If you own a dog, then you are familiar with pet odour that is lingering in your home. Some people, especially pet parents, may find the smell to be a normal part of living with a dog. Whereas others, may find these odours to be quite offensive. And although you may love your pooch like a family member, if you are reading this you are probably not a fan of the way they make your home smell.
Eliminating dog smell from a home can be a challenge, but rather than asking your four-legged family member to move out the house permanently and live in your backyard, there are plenty of thing you can do to keep your house from smelling like a dog. At first, it might sound overwhelming to eliminate all dog-related odour in your house, but it is entirely possible with a bit of effort and strategic smelly thinking.
How to eliminate dog odour from your home
The first step is to detect any possible odour traps in your home. And you may not believe it, but they can be everywhere. As your dog sits, walk, sniff, licks and goes about their usual doggie business around the house, they are leaving traces of odour. The many different smells our little companion exude get absorbed on the floor, in the carpet, in soft furniture, on the wall and just about everywhere else, forming what we call odour traps. For example, maybe your puppy fancies the carpet more than the yard, to mark his turf. Then there is the slime and grime invisible to the naked eye distributed all over the house combined with endless supply of dog hair.
Fortunately, dogs are creatures of habits. They have their favourite places to chill during the day and this is also where you’ll find the most distinct dog smell. If you are struggling to find all places, you can observe your dogs’ routine and see where he spends most of his time. Alternatively, refer to your nose! Canine odour is super strong and musky so it won’t be too hard to find by sniffing.
So, how can you get rid of dog odour from your house?
Remove dog smell from your house in 10 easy steps
Below we’ve put together a complete guide full of expert advice and simple techniques to help eliminate the unpleasant pet odour in your home permanently. We’ve listed these chronologically for those who need to give their home the five-star treatment. However, feel free to pick and choose from among the list depending on your needs.
- Getting rid of dog urine stains (and finding point-source problems)
- Vacuum, vacuum, and vacuum
- Steam clean all carpets in your home
- Get dog urine smell out of hard floors (as appropriate)
- Keep dog smell out of your bed, couch and blankets
- Remove pet hair from furniture (and your whole house)
- Get the dog smell out of your dog’s bed (and crate)
- Wash and disinfect dog toys
- Remove pet urine smell from your backyard
- Wash your dog (properly)
Let’s start with the one of the most persistent odour sources, doggie urine smell.
1. Getting rid of dog urine smell (and finding point-source problems)
If you notice any lingering odour, it is probably the result of some isolated issues, such as a particularly old dog urine spot on the carpet or a place where your dog vomited once. First, you’ll need to find any of these types of problematic areas before you can treat them. The easiest way is to put your nose close to the ground and sniff around room by room.
Once you found the areas of concern, there are many ways to remove dog urine stains. Our preferred option is to use eco-friendly pet stain remover that are super effective, non-toxic and suitable to clean every surface. Whether you’re dealing with pet urine problems on carpet, tiles, hardwood, or laminate floors – understanding the correct way to clean the different materials throughout your home will simplify the task and will prevent costly mistakes. Take the time to find the best carpet cleaner for old pet urine and the best cleaner for dog urine on hard floors. Something as simple as using the wrong product on a surface can result in permanent damage. Always test on an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t cause discoloration before using it in the middle of your living room.
How to remove old dog urine stains for good
If the odour continues to persist after you have located and treated all problematic areas, you may want to step up your game and get a black light. Get your forensic analysis on to find any trouble areas which you may have missed previously. Grab a masking tape, make the room as dark as possible and turn on the black light. To get the stains to show up best you may need to experiment by moving the black light around two feet above the ground. Once you figured out the right distance you will be greeted with a variety of stains in all kinds of colours. Pet urine or saliva tend to glow brownish yellow or greenish yellow so look out for these spots and mark them using your masking tape. Once you’ve marked all evidence, confirm that this is urine with a good old sniff test.
You might be surprised to find traces of pet urine in places that you had previously cleaned, especially the carpet. Old or severe dog pee or cat urine stains that haven’t been removed correctly can spread under the main padding. In that case, mark the outline of the entire stain so that you can clean it thoroughly. To ensure you locate all problematic areas also check your furniture and the lower portions of your walls. Repeat this process in all the rooms.
