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How to Get Rid of Pet Odors in an Apartment: 12 Potential Methods

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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As pet owners, we all find ourselves getting frustrated at the lingering odors that come along naturally with our four-legged family members. The challenge of dealing with lingering pet odors is no small feat, especially in multiple pet homes. Every owner should be privy to ways you can tackle and eliminate these odors within the home.

We have compiled a list of 12 different methods you can use so that you can finally get control of those pesky pet odors within your apartment and not feel so insecure about having company over.

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The 12 Best Ways to Get Rid of Pet Odors in an Apartment

1. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum!

The girl does the cleaning with a vacuum cleaner
Photo Credit: sipcrew, Shutterstock

Regular vacuuming is recommended for even pet-free households to maintain a clean and sanitary environment. Regular vacuuming will pick up hair, dander, dirt, and allergens that settle into the carpet and furniture. When you have pets, their hair gets just about everywhere and when it is allowed to accumulate, it can produce an odor.

It is recommended to vacuum high traffic areas at least once a day to keep control of odors, hair, and debris. Those with heavy shedders like German Shepherds or Huskies may have to vacuum more than once per day to keep things under control.

Don’t just limit the vacuuming to the carpets, make sure you get the hard floors, furniture, rugs, and curtains. You would be amazed at how much hair your vacuum will pick up in just a matter of a few hours.

2. Give Your Pets a Bath

Most pets would much prefer to skip out on bath time, but for the sake of your home, you need to keep them bathed regularly. Regular baths don’t just help with odors in the home, it has many more benefits for your pets regarding hygiene.

Regular baths will keep your pets refreshed and smelling nice, helping you control the pet odors in your apartment. Cats need much less frequent bathing than dogs, as they tend to keep up with cleaning themselves well. If you prefer not to do the bathing, consult with a professional groomer.

The frequency of bathing will vary from situation to situation. Factors like breed, coat length, activity level, and what kind of things the pet has access to will help determine how often you should schedule baths. Mark your calendar or set a reminder so that you are aware of when your pet is due for their next spa day.

3. Keep Up With Laundry

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Let’s face it, laundry is the worst. Keeping up with laundry regularly will help eliminate those smelly pet odors in your apartment though. A lot of us are guilty of letting our pets up on the furniture or into the bed, after all, it’s hard to resist those faces. These habits can lead to a smellier home though, as you simply have more to clean.

To keep those odors at bay, just keep the linens that are frequented by your pet washed regularly to prevent that pesky smell from setting into the fabric. This includes furniture covers, sheets, pet bed covers, blankets, and clothing.

4. Use Odor Neutralizing Products

Products that neutralize odors are a pet owner’s best friend. Baking soda is a deodorizer sent from above. This odorless, white powder can neutralize some of the strongest odors and leave your house smelling fresh. You simply sprinkle it on your carpet or furniture, allow it to sit for around 1 to 2 hours, then vacuum it up.

Vinegar is also a powerful neutralizer, though it comes with a distinct smell. White vinegar is composed of about 5%–8% acetic acid, and it works wonders when neutralizing alkaline odors. A lot of people use a combination of vinegar and baking soda for both cleaning purposes and to neutralize odors.

A third option that will completely break down odors is an enzymatic spray.

Our favorite enzyme cleaner is the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray. It's our product, and we love it so much, we just have to share. It permanently removes the very worst smells and stains (yes, everything you can imagine!), and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! 

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5. Clean All Pet Items Regularly

Whether it be toys, bedding, bowls, leashes, or collars, keep up with regular cleaning of all your pet’s items. Smells like to linger and there is no denying the smell of house pets. If you keep their items clean and do not allow them to absorb those unwanted odors, it will help keep the overall smell of your apartment pleasant.

When cleaning the items that are used by your pets, make sure you use pet-friendly cleaners or simple soap and water. A lot of disinfectants on the market contain some harsh chemicals that are meant to get the cleaning done well but are toxic for pets.

