How to Clean Up Dog Diarrhea on a Wood Floor

When cleaning up dog diarrhea from a wood floor, you’ll want to start by picking up the mess as soon as possible. Once the mess is cleaned up, get out the disinfectants and wipe the floor. You can then use a toothbrush to scrub between the cracks. The disinfectant will help prevent the floor from soaking up the smell.

We’re all too familiar with the saying, “poop happens.” Some of us replace the word “poop” with something else! Diarrhea. Arguably the worst thing about being a fur-parent. Nothing smells worse or is nastier to clean up. If you’re like us, and have a hard time stomaching or cleaning it up correctly, keep reading for some tips! Cleaning dog diarrhea off wood floors is going to be easier than you think.

One important note before we get started, it’s normal for a dog to have diarrhea every once in a while, but if it’s an ongoing issue, make sure you get your dog to the vet. Diarrhea will eventually cause dehydration and nutrient deficiency.

What You Will Need

Before you get started, be sure to have the following items prepared:

  • Lots and lots of paper towels or old rags
  • Plastic bag (maybe 2)
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Wood floor cleaner
  • A toothbrush or soft scrub brush (if you have cracks between floorboards)
  • Your favorite pet-friendly air freshener or candle
  • Not needed but highly recommended: latex gloves and a mask to cover your nose to block the smell.

First Things First

Assuming your dog has just had an accident, get to the diarrhea as fast as possible. The longer you wait to clean it up, the longer the smell will linger, and the harder it is to clean. Put on your mask and gloves to make this disgusting task less dreadful. The mask will help minimize your gagging and dry heaving. Use a thick wad of paper towels to soak up the mess.

If you don’t have enough paper towels, use a bath or beach towel you won’t miss. Use some damp paper towels or rags to clean up the remaining mess. Make sure all of the paper towels (or towel) are discarded into a hole-free plastic bag to prevent anything from leaking back out.

Getting in the Nooks and Crannies

It is absolutely essential you clean the cracks in your floor to get the best clean possible. Use a wet and soapy toothbrush or soft scrub brush. You’ll want to use a soft brush, so you don’t scratch your floor.

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Make sure the soap is ok to use on wood floors. To be safe, you can use your wood cleaner on the brush instead of soapy water. As you clean the cracks and dirt and diarrhea comes up, wipe it up with a damp paper towel.

No one likes this nitty-gritty work, but no one likes dirty, stinky floors either. We really hope we don’t need to tell you this, but throw out that toothbrush immediately once you’re finished with it!

Disinfect the Area

Once the bulk of the mess is cleaned up, disinfect the area. This will help kill the smell and clean up anything that was left. It will also discourage your pet from using this area as a bathroom spot in the future if they have a habit of going inside. This step can be as simple as running a Clorox wipe over the floor, or a quick squirt out of a bottle rubbed around with a paper towel.

Using a Wood Cleaner

Only use a cleaner specified for wood floors, so it does not cause any damage or color changes. It’s extra helpful if your cleaner is odor neutralizing. As always, it needs to be pet safe.

For the simplest way to clean, use a cleaner that comes in a spray bottle. Spray the floor or a rag with a generous amount of cleaner and rub the rag all around the floor. To make it easier on yourself, you can spray the cleaner on a dry Swiffer wipe, so you don’t have to spend any more time on your hands and knees. Wash your hands after you have everything cleaned up.

Cleaning Dried Diarrhea off Wood

This is for diarrhea that has only been there a couple hours while you were at work, asleep, etc. You’ll need all the same tools as mentioned at the beginning of the article plus a scraper. We suggest a plastic scraper, so you don’t scratch your floor.

Take a warm, damp paper towel and wipe it over the dried spots to soften them up. Once you feel it is soft enough, but not liquid, gently scrape until you get it unstuck from the floor. Wipe up all the dried pieces and wipe the floor with a clean wet rag. Disinfect and use wood cleaner, as mentioned previously.

When everything is cleaned up and thrown away, thoroughly wash your hands.

Getting Rid of the Lingering Smell

Even though you’ve thoroughly cleaned and disinfected your floor, there is likely to be some gross smell.

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Candles smell pretty and give off a warm relaxing feeling. Which is precisely what you need after what you’ve just been through! Light your favorite candle and relax. We recommend you buy an odor-neutralizing candle. They smell as good as regular candles but work better at eliminating nasty smells.


Since you own animals, you probably already have Febreze. If you don’t, do yourself a favor and buy some. It is a pet odor game changer. Febreze even makes a specifically pet-safe and pet-odor eliminating spray. Spray the air surrounding the diarrhea affected area. Use it conservatively, it won’t take much to cover the smell.

Plug-in Air Fresheners

These are handy because once they’re plugged in, they require no special operation. Although you will have to remember to refill or replace the bottle. These may not help get rid of the existing smell, but they will help it not seem so bad when the diarrhea happens. Plug-in air fresheners will keep your house smelling fresh 24/7.

Natural Remedies To Remove The Smell

We understand that some dog owners don’t like to clean with products that contain chemicals. The good news is that there are still ways to get rid of the smell using natural products. The best part is you probably already have these products lying around your house.

Club Soda

Although club soda doesn’t do a great job of sanitizing the area, it does a fantastic job of removing stains and odors. Before going to bed, pour a tiny bit of salt over the area where your dog had the accident, then pour some club soda over the salt. When you wake up the next morning, soak up the liquid with a paper towel.

Hydrogen Peroxide

The great thing about hydrogen peroxide is that it won’t damage most wood floors. However, you’ll still want to test it out on a small area just to be safe. Simply pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide over the stain, wait a few minutes, and then dry with a paper towel.

Baking Soda

This is a classic cleaning hack that you’ve probably used before. It’s cheap and is one of the best natural odor removers we’ve come across. The biggest mistake people make is using too much, so be sure to only sprinkle a tiny bit over the area and let it sit overnight. The next morning, vacuum up the baking soda. If there was a stain, it should be gone.

Dish Detergent

You can use most dish detergent, but Dawn seems to get the best results. Make sure you dilute the soap in water before using. Too much dish detergent can cause damage to the surface of the floor. Combine the detergent with water in a spray bottle and spray the infected area. For best results, use your hand to “massage” the detergent into the wood floor. Let it sit for a few minutes then dry with a paper towel.

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For the Repeat Offenders

Some dogs have health issues that, unfortunately, make diarrhea or throwing up a semi-regular occurrence. If your dog seems to get sick in a particular area of your house, put down a piece of plastic. This way, the next time this happens, you just wrap up the dirty plastic and throw it out and light a candle—no gagging or dry heaving from having to get up close and personal with it.

Put Your Dog Outside

No, not as punishment, as a preventative measure. If you’ve noticed your dog getting sick at a particular time, like after a meal, leave them outside for a little while. All you need to do for cleanup then is hose it down. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the terrible stench!

Part of being a dog owner is accepting the fact that your dog is going to have accidents inside the house. Even if they’re housebroken, when they have stomach issues, they won’t always be able to hold it in. If this is an ongoing issue, take your dog to the vet to see if they have a food allergy.

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