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How to Remove Dog Smells From Your Home (Because Honestly Fido Stinks)

Removing dog smells from a home is a challenge all dog owners have to face at some point. Because dogs smell like, um, dog. But rather than relegate your beloved four-legged family member to an outdoor canine cabana 24/7, there are other things you can do to rid your home of that doggy funk.

Why dogs smell the way they do

First, you need to get to the bottom of what’s causing that malodor. According to PetMD, a dog’s skin produces an oil that’s an important part of a healthy animal—but alas, it has a distinct (and not always pleasant) scent.

Regular bathing and grooming should keep this odor to a minimum. But if that doesn’t seem to do the trick, your pup might have a skin or dental infection, which is causing him to smell less than fresh.

So if you suspect that the odor has gone beyond regular dog musk, it might be time to see the vet to rule out bigger issues.

How to remove dog smells from your home

Once you’ve eliminated the possibility of a medical condition causing your eau de dog aroma, it’s time to look at solutions that will have your home smelling great (or at least not like a kennel) again. The cost of these remedies ranges from peanuts to pricey, so depending on your budget and your desire to banish that scent with minimal effort, there’s a product out there that will meet your needs.

Cleaning expert and dog owner Leslie Reichert, aka The Green Cleaning Coach, shares her routine on how to get rid of dog smells in the home:

  • Vacuum dog beds once a week.
  • Wash dog beds every other week.
  • Vacuum floors twice a week depending on the type of dog and its shedding pattern.
  • Wash hard floors like tile and vinyl with a strong cleaning solution and very hot water.
  • Use a cover on any furniture that dogs are allowed on and wash the cover weekly.

Natural dog odor eliminators

Liberally sprinkling baking soda, a natural odor eliminator, on your furniture or carpet and allowing it to sit overnight is a great first step to neutralize dog smells. Plus, it’s completely safe for your fur baby.

Another option is to look to your bar cart. Reichert advises spraying areas where dogs lie with vodka. Really?

“Yes, vodka will remove the dog smells when it evaporates. I do this three times a week,” she says.

How much should you use? “Just a spritz,” she recommends.

Purify the air

While air purifiers definitely make a positive difference, they need to be high in quality, says Reichert, who recommends Austin products such as the Air Pet Machine Air Purifier (Amazon, $594.99).

This model’s multistage filtration includes a true HEPA filter, which traps 99.97% of allergen particles. With three speeds, it purifies up to a 1,500 square foot space.

Soak it in

When you’re dealing with stubborn dog odor, you want something that will absorb the smell, not mask it. Reichert recommends Fresh Wave Continuous Release Odor Eliminator (Amazon, $39.03).

Made from extracts of soy, lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and cedar wood, Fresh Wave odor-removing gel is both biodegradable and nontoxic. Best of all, “it’s an odor neutralizer,” Reichert says, “not a cover-up.”

Spray and neutralize

If you want more of a spot-cleaning spray, Reichert recommends the Citrus Magic Pet Odor Eliminator (Amazon, $9.40), which neutralizes the strongest pet odors on contact. Thanks to a blend of vegetable enzymes, its nonstaining, noncorrosive formula can be used on any surface, including … wait for it … your dog’s coat.


Liz Alterman is a writer who's covered a variety of subjects, from personal finance issues for CNBC.com to career advice for The Muse.

 Follow @LizAlterman

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