DETAILING MY CAR > Cleaning Dog Poop Out of Your Car

Cleaning Dog Poop Out of Your Car

So what to do when the dog poops in the car - run away!

The OCD Way to Clean Up Dog Poop in a Car

Ok, this is a disgusting story involving a stray dog and the poop he left behind. So plug your nose and read on to learn how to clean up the smell of dog poop.

One day while working at my auto detailing shop a woman came in with the mother lode of all poop problems. She worked with the local Humane Society and took stray dogs into her home while they were waiting for adoption. On this particular day she had picked up a very frightened dog. On top of that the dog was terrified of riding in the car. Can you smell a disaster coming?

While the customer was driving through town, the dog had a case of explosive diarrhea. Dog poop sprayed all over the cloth car seats and carpet. It even got on her. How she was able to even drive the car was beyond me. This OCD car guy would have figuratively shit my pants and left. Okay, maybe I would have just thrown up. I am a dog lover after all.

The Best Way to Clean Dog Poop on Carpet and Car Seats

First, put on your hazmat suit. For the guys working at my detailing shop, this meant rain jackets, big rubber gloves, breathing respirators and safety goggles. Trust me, no one wants poop in their eyes. We couldn’t begin to do an interior auto detail without first getting the thicker puddles and pieces of poop out of the car. After all, this was the mother lode of dog poop accidents. We didn’t want to use the shop vacuum because we were afraid we would never get the smell out of it.

We decided to start with paper towels. Lots and lots of paper towels. A few of the guys who adorned the respirators were gagging at this point. I could smell the dog poop across the entire shop. Once they had dealt with the larger pieces, we could get started on scrubbing out the car. I must have been paying the guys too much – because they actually did it. The crew began by spraying down the interior with some disinfectant. We let that soak in for about 45 minutes. No germs could take that. Then we sprayed the car seats and carpet down with a strong batch of interior shampoo mixed with almost-boiling hot water.

Next, the guys went over the whole inside of the poop-mobile with soft bristled scrub brushes. They then switched over to big cleaning sponges and hit everything a second time. Now we could take the wet/dry vacuum to the car seats and carpet. The guys must have gone over the interior with the vacuum for half an hour. The next step was to get in there with some clean terry cloth towels and dry everything down.

How to Remove the Smell of Dog Poop From Your Car

Now that the car was clean, we had to remove the minor poop smell that was left behind. We used an enzyme-based deodorizer on all of the cloth and carpets. (Read my post on removing car odors to learn more about enzyme-based deodorizers.) We let the deodorizer absorb into the material and dry completely. Finally, we brought out the ozone machine. These are small electric appliances that generate a fog of ozone. It penetrates into porous surfaces and breaks down odors even more. At this point, all that was left to do was let the car sit with all of the windows down so it could fully dry out.

The only problem I could see coming was putting the dog back in the car. The customer actually came back to pick up her car with the dog. (I bet she took an hour-long, steaming hot shower first.) I guess she was afraid to leave the dog alone. I just hoped that when she drove the dog around there wouldn’t be another poop explosion. I have to say that cleaning up dog poop ranks at the top of the list of gross things that can happen in a car. Even vomit would have been more pleasant. By the way, we did charge a little extra for that one. The next time you drive around with a scared or sick dog in the car, you might want to think twice.

Feel free to ask me poopy questions below, if you are having a hard time removing the smell. I’m happy to help. Seriously, I live for this stuff.

53 comments on “Cleaning Dog Poop Out of Your Car

  1. please help i have and audi with leather seats and my dog pooped in it… i got it all up but i noticed that the leather seats have tiny holes and i know that the holes are filled with poop how do i get that out ??? my car smells really bad please help

