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How to Get Dog Odors & Stains Out of a Couch: 10 Effective Methods

Lindsey Lawson

By Lindsey Lawson

golden retreiver on the couch

Most of us cannot resist letting our furry, slobbery friends take a seat on the couch with the rest of the family. If you are letting your dog up on the furniture, you are going to need to know how to get the odor of the dog out of the couch.

As dog owners ourselves, we know it’s all but impossible to resist letting your pooch have a cuddle on the sofa—but the aftermath isn’t always pleasant. Ultimately, you will more likely need some good methods to remove the dog smell from the furniture rather than having the discipline of breaking the habit and halting furniture access.

Let’s go over some methods you can use to keep that odor at bay.

The 10 Methods to Get Dog Odors Out of a Couch

1. Spot Clean as Needed

Dogs tend to slobber and leave behind traces of themselves after getting off the furniture. Keeping ahead of the game is always a good tactic in keeping odors and stains at bay. If you notice your dog left behind a wet slobbery spot or a large amount of hair or debris, clean it up immediately to keep ahead of it. You can spot clean with furniture cleaners or natural cleaning solutions.

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2. Vacuum the Couch Frequently

Vacuuming the couch regularly will help you keep control of unwanted dog odors. Your dog is going to leave behind hair, dirt, and any debris that is sitting on the surface of their coat. Your best bet is to get into a cleaning routine and give your couch a throughout vacuuming each time you drag it out to take care of the floors.

If you allow the hair, dirt, dander, and other debris to accumulate, the smells will naturally get worse and will make it more difficult to get the smell out of the fabric.

handheld vacuum
Image Credit: sebra, Shutterstock

3. Groom and Bathe Your Dog(s) Regularly

Keeping up on regular grooming has many benefits for your dog and your household. Dogs will have varying coat lengths, textures, and shedding tendencies but you keep up with the recommended brushing routine for your dog’s breed(s) it will help you keep your couch, and home, cleaner.

Some dogs adore bath time, while others detest it. Regardless, get them used to regular bathing from a young age. Dogs smell, it is part of their charm. The only sure-fire way to keep control of their odors is to give them a thorough bath.

Make sure to use dog-friendly shampoo and conditioners that are free from harmful ingredients. You can even try deodorizing shampoos, as they are made specially to combat unwanted dog odors. There are many great options on the market today and it’s worth checking out. You shouldn’t bathe your dogs more than once every 4 to 6 weeks, otherwise, you risk stripping their coats of natural oils.

4. Routinely Wash the Couch Throws, Pillows, and Blankets

We cannot think of a single person that would want any extra laundry duties but, in this case, it’s necessary. If you keep throw pillows, throws, or blankets on your couch, you need to make sure you regularly wash them according to their instructions.

The smell is not just going to get into the fabric of the couch, it will latch onto any item your dog lays on. As a general rule, it is a good idea to wash these items at least once every 3 weeks, if not more frequent to help control odors.

Try using cold water when washing these items, cold water is typically much better for the fabric and is better at helping with unwanted dog odors.

Does your couch come with cushion covers? If so, make sure you wash those regularly as well. Couches with cushion covers can prove very convenient in this aspect, as with others you cannot simply remove the cushion and throw it through the wash.

cleaning leather sofa_Lion Day, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Lion Day, Shutterstock

5. Designate a Specific Couch for Your Dog

It may be very helpful for you to have a specific couch dedicated to your dog’s relaxation. This will prevent you from having to excessively wash the other pieces of furniture in the living room.

A lot of dogs will just plop themselves upon any furniture surface they prefer at the moment. Proper training at an early age can prevent this but consistency is key when keeping them off the other pieces of furniture.

Dogs are intelligent creatures and can pick up on training very well. Make sure you reward your dog with praise, treats, and other positive reinforcement for keeping to the specific couch. Be consistent and discourage them from the other pieces of furniture. Most breeds will pick up on the habit, making your life that much easier.

