Where pets reside, odors may also exist in abundance and we need to know how to get rid of the pet odor from our house. Any pet habitat not cleaned frequently including your entire home, if the pet roams freely — equates to pet hairs, accidents or even forgotten spoiled food raising a stink, literally.
Keep funky, foul odors under control by dealing with the smells as soon as you notice them. When pets and carpeted floors coexist, urine odors may be an issue. If you can’t pinpoint the source of the stench, walk through the room with a handheld black light after dusk with the rest of the room’s lights turned off. The black light reveals urine spots and potential problem areas that need spot cleaning.
Table of Contents
- Get Rid of Pet Odor from Your House with these 7 Steps
- How to Clean Pet Odors from the Floors and Walls:
- How to Get Rid of Pet Odor From Your House Using Vinegar Solution
- How to Get Rid of Pet Odor from your House Using Enzymatic Cleaner
- Suction Solution
- Machine-Washable Materials
- Removing Mystery Odors
- Using Air Purifier to Get Rid of Pet Odor
- Preventing Pet Odor in Your House
- What Not to Use to Clean Up Dog Pee or Cat Urine Odors
Get Rid of Pet Odor from Your House with these 7 Steps
Your pet can leave a smelly trail as they wander around your house. This trail might include stuff like fur, dander, mud, and traces of urine or faeces.
To remove these odor sources, vacuum your entire house.
Vacuum the floors, stairs, carpet, any upholstered furniture and window coverings left in the apartment. As well as areas where pets spend lots of time.
Sprinkle baking soda over all carpets, rugs, and upholstered surfaces. Let it sit for several hours, and then vacuum it again. Baking soda neutralizes trapped odors.
Wait a few hours, and vacuum again.
2. Clean The Carpets or House and Expose it to Sunlight
Spot cleaning stains will help remove smells from specific areas, but you may have a bunch of different smells over different areas of the carpet. Tackle smells all over the house with a thorough carpet cleaning. This might take time, but be patient. A smell-free house is worth the effort. You can either use a powder or wet shampoo to clean your carpets:
For dry cleaning, sprinkle a powdered cleaner over the entire carpet. Let the cleaner sit for at least 30 minutes. Vacuum to remove cleaner, dirt, and smells from the carpet.
Try using a carpet shampooer. Fill the shampooer’s reservoir with water, and add the liquid cleaner to the compartment. Press the lever and vacuum the entire carpet. Allow the carpet to dry for at least 24 hours, and then vacuum.
Take a brush to upholstered furniture like couches. Fill a bucket with warm water and several drops of liquid dish soap. Swirl the water to create suds. Dip a soft-bristled brush into the suds and brush the entire surface of the furniture. Wipe with a barely damp cloth and air dry.
Leather and leather-like fabrics are a little more delicate, but can still be cleaned. Make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Soak a cloth and wring out as much liquid as you can, so the cloth is barely damp. Then, wipe the surface of the fabric to remove any troublesome smells that are lurking.
Take those items outdoors to expose them to fresh air and a little sunshine. A clothes line is a great way to avoid bugs, and expose the piece to wind.
Leave them outside for several hours on a dry, non-humid day. Sunlight and airflow help remove all types of odors stuck within fabric fibers.
3. Clean Messes with Enzyme Cleaner
Clean old pet messes with an enzyme cleaner. Hidden or improperly cleaned messes are often the culprits behind pet odor. If there are areas where there have been recent pet messes, spray the area with an enzyme cleaner. Let the cleaner soak in for 30 minutes, and then blot it dry with a clean cloth. You may find that the pesky pet odor has disappeared.
Enzyme cleaners are best because they will break down the proteins in urine, feces, vomit, and other biological stains.
4. Bath your pet(s) and it’s bed
Give your pet a bath. Pets love to play, which often means getting into messes. Regular bathing is a good idea for dogs and ferrets, and some other pets could use a wash now and then as well.
Get your pet into a bathtub, wash basin, or bucket. Use a hose or bucket to wet your pet’s fur. Apply pet shampoo to the fur and lather it in with your hands until it’s soapy. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo, and towel dry their fur. They should smell great, and look great as a bonus.
Wash your pet’s bed. This site of comfort can also be a site of stubborn pet odors. Luckily, most beds can be machine-washed using a regular cycle and warm or hot water.