    • Hi Tony,
      This is one of the harder clean up jobs. Don’t panic because you can fix this one at home. First of all you need a couple of things. Get some Simple Green all purpose cleaner, some Fabreeze, some leather conditioner, a tooth brush, towels and a shop vac.
      The first thing to do is to spray down the affected ares. Soak it down pretty well. Next, take the toothbrush and poke out the holes in the seat. Respray the area with more cleaner. Now, get that shop vac out. You need to take the vac nozzle and suck everything out of the perforations. You may need to do this two or three times. Once the holes are cleaned out give the area a good spry down with the Fabreeze. This stuff is an odor remover not just a scented cover up. Now take a clean towel and wipe down the seat to pull up any excess Fabreeze. At this point I like to take another clean towel that you have gotten wet. wipe down the seat with it to pull up any remaining soap. You don’t want the leather to dry out. Finally, apply some leather conditioner to the whole seat. This nourishes the hide and keeps the whole seat looking uniform. This is what I would try first. If for some reason the smell does not go away you may need to take it to a detail shop so they can run a hot water extractor over the seat. I am betting you can do it yourself – and for a lot less money. Best of luck.

  2. What’s the best way to clean poop from a dog that’s not diarreah without taking my car to the cleaners ? I just picked up a dog from the pet clinic. Actually 2 dogs from the same litter and we have to drive an hour and a half home and not 5 minutes already a poop. After i took both dogs in the grass and they both went but now I’m stuck with this mess and the smell that goes with it.

    • Hi Jeremy,
      Nothing smells worse! This isn’t too hard to clean up after. First – as I am sure you have done, pick up the poop out of the car, Next, get some Simple Green all purpose cleaner and a bottle of Fabreeze. Start by spraying the cleaner where ever the poop touched. Let it soak in for a couple of minutes. Now, take a cloth and rub down the spots. If it is stubborn you may need to go over it with a clean scrub brush first. Once all of the mess is cleaned up you need to reach for the Fabreeze. This stuff is an odor remover not just a scented cover up. Spray down the area pretty well. Now you need to let it dry. The next day get in and give the car the sniff test. If you still smell it check for any spots you missed. If you don’t see anything hit it with the Fabreeze again. That should do it. Good luck!

  3. We have a brand new car 2015 Equinox. The owners manual says to use soap and water to clean the seat upholstery. Our 10 year old lab pooped in the back which was fine as we had it covered with a thick layer of quilt and dog bedspread. The problem? Our other dog stepped in the poop, then tried to get away from the smell so he jumped in the front seat with poopy paws. I was outside the car trying to figure out what to do. Now, even though the new car smell is back there are yellow stains on the black interior of the front seats. I haven’t been able to get them out with hot sudsy water but I don’t want to damage the seats. Help 🙂

    • Hi Paula. This is a tough one. You mentioned that the dog poop got on to the upholstery – cleaning it depends on whether the seats are cloth or leather. If it is cloth I would suggest a stronger cleaner. Simple Green is great and you can get it at the grocery store. Read the label. I like to mix it one part cleaner to four parts water. I would spray down a spot with this mix and let it sit for a couple of minutes. The next step is to us a wet-dry shop vac to pull out any remaining stain. This works a lot of the time. If it is even more stubborn you can try an extractor. Leather is a little bit more challenging. The dog poop can almost re-dye the material. I would recommend taking the car to a detail shop and have them work on it. In the very worst case leather can be redyed. We always had a vendor for this back in my detailing days. I hope this helps…and wear some gloves! Bradley.

  4. Hi! So after a fun day at the local park my darling 6 year old son realizes he stepped in dog poo AFTER he gets in the car. Funny thing is no poo came off his shoe on the seat or carpet. His shoe swiped my speaker and now dog poo is in my car speaker! Help please!

    • Hi Ashkey. This is a tough one. The regular methods of shampooing and such don’t work to well here. You have a couple of options, First of all I suggest you take a damp sponge and some Simple Green (a great all purpose cleaner available at almost all grocery stores or hardware stores) and use it on the speaker. Do not spray the cleaner into the speaker – it could damage it. Take the damp sponge and spray done diluted cleaner on it (I would mix the cleaner down to 4 parts water to 1 part Simple Green). Next, sponge off the speaker so you just soak the surface. Let this soak for a few minutes. From here you need to take a wet/dry shop vacuum and suck the poop out of the speaker grill. You will most likely have to do this three or four times. In the worst case you may need to take a tooth pick and use it to poke the speaker grill – just don’t push the poop all the way into the speaker. Wet down the speaker grill again and hit it with the shop vac again. If you don’t have a shop vac go to your local self serve car wash. They have great vacuums at these places. This should take car of the problem. If not, I would suggest taking the car to a detail shop so they can pull off the speaker grill and do the cleaning. I know this is a little more expensive than the do it yourself option but it work very well. Best of luck and if you have any other questions please let me know. Bradley