Pro Tip: Check out this ultimate guide how to properly remove dog urine from carpets and the distinctive odour it creates.
2. Vacuum, vacuum, and vacuum
Now that you have cleaned up any old doggy accidents, it’s time to remove all the loose debris your pet creates. We are not just talking about all their hair and dirt they bring inside, but also their dander. Because hair and dust particles are very light and spread easily, you want to vacuum the entire house.
Wherever your room is carpeted, you’ll want to vacuum every inch very thoroughly, as carpets hold an incredible amount of pet hair, dust and dander. Do the same with mats, rugs, cushions, curtains and your furniture. Ensure you’ll get in all the cracks and crevices and don’t forget to vacuum under it. Once you’ve done your furniture, vacuum your couch and any soft furniture with the appropriate attachments. Finally, make sure to take extra care of your dog’s favorite spots in the house. Dog hair has a way of sticking stubbornly on upholstery, but with a bit of patience you can easily remove it using household products. If you struggling to vacuum dog hair from furniture, try using a lint roller or adhesive tape. Extra stubborn pet hair can be freed with an old toothbrush.
Best vauum cleaner for pet hair
If you have an old cumbersome vacuum model, it might not collect all the smelly dust particles and dog hairs hiding in your carpet. You may want to consider purchasing a vacuum specifically designed for homes with pets. These machines have extra suction power to absorb even the tiniest trace of dander, pet hair and odour. Specialised pet vacuum cleaner also come with extra attachments that allow you to collect pet hair and to reach into tiny nooks that might be hiding doggie stuff. Check out the best vacuums for pet hair if you are in the market for a new model.
3. Steam clean all carpets in your home
Let’s face it, carpets and pets don’t really mix. If you can’t imagine getting rid of your carpet or you pet, you want to use a steam cleaner to get out any debris or odours that have become trapped in the carpet’s fibers. Deep cleaning your carpets regularly helps to remove stubborn stains, allergens, bacteria and other nasties that lie deep within your carpet fibers that normal vacuuming just can’t reach. Steam Cleaning is a superior cleaning method that uses high pressure and steam to penetrate the tiny pores of your carpet. Any dog urine, fecal matter or grime stuck in the carpet will be melted and dislodged due to the hot water. That’s what makes it so effective in deodourising a home.
Professional pet urine removal services near me
Of course, you can simply find and invest in one of many steam-cleaning services instead, just make sure that they use non-toxic and pet-friendly cleaning products. The benefit of using a professional cleaner is that they will know what is best for your carpet and will ensure thorough cleaning and drying, with no residue or lingering odours. However, you can save time and money by hiring a steam cleaner and experience professional grade cleaning results, at a fraction of the cost. Another part of its appeal, is that steam cleaner are easy to use and you can find a range of instructional videos to help you through the cleaning process.
During the carpet cleaning process, you’ll want to your dog to be out of the house. This is the perfect time to burn off some energy and go a little further than usual for a long walk. Else, keep them engaged in some energetic play in the backyard or garage. Make sure the carpets are completely dry before letting your dog enter the room. Keep an eye on dogs who like to mark their territory when as the new smell in carpet can trigger some tinkle.
4. Get dog urine smell out of hard floors (as appropriate)
Once you’ve vacuumed your house, it is time to turn your attention to any hard surfaces. Not only to remove any of the dust and debris you missed, but also to get old dog urine smell out of hardwood floors.
You want to mob your floor with a pet-safe floor cleaner that is designed to eliminate pet odour and to remove pet urine. Dilute the concentrate as required and add to half a bucket of lukewarm water. Grab a floor cloth, mop or scrubbing brush, dunk it in the water, wring it well to ensure that it’s almost dry and then mop the floor. Start from the corners and make passes across the room enjoy fun, fragrant freshness visiting your home. Just ensure that there’s no standing water that can damage the hardwood floor.