Tumble dry the bed in the dryer. Larger beds will likely have a removable cover on them. Wash the cover in the washing machine. To target odors in the stuffing, sprinkle the stuffing with a bit of baking soda. Vacuum off the baking soda, then replace the clean cover.
5. Clean Your Bed
Snuggling with your pet in bed can be blissful. However, it’s important to wash your bed often and well, since it will likely be harboring pet odors too. Strip pillowcases, sheets, fitted sheets, duvet covers, and blankets from the bed. Machine wash all the linens and blankets. Add ¼ cup (59 ml) of vinegar to the wash for extra odor-fighting power. Expose all the bedding to fresh air and sunlight.
While the linens are being washed, grab your handy baking soda again and sprinkle it over the mattress. Before making the bed, vacuum up the baking soda.
6. Off to the Litter
Replace the litter, litter boxes can get pretty smelly.
To clean your box, empty its contents into a plastic garbage bag, then scrub the litter box with soap and water.
To remove stains and smells that put up a fight, pour some vinegar into the box and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Then, scrub the box with a brush, rinse it out, and let it air dry.
When the box is completely dry, fill it with fresh litter. Pull out your baking soda again and sprinkle some in for extra odor protection.
7. Clean the Cage
Clean the cage. If you have pets that live in cages with bedding, the cage could be making your whole house stink.
Gently remove your pet and place the pet somewhere safe. Then get to cleaning; empty the contents of the cage and throw out the bedding, clean all bowls, and the bottom of the cage with soap and water.
Let the cage air dry, fill the bottom back with fresh bedding, replace all dishes and finally, return your pet to the cage.
How to Clean Pet Odors from the Floors and Walls:
Deal with the wall or wood-based problems by spraying a light mist of three parts vinegar, one part water over the affected area — just enough to make it damp and not cause further damage to the wall or flooring.
Wet a sponge with the same solution.
Wring out most of the moisture, and wipe the area down again.
Sprinkle a little baking soda over the area if you still notice an odor (or rub it on a slightly damp wall using a gloved hand), and then brush or vacuum the powder away once it dries.
In a worst-case scenario for extreme urine damage, you may need to repaint walls will an odor and stain-blocking paint or primer such as Kilz after cleaning the area as much as possible first to remove the source of the problem.
How to Get Rid of Pet Odor From Your House Using Vinegar Solution
- Test the vinegar spray in an inconspicuous area first, such as in a closet, to ensure it doesn’t discolor the carpet. Vinegar usually does not affect carpet color, but it’s always best to be sure.
- Treat a dry problem spot on the carpet by wetting it with equal parts of vinegar and water.
- Use a spray bottle to spritz the area rather than soak it.
- After a few minutes, blot the area by pressing it with folded paper towels, removing as much liquid as possible and allow it to dry.
- Sprinkle the dried area with baking soda.
- Vacuum it up after 15 or 20 minutes.
- If the carpet still smells, reapply the vinegar solution.
Vinegar deodorizes and disinfects a multitude of surfaces, so it’s a great weapon to have in your cleaning arsenal. Do not use vinegar on unsealed stone-based surfaces such as marble, limestone, or even grout, as it may cause damage to them.
How to Get Rid of Pet Odor from your House Using Enzymatic Cleaner
- An all-natural enzymatic cleaner (such as Nature’s Miracle), can help remove odor, debris, and germs left behind by pet accidents.
- Test the enzyme-based cleaner in an inconspicuous area before applying it all over the carpet.
- Clean the area with the vinegar and water spray to help remove residue.
Treat it with the enzymatic cleaner, following the directions on the label. If you’re feeling ambitious and don’t mind waiting weeks for the solution to ferment, you can make your own from citrus peels, sugar and vinegar.
- The carpet and padding may need to be replaced if the entire carpet seems soiled and the odors don’t go away after cleaning.
Wash the Floors and Walls
Blot Wet Spots
- Ideally, work immediately to solve problems with pet-produced odor. Blot up urine from floors, furniture and carpets right away using folded paper towels. For upholstered surfaces that are able to withstand additional moisture, blot up as much moisture as possible, then press a damp cloth or sponge over the spot to help dilute the urine, which also reduces the odor. Blot the area as dry as possible with paper towels or an absorbent white cloth.
