We love our pets, but we don't always love their scents. Here are some tips for eliminating dog smell in your home.
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Dogs are terrific companions, and while they’re pretty awesome roommates, they can be stinky and messy. Plus, they never clean up after themselves. If you live with a dog—or more than one—you’ve probably wondered how to get rid of dog smell. Before we dive in to whether you can get pet odor out of your house (spoiler: you can), let’s first find out exactly why your four-legged friend might have a less-than-fresh scent. After all, if there’s a medical reason your dog smells bad, you’ll want to know it.
What causes dog smell?
“Dogs can take on scents from the environments they inhabit,” says Alex Wojenski, resident sustainable cleaning expert at Grove. “Smaller dogs that spend a lot of time on our laps or on furniture may start to smell like the scents in our homes, whereas dogs that spend more time outdoors may pick up nature’s scents.”
Dog smells vary based on various factors, including breed, age, type of fur, health and medical conditions, amount of drool, outdoor activity and, perhaps most important, bathing schedule.
Getting rid of that characteristic dog smell can feel daunting, but there are easy ways to get rid of pet odor, and believe it or not, there are even proven methods to get dog poop out of carpet.
How do I keep my house from smelling like dog?
The most reliable ways to keep your house from smelling like dog include regularly cleaning all the places your dog hangs out and making sure the animal is clean and healthy. Those simple tasks go a long way toward ensuring your house smells like a home, not a kennel.
It’s also a good idea to invest in some cleaning tools and products. Reliable pet hair removers are essential, as is an enzymatic cleaner such as Angry Orange Odor Eliminator and a water-based, solvent-free carpet cleaner such as Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover, which isn’t just for carpets and can also be used on clothes, drapes, upholstered furniture, dog beds and more.
How do you get rid of dog smell completely?
Dog owners often joke that dog hair and dog smells are constantly renewing resources, but there’s truth to the jest. If you live with dogs, it’s probably not realistic to try to completely rid your home of dog smell, just like it’s not possible to completely rid your home of the fragrance from your laundry detergent, the aroma of woodsmoke from your fireplace or the scent of savory dishes if you’re a regular home chef.
For more than 15 years, the folks at GetRidofThings.com have provided do-it-yourself guides to common problems, and pet odor is one of them. When asked how to get rid of dog smell completely, editor James Morgan said, “Get rid of your dog! Sorry to sound callous, and we are not suggesting you take extreme measures by actually putting your dog up for adoption. Our point is that if you have a dog, you need to learn to address the inevitable smell.”
That said, you can minimize the scent. Keep reading for eight actions you can take to give your home a fresher, less-doggy scent.
Keep your dog clean
NATASHA SIOSS/Getty Images
If you want to keep your house from smelling like a dog, one of the first steps is to make sure your pet is clean. “There are multiple causes that make your dog and your house smell,” says Debi McKee, owner of three dogs and founder of Rescue Dogs 101. “The most obvious reason your dog smells is if their coat is dirty. This could be from lack of hygiene or rolling in dirt, feces or other smelly things outside.”
Professional dog trainer Julia Jenkins recommends regular baths with a mild shampoo. “‘Regular baths’ means at least once a month, plus trimming their nails and brushing their fur, which helps them smell better and helps reduce the amount of hair they shed around the house.”
And don’t forget to wash up after outdoor play. “If your dog has been outside for any length of time, it can be helpful to wash their paws and dry them off, if they are wet, to help minimize the smell in your home,” says pet expert Shannon Bunn, CEO of Waggy Pups dog accessories shop. An easy way to do that is to use a tool like the Mudbuster—our tester loved it!
Keep your floors clean
Scrubbing and brushing your pup is a good start, but if you really want to prevent your home from smelling like a canine kingdom, your next step is to clean your floors regularly.
For wood, tile or laminate, sweeping is the first step. You can use a regular broom, but pet owners swear by Swiffer. Pro tip: Give your house a once-over with a dry sheet—pet parents claim it picks up dog hair like a magnet—then follow up with a wet Swiffer or wet mop.
If you have rugs, do yourself a favor and get one of the best vacuums for dog and cat hair. Although Dyson vacuums are expensive, most people who have them think they’re worth every penny. Dyson makes a line of vacuums specifically for pet owners, and having a cordless stick vacuum that converts to a handheld makes it easier to do quick cleanups before the dog hair and dirt get out of control.
For bigger messes, the Bissell Little Green Machine is excellent for getting stains out of rugs and upholstery. If you need to pretreat, pet welfare advocate Rajashree Goswami recommends Bissell Pet Pro Oxy Stain Destroyer, which is nontoxic and effective. Plus, every Bissell purchase goes toward saving homeless pets.