  5. I was fostering a Beagle/Basset mix. He has severe separation anxieties. I just dropped my keys off at the mechanic. I was gone for 3 minutes MAX! He had such an anxiety attack that he covered the car’s cloth upholstery in poop. THEN in the 3 minutes he kept hopping back and forth between the front and back seat iof the LEASED SUV to make sure he spread the poop evenly ALL OVER!!!.
    Before I could get the car inspected, I had to do a loose poop extraction and surface wipe down. I had to attach the dog, Slippery Simon Howl to a bench (with the help of a kind fellow customer) who just came in to get his tires rotated! Long story short…I first used cold water to wet all affected surfaces. I then applied WoolLite upholstery clearer with the stiff bristle brush, I removed excess cleaner with clean water and let it dry. I then used .WooLite PET + Oxygen.. Considering the upholstery is light grey, I think it will be OK after another application. if the WooLite Pet.

    • Hi Sara. You did everything right. Just one thing…you may need to spray down the seats with your cleaner one more time if it still smells. If so, spray on the cleaner, gently scrub it again, and spray it down with clean water. The last thing I would do is go over the areas you just worked on with a wet/dry vacuum to pull up any residue. the final step we did at the detail shop was to take a clean terry towel and rub down all the areas you cleaned. This pulls out almost all of the moisture from the seats. If after the second try you still get a whiff of poop then spray down the effected area with some Fabreeze. You are really on the right track!!

  6. Hi,

    I recently had my car vandalised and a whole lotta poop was spread on the dash, mats, seats etc (they realy went to town). The car has been cleaned by a specialist cleaning company and th sun roof / minnows slightly open for a few weeks, but it still smell slightly. Enough for some people not to get in. Is fabreeze the best option?

    Many thanks

    • Hello. Wow….someone spent a lot of time with poop in their hands. You did the right thing having the stuff cleaned up professionally. At this point I would recommend the fabreeze. You will most likely need to treat the interior a few times. A light misting will work great. If after all this the smell is still bad there is one last option. You can take the car to a detail shop and have the interior treated with an ozone machine. These machines create an odor removing fog. Make sure they don’t let the machine run in your car for hours on end. One hour is the max I would do it. Back at the detail shop we learned the hard way what happens if you let it run wild. That fresh ozone smell actually becomes a little overpowering. You are on the right track. Best of luck, Bradley.

      • As a person who transports dogs for rescues in my personal car I know about poop and pee. Addressing the smell is tricky.
        Sometime in the past I depended on baking soda, vinegar and Febreeze they never gave 100% results because usuallt smell disappeared then came back days or weeks later.
        I visited an out of state rescue that helps puppymill dogs which are caged all their lives as slaves (so not leash or paper trained) meaning thecar is their toilet. I was given a bottle of nothing short of a miracle by them for the inevitable. I recommend it to all pet owners, rescuers and cleaning biz. UNLEASHED by LEGEND.COM it is like nothing else on the market and works on cat, dog and barn animals.
        AMAZING! Try it, see videos or contact them they will talk you thru it or send a pro.

        • Hi Bar Rez. This sounds just fantastic. It sounds a lot like an enzyme based deodorizer I purchase from an industrial janitorial supplier. I will track down a few bottles asap. This could help dozens of my readers. I think your rescue work is very commendable. I spent the last 5 months trying to find the right dog to add to our family. We picked up our 6 year old rescue dog this past weekend. She is a 15 pound mini pin. She is so sweet and cute. We feel very lucky to have been approved by the rescue foundation. Keep up the great work with the dogs. If there are ever any other car detailing or cleaning questions please let me know. Thank you, Bradley.