Pro Tip: Checkout our Good Scruff’s Floor Cleaner & Deodoriser as it is safe to use around pets and your family. The plant-powered formula is non-toxic and works fast to break down urine stains and completely neutralises odour at the source. Ideal to bring a natural freshness to your hard wood floor, vinyl, laminate, ceramic tile, concrete and other hard surfaces unaffected by water. As it is super concentrated you’ll only need a small amount.
5. Keep dog smell out of your bed, couch and blankets
By this point, your home should be smelling much better. However, unless you have a hypoallergenic dog that doesn’t shed hair, chances are that your bed and couch is a hairy mess. Similarly, you’ll find slobber all over the pillows as your four-legged friend rubs their head into the sheets. As just about any fabric can absorb pet odour it is better to send everything through the washing machine. This includes all your bed linens, the covers on the couch cushions and throw pillows, and pretty much anything else in your home that is machine-washable.
Once the sheets are off, it is best to also give the mattress and pillows a good vacuum to suck up the spare dog hairs, which can be the source for musky pet odours. It is worth mentioning that your clothing is most likely also smelling like your dog, so it is best to also wash your clothing during the cleaning process – especially if you are dealing with a serious odour problem. This won’t just keep your home smelling better, but it will you smell better when leaving the house as well.
Choosing the best laundry detergent for dog smell
When doing your laundry, make sure you are doing it the pet (and hooman) friendly way. The market is filled with scented detergents, fancy fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Whilst it makes your laundry soft, bouncy and smelled great, it also is toxic. Studies have shown that all those chemicals that make your laundry smell great, really aren’t good for you and for the environment. Be sure to check the labels and try to avoid these six of the most common laundry powder chemicals. We recommend switching to a more natural, healthier way of doing laundry, free from synthesised chemicals without sacrificing on performance.
Pro Tip: To keep your linen smelling fresh, use a throw blanket or towel for your pooch to chill on, and then wash those with your weekly load.
6. Remove pet hair from furniture (and your whole house)
If you were diligent with your weekly dusting routines this will be an easy task. However, if your furniture has been collecting dust for a while, it might take multiple passes to completely remove pet hair and debris from your furniture.
The best way to tackle pet hair on non-upholstered furniture, like wood, laminate, or glass, is using a microfiber cloth lightly spritzed with water. The electrostatic charge of microfiber will attract the hair, and the water helps make it slightly sticky. Be prepared to change or rinse the cloth often so it doesn’t get full of hair. Otherwise you will re-deposit the hair all over the place, negating the effort that you’ve just put in. Be mindful, the cloth must only be damp and not soaking wet. If you are using cleaners, then always try it in an inconspicuous part of the furniture first to check whether it affects the surface stain. Another useful tip is to wipe the furniture again with a clean and dry microfiber cloth to attract and pull up whatever is left on the surface you’re cleaning.
If there’s a lot of dust, we recommend finishing this step by adding another solid floor vacuuming session. This will catch all the rouge hair that might get dislodged and re-settle on the carpet or other furniture while cleaning your furniture.
7. Get the dog smell out of your dog’s bed (and crate)
Next up is your pet’s bed, which can be the epicenter of pet hair, urine drops, drool, traces of fecal matters, as well as dirt, grass, fleas, ticks and other souvenirs of your four-legged friend’s outdoor adventures. Before you start, always check the manufacturer’s instructions before you wash the dog’s bed and blanket. If your dog bed cover is machine washable, then this step becomes a lot easier. Therefore, when choosing your next dog bed, consider looking for one that comes with removable, machine washable cover. To get your dog bed smelling great again, just remove the cover and throw it into the washing machine with some mild detergent and a tablespoon or two of vinegar to help remove pet odour.
The inside of the bed can be hand washed in a large tub or bath tub. Just fill the tub with lukewarm water, add mild detergent and vinegar and allow the foam to soak in the water for at least 8-10 hours. Then drain the dirty water and wring the foam to get rid of the remaining dirt water. Now fill the tub again with clean water and let the foam soak again for a few minutes. Next, compress the foam to clean it completely before allowing to air dry.
