Does your home have an unpleasant “doggie” smell?
If so, you’re not alone. A persistent odor is one of the most common downsides to adopting a dog. This isn’t surprising, as even a small dog releases huge quantities of hair, skin oil, dander, saliva and other bodily fluids throughout the day.
While there’s no one-time solution, there are plenty of things you can do to eliminate dog odors from your home. Here are five of my top tips.
1. Eliminate Carpet Odors with Baking Soda
Carpet fibers trap saliva, dirt, pet dander and bacteria. While vacuuming can prevent these from building up, carpets can still start to smell over time.
Fortunately, there’s a quick way to absorb these odors without paying for a professional carpet cleaner - and all you need is baking soda.
Start by identifying areas of carpet that have the worst smell. These are often high traffic areas or near your dog’s bed. Sprinkle plenty of baking soda over the carpet and use a soft brush to spread it around.
Let the baking soda sit overnight to absorb the bad odors. Then vacuum it up for a fresh smelling carpet.
The great thing about this method is that you don’t need potentially dangerous cleaning chemicals. Baking soda is harmless to dogs in small quantities - although keep your pet in a different room until you’ve cleaned up.
2. Use a Powerful Vacuum With Motorized Tool
Every pet owner knows that regular vacuuming is essential for keeping hair and dirt under control. But the truth is that many pet owners should still vacuum more often than they realize.
If you want to minimize dog odors, you’ll probably need a daily clean of the worst locations and a longer bi-weekly session. This might sound excessive, but you’ll probably be surprised at how much your vacuum picks up!
The type of vacuum is also important. For cleaning carpets, make sure the floorhead has a beater bar for stirring up more dirt and pet dander. Basic cylinder vacs often don’t have this feature, so be careful about the model you choose. A motorized upholstery tool is also essential for stairs and furniture.
You may also want to consider buying a steam cleaner. These can be useful for killing odor-producing bacteria that might remain in carpets after vacuuming.
Tip: Always empty the vacuum after each use - even if it’s not completely full - as overfilling can reduce suction. Remember to clean the filter regularly.
3. Wash and Protect Your Dog’s Bed
Your dog’s bed is probably the smelliest item in the house. Sweat, hair, saliva, ear wax, mud and even urine can quickly turn a fresh bed into a constant source of unpleasant odors.
For this reason, you should wash your dog’s bedding at least once a week. If your dog is particularly smelly, you may need to wash it even more frequently.
Make sure you check the bed is suitable for machine washing though. Larger beds often have a removable cover for washing, while some smaller beds can be washed as a whole.
If the bed has a foam mattress, check whether stains have leaked through the cover. If they have, you may need to replace it, as most foam cores can’t be washed.
For dogs with incontinence or who often come in wet from walks, the best way to prevent a smelly core is by protecting it with a separate waterproof liner. This goes between the cover and mattress, so the foam never gets wet.
4. Deep Clean Your Furniture
Many dog owners love snuggling with their pet on the sofa. And even if your dog isn’t allowed on furniture, “shake offs” can send odorous particles almost everywhere in the home.
This is why furniture needs to be deep cleaned on a regular basis. Begin by removing all pillows, covers and blankets, then use your vacuum’s motorized tool to clean everything. Put covers in the wash and make sure to vacuum all cracks and crevices.
Once you’ve put everything back together, it’s a good idea to have a sniff to see if there are still patches of odors. If you find any, use the baking soda tip I mentioned earlier to absorb remaining bad smells.
5. Use an Ultraviolet Light to Find Hidden Messes
Sometimes you may not know your dog had an “accident” on a patch of carpet. Perhaps you were out for the day or it happened behind furniture. There may even be messes from previous inhabitants if your carpet hasn’t been replaced since you moved in.
The problem is that saliva and urine can cause a persistent odor that’s difficult to detect. So, if you’ve cleaned everywhere but there’s still a lingering dog smell, these patches of carpet may be the problem.
A great way to find these hidden messes is with an ultraviolet light. Shining this type of light on the carpet shows up all types of splatters and accidents, which you can then mark for cleaning.
Dogs have a natural odor - but that doesn’t mean your home needs to smell bad.
The key is to regularly clean the most common odor locations, such as carpets, beds and furniture, while tackling lingering sources of bad smells.
A high-quality vacuum cleaner is also essential. These aren’t cheap, but can save you lots of time and frustration.
Do you have any questions about eliminating dog odors? Or do you have a tip you would like to share? Please let me know in the comments section below.