  7. hi to all
    i do mini cab bussines and has had a couple in their 55-60 ish tonight, the “lady” was so intoxicated and shit herself in my car! in my car!!!
    my leather is perforated and that stuff soak into the holes, smell incradable, dont know what to do.
    i used to work as car valeter for very long time but never seen anything like that, drunk people worst then animals. by the way, i have 3 french bulldogs who never ever do something like ladi does!
    how to remove this odor without damage the leather upholstery????
    thank you

    • Hi Audrey, Wow! I have to say that I have never come across a problem like this. She must have been totally wasted.Poop in perforated leather is a problem. The stuff gets into the perforations and into the foam beneath. I would buy a bottle of Simple Green all-purpose cleaner and a bottle of Fabreeze. You will need a wet/dry shop vac for this one. First. spray down the area with the Simple Green. Let it soak in for five to ten minutes. Keep it wet with the cleaner. Now, grab the wet/dry vacuum and suck out all the moisture from the perforated holes. Do this two to three times. Once that is done re-spray the area with the Fabreeze. This stuff is an odor remover not just a perfume cover up. I would spray and vacuum the Fabreeze step at least three times. Go ahead and spray the Fabreeze on a last time and let it soak in. Next, I would take a clean towel and wipe of any remaining Fabreeze on the seat. The only way to know if this has worked is to wait for everything to dry out and get in there and smell the area. With dog poop this method works about 95% of the time. If you still get a wiff of it try the Fabreeze step a couple of more times. this is what I would recommend. I hope this helps and good luck getting that smell out. Bradley

  8. While I was in Walgreens, my little dog pooped and pee on the floor of my brand new 2015 Kia Soul. He then spread urine and fecal material over each ventilated, cooled, heated, leather seats and my car windows. I’ve managed to get disinfectant clothes from walgreens to wipe down everything before returning home. But, what do I do with these special blowing air, headed seats? Everything sure smells like crap. Thanks for your help. Lesson learned.

    • Hi Kathy. I am sorry to hear about your new car getting pooped in. You did the right thing grabbing the disinfectant wipes. Getting poop out of perforated seats is a challenge. As is getting it out of all the nooks and cranies. The best way I have found to do this is to use a wet/dry shop vacuume. To begin, get some Simple Green all purpose cleaner. Dilute it to 1 part cleaner to four parts water. Next, spray down the effected area and let the cleaner soak in for about 5 minutes. Now it is time to get out the vacuum. Use it to suck out the matter from the holes. You may need to do this two or three times but I find it very effective. If you have to do this in other areas of the car be careful around all electronics and gauges. Do not spray the cleaner on them because they can be damaged. Back in the old detail shop days we made this mistake a few times and ended up having to replace the radios. As a final step I would spray some Fabreeze odor remover in the seats and carpets. Spray it down with a light mist then take a clean dry towel and wipe if off. This kills the rest of the smell. Good luck – and maybe splurge on a car carrier crate for the puppy.

  9. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your stories.

    My sweet “senior” yellow lab just made a huge mess in the back of my car. I’m not super worried about the leather (it’s an old car, and the back seat has been her domain for ages) or resale value! I’ve gone through a roll of Brawny so far, and some 409. Now I’ll go out an get some Simple Green.

    Just reading the questions and answers here helps me know that my dog isn’t the only dog who has ever done this. Cleaning up poop can be such a LONELY endeavor…

    A note for everyone (except the drunk lady), clean their paws! Poor baby (my dog, that is), she stepped in it, big time!

    All the best!

  10. Funny story. I was driving and i suddenly felt bad in my stomach. Long story short but it crapped my pants, and part of it got on the seat. I scrapped it off and scrubbed it with some laundry detergent so i thought i settled the problem. But when i drove next day, i noticed my clothes smell, i guess its from the seat.
    Any suggestions on how to get out toxins out of the seat?