6. Dust and Wipe Down Surfaces

cleaning wipes
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Keeping surfaces nice and clean helps reduce odors as well. Dust, dander, and hair make their way onto all surfaces within the house. Regular dusting and sanitizing of surfaces within the home will be very helpful in reducing pet odors.

You can use cleaning products that help eliminate and/or mask odors. Many great-smelling cleaning products can add a nice scent to the apartment while you get the cleaning done.

7. Try an Air Purifier

Air purifiers have been gaining popularity in recent years. These appliances are designed to eliminate and reduce impurities in the air through filtration. They sanitize the air by filtering out dust, dander, hair, and even odors. They can be used in addition to regular air filters that are placed within the HVAC system.

You will want to place an air purifier in an area of the home that gets the highest pet traffic. Make sure it can get good airflow so that it can perform optimally.

8. Open Your Windows

There is nothing more refreshing than fresh air. If the season is appropriate, go through the home and open the windows and let the outdoors help you freshen up your apartment. Let the old air filter out while the new, fresh air flows in.

Opening the windows will help the air circulate throughout the home. Not only does fresh air help with unwanted odors in the home, but it also has plenty of other benefits as well, such as improving overall air quality.

9. Keep Your Air Filter Changed Regularly

man cleaning airfilter
Image Credit: Serenethos, Shutterstock

Most homes have air filters that are placed within the HVAC system. These filters will force the air through a very fine mesh trap to keep control of the impurities. Keeping this filter changed regularly will help them get their job done right. Opt for a high-quality filter as well.

Air filters come with many benefits in addition to reducing odors within the home. They can help reduce your chances of becoming sick and can prevent or reduce symptoms associated with allergies and asthma. If these filters get clogged with too much debris, they will not work properly. Check your filter to see how often the manufacturer suggests changing it out.

10. Mop and Sweep

When it comes to hard surfaces, they may not hold the wet dog or unwashed pet scent as much as the carpet and furniture, but they can certainly retain urine odors. Keep sweeping up the debris on your hard floor surfaces and finish up by mopping.

When it comes to urine, make sure you clean your floors immediately, as this scent likes to stick. Many floor cleaners will provide strong, pleasant smells that will not only clean the floor thoroughly but will cover the scent.

11. Use Fragrance-Emitting Products

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Image Credit: y_seki, Shutterstock

Chances are, you probably have candles or some other fragrant device somewhere within your apartment. While you can skip out on the regular cleaning that is required to eliminate pet odors, you really can’t go wrong with your favorite scents being emitted throughout the home.

Whether it be candles, wax warmers, diffusers, incense, air fresheners, or any other device or product, you can make your home smell just the way you want, while masking the scent of your pets at the same time.

12. Bring In The Professionals

If all else fails and you just can’t seem to eliminate those pesky pet odors (or you just need a break from cleaning and need to summon some help,) you can call some professional cleaners to come in and help you get the job done.

If you feel the odors are coming from the carpets, you can bring in a carpet cleaning service that will utilize state-of-the-art equipment to shampoo and sanitize the carpets. If you need an overall cleaning of the home, there will be no shortage of options.

This is a sure-fire way to get the job done, as these companies are typically hired by landlords to clean up in-between renters. They have to leave the home looking and smelling brand new. This is also a great way to get a head start on your cleaning if you feel you have fallen behind—which, let’s face it, most of us are guilty of from time to time (or even more often).

If you prefer not to hire someone, check into renting a professional steam cleaner from your local home improvement store, these professional-grade machines can help you out with carpet odors and stains.

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The trick to eliminating pet odors within your apartment is keeping up with regular cleaning. While many other methods can be used, regularly vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting, wiping down surfaces, and laundry are the most important aspects of pet odor elimination.

As pet owners, we will stop at nothing to snuggle up with our sometimes smelly, lovable, four-legged friends. While there may be no way to prevent our pets from smelling like animals, there are many tools available for us to help keep our homes smelling fresh and clean.

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Featured Image Credit: Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock

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