Make your dog crate smell great again
If your dog is crate trained, you also want to deep clean the crate regularly. Simply, remove the bedding, water bottle, feeder and toys from the crate. Take it outdoors and sweep the crate with a mop or a brush to remove hair, dirt and fecal matter. If you have access to a garden hose, wash the crate at the highest pressure setting. Otherwise, you can just use two large buckets of water and rinse the entire cage pouring small amounts at a time. Take a close look at the sides, the removable bottom tray and the door to get rid of clumps of fur or fecal matter. Remove these manually with a scrub brush or hose the cage one more time.
To make the dog crate smelling great again consider using eco-friendly pet urine and odour remover and let it soak. At this point, the cleaner will have done much of the work for you, allowing you to lightly scrub away loose dirt and buildup with a microfiber cloth or sponge. Make sure to get all the inside, floor and surfaces clean before rinsing thoroughly with water and then allowing to air dry. Some people prefer using an all-purpose household cleaner. That’s perfectly okay, as long as it isn’t toxic for your pets.
Pro Tip: Spray the dog bed and inside of the crate with an eco-friendly pet odour eliminator to keep it smelling fresh and clean in between cleanings. Look for non-toxic odour solution that instantly eliminates nasty smells without the use of any harmful chemicals.
8. Wash and disinfect dog toys
Your dog’s toys can be an unpleasant mess of drool, grime, dirt, fleas and what not. Yet, cleaning dog toys is one of the most overlooked aspects of pet hygiene. It’s only until we pick them up and realise how disgusting they look, smell, and feel.
So, what is the best way to wash dog toys? Ideally, dog toys and any other items that may come in contact with your dog’s mouth should be cleaned and disinfected once a week. Not only to wash away the dirt and grime, but also to kill bacteria and other germs that tend to thrive on your dog’s favourite toys. And at least once a month, take the time to throw away any toys that are unsafe or unsalvageable. If you are guilty of procrastinating it, then it’s not too late.
Safely sanitise dog toys, (bowls and accessories)
Before washing all your toys, be mindful of commercial cleaning products. They may do a good job of cleaning a range of materials and surfaces, but they can also leave behind a residue of the toxic chemicals. Considering dogs generally use their mouths to play with their toys, you will want to avoid using cleaning products that are unsafe for your pet. Instead of using toxic cleaning solutions, we recommend Good Scuff’s Toy & Bowl Sanitiser. The non-rinse and food grade formula is a safer way to kill germs and remove the slime and grime from your dog’s favourite toy, without the toxic residue other cleaners leave behind. By the way, this works well on plush toys, rubber, neoprene, ceramic, stainless steel and other items that may come in contact with your dog’s mouth.
First, grab all the hard toys and pre-soak in a solution of one-part vinegar and two parts lukewarm water for about 15 minutes in a sink or tub. Use a scrubbing brush or tooth brush to get dirt and drool from crevices. Then, thoroughly rinse with warm water and allow to dry. Next, spray the Toy & Bowl Sanitiser directly on the toy and then wipe with clean cloth before allowing to air dry completely. There is no need to rinse (but you can if you want).
The soft toys can be hand washed in a tub, just like you did with the dog bed. Just fill the tub with lukewarm water, add mild detergent and vinegar to soak in the water for 15 mins. Then wring the toy under warm running water to get rid of the remaining dirt water. Afterwards, compress the toy completely and spray with Good Scruff’s Toy & Bowl Sanitiser before allowing to air dry.
9. Remove pet urine smell from your backyard
By now the inside of your home should smell nice and fresh again. Next, let’s turn our focus to the outside. Weather you have a backyard, balcony or patio – we know dogs tend to reuse the same spot to do their business over and over again. The obnoxious odours that come from pooping and peeing in the backyard take away the fun of being outside and may even drive your houseguests away. What’s worse is the area seems to give off a permanent urine odour, constantly releasing odorous and offensive fumes. Especially when exposed to the sun, dog or cat urine smell can grow intolerable.
If you notice urine smell coming from your backyard, it means that pet urine has soaked beneath the surface of your outside area. As most materials used outdoors, such as concrete, stone, artificial turf or hard wood are relatively porous, it’s important to clean up pet urine as soon as possible. Once dog or cat urine has seeped into concrete and is left untreated, it can be very difficult to get rid of.
