12 Hacks to Eliminate the Dog Smell In Your House

For The Home


Ben Team


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eliminate pet odors

Dealing with odors is just part of the gig for pet owners.

And although you may love your fur baby like a member of the family, you probably aren’t crazy about the way he makes your home smell. While it can be challenging to eliminate dog-related odors, it is entirely possible to do so with a bit of effort and strategic smelly thinking.

Below you’ll find 12 ways to help eliminate the unpleasant pet odors in your home. They are arranged chronologically for those who need to give their place a top-to-bottom, trying-to-get-a-rental-deposit-returned cleaning.

However, you should feel free to pick and choose among the list as necessary to obtain the results you need.

1. Sweep and mop all of your home’s hard floors (as appropriate).

eliminate dog odors

The very first thing you need to do when trying to make your home smell better is to remove all of the loose debris your pet creates. This not only includes pet hair and the dirt they track inside, but their dander too.

Because hair, dander and dust particles are very light, you need to use care when trying to deal with them.

Sweep gently with your broom so that you don’t just end up kicking these things up into the air, where they’ll spread to other areas of your home. Instead, try to sweep delicately, and ferry them to the trashcan with a dustpan as frequently as possible.

It’s also a good idea to place a paper towel or sheet of newspaper on top of the dust after you discard it into the trashcan – this will prevent the dust from blowing out of the trashcan.

Once you’ve swept everything, go back and mop all of the hard surfaces to remove any of the dust and debris you missed while sweeping. If you don’t want to break out the mop bucket, at least give the floors a once over with a pet-safe floor cleaner (enzymatic cleaners are particularly effective) or a Swiffer (contrary to pervasive urban myths, these products are safe for dogs).

2. Vacuum, vacuum, and then vacuum some more.

After dealing with your hardwoods, linoleum, and tile floors, it is time to turn your attention to your carpets.

Your carpets hold an incredible amount of hair, dust and dander, so you’ll want to vacuum every square inch of carpet in your home, including any area rugs (ideally, you’ll want to be using short pile, dog-friendly rugs that that are easy to vacuum).

Once you’re done with the carpets, vacuum all of your furniture (be sure to get all of the cracks and crevices) and curtains with the appropriate attachments.

While just about any vacuum will help collect some of the smelly things hiding in your carpet, you may want to consider purchasing a vacuum specifically designed for homes with pets.

We reviewed some of the best ones a while back, so be sure to check out our recommendations for best pet vacuums if you are in the market for a new model.

Always empty the canister (if present) after vacuuming your home and be sure to change or clean out the air filters frequently to keep it operating at peak efficiency.

Have a dog that hates the vacuum? You’ll definitely want to work on resolving that fear of the vacuum cleaner before you go full Mr. Clean on the place!

3. Steam clean all the carpets in your home.

steam cleaner for dog odors

Once you’ve removed all the dry material from your carpets, you’ll want to use a steam cleaner to get out any odors that have become trapped in the carpet’s fibers.

Of course, you can simply solicit the services of one of the many carpet-cleaning services if you’d rather; just make sure that they use pet-friendly carpet cleaning chemicals before starting.

You’ll want to sequester your dog in the garage or the backyard during the carpet-cleaning process, and be sure the carpets are all completely dry from pet odor eliminators before allowing your dog back inside.

Keep a close eye on dogs who like to mark their territory during this time, as the change in carpet odor can trigger some to tinkle.

4. Wash all of your linens.

wash linens for dog odors

Just about any fabric in your home can develop odors, so send everything you can through the washing machine. Be sure to use a good laundry detergent and hot water (provided that it is safe to do so for the fabrics in question).

This includes all of your bed linens, couch cushion covers, throw pillows, and anything else in your home that is machine-washable. Batch all of your washable covers in a single load and run a cycle with warm water. Always be sure to dry everything completely before putting it back where it belongs.

It bears mentioning that your clothing can also start smelling like your dog, so it is often wise to wash all of the clothing in the house during the deep cleaning process – particularly if you are dealing with a serious odor problem.