6. Invest In a Carpet Cleaner

You cannot deny the power of a good carpet cleaner. You can either choose to rent a carpet cleaner from the local home improvement store regularly or invest in a good quality cleaner to be kept in your home.

Doing a thorough furniture cleaning with a carpet cleaner will help control unwanted dog owners on the furniture. While you do not have to drag the carpet cleaner out all the time, you can schedule some routine deep cleaning for the couch and take the odor control to the next level.

There are even some portable, smaller-sized carpet cleaners you can purchase. They make take extra time than a full-sized carpet cleaner, but they do the job, nonetheless.

Spraying carpet cleaner on the carpet
Image Credit: Syda-Productions, Shutterstock

7. Try Baking Soda

If you are not aware of the neutralizing effects of baking soda, you have been missing out. This odorless white substance is one of the best odor neutralizers you can find. Baking soda reacts with both acidic and alkaline molecules and turns them into neutral-smelling sodium salts, thus reducing odors significantly.

Not only is baking soda highly effective, but it is also safe. You can simply dust your couch with some baking soda, allow it to sit for 30 minutes to up to 2 hours then vacuum it off. You will be surprised by the results. This is also something you can do with the carpet to reduce odors on the floor.

8. Use Non-Chemical Cleaning Solutions

When looking for solutions to clean the odor from your couch, you will want to get non-chemical solutions. Some chemicals that you can use to clean the scent can be harmful to your dog and other people in the house.

For this reason, look for natural solutions such as baking soda, as mentioned above, to keep your couch clean without causing any risks to the dog. Other natural solutions that you can use are:

  • Vodka: Vodka, yes, vodka. It has a purpose outside the liquor cabinet. Vodka can be used to make a cleaning solution by mixing it with water. It is recommended to first spray your couch with a light mist of water then perform a spot test for the vodka solution.
  • Yucca Powder: Yucca powder makes a great natural cleaning solution that has proven effective in eliminating foul odors. You simply mix yucca powder with water in a spray bottle and shake well to ensure it properly dissolves. You can always perform a spot test to ensure it does well on the fabric. This solution can be repeated until the odor has gone away.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution: Baking soda and vinegar can be used individually or together. Both products are highly effective in cleaning and neutralizing odors. While they both work well alone, the combination of the two works even better. To make this solution, mix vinegar, baking soda, and water in a spray bottle and shake to blend.  You can spray the solution on the couch to eliminate those dog odors. Keep in mind that vinegar has a very strong, distinct smell that will not be pleasant if used in excess, make sure it is properly diluted.

9. Use a Lint Roller Between Vacuuming

You can’t drag the vacuum out every time there is hair on the couch. If your dog frequents the couch, you’d’ be vacuuming all day long. Keep a high-quality lint roller in your cleaning arsenal and give your couch a quick roll occasionally.

They make furniture-sized lint rollers specifically for this reason. Not only is it a quick fix for left-behind hair, but it will also give you more time in-between vacuums if you keep up on it.

removing fur using Lint Roller
Image Credit: senee sriyota, Shutterstock

10. Hire a Professional

If you feel your dog’s odor has gotten the best of your furniture and you want to get a good head start into odor maintenance, try hiring a professional cleaner to come into the home and give your furniture and/or carpets a thorough cleaning.

Professional cleaning services can be a great investment and will help you get ahead of the situation. They use very powerful, effective cleaning equipment and techniques that will you impressed when the job is done.

This can be something you do semi-regularly or even a one-time deal where you bring them in to build a solid foundation for your own cleaning to start.


The key to getting dog odors out of the couch is all based on overall cleanliness. It can be frustrating to have your furniture dirtied and smelly from your four-legged best friend but keep in mind they are only with us for a short time.

There is nothing wrong with letting your canine family members lounge and snuggle up on the couch with the rest of the human family, no matter what others may say. Just try using some of these techniques to eliminate the odors and keep them at bay.

Featured Image Credit; LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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