How to Cover Up Pet Smells in Your Home

Image By Patryk Kosmider /

You love your fur children, but you can’t deny that they make your home smell a little…funky. If your house smells like dander and dog instead of scented candles, you’re far from the only pet owner to struggle with this. But having a bad-smelling house isn’t inevitable, even if you do have pets. Here are eight tips to help get rid of and cover up pet smells in your home.

Vacuum everything.

If you have a pet, you need to vacuum all the time to suck up their dander and fur. If your pets tend to shed a lot, you might want to sweep the hardwood floors before vacuuming them to avoid clogging up the machine. And you shouldn’t just vacuum the floors. You should also be cleaning your furniture, curtains and anything else that attracts dander. Every time you vacuum your floors, go ahead and do your couch, drapes and anything else that’s looking a bit furry. If you tend to be sensitive to your pets’ fur, vacuuming regularly will help cut down on irritation.

Steam your carpets and mop your floors.

Vacuuming is only the first step to cleaning your floors when you have pets. Carpet should be steamed using a special machine, which you can rent or buy on your own. You can also hire a professional company to come steam for you. Make sure they use pet-friendly chemical solutions. Hardwood floors should be mopped using absorbent pads that will soak up any remaining dander. Make sure to let the floors fully dry before letting your pets back on them. If your pet tends to mark their territory with urine, do be aware that cleaning the carpets can trigger territory-marking behavior again.

Use all-natural odor busters.

If you’re worried about your pets getting into any chemicals that you use to clean, there are thankfully a couple of food-safe pantry staples that are known for their odor-fighting powers: vinegar and baking soda. Mix them together to create a natural spray that will deodorize as it cleans. If you need to clean something that can’t be gotten wet—for example, furniture with non-removable covers—you can cover it with baking soda, leave it for a few hours and then vacuum it up. Just make sure to shut the door so your pets can’t go rolling in the baking soda while you wait for it to work its magic.

Launder your linens.

You should be washing your linens regularly, especially any that your pets use often (for instance, if you let them get on the bed or the couch). Vacuum up what hair you can and then toss the linens in the washer and run a cycle according to the tags. Clean your bed linens, pillowcases, couch cushion covers, blankets, curtains—everything that can go into the washing machine. You should also regularly wash your clothes to keep them smelling fresh and to cut down on dandruff and hair.

Wash the pet beds.

Speaking of running things through the wash, you should throw in the cover for your pet’s bed while you’re at it. Pretty much all dog and cat beds are made with a removable cover that’s machine washable, and the core of the bed may also be washable as well. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm. You should give your pet a regular bath, which will help keep funky smells in check and also cut down on dander and other pet problems. If washing your pet stresses out both of you, you can take them to a professional groomer every four to six weeks and have them take care of it. 

Get the air flowing.

Stale air will make pet smells worse, so whenever the weather allows for it, open the windows and let the air circulate. You should also change out your air filters every month to keep it smelling good and keep your HVAC operating in good condition. If you really struggle with the air quality in your home, it might be worth investing in an air purifier, which clears tiny particles (including those caused by pets) out of the air. Look for an air purifier specifically designed for pet owners for optimal results.

Treat stains as soon as they happen.

Even the most well-trained pets have accidents some of the time. As soon as your pet uses the restroom inside, or throws up their dinner, clean up the spill and treat it with deodorizing chemicals. The faster you treat the stain, the less it will smell and the smaller the chances it will permanently discolor the surface. If you can smell some pet odors, but can’t seem to identify a source, you might want to get a blacklight and do some sleuthing. Blacklights expose stains caused by bodily sources like urine and saliva, even if they aren’t visible to the naked eye. If you suspect there are some old pet stains lurking in your home, a blacklight can help you pinpoint the source.

Bring in some good fragrances.

Once you’ve addressed all the causes of pet smells in your home, you can focus on adding pleasant fragrances back in. Soy wax candles, reed diffusers and scented sachets are all good ways to add fragrance to your home. Make sure to place these items in secure locations out of the reach of your pets where they can’t be knocked over. If you do light candles, keep them away from drafts and periodically check them to make sure the flame is still safe. These items won’t cover up really bad pet smells, but they will add a nice little fragrance to your home.

It takes some work, but you can have a nice-smelling home and own pets at the same time. Invest in a quality pet fur vacuum and get cleaning! Your house will smell like a new place in no time.


About the Author:

Taylor Sicard serves as the Co-Founder and CMO of Homesick, a hand-poured candle company that offers specialized scents to invoke feelings of nostalgia. Taylor is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of all Homesick marketing and content initiatives. When he is not working or writing, Taylor enjoys spending time with his fiancé and exploring the great outdoors!

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