    • Hello! This isn’t the end of the world. It will take a few easy steps. To begin, get some Simple Green all purpose cleaner and some Fabreeze odor remover. Mix it down to 1 part green and 4 parts water – put it in a clean spray bottle. Using it mist down the area on the seat well. Take a sponge and gently use it to scrub the seat. Let it soak for about ten minutes. Now take a clean terry towel and rub the damp area dry. Wait for it to dry. Using the Fabreeze spray down the area. Let it dry out and give it the smell test. You may need to repeat. This has worked very well on dog poop. Give it a try and let me know how it comes out. Thank you, Bradley.

  11. Hello! I’m in desperate need of your help. My daughter had an accident and was not able to make it to the bathroom on time. Now the back seat smells like poop. I would like to clean at home, but not sure what to use for the smell to go away. I really can’t afford to take it to get it detailed at the moment. Can you help me with this situation I have? Thank you in advance.

    • Hello. With just a little work you should be able to do this yourself. First of all, I would start with one more cleaning. Grab a sponge and a bowl. Add a few drops of dish soap. Use the mixture to sponge down the area. Pat the area with a clean towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Let it dry for a little while. Last, you will need to make one trip to the store. Pick up some Fabreeze odor remover. Spray down the area and allow it to soak for 15 minute or so. Grab another towel and soak up any excess moisture. The only way to really test it is to let it fully dry and give it a good “sniff” test. Be prepared to do the Fabreeze step again if you still smell the poop. Good luck!

  12. Help!! Foster dog had diarrhea in my van trunk I tried dawn dish soap first as it was the only thing I could buy at the gas station and then later I tried super hot water and more soap and then topped it with natures miracle a pet enzyme spray neutralizer. Then I let it air out. Still smelled. I duplicated the process with the same stuff and more scrubbing and it’s airing out again. Heeeeelp I’m not confident this is gonna work!!

    • Hi Laura. This can really be a nasty problem. I have covered this in a few posts. Check out on posted on 10/19/2015. Also 2/16/2015. All is not lost. Try my easy steps and let me know how it comes out. Thank you, Bradley.

  13. I had my dog poop on my back seat the other day. After she did it. She stepped in it. I have leather seats but she pushed it down in the seams. What would be the best way to Clean all it out.

    • Hi Blaine. I cover this problem pretty thoroughly in my post on getting dog poop put of a car. Check it out under the detailing section of my site. It isn’t fun but with a little scrubbing with the right soap all will be well. Check it out and best of luck!

  14. so today me and my 3 kids thought it would be a good idea to take our dog for a car ride well she had explosive diarrhea and to top it off she puked all over the place my car stinking i wiped everything down with water down bleach and cleaned my car matts with dawn dish soap but my car stinks i also used a can of febreze i have all my windows opened and it still stinks
    please help

    • Hi Shannon. I know this can be a huge problem. That smell is really hard to get rid of. You really took some good steps to clean up the mess. I would caution you on using bleach in a car…it can discolor interior materials. My suggestion is to shampoo the interior again, this time using Simple Green all purpose cleaner. Dilute it to half cleaner and half water. Put it in a spray bottle and spray down the areas to be cleaned. Let it soak for a couple if minutes. I suggest then using a soft brush on seats and carpets. For hard surfaces just wipe it off with a clean terry towel. Next, let the car dry out fully. Then it is sniff test time. If there is a strong poop smell you will need to shampoo again. If it is hardly noticeable it is time for another Fabreeze treatment.If All of this does not work it is time to rent a steam cleaner or an extractor. Beyond that your best choice would be a professional detail shop. Sorry for all the steps – it is a tough problem. Best of luck!

  15. Hi Brad. My elderly dog had an accident in his pet car seat while riding next to me several weeks ago. I keep his seat covered with a sheet in case of such an accident. It was not diarrhea but quite firm. There is a small space between the back of the pet seat and the passenger seat, so you can probably see where this is leading… I removed and washed the sheet and made sure nothing was on the doggie seat itself. I thought all was fine until a few days later when I removed the car seat and saw a small piece of poop sitting on the perforated leather seat. No, I did NOT smell anything after removing and washing the sheet, and usually I have a pretty good nose for odors!!! Anyway, It was very small and dry so I removed it and cleaned it with soapy water. There was no smell but a small stain remained on my beige perforated leather. I tried Lexol pH balanced leather cleaner but the small, light brown stain remains. Do you think there is anything that will remove the stain from my seat? Thanks for any ideas.