Keep your furniture clean
Some dogs aren’t allowed on the furniture, but many sneak up when we aren’t looking. Others aren’t officially allowed but are invited on the couch for an occasional cuddle. Keeping furniture covered with blankets helps because it’s easier to clean blankets than the whole sofa, but if the furniture starts to smell like your dog, cleaning guru Joseph Marini has an easy, nontoxic solution: Keep a spray bottle filled with four parts white vinegar and one part water on hand.
“It is great for regularly spraying on carpets and upholstered furniture to tackle tough smells, including urine,” he says. “Of course, test any fabric in an inconspicuous spot before applying.”
Suppose you have a puppy that has accidents or an older dog that leaks urine. In that case, Marini recommends soaking up as much urine as possible with paper towels (not dish towels). “And then soak the spot that has been urinated on with full-strength vodka or white vinegar to break down the acids found in urine.”
The Bissell Pet Stain Eraser is another great tool for cleaning up accidents. Marini also says Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover “works like a miracle on upholstered furniture and rugs to remove dirt and grease stains caused by a dog’s fur or to remove urine stains. Apply it after an area has been treated with vinegar or vodka and allowed to dry completely.”
Keep pet furniture clean
Want to know how to get rid of dog smell? Here’s a big tip: Be thorough. That means cleaning pretty much everything your dog interacts with—including its bed.
Wherever there’s a dog bed, there’s increased potential for smells. You can maintain both your furniture and theirs with pet-hair removers such as the ChomChom roller and Bissell Pet Hair Eraser, but regular washing of pet beds is key.
Most pet experts recommend washing beds every week to eliminate odors in your home. When washing dog beds and blankets, Carrie Flitcroft, director of Shiny and New Cleaning Services, says a common household item is the key to banishing bad scents. “Add a half cup of white vinegar to your washing machine to get rid of the dog smell and keep materials fresh and fluffy,” she says.
If you have large dog beds and washing them weekly is a production, you can spray a mix of vinegar and baking soda on the bed and then use a vacuum to suck it up.
Wash your dog’s toys
Washing plush dog toys is almost as important as washing pet beds, but many people overlook it. After the initial puppy stage, dog mouths aren’t known for being the best-smelling places, and because their saliva gets all over their toys, it can make your home smell like dog breath. You can throw them in the wash every week with the dog beds, and they’ll come out looking like new.
If you haven’t washed the toys in a while—or ever!—you might need to throw in a cup of vinegar or an enzymatic deodorizing product. Sharon Williams, cofounder of Dog Desires, likes Rocco & Roxie or Nature’s Miracle, both of which come by the gallon for refilling spray bottles or for using by the cupful as a laundry additive.
Clear the air
Leo Gomez, the inventor of the Runball dog toy and a writer of pet guides, recommends cleaning your home’s air filters to “help to purify the odor from the air, aid in improved heating and cooling systems in the house and maximize the airflow circulation, resulting in eliminating the stinky air.”
Make sure your dog is healthy
There may be medical reasons why your dog smells. If you’re bathing your dog regularly and it still stinks, it could have an underlying condition that’s causing it to produce more odor than usual. “Dog smell can also be caused by skin irritation and bacteria, which are amplified by moisture,” Wojenski says.
Persistent doggy odor may be a sign of a more serious health concern. So if your dog is licking itself excessively or has a sudden change in appetite, it’s time to see a vet, Jenkins notes.
“The most common reason for ‘dog smell’ is secondary yeast or bacterial infections inside the ears or on the skin,” Williams says. “Have your dog checked by the vet to identify the exact source.”
And don’t forget to brush your dog’s teeth! If it’s uncooperative, swap the dog toothbrush for a dental chew designed to clean its teeth.
Be a detective
You’ll have no problem smelling pet odor. Identifying the source, however, is an entirely different issue.
A puppy may attempt to hide its accidents by going behind a piece of furniture. An older dog may be incontinent. And some dogs just can’t help lifting their legs on bed skirts, curtains and even walls.
Whether your pet has accidents or is marking its territory inside, UV flashlights can come in handy and help you get to the bottom of it. A UV pet urine detector can help you locate dried urine stains so you can properly clean them and keep your home smelling fresh. Consider yourself warned—you might be surprised by all the stains and splatters!