This will not only help keep your home smelling better, but it will ensure you smell better when leaving the house.

Sick of seeing fur on your pants all the time? Check out our tips and tricks on how to get dog hair off of your clothes in the washer or dryer!

5. Wash your pet’s bed.

dog bed

Your pet’s bed is likely the smelliest item in your entire home (aside, of course, from your furry little friend himself), as your pooch is constantly coating it in pet hair, dander, dirt, saliva, and urine.

Most good dog beds are machine washable, so you’ll just need to take off the cover and run it through the washing machine (some can be machine dried, others must be air dried).

Hopefully, the core of your pet’s bed is free of stains or bad odors. If not, you’ll need to either wash the core (if the manufacturer’s information says that this is acceptable) or replace it altogether. Take care to clean your dog’s favorite spot regularly to keep things fresh.

Once you’ve washed the cover and put the bed back together, you may want to consider treating the cover with a stain repellant. This will hopefully keep it cleaner and smelling better moving forward.

6. Let in some fresh air.

open window for dog odor

Although it isn’t a magic bullet, airing out your home will help to reduce pet-related odors. It can be tricky (and expensive) to do this in the middle of the summer or winter, so you may want to schedule your home cleaning when the temperatures are mild.

Start by opening every screened window in your home, as well as any doors that you can. Turn on all of your ceiling fans and the fan in your home’s central unit too (turn the AC or heat off – just use the fan). If you are fortunate enough to have an attic fan, be sure to turn that on as well.

Keep your dog’s safety in mind when airing out your home – you don’t want to look down and see Fido running out the front door. You may find a pet gate helpful in this case – check out our recent review of the best pet gates if you don’t already have one.

7. Change your home’s air filters.

While your home is airing out, take a moment to change all of the air filters in your home.

While clogged air filters shouldn’t contribute very much to the pet-odor problem, they can make your heating and cooling systems work much less efficiently, which will reduce the amount of air flowing through your home on a daily basis.

Changing an air filter is pretty easy, even if you aren’t very familiar with home improvement. Just take out the old filter and bring it with you to your local hardware store – this will help you be sure to get the correct replacement filter.

Alternatively, you can order new filters in bulk, which will help you save a few bucks and make it easier to replace them regularly.

Be sure to treat used filters gently when removing them to prevent the dust and debris that has accumulated on them from falling on your floors. In fact, it is a good idea to place them directly in a garbage bag.

8. Purchase and use an air purifier.

air purifier dog odors

An air purifier can help pull some of the dander and debris out from the air in your home, which will help keep your home smelling better. There are a number of different air purifiers available, but try to select one that is specifically designed to help address pet odors.

Note that high-quality, pet-friendly air purifiers will not only filter particulate matter from the air in your home, but kill bacteria and fungi in the air too. This can help reduce odor-related problems even further, and it will also help prevent your family and your pet from getting sick as often.

9. Find and fix point-source problems.

dog pee spot

By this point in the process, your home should be smelling much better.

If you still note any lingering odors, they are probably the result of isolated issues, such as a particularly bad pee spot on the carpet (few things are as stinky as a dog urine odor) or a place where your dog barfed on the floor after digging through the trashcan.

You’ll need to locate and identify any of these types of problematic areas to treat them, which may require you to put your nose close to the ground and sniff around a good bit. After finding the areas of concern, treat them with a homemade or commercial odor-eliminator to neutralize the pet smell.

To make your own odor neutralizer, just mix 2 cups of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a clean, empty spray bottle. Add enough water to fill the bottle and get to work (you want to use this spray while it’s still bubbling — once it stops bubbling, it’s basically salty water). You may need to experiment with different ratios of baking soda to vinegar to find the one that works best.

You can also create a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and plain water. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to your hydrogen peroxide water mixture in an empty spray bottle.