    • Hi Sam. You did everything right. Good job. The stain is a problem. The cleaner you used is excellent. If you use anything too harsh it will take the color out of the leather. I am afraid your best bet is to go over the stain a couple of times with the Lexol. I would dab some of it right onto the spot and let it soak for a few minutes. You can try gently scrubbing the area with a soft toothbrush – don’t get too aggressive. Leather is a delicate material…and expensive too. After that if there is still a stain you may have to live with it. There are companies that re-dye leather. It is expensive and over time I have seen it break down and look bad. As a last resort you may want to drop by an automotive upholstery shop. They may have a trick or two up their sleeves. Best of luck, Bradley.

  16. My dog had a watery/pasty diarrhea in the cloth back seat. I tried to remove as much of the solid portion of the mess by scraping it which left a good amount smeared into the cloth. Some liquidy stuff had run down the seatbelt hole where I couldn’t reach. I blotted the whole thing with tons of paper towels while I sprayed it with Resolve and used a Bissell spot cleaner (the wand type) with bissel pet formula mixed with Odor Ban. The machine put out a lot of water and the cloth seat soaked up the poop water and I know I wasn’t able to extract it all back up. I’m worried that some of the stain has permeated deep into the foam where I can’t extract it all. I think I need to remove the bench to get into the seatbelt hole and under the seat. My area has auto detailors but I can’t find any that are with an ozone machine or even a professional grade high power steam extractor. What should I do now?

    • Hi Joy. I am so sorry you have to deal with this…it is never fun. You have done a really good job so far. I do think you will need to pull out the seat and check underneath as well as getting to the seat belt hole. The bissel tool is excellent. I would add two more steps to try and kill this problem. First, get some Simple Green all purpose cleaner and a soft scrub brush. Spray the cleaner where the poop hit. Let it soak in for five minutes then gently scrub the area with the brush. Next, take some terry towels and vigorously rub the are as dry as possible – you want to pull out as much moisture as possible. Now I would use that bissel tool again. Let everything dry. Give it the smell test. If it still smells a little then go grab some Fabreeze odor remover and spray it down. Let it dry again and check it out. You might have to do this a couple of times but I think you can win the battle. Best of luck, Bradley.

  17. Plz help my cat has just shut on my back sit of my car and it is runny I have a ‘ve sedan I really need help as it is really bad I was nearly throwing up it smells so bad and it so runny

    • Hi Temaika, please read my posts on this. All of my suggestions are listed. With the proper products and steps you can save the situation. Check out what I have told dozens of others to do and you will be able to take care of this problem. Bradley.

  18. I have been reading and reading all of the posts here and I am hoping that maybe they will help me out or you have something a little more that can help too. I have a puppy(8ish mo old) that just showed up at my door when he was ~4 mo. He is a great dog too but at the end of October he came down with parvo. I acted very quick in taking him to the doctor and he is well past the 100% mark of being better and 100% parvo free!! Best news I heard that day! the only problem is when I brought him home from the vet, they had not taken him out and he had a massive explosion in my backseat. We took the car to get cleaned and they did not use a very good product but assured me that they could get the smell out. Well NO!! I can’t even roll my windows down because if a wind gust hits that back seat the smell is overwhelming. I don’t like people riding in my car but it has to be done. They say the smell is not bad at all but I smell it every time I open the car door. It has subsided but it is still there. Is there anything else that I can do to get it out without having to just replace the whole seat?

    • Hello Keira. At this point I have two suggestions. First of all, spray the area with Fabreeze. I would do this several times. Once it has dried give it a sniff. If it still smells like poop there is one last thing you can try. Go to a tool rental store and pick up an ozone machine. Put it in the car and let it run for 1 hour – no more than that or you will be stuck with an overwhelming ozone odor for months. After the hour open the doors and let the car air out for a while. That should take care of it. By some chance it still smells like dog poop I would take it back to the detail shop and re-do the whole process. Best of luck, Bradley.