- Alex Wojenski, sustainable cleaning expert at Grove
- James Morgan, editor of GetRidofThings.com
- Debi McKee, founder of Rescue Dogs 101
- Julia Jenkins, dog trainer with Pet Dog Training Today
- Shannon Bunn, CEO of Waggy Pups
- Rajashree Goswami, founding member of We Do Pet Welfare Society
- Joseph Marini, home expert with At Home with Joseph
- Carrie Flitcroft, director of Shiny and New Cleaning Services
- Sharon Williams, cofounder of Dog Desires
- Leo Gomez, pet guide writer and inventor of Runball
Try using vinegar (diluted with a bit of water) in a spray bottle and spray on carpets or floors. Or use in combination with baking soda on cushions or bedding for an extra powerful, odor-eliminating punch.How do I get rid of the smell of doggy in my house? ›
Liberally sprinkling baking soda, a natural odor eliminator, on your furniture or carpet and allowing it to sit overnight is a great first step to neutralize dog smells. Plus, it's completely safe for your fur baby. Another option is to look to your bar cart. Reichert advises spraying areas where dogs lie with vodka.Why does my whole house smell like my dog? ›
Hello, If your house smells like dog, it's probably a combination of the presence of your actual dog and the things the dog leaves behind in the house. In many older, non-altered, or less house-trained dogs (and, incidentally, frequently in cats) house soiling could be a problem that the owner doesn't realize exists.How do you make the smell of dog pee go away in the house and make it smell better? ›
Make a solution of baking soda, peroxide and any dish detergent. The combination of the three is often powerful enough to drive away strong urine smells. The solutions is eight fluid ounces of peroxide, three tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of dish detergent.Can dogs smell where you are in the house? ›
Yes, it's true, many dogs are able to smell through walls. Owners of an intact female are probably already aware of this, as any intact male in the area is likely able to tell where their girl is - even if she is inside!What kills the smell of dog? ›
Baking soda is a natural odor-absorber. Sprinkle the powder over carpets, rugs and furniture, let it sit overnight and vacuum it up the next day. Likewise, apple cider vinegar can be used with laundry detergent in your washing machine to remove smells from blankets, cushion covers, curtains and other linens.What is the most powerful odor eliminator? ›
- Ozium Air Sanitizer Spray. ...
- Lysol Disinfectant Spray. ...
- DampRid Moisture Absorber With Activated Charcoal. ...
- DampRid Fresh Scent Hanging Moisture Absorber, 3-Pack. ...
- Harris Cleaning Vinegar. ...
- Zero Odor Laundry Odor Eliminator.
Air purifier for pet odors
If cleaning up has not solved the problem and you have ruled out medical issues, an air purifier that deals well with VOCs is a good tool for eliminating pet odors. Some air purifiers are very good at removing or destroying VOCs, while some barely do anything with VOCs.
Air purifiers work by filtering and removing particles that may cause bad smells. However, the EPA states that no air cleaner or filter will be able to eliminate all the particles that can cause foul odors.Does vinegar get rid of pet odor in carpet? ›
Neutralize the smell Then you're going to want to douse the spot with an enzymatic cleaner or simply make your own cleaning solution by combining (white or apple cider) vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio. Because the vinegar is acidic, it will neutralize the bacteria in the dog pee, offsetting its odor.
Traditional household cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, soap, and the like seem to work at first because they eliminate some of the components of your pet's urine. White vinegar in particular is highly alkaline, which means it can act as a deodorizer for spaces marked with dogs' urine.What absorbs the smell of dog pee? ›
Opt for Baking Soda
Baking soda naturally neutralizes odors. Sprinkle it liberally on the damp area or even an old urine stain, and work the powder gently into the fibers of any fabric, rug or carpet. Let the baking soda sit overnight for maximum odor absorption, then vacuum it up to remove the smell completely.
Vinegar and baking soda are two powerful household ingredients that can neutralize pet odors throughout your home. On carpets, rugs, and upholstery, sprinkle baking soda over the entire area and let it sit overnight to absorb the odor, then vacuum the surface.How long does the scent of a dog stay in the house? ›
How long does a cat or dog's scent stay in a house? It can last for months or even years, depending on the type of odor. The different kinds include those that come from: Dog or cat urine.What do dogs hate the smell of? ›
For dogs, citrus scents are the enemy. Citrus scents like lemon, lime, oranges, and grapefruit–especially in high concentrations often found in household cleaners or essential oils–can cause irritation to your pup's respiratory tract, so keep any fresh citrus fruits out of your dog's reach. You know–just in case.What absorbs odors in a room? ›
Some of the best odor eliminators are coffee grounds, tea, vinegar, oats, and baking soda. Leaving a bowl of any of these odor absorbers out in a room that's due for a little freshening up will help clear out the less-than-pleasant smells from the air.What gets rid of smell fast? ›
Several common household items (most notably baking soda and white vinegar) contain powerful properties that eliminate smells without the use of chemicals. But less-commonly known products like coffee and vodka can do wonders when it comes to eliminating, not simply covering, bad smells.Does Febreze eliminate odors? ›
Febreze is classified as an air freshener, created by Proctor & Gamble. It reports to work by “trapping” odor molecules in a donut-shaped chemical. The first thing that is really important to understand: the product does not remove odor molecules and it doesn't clean the item it comes into contact with.How do you purify air at home for pets? ›
When it comes to removing pet dander, an air purifier with a HEPA filter is your best choice. It filters the air and can remove tiny particles as small as 0.3 microns. 2 For reference, pet dander is usually between 5 to 10 microns, so HEPA filters are good at clearing it from the air.Does a dehumidifier get rid of pet smells? ›
Dehumidifiers Can Help with Odors
However, dehumidifiers (like those found at Dehumidifier Critic) are also ideal for removing pet odors and food odors from the home, as well. When you run the unit in your home, you're essentially taking the moisture out of the house.