Spray the solution on any troubling areas, but let it soak in a bit before blotting it dry with a clean rag. Be sure to test the solution on an inconspicuous portion of your carpet to make sure it won’t cause discoloration before using it in the middle of your living room.

10. Buy a black light and get your forensic analysis on.

If you have located and treated all the problematic areas you can find, but the odors continue to persist, you may need a high-tech solution. Urine, saliva and other body fluids will glow when exposed to a black light, so you can use one to help you find trouble areas which have previously eluded your attention.

You’ll want to turn off the lights in your home before scanning with a UV dog urine detection light, and you may need to experiment by moving the UV black light closer or farther from your carpet to get the stains to show up best.

Be sure to scan your furniture and the lower portions of your walls too, to ensure you locate all of the problematic spots.

Note that black lights will also cause a variety of things besides bodily fluids to glow, including spilled drinks and the residues left behind by cleaning products. However, most of these things glow bright white, while urine and saliva tend to glow pale yellow to green.

11. Use an odor-sealing paint to address any stubborn spots on walls.

Pet-safe paints for dog owners

From time to time, you may find that the urine stains in your home aren’t limited to your floors – they can even adorn the lower portions of your walls.

If you thought eliminating bad smells from a carpet was tough, you’ll find that getting these smells out of drywall is even more difficult.

Usually, you’ll only have two options in these types of cases: Replace the affected portion of the drywall or repaint the area with a stain- and odor-sealing paint primer designed for these types of problems. And although the latter is hardly a quick-and-easy solution, it is much simpler than the former approach.

If need be, you could also use these types of paint primers to address eliminate urine-based smells in wooden furniture or painted wooden floors too.

12. Perfume your pad if all else fails.

spray for dogs

You’ll never completely obscure serious pet odors with scented or odor-neutralizing sprays, but they can be very helpful for combatting minor odors and helping to keep your home smelling fresh between top-to-bottom cleanings.

You can also use these types of sprays to give your home a quick spritz before company comes over to dampen the pesky smells.

Just make sure you select a spray that is safe for use around pets, and it is probably a good idea to put your dog outside for a moment, while the spray settles out of the air.

Potpourri baskets, scented candles, pet-safe air fresheners, and similar products can also be helpful, just keep them in places your canine can’t reach.

How To Eliminate Dog Smells: FAQ

questions about dog odors

Is your house smell still reminiscent of your stinky sweetheart? Check out these common questions and answers to help you combat your canine’s odor.

How to get dog smell out of house naturally?

You can use a natural odor eliminator like an enzymatic cleaner made without chlorine. Other ways to keep your space smelling fresh include utilizing an air purifier and keeping your home well ventilated.

How to eliminate pet odor in the air?

The best way to eliminate lingering pet odors is to target the source of the smell. Bad odors might be tied to your carpet, your dog’s belongings, or even the lower portion of walls.

Why does my house smell like dog no matter how much I clean?

To fully eliminate pet odor, you need to target all sources of bad smells in your home with a thorough clean and continual maintenance. Fido himself may also need some freshening up if you can’t find the source of the stink.

How to get dog smell out of house from previous owners?

Try to scope out the source of pooch odor in your home. Deep, set in smells are more difficult to eradicate, so you might have to get your carpet professional cleaned, or invest in odor-sealing paint.

Is it safe to use Swiffers with pets?

Contrary to what some may believe, the Swiffer product family is totally safe to use around our furry friends. With that in mind, you should let any mopped surface fully dry before allowing your pooch to romp around the area.

How do I get rid of wet dog smell?

There are many factors that contribute to pet odors. You can help keep Fido smelling fresh by utilizing grooming wipes, cleaning frequently, and utilizing odor-eliminating pet safe products.


Have you developed any neat tricks to keep your home from smelling like a kennel? Have you found commercial odor-neutralizing products to be the best way to deal with smells, or do you make a homemade version?