  19. Hi Brad,
    My 14 week old puppy had loose poop in the back of my brand new SUV, even though I had put towels down prior to letting her back there, she still managed to miss the towel. The seat is leather, with fabric in between, where the seat belts are, and that’s where it’s the worst. I tried my best to clean it out, but because of the tight space it seeped into, and possibly under and into the foam seat itself. I can’t get the smell out, I can’t even tell if I got all the poop out.
    Then to top it all off, I put her in the front passenger seat to get her out of the mess, and she puked all over that and down the side between the console and the carpeting. Which I can’t reach to clean completely!
    Help! Maybe I’m just looking for morale support here. But I don’t know what else to do! It’s a brand new car! And a lease to Boot!

    • Hi Gloria, sorry for the delay. I had hand surgery today. Need to get away from the computer! You will find lots of posts on my site on how to clean this up. But, if it was me right now I would get to a professional auto detail shop asap. It will be worth every penny. I wouldn’t be surprised if your compression insurance didn’t cover it. Don’t wait because it will only get worse. Call around for prices and get it cleaned. Good luck

    • Wow, I have never heard that one. We used to give our dogs rice. To be safe I would highly recommend you check with your vet. Sorry for the delayed response – I had to travel back east to pack up my mother in laws household and move it back to our place. Then we moved ourselves! Life has been a touch crazy. Good luck with the dogs, Bradley.

  20. During Hurricane Harvey my family and I had to evacuate in the wee hours of the morning. We have 4 large dogs, 4 cats, 4 adults and a 4 yo – needless to say, it was a lot to deal with. Unfortunately, when wading out to the army truck through chest high water, the Army reserve advised that we could not take the dogs bc they looked aggressive (they were very scared, as we were). My sister stayed behind to get the dogs situated in my dad’s truck since it was higher, not taking in water and dry. She managed to get all 4 dogs in the cab, rig it so they couldn’t see out and get more scared, but had plenty of air and breeze. She checked on them often but could not get them out to do any business, so after 1.5 very long days of dog pee and poop, you can imagine how bad the truck smells. To top it off, with the continued rain for DAYS we could not get it cleaned out until several days after the hurricane passed.

    We’ve tried a carpet cleaner, disinfectant, shampoo, air drying…but nothing is getting rid of the lingering smell.

    Any ideas?? Appreciate your help.

    • Hi Monica, I hope you and your family – pets included are safe and doing well. This may be an instance where a professional detail shop should be considered. However, if you want to give it one more go here is what I would do. First of all, make sure you have shampooed all the poo and pee out of the car. Every surface should be shampooed with a mixture of 1 part Simple Green all purpose cleaner and 4 parts water. I would suggest using a soft bristled brush or an old car wash mitt. Dampen the surfaces with your cleaner, gently shampoo it in. Let it sit for 10 minutes then take clean terry towels and scrub each surface dry. Next, go over everything with a wet/dry shop vac to get up all the moisture you can. Let the car air out for an hour or two. Now, lightly mist all the carpets and floor mats with Fabreeze odor remover – it smells nice and it is not just perfume – it actually kills odors. Wait a day and give it the old smell test. You may need to use the fabreeze once or twice more. If that does not kill it I would suggest renting a small ozone generator – caution…never run it in a car for over an hour. If you do you risk living with the ozone smell for a very long time. That’s about all there is to do at home. I hope this works for you – we did it dozens of times back at my old detail shop. If not, do some price and review comparisons and choose the best detailer in your area. If you cant find one call your car dealer and see if they have a detail department. Best of luck, Bradley.

  21. My dog did diarrhea in my car I clean it out an vacuumed it even took out the seat to get under it but the smell doesn’t want to go away what do I do to get rid of the smell it’s been more then a week an it still smells

    • Hello Lupe, this is always a tough problem. If you look through my blog you will see several dozen answers to this problem already covered. In short, you need to shampoo and wet/dry vac any area covered in the poop. Allow the area to dry and apply two or three coats of Fabreeze odor killer. Once it has dried you can give it a good smell test. If by chance this does not kill the smell you may want to consider a professional detail shop – they can use extractors, steam cleaning machines and ozone generators to stop this problem. Good luck, Bradley.