The best place to put an air purifier is somewhere in your breathing zone. The closer the unit is to your head, the shorter distance clean air has to travel before it reaches you. In the bedroom, this usually translates to putting the air purifier on a nightstand or small table close to the bed.How long does it take for an air purifier to get rid of smell? ›
So an air purifier is a great means of removing foul smells from a room. Within a few hours, you will see that the dander, mites, pollen and other airborne particles have been removed, leaving fresh air for you.Is air purifier better than air deodorizer? ›
Air purifiers work differently than scented air fresheners. Instead of masking bad odors with good ones, air purifiers use a fan to suck in air and run it through filters. The filters trap pollutants and particles, and the fan pushes clean air back out.How many air purifiers do you need in a house? ›
How many air purifiers do you need to protect your indoor air quality? It is generally recommended to place an air purifier in each room. But you can put at least one air purifier in the most used rooms in your home, mainly the bedroom, living room, and kitchen/dining area.How long does vinegar absorb odors? ›
How long will a bowl of vinegar absorb odors for? You can leave a bowl of vinegar out in the kitchen for several hours and it will help to get rid of smells.How long does it take for vinegar to deodorize carpet? ›
Let the mixture sit overnight for 24 hours. Sprinkle the mixture lightly over the carpet. After 10 to 15 minutes, vacuum your carpet as you normally would. The smell should be gone!How long does it take for baking soda to remove odor? ›
Sprinkle the mixture onto fabric surfaces, including carpeting, and let sit for 30 minutes or overnight. Vacuum up the baking soda mixture, and with it, those bad smells.Does hydrogen peroxide remove pet odor? ›
Citrus and Hydrogen Peroxide Mix
Both citrus and hydrogen peroxide combine to make a powerful cleaner that's good at tackling pet stains and odors. Citrus and hydrogen peroxide are enzymatic cleaners that'll work to neutralize the odors and clean away the stains.
Not only will a vinegar and water solution eliminate urine odor if your dog has already peed on the rug, but it will also deter them from urinating on the same carpet again. The acidic smell of vinegar is known to repel dogs from peeing on area rugs as they do not like the smell of vinegar.Does dog poop smell go away? ›
Mop the area with hot water and a mild detergent solution
The area may look spotless, but the stench can still be lingering around. To completely eliminate any odors that have been absorbed into furniture or flooring, it's necessary to wipe down the entire surface with a mild detergent solution mixed in hot water.
Take a damp cloth and blot the pee immediately after your dog is done. Another easy method is to soak a cloth in a mixture of warm water and soap. Clean the area with the cloth and open doors or windows for some fresh air. The smell will fade away in just few minutes.What causes dog to start peeing in the house? ›
Urinary tract infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation), bladder stones, kidney disease, or arthritis or age-related incontinence could all be causes of house soiling in dogs. In addition, pets with diarrhea or other intestinal illnesses may not be able to make it outside fast enough.Why does my carpet still smell like dog pee after shampooing? ›
Wet Dog Smell After Cleaning
Things like food spills, animal urine, and other stinky messes can soak into the padding underneath. As the area was cleaned, the stain was wet again and reactivated the leftover particles. Typically, these odors will dissipate within two days of carpet cleaning.