Have you figured out any clever ways to get rid of carpet stains? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the managing editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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  1. Ellen F Avatar
    Ellen F

    Just a quick note – even if you clean and use an enzymatic cleaner on urine or other organic stains, they will continue to show up under black light. You will, however, have eliminated the odor.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Ellen.
      It really just hinges on whether or not you get all of the phosphorus out of the fibers (that’s what glows under the black light).
      But you’re right — an enzymatic cleaner probably isn’t enough on it’s own to do so.

  2. Vlone Shirts Avatar
    Vlone Shirts

    Really nice, I always prefer to wash my house floor and spray the perfume. Pets usually smell bad but bath them frequently to solve that problem. PS: I really love my labrador.

  3. Michelle Avatar

    I’m exhausted after reading that list on how to keep the house smelling good from a pet. I never have to worry about this as hair, pet urine, pet feces and dogs licking their stank makes my hair stand up on end.

    I was reading this article because my daughter bought a house from dog owners who weren’t very meticulous. All carpeting was replaced, walls were painted and hardwoods cleaned. There is still a lingering scent. So gross, I can’t get it out of my nose after I leave. It’s too cold right now but when the weather turns warmer I’ll have her open the windows and use the fans to air it out.

    It’s a shame some people don’t appreciate and take care of their beautiful homes.

  4. Sally Avatar

    Get rid of dog. House smells great. Problem solved.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Thank you, Sally. That’s a truly profound notion.
      It must be exhausting going through life weighed down by such incredible insight.

  5. Mark Avatar

    Sorry, but this article gives nothing. It’s all common sense, know things. Taking this site off my Google News feed.

  6. Jessa H. Avatar
    Jessa H.

    Great content! You asked if any of us readers have found a solution to our pet mess. Glad you asked! I recently began adding pet Febreze to my mop water. I also add it to my carpet cleaner. I noticed how quickly my carpets dry after cleaning them with Febreze. I believe it’s because fabric deodorizers are supposed to quickly dry for fast results. My guess. Vinegar mixed with an essential oil works wonders! Any time I bathe our dogs, we clean out their crates and wash bedddings. Now, don’t forget to sweet & mop under the crates and crate trays. Hair will be trapped underneath there, so make sure you clean that up.
    A good ear wash will help with doggie smells. I try to ear wash at every bath to every other bath. Then I apply a 3 way ointment on the outside under the ear flap. The ointment I use has Tea Tree Oil. That also keeps fleas, ticks, and fly bugs away.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Jessa. Thanks for the kind words and sharing your tips and tricks!
      I would caution you that tea tree oil is toxic for dogs, so please be careful.
      Thanks for reading!

  7. Jenn Avatar

    Do not steam clean … can make worse

  8. Debbie Berry Avatar
    Debbie Berry

    Thanks k9 of mine. You’ve been very helpful …..

  9. Carol Harris Avatar
    Carol Harris

    I need a good smell in my condo to block out Dog pee on carpet

  10. Barb Able Avatar

    Now I know the reason why my dog would want to tinkle right away after my carpets got steam cleaned because of your explanation in step 3. I will keep this in mind next time before my carpet goes steam cleaning again.

  11. George Avatar

    It’s always important to get dog hair off the house so it won’t smell, specially when they come from a walk under the rain!!!!

  12. Kim Avatar

    Maybe try putting it in a large trash bag with the coffee grounds sitting next to it and tie the top?

  13. Kim Avatar

    Maybe try putting it in a large trash bag with the coffee grounds sitting next to it and tie the top?

  14. Emma Lynx Avatar
    Emma Lynx

    Hello, Miami people and everybody! My name is Emma, I am from North Miami, Fl. I have two cats, so pet odor is not something odd for me. I can advice the effective cleaners that clean carpets and upholstery and remove pet odor at an ease http://www.northmiamicarpetcleaning.com Try them.

  15. Rita Avatar

    Hi. Would like your help. Any suggestions how to remove dog odor off a canvas painting?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Rita. That’s a tough one.
      I’d hesitate to recommend anything, given the unique nature of a canvas painting.
      Maybe you could reach out to someone who restores art and see what he or she recommends?