- For other messes, scoop or pick up the substance with paper towels while wearing rubber gloves. Wipe washable surfaces down and upholstery with water and gentle dish soap, then wipe again with a damp cloth. Baking soda sprinkled over soiled areas absorbs lingering odors. Brush or vacuum the baking soda away after several hours.
- If fur-laden pets share your favorite upholstered furniture, their fur-based odors share the space with you as well. Pet hair and dander settles on the upholstery and between cushions, causing unpleasant odors.
- Remove all pillows and cushions and vacuum them thoroughly, vacuuming the furniture from top to bottom as well. If your pet sheds a lot, tip chairs or couches on their sides to vacuum stray hair stuck to the bottom of the furniture or settled on the floor. Vacuum carpeting, rugs and pet beds to remove trapped pet hair and dander as well.
- Replace vacuum bags frequently or empty the chamber designed to catch vacuumed materials, otherwise, the vacuum cleaner itself may emit pet-like odors.
- To remove lingering odors, sprinkle the affected areas with baking soda, then vacuum it up after several hours. Vacuuming before and after the baking soda treatment helps remove the odor on two levels — first to remove odor-causing hair and dander, then to absorb stale smells absorbed by the baking soda.
- Items such as blankets, pillowcases or even clothing may wind up with unpleasant pet odors. Wash the smelly items using your usual laundry detergent plus 1 cup of vinegar, following the care instructions on tags.
- Do not overload the washing machine, as this doesn’t allow enough room for the items to move around, which means they won’t get completely clean.
- Line-dry the washed items, if possible, or dry them following the care tag, without using fabric softeners or dryer sheets. Both softeners and dryer sheets may leave behind residues that cling to fabric fibers, trapping odors and dirt in, which makes them harder to wash clean the next time you wash them.
Removing Mystery Odors
- If it smells as though a pet had an accident somewhere in the room but you can’t quite tell where a battery-operated blacklight may help you find the problem.
- Switch the blacklight on, then turn off lights in the room. Ultraviolet light illuminates pet stains. Once you find the problem areas, apply a small amount of water to dilute the spot, then blot the moisture with a paper towel.
- Apply an enzymatic cleaner to spots found on synthetic fiber rugs, carpets or upholstery, following directions on the package, which may vary by brand. Test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it does not harm the material.
- Avoid using vinegar or ammonia on the stained area, which may not mask urine smells and in fact may encourage your pet to mark the area again.
Using Air Purifier to Get Rid of Pet Odor
- Remove Obvious Sources of Pet Odor
Prior to using an air purifier, you need to identify the sources of any strong pet odors and remove them. Double-check your carpet, furniture, upholstery, and other areas of the home where your dog likes to spend his time for traces of faeces, urine, and dander. It is important for you to remove any droppings and do a thorough cleaning of any soiled areas as soon as possible. Pet dander is much harder to get rid of since it cannot always be seen.
- Clean and Prepare the Home
Clean all of your furniture and upholstery prior to turning on your air purifier. This will help to remove any stray pet dander and fur. Vacuum and shampoo your carpets and make sure that they are completely dry before replacing any furniture. Place a dryer sheet on the vents of your vacuum to prevent dander and other odor-causing particles from becoming redistributed into the air from the vacuum.
- Dealing with Accidents
No matter how well trained your pet is, accidents are going to happen. While it is not fun to clean up pet messes, the sooner you deal with them the less likely you are to have an issue with pet odors. Dogs are creatures of habit with a keen sense of smell, so you can try to stave off accidents by watching your pet’s behavior. Fido may be returning to the scene of the crime to do his business repeatedly without you being aware of it. Place paper towel over any urine and feces accidents to completely soak it up. Once your pet’s waste is removed, follow up by pouring a little club soda or water on the area to further dilute any remaining mess. Blot the area dry with paper towel and sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over it to neutralize any odors. Do not rub or scrub pet messes, as the motion will distribute the waste even further into the fibers and grains of your floors.
- Choosing a Purifier
There are many kinds of air purifiers available. To help keep pet odors at bay, make sure you choose a model that is designed to remove pet odors. 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. While there are many different sizes to choose from, it is best to research your choices and choose a unit that fits both your budget and the size of your home. A purifier that is too small for the area will have a hard time removing the odors efficiently.