How to clean dog urine from concrete, pavers and other porous surfaces
In case you have discovered the accident early and the urine is still wet, or the urine smell isn’t as strong, rinse it thoroughly with water. However, to permanently eliminate dog urine stains from your backyard and to remove bacteria like uric acid and odours from the top and below porous surfaces you need a special cleaning solution.
Make sure to apply it only when it’s dry and avoid cleaning on a hot day. For every day cleaning, dilute to a solution of one-part concentrate and ten parts lukewarm water. You can adjust dilution for older and more stubborn stains to maximise results. The best way is to pour it onto the surface and thoroughly spread it around evenly with a low-pressure garden sprayer or watering can. If need scrub with a bristle brush to loosen dirt if needed. The key is to allow the surface to soak in the diluted mix, so it can work its way down into the concrete. Allow it time to sit for around ten minutes and then wash away with a water hose and use squeegee to direct excess liquid to drain.
We recommend Good Scruff’s Patio Cleaner & Deodoriser as it’s safe to use around your family and pets, without compromising on performance. The plant powered formula, is earth-friendly and works fast to break down urine stains, especially from dogs and cats that have peed or marking their territory on porous surfaces. Even if the pet accident occurred a while ago, this stuff attacks the toughest organic stains and completely neutralises odour at the source.
Pro Tip: Pre-treat any pet or cat urine stains on concrete with Good Scruff’s ready to use urine and odour destroyer for best results.
10. Wash your dog (properly)
Finally, pet grooming! This won’t be a surprise, the smellier your dog, the smellier your house will be. It goes without saying that washing your dog regularly is very important. Most people have some basic knowledge, but only few know how to do it right. To completely remove the musky odour you’ll need to know how to do properly wash your dog.
So what’s the best way to keep your dog smelling fresh?
It’s important to note, that it isn’t just your pet’s fur or skin creating that funky odour – also teeth and ears are common smell culprits as well. Use the RSPCA’s guidelines and tips to establish a regular grooming routine that includes:
- Regular brush your dog’s fur: Ideally brush daily for dog breeds with long, silky hair and gently remove any mats. For most other types a weekly brush should be enough. Brushing can be a nice mix to bond with your dog while also checking for flea and ticks. It also helps get rid of dirt and any shed fur. Remember, every hair you can manage to remove is one less hair you have to clean up.
- Bath time: At least monthly for doggys with heaps of outdoor adventures. For all others quarterly works wonders. Be sure to invest in a high natural and organic quality dog shampoo and conditioner. This will keep your dog’s coat nice, shiny and smelling nice. Start off by wetting the entire body with lukewarm water and then apply dog shampoo by massaging it gently in small circles. To neutralise odour let it soak into the dog hair for a few minutes before rinsing it off.
- Properly drying: Nobody like the strong musky smell of a wet dog. Therefore, take extra care in drying your dog to keep the wet dog smell under control. Best to have a couple of old towels ready. Let the dog shake off the water off their body before you gently pat and scrub your dog dry. Remember to always reward them with some good boy treats for good bath behavior.
- Only feed them quality food: Investing in quality diet is essential to keep your dog healthy and will also keep your pet’s inner odour in check. If your dog has any breath problems, make sure to talk with your vet to find out what diet is best for your dog.
- Regular cleaning teeth: Whilst a quality diet is important, cleaning your dog’s teeth two or three times a week works wonders and helps fight odour-causing bacteria. Natural dental chews are an excellent top-up between brushes to keep your dog’s teeth in check. Always consult with your vet what would be best for the health of your dog’s teeth.
- Cleaning Ears: Finally, check and clean your dog’s ears once a month using a natural ear cleaner. This will prevent foul odours or dirt build up. If you do notice any discharge or inflammation, call your vet to get it checked out.
Pro Tip: To keep the dirt out of the house and consider investing in baby wipes or dog wipes. These are great for cleaning your dog in-between baths and can be used to wipe their feet and fur daily.