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How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in Your House (11 Hacks)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

dogs in house

Dogs are the greatest things on Earth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want your house to smell like one. There’s nothing quite as shameful as seeing guests recoil as soon as they walk through the door and the smell of pooch hits them square in the face.

Of course, getting rid of that smell is easier said than done, as your dog likely has free rein in your home. It’s something that has to be accomplished at certain times, though, such as when you’re hoping to sell your house or if you’re having a big party soon.

Below, we’ll walk you through simple hacks you can use to finally get the dog odor out of your house so you can replace it with something a bit more enticing.Divider 8

Top 11 Ways to Get Rid of Dog Smell in Your House:

1. Target the Hard Surfaces First

The first thing you should do is sweep up all the dirt, loose fur, and dander your dog has left scattered across your wood or tile floors. Not only do these particles look disgusting, but they also trap odors, so it’s essential to get rid of them.

After that’s done, mop everything you just swept. If you pick a cleaner that has a pleasant scent, it will go a long way toward masking the dog odor as well.

Spraying any particularly smelly spots down with a good enzyme cleaner is always helpful, too. These products are specifically designed for pet odors and stains — and they work incredibly quickly!

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2. Next, It’s Time to Vacuum

Ideally, you’ll have a vacuum that’s specially designed to target pet hair, but you can work with whatever you have available. You’re going to need to attack every surface in your home that has fabric on it, including furniture and the curtains.

You may also want to sprinkle deodorizing powder on your carpet before vacuuming, as that can loosen up dog hair. It also has a powerful smell.

Image Credit: LeDarArt, Shutterstock

3. Harness the Power of Steam

Vacuuming is a good start, but it’s not sufficient if you’re trying to rid your home of the essence of Fido. You’ll need to steam clean everything you just vacuumed.

The heat from the steam will loosen up caked-in dirt and grime, as well as kill mites and other tiny creepy-crawlies that have been living in your carpet. You may not even recognize the color of your carpets when you’re done.

You can do this step yourself or outsource it to a steam cleaning company. Just make sure that whoever does it uses pet-friendly chemicals, and don’t let anyone on the carpet until it’s dry — especially your dog. You’ll need to watch your pup carefully to make sure they don’t take this opportunity to re-mark their territory.

steam cleaning
Credit: lapsa03, Shutterstock

4. Wash Everything You Can

Wash your linens, your couch covers, your dog’s bed, the tablecloth — if it can go in the washing machine, it should.

Your dog’s aroma can waft onto just about any surface, so you need to clean every last spot in the house. This includes your clothes, by the way — all those hugs you gave your mutt are coming back to haunt you now.

You should also give your dog’s toys a quick bath. If they’re made of hard plastic, a rinse with soap and water should be all it takes. Some can go in the washing machine, while others can go in the trash (don’t tell your dog that we told you to do this).

cleaning clothes in washing macine

5. Open the Windows

A little fresh air will go a long way toward clearing out any lingering mustiness, so open the windows and prop open the doors. Don’t do this if it’s windy and rainy out, of course, but it’s a great way to enjoy a nice day.

open window
Photo credit: KRiemer, Pixabay

6. Check Your Air Filters

If you have air conditioning, you should check your ducts and replace your air filters. Dog hair will often get stuck to the ducts, so any air that comes through them has to pass through your pup’s fur and dander before it gets to you.

Not only will this help with your odor problem, but it can make your A/C unit run more efficiently as well, which will save you money on your utility bill.

7. Consider an Air Purifier

There’s little evidence that air purifiers actually do much for one’s health, as they’re not very good at filtering out gases like radon. What they are good at, though, is removing large particles like dust, pollen, and dog dander.

air purifier in home
Photo credit: Roman Koval, Pexels

Plus, they generally make the air smell better, which is all we’re concerned with here. We’re not trying to live forever — we’re just trying to smell good.

8. Buy a Black Light and Look for Hidden Issues

Sometimes the source of the problem is something that you can’t even see, which makes it difficult to clean. If you want to leave no stone unturned when cleaning up after your dog, buy a black light and see if there are any accident spots that Fido’s been hiding from you.

If so, you can clean them with a carpet cleaner that’s specially designed for dog messes. Even if you can’t remove the stain entirely, you can hopefully get enough of the odor-causing mess out to make a difference.

9. Consider Repainting With an Odor-Sealing Paint

If your dog has turned your home into a disaster area, then you may need to take extreme measures. This can include repainting the walls and baseboards.

repainting house
Photo credit: Malte Luk, Pexels

This is usually only necessary if your dog has peed on the walls, as it’s extremely hard to get odors out of drywall. You can either replace the affected portion of the wall or paint over it.

10. Light a Candle

This doesn’t address the source of an issue, but for a quick fix, it’s hard to beat lighting a candle.

You can even find candles that are designed to mask dog odors. Firing up a candle works as a great finishing touch if you’ve taken all the other steps shown here, or it can be a lifesaver if company comes over unexpectedly. (Just be careful so your dog keeps a wide berth from any candles, you don’t want them knocking it over or getting candle wax in their fur!).


11. Take Preventative Measures

If you’re going to let your dog back in the house after you’ve finally removed their scent from every surface in it, you’ll need to take preventative measures to ensure that they don’t stink up the place again.

This means bathing and grooming them regularly. If you can minimize the amount of fur and dander that flies off them, you’ll reduce the amount of odor they can create.Divider 7

Learn to Live With It

Ultimately, if you want to share your home with a dog, you’ll have to live with a little bit of dog smell. Many people find it reassuring, so as long as it doesn’t get out of hand, you’re probably fine.

If your house starts smelling a little rancid, though, the steps above should have it in tip-top shape in no time.

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Featured image credit: himmlisch, Pixabay

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