.), and whether you have one or multiple dogs. For example, at New Jersey-based Big Business Scoopers, a weekly, small yard poop scooping fee starts at $15 for one dog.
Geick explains that if your dog is having an accident once in a while, or you are comfortable cleaning your yard on a regular basis, doing DIY cleanup probably makes the most sense.
But if you’d rather not do the dirty job or if the mess has been sitting over time, is covering a large surface area, or is causing a stain or odor that you’re having trouble removing, it’s safest to call in the professionals. “Our general rule of thumb is that if you have to wonder if you should call in a cleanup service, you probably should,” adds Geick.
Essential Dog Poop Clean Up Products
When it comes to poop, not all products are created equal. Although some of the products you use will be based on personal preference, the following are good places to start:
Best Dog Waste Bags
Our Pick: beyondGREEN
Since you’ll be making good use of your pet’s dog waste bags, Geick recommends going the biodegradable route.
- beyondGREEN bags are made from plant-based biopolymer technology that’s totally leak-proof.
- The bags are made in the USA and are certified by The Compost Manufacturer’s Alliance to be 100% compostable.
- They are non-GMO, organic and made from water-based ink.
Best Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover
Our PIck: Grove Collaborative Paw Sense
Once the poop is picked up, it’s time to move on the cleaning. Using a natural cleaner can help you avoid chemicals that can be harmful for you, your family, and your pet.
- This stain and odor remover is sulfate and paraben-free.
- It’s 100% natural and made in the USA.
- The aromatherapy essential oils produce a fresh lemongrass scent.
Best Pooper Scooper
Our Pick: OUT! One-Handed Dog Poop Scoop
If you prefer a scoop to a bag, you’ll want to get a pooper scooper that’s as efficient as it is easy to use.
- The easy-squeeze handle makes picking up pet poop easy, and the handle extends to 27 inches for extra-long reach that helps you avoid bending.
- The long handle collapses down for easy storage.
- Works on grass and gravel.
Best Outdoor Odor Eliminator
Our Pick: Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator
It’s better to have your pet go to the bathroom outdoors, of course, but constant use of your lawn as a potty can cause lasting odor issues, as well. A product like Simple Green helps eliminate that issue.
- Eliminates pet odors from both synthetic and live grass without interfering with your dog’s natural instinct to go there.
- Includes an attachment nozzle for easy spraying.
Best Handheld Vacuum
Our Pick: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
To ensure that your carpet is cleaned thoroughly after a poop pick-up, Geick recommends using a pet-friendly handheld vacuum.
- Good for use on upholstery, stairs, your car and hard surfaces.
- The specialized rubber nozzle also attracts hair and dirt.
- This handheld vacuum is lightweight and compact, plus the bagless system is easy to clean.