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How Do I Get Rid of Saliva Stains?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 16, 2024
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The best way to get rid of saliva stains can depend on where the stain came from, and the object that has been affected. Saliva stains can come from either humans or animals, and dogs and cats sometimes even stain their own fur. If your furniture or clothing has been stained by saliva, you will need to use some type of cleaner that is capable of removing protein stains. There are a number of commercial cleaners available that can handle these stains, though substances such as white vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide can sometimes do the job. If your pet has saliva stains on its fur, you may want to consider pet wipes or whitening shampoos that do not contain any bleach.

Saliva is a biological substance that contains proteins, so it capable of leaving stains on various objects that it comes into contact with. Each type of saliva stain can require a slightly different approach, though there are general guidelines you can follow. In most cases, you should choose a product or substance that is both capable of dealing with protein stains and appropriate for use with the object that needs to be cleaned.

One common source of saliva stains is pets, especially dog breeds that are known for excessive drooling. Light colored animals sometimes even stain their own fur, either from drool or secretions from the eyes. If this type of staining occurs, pet wipes are one option to consider. These products are similar to baby wipes, and you can also use them to clean around your dog or cat's mouth after meal time if you are concerned about stains from wet food. Another option is whitening shampoo, though you should typically stay away from products that contain bleach.

If your pet or child drools on clothing and the stain sets, it can be challenging to remove. Hot water tends to cause protein stains like saliva to set, so it is typically a good idea to use cold water for both pre-treatment and washing. If the saliva has dried completely, you should scrape away any solid materials before soaking the garment. Bleach is sometimes necessary, though stains from saliva can often be removed by simply soaking and then laundering a garment in cool water.

When dealing with saliva stains on furniture, it is typically a good idea to verify what type of fabric it is upholstered with. Some fabrics can tolerate water based cleaners, while other upholstery is dry clean only. If your furniture is dry clean only, then you will need to remove the saliva stains with some type of chemical solvent. In some cases, you can determine which type of fabric you have by looking for a tag. The letter "w" typically indicates that you can use water-based cleaners, while "s" stands for solvent.

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Discussion Comments
By anon998012 — On Mar 31, 2017

My dog has dried saliva stains on her legs, and I can't find anything that will remove it. Any suggestions?

By Ahmerus — On Jan 12, 2014

I have had luck removing small stains with a paste made with cream of tartar and a touch of lemon juice. Spread the paste over the stain, allow it to dry and then scrape away. The stain should be gone. Launder as directed on the garment.

By Jewellian — On Jan 11, 2014

Saliva stains? I can't say that I have ever noticed saliva stains on my dog or cat's fur. However, I have noticed stains on fur beneath the eyes, as mentioned in the article. I simply and gently wipe away-animal "tear" stains with a dampened paper towel.

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