- Choosing Your Air Purifier
Place your unit near a ventilation duct or your pet’s favorite spot. There should be several feet of clear space around the ventilation grates and output vents on your air purifier to ensure optimal efficiency. Keep the windows and doors closed when the air purifier is on. To keep pet odors out of the home, consider using the air purifier at night and turning it off in the morning so you can open your windows during the day to let some fresh air inside.
With the right air purifier, good housekeeping, and pet hygiene, your pet does not have to live outdoors in order for your home to remain odor free.
Preventing Pet Odor in Your House
- Get into a regular cleaning routine. Cleaning can be a drag, but the best way to stop your home from smelling like your pets is to clean regularly and stay on top of messes. A good cleaning routine will include regular vacuuming, floor washing, laundry, and dusting. For the best results: vacuum three times a week, clean hard floors weekly with a vinegar and water solution. Dust weekly, do laundry as necessary when you have a full load and carpets every couple of months
- Clean pet messes immediately. Urine, faeces, and vomit can leave especially troublesome smells, so prioritize these for a better smelling home. You may be tempted to leave extra nasty messes for later, but try to act as soon as possible to avoid lingering odors. Pick up solid waste and throw it in the garbage. Blot the mess to absorb excess moisture. Spray the mess with an enzyme cleaner, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, blot the area with rags or a cloth and let it air dry.
- Wash toys, bedding, and accessories regularly. Pet smells build up over time, so it’s important to stay on top of cleaning and washing. Wash your pet’s bed, fabric toys, leashes, and collars in the washing machine every month. Wash hard toys every month in the sink with soap and water. Water bowls need more frequent attention–wash these with soap and water every week.
- Keep your pet well-groomed. A well-groomed pet not only smells good but looks good, too. Regularly bathe your pet, clip their nails, and brush their teeth.
Having your dog bathed and groomed isn’t going to get rid of a pet smell forever – but it can help reduce it. A thorough bath removes dead skin cells and gets rid of bacteria, so your dog is more hygienic and less smelly. Grooming is also vital for a dog’s health.
It’s important not to wash your dog too often though, as this can dry out skin. For most breeds, a monthly clean with a professional groomer is more than enough to notice a reduced aroma.
- Brush your pet every day to remove excess fur and dirt.
Brush your pet’s teeth at least three times a week for good oral hygiene and fresh breath.
Bathe your dog at least once a month, and more for dogs with particularly smelly fur.
- Wipe paws before your pet comes inside. Pets love to explore. This brings them a lot of joy, but also means that they can track all kinds of stinky substances into the house. To prevent this, leave a towel by the door and always wipe your pet’s paws when it comes inside. This is especially important on rainy and muddy days, or if your pet rolled in something outside.
- Buy an Odor-Resistant Dog Bed
Your dog probably spends a lot of time on a bed, so it can be one of the smelliest items in the house. While washing can help, a better alternative might be to buy a bed with anti-microbial properties. These prevent bacteria from breeding which can reduce odors – at a cost.
- Remove Carpets
The final tip also is the most extreme but can be effective at reducing dog odors. Carpet fibers trap pet dander, mud, dirt, vomit and faeces, making them difficult to clean. They also retain odors, so your house smells even when you’ve thoroughly cleaned. Replacing carpets with hard floors instantly solves this problem. Removing carpets can relieve dust or pet allergies. Allergens become trapped in fibers and are released as people walk on the carpet. Removing carpets, especially in a bedroom, can greatly reduce symptoms.
What Not to Use to Clean Up Dog Pee or Cat Urine Odors
The seller was thinking of using bleach to clean the concrete floors after removing the urine-stained carpeting. Bleach will not kill the odor of dog pee or cat urine. It simply disinfects. Bleach is harmful to breathe, and it’s toxic for your pets, too.
Ditto on the list of things not to use to clean up dog pee or cat urine is ammonia. That’s because dog and cat urine has an ammonia odor. Ammonia will make it smell worse. And whatever you do, don’t ever combine bleach with ammonia or you could die from inhaling the fumes. Mixing bleach and ammonia is extremely dangerous.