How to Get Your House to Not Smell Like Your Pets

Even though you love your animals, pet ownership comes with unique challenges such as keeping your home smelling fresh and clean–and not like a barnyard. No matter how well you care and groom your animals, sometimes they can present an odor that may not convey your efforts. Regardless of whether they soil in the house or have an extra stinky coat, there are steps you can take to reduce and even eliminate pet odor.

Using baking soda
Stock up on baking soda. A natural odor absorber, baking soda is man’s best friend for removing general pet odors. Not only can it be used as a natural air freshener (leave an open box on the counter), it can remove odors from fabrics, furniture and even inside litter boxes.
Check fabric compatibility before using baking soda. Generally baking soda should not stain or hurt furniture or rug fabrics, but it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry. Sprinkle a little fresh baking soda in an inconspicuous area of your furniture or room and then vacuum or wipe clean.

Sprinkle baking soda on animal urine. As soon as possible, soak up urine with a white towel and sprinkle baking soda over the wet area. Allow to dry and then pat area gently with a clean towel. Vacuum the remainder once the area has dried completely.

Add baking soda to litter. You may need a few boxes of baking soda for a litter box. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda before adding litter to the box. Then, as long as your cat is not overly finicky about the litter, sprinkle another box of baking soda on top of the litter. This should absorb and defuse any additional odor.

Make an odor neutralizing and fabric spray. This spray does not have any scent but it will neutralize odors.
Place 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a spray bottle (preferably with a fine mist).

After the foaming action stops, add 2 cups water, then shake well.

Spritz the air. Also spritz any water safe fabric/carpet.

Using a neutralizing odor remover
Use a neutralizing odor remover to eliminate odor and prevent the animal from soiling the area again. Although sprays and nice smelling candles may help mask animal odor, the only way to reduce the frequency or incidence is to eliminate the desire. Animals will mark or urinate in the same area again and again because they can smell their original scent. If you use a natural ionizer or neutralizer you will reduce the likelihood that the animal will revisit the area and take steps toward removing the odor.
Remove any trace of animal waste from the area. Don’t just dump neutralizer on the furniture or carpet–you need to first ensure the animal waste has been completely removed (or as much as you can remove). Use fresh clean water and paper towels to clean the area.

Consider using a wet vac or extractor to ensure all trace of urine or waste is gone. Don’t go over the area with an in-home steam cleaner. This could just solidify the smell into the carpet or furniture instead.

Check the carpet pad or underneath the furniture. Pet urine will go beyond the surface, typically permeating the pad and any other material underneath. You’ll want to pull back the carpet and expose not only the pad but possibly the subfloor for cleaning.

Use a high quality pet specific neutralizer. Purchase a product that is intended to remove animal odor specifically. This could include not only urine but other waste and vomit. Follow the directions on the bottle specifically in order to completely remove the odor.

Using filters
Use a HEPA filter and change the furnace and A/C filters frequently. Airborne pet odor can get trapped in your air filters and recirculate the stench on a continuous basis. In fact some pet owners become so used to the way their home smells, they may not realize that it wreaks of stinky dog or cat (or any other animal you own).
Purchase an HEPA air filtration system to remove foul pet odors. Generally these filtration systems can cost as little as $100 but can run into the thousands depending on the size and capabilities. A small air purification system can remove odor from several rooms and requires the same general maintenance as a regular HVAC system (filter changes and periodic maintenance).

Change or clean your home’s HVAC filters on a monthly basis. Not only will changing or cleaning your filters improve your HVAC system’s lifespan (and save money) doing so will help remove offending airborne odors.

Run pet dishes in the dishwasher or clean with hot soapy water. Sanitize your pet’s dishes the same way you sanitize dishes for your family. Make sure the pet’s water bowl is also always clean and filled with fresh drinking water.

Wash toys in the washing machine if possible. If your pet loves stuffed animals you should be able to wash toys without damaging them. Inspect each toy before placing it in the washing machine for rips, which could allow it to leak stuffing or squeakers into your machine. Also, a ripped toy could pose a choking hazard for your pet and should be discarded. If you don’t think his/her toys are machine washable, try gently washing them with the same waterless pet soap you use on him/her in between baths.

Wash bedding and areas within the home where he/she likes to lay or sit. Some pets love to lay in a certain area of the room or near a specific piece of furniture. Those areas should be washed and cleaned on a regular basis to remove pet odor. Use surface appropriate wash to ensure you can clean the surface but also won’t damage it.

Clean the area and object associated with the pet odor. Clean the animal’s toys, dishes and area at least once a week. In addition to squirting a little non toxic, fresh smelling spray on bedding and toys, give pet’s area a good scrubbing every week.

Paint the house. While drastic, using an enzymatic cleaner then repainting should completely remove offensive odours.

Hide fresh smelling dryer sheets inside pet’s bedding. Make sure that your pet cannot get to the dryer sheets so unzip his/her bed cover and slide two or three sheets in between washing.

Light scented candles or burn potpourri when you are home.

Use scented carpet freshener every time you vacuum your rugs (which should be frequently).

Visit the groomer or bathe your pets at least once a week. Consider using scented shampoo of your pet tolerates it. Also, waterless pet mousse provides a gentle way to remove odors from your pet in between baths.

Avoid using harsh or toxic cleaners around pet areas. Harsh chemicals are not only poisonous they can create an eye irritant for your animal.

Related wikiHows
How to Make Your House Smell Good Quickly

How to Make Your Dog Smell Better

How to Tame a Mouse

How to Rid Your House of Odors

Sources and Citations

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