  22. Hi! My dog puked and had diarrhea in our back seat! (She’s never done this before so we didn’t have anything down) I have no idea how to get it out of the cloth seats!

    • Hello Dakota. I am so sorry this happened to you and your car. It is never fun dealing with these pet problems. I do have a detailed post on this topic – listed under how to get dog poop out of a car. It all starts with removing as much of the material as possible. Follow that by shampooing, deodorizing and vacuuming. It is a dirty job and after reading all the steps I lay out…don’t feel bad about paying a professional detail shop to take over all the dirty work. Best of luck! Bradley.

  23. Any suggestions on how to sanitize a black leather car seat after exposed to human diarrhea?! I have read all of the posts and most of the situations have involved cloth seats! Is True Green safe for leather too? So far I have use water and dawn dish soap to clean the seat, and baking soda to absorb the smell. The leather seems to have bubbled up where it was exposed to the diarrhea. I’m worried it will have to be replaced! I would appreciate any tips or ideas for cleaning!

    • Hello. You are on the right track. The idea is to use some very mild cleaner that will not harm the leather or take out any of the color/dye. At this point I would take a clean soft terry or microfiber towel and get it wet – wring out almost all of the water and simply use the now damp towel to wipe off everything you have previously used. If you removed all the poop earlier I really don’t think you need to do any more cleaning or disinfecting. The next thing to do is to use more clean towels to gently dry up all the moisture on the leather. Now you need to walk away and let it fully dry. You can use a fan but I would warn you against using hot air or a heater. With the leather swollen and wrinkled it needs to slowly dry out and be allowed to shrink back to it’s normal size. I have worked on cars that have been left outside for days with the sunroof open and the leather seats have returned to normal. Be patient. Once the leather is 110% dry it is going to really help the leather to apply a good quality conditioner. Start with the area your worked on – then do all the other seats so the seats match. I would do this once a week for a month…but I get carried away. Repeat it once or twice over the next two months and you should be fine. Good luck, Bradley.

  24. Okay I am at a lost for words. My dog weighing 110 lbs had a poop explosion in my back seat. My seats are gray cloth. I scrubbed them down with upholstery cleaner and vacuumed what I could but the worst part it he did it on the seat belt buckle. There are so many little cracks that have poop in them that i had to unfold a paperclip and try to scrap it out. That didn’t get everything though. Do you have any tips on how it get it out of small spaces? Also the smell is on another level of bad. What should I do?

    • Hi Lisa – yep that is really tough to get. In this instance I think you will need a hand held steam cleaner. Nothing else will be able to get into those super small spaces. I would pre soak the poop areas with simple green and water – mix 1 part simple green to 4 parts warm water. Let it sit for about thirty minutes. Next, get in there with the small steam cleaner (I think the “shark” brand is a good tool). Once 100% of the poop is gone you will need to spray the area with Fabreeze. Allow everything to fully dry out and give it a fresh sniff test. As always try the cleaner and soap on a small test spot before starting the big job. Make sure no color is disturbed. If all else fails you will need to replace the belt. Good luck!! Bradley

  25. My dog pooped in the back of my truck. I cleaned what I could, there was a lot !! While doing so poop froze between the carpet and plastic door trim. I don’t want to take the vehicle in to get detailed but am at a loss as how to clean this up. The temperature has warmed up where I live but still below 0*C. The good thing is it doesn’t smell !!!

    • Hey Paul. Thank goodness for cold weather! The best thing would be to pull up that plastic door trim. You can generally use putty knife or a plastic wedge/scraper to pry up the trim. Be careful not to scratch anything. Then you can really get in there and clean it properly. If that is not an option I would get my hands on a small hand held steam cleaner. That would certainly be helpful with the cold temps. Once you get 100% of the poop out of there be sure to let everything fully dry out. At that point I would spray the area with some Fabreeze. Allow that to dry as well. Give it a sniff. If it all smells good then button everything up. Good luck, Bradley.

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