If your house smells like urine, and you've taught your young sons to aim into the toilet, not around it, you might have a pest problem, a plumbing problem, or a mold problem. Malfunctioning electrical wires might also cause a urine-like odor.How do you get dog urine smell out of floor? ›
Hydrogen peroxide is the best cleaner for dog urine on hardwood floors if you're looking for a DIY fix. Fill a small bowl with 3% hydrogen peroxideand a squirt of dish soap. Soak your rag in this mixture and gently wipe down the area. Side note: This also works on cat urine and other types of pet urine, too.How do you make dog deodorizer spray? ›
Fill an empty spray bottle with 2 cups of distilled water. Add 2 tablespoons of glycerin and 1 tablespoon of fractioned coconut oil. Add 15 drops of lavender and 15 drops of orange essential oil to the spray bottle. Shake well to combine the ingredients.Is there a dog repellent that actually works? ›
Available in both granules and sprays, Critter Ridder works as a dog repellent because it gives off a smell of black pepper, which canines find offensive. Havahart also offers Cat & Dog Granular Animal Repellent. One major selling point of this product is that it is supposed to be long-lasting (up to 60 days).What essential oils do dogs hate? ›
- Pennyroyal oil.
- Pine oil.
- Tea tree oil.
- Wintergreen oil.
- Cinnamon oil.
- Citrus oil.
- Peppermint oil.
- Sweet Birch oil.
At the top of the list? Citrus. Most dogs can't stand the taste and smell of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.Can dogs hear humans talking? ›
In spite of their “human-like” auditory capabilities for interpreting speech sounds, dogs do not hear the subtle differences between words in the way that humans do, a team of researchers has found. Words are made up of speech sounds, which, if changed, alter the entire meaning – for example, “dog” can turn to “dig.”
Dogs spend much of their day snoozing, but in the hours they're awake, they probably spend time thinking about some of the same things that a 2- or 3-year-old child would: “Solving problems, what's for dinner, what's that over there?” Hare says.What do dogs feel when you talk to them? ›
People talk to their adult dogs as if they were puppies. We often say the same sweet, nonsensical things to our dogs that we say to our babies—and in almost the same slow, high-pitched voice. Now, scientists have shown that puppies find our pooch-directed speech exciting, whereas older dogs are somewhat indifferent.Do air purifiers remove pet odor? ›
HEPA air purifiers can remove pet smells, allergens, pet dander, and other harmful substances from the air that can affect your health and the odor inside of your home.How do you get dog smell out of fabric? ›
Wash all of your linens, blankets and cushion covers in a mix of oxy powered laundry detergent and a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar. There are also pet odor removers available at pet supply stores, but generally speaking, they are not much more effective than the home remedies.How do I make my house not smell like dog Reddit? ›
- Cover all couches with a comforter I thrifted and wash at least once every other week - aiming especially to get it done before people come over. ...
- Give the dog clean dog bedding once a week (thrifted comforters I rotate)
- Clean up any accidents immediately (because gross)
Fill an empty spray bottle with 2 cups of distilled water. Add 2 tablespoons of glycerin and 1 tablespoon of fractioned coconut oil. Add 15 drops of lavender and 15 drops of orange essential oil to the spray bottle. Shake well to combine the ingredients.What kills dog smell in carpet? ›
Vinegar and baking soda are two powerful household ingredients that can neutralize pet odors throughout your home. On carpets, rugs, and upholstery, sprinkle baking soda over the entire area and let it sit overnight to absorb the odor, then vacuum the surface.What can I spray on furniture to get rid of dog smell? ›
You can also make your own couch odor eliminator using essential oils (just make sure to check with your vet to see which oils are safe to use on your dog). In a large spray bottle, mix the following together: ½ cup water. ½ cup apple cider vinegar.What is the best laundry detergent to get rid of dog smell? ›
If your pet has taken a liking to your garments, it's best to use a deep-cleaning detergent like Tide®Plus Febreze Sport that removes stains and leaves your clothes clean. Use Downy® Liquid Fabric Conditioner to soften your clothes and help reduce unwanted pet odors.How do you get rid of dog smell without a bath? ›
- Remove dirt with regular brushing. ...
- Wash muddy paws after walks. ...
- Keep bedding clean and fresh. ...
- Clean the coat with dry shampoo. ...
- Eliminate odours with deodorising spray. ...
- Freshen up with dog perfume. ...
- Maintain healthy ears with ear cleaner.
Regularly brushing your dog with a fine-toothed comb or metal brush will help to remove debris from their fur and stop them from smelling. Consult your vet to select the best brush for your dog's coat and aim to groom them at least once a week.How do I make my house smell good without harming pets? ›
- 1 – Buy 100% Beeswax Candles. ...
- 2 – Freshen a Room by Diffusing Essential Oils. ...
- 3 – Freshen the Bedding with a DIY Febreeze Spray. ...
- 4 – Disinfect Counters with Vinegar and Water. ...
- 5 – Kill Odor Creating Germs with Hydrogen Peroxide. ...
- 6 – Clean Odors with an Air Purifier. ...
- 7 – Develop a Cleaning Schedule.