      Let us know if you find a good solution. Best of luck!

    2. Kathryn Avatar

      Put your canvas painting out in the sunshine for a few hours to however long it takes. Sun is a natural bleach so expose the back or front or both depending on where the problem is. Most likely the pee saturated thru the canvas. This works!

  16. MJ Avatar

    “…just mix 2 cups of white vinegar and 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a clean, empty spray bottle.”

    Did no one else see a problem with this advice? If not, go ahead and try it—let me know how it goes. 🙂

    1. Ch Avatar

      MJ. Vinegar with soda will react, but will make an active foam necessary for strong odours like dog’s. mix it in a mop bucket so it doesn’t make a mess. 😉

    2. PD Avatar

      I can 100% tell you I didn’t see the problem with this until I did it. I found out the problem EXPLOSIVELY FAST. Luckily, the kitchen is where the smell was so…I simply mopped the floor with the explosion.

  17. Grace Markham Avatar
    Grace Markham

    I used ground coffee placed in a small container near our Dog crates. (Placed where they can’t reach into)That’s mostly where most of the smell get trapped. It kills all sorts of odors. That’s what we used in the aircraft lavatories, to get rid of strong smells. (I’m a retired Flight Attendant) 🙂

    1. Ben Avatar

      Huh. That’s a neat idea, Grace (especially because I really like the smell of coffee). Just be sure that the coffee grounds are 100% secure for safety’s sake!

    2. Chrissy Avatar

      I use coffee grinds in little bowls or ramekins all over my house and love it. I often receive samples off ground coffee & when they’re flavored ones I always use them to fight odors since I’m very picky with my coffee. I just had a Dunkin sample of caramel coconut ground coffee which to my surprise smells heavenly, but not a flavor I’d like to drink! I also find if you stick a tea light in the center of your bowl containing ground or whole coffee beans it really boosts the scent. I stick tealights in mine before company comes over, typically unscented or vanilla, I let it burn until it’s dome with and always have company ask what smells so wonderful when they’re visiting. I also use a little fabric softener, a little baking soda mixed with water in a spray bottle all over my living room focusing mainly the carpets, curtains and sofas but sometimes just in the air as a light fresh smelling deodorizer that works great for a quick fresh smell in my home if I don’t feel like boiling vinegar or have the time to leave a bowl of vinegar out to absorb some of the dog smell I have from my newest rescue that’s very ill and smells awful!

  18. Francesco Avatar

    It helps to vacuum/clean air ducts as well as filters. Also, if you have older style radiators with or without covers, a lot of hair in particles get stuck in there and smells when the heat comes on.

  19. Nina Avatar

    My husband and I and our daughter just moved into a 3 bedroom house. The previous owners had 4 dogs. What is the best home remedy to get rid of such a strong odor as I have a dog of my own?


  20. Daniel Tasef Avatar

    Yea, we have all had that experience. My cousin has a dog that always pee on the sofa. Eww

  21. Lawrence Avatar

    Very informative article!

  22. MB Avatar

    Really Nice Tip! but I prefer to use the air purifier to get rid of the dog smell.

  23. Kelly Avatar

    Love using fabric softener pellets in a tart warmer. Makes the house smell like fresh laundry! Always do this before company comes over.

  24. Brenda Avatar

    Raw onion cut into leave

    1. Jill Avatar

      Where do you put the onion and what do you do with it?

  25. Brenda Avatar

    Use a steam mop with there cleaners

  26. Jennifer Avatar

    How many drops do you use in both the diffuser and the bottle?

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Depends on the diffuser! There should be instructions with whichever diffuser you purchase.

  27. Ethan Avatar

    Cannot agree more with a deep carpet steam clean! Does wonders removing the odour and other germs or bacterias. Also the black light is a nifty way to check. thanks for the share.

  28. Robbie Hymer Avatar

    Young Living’s Purification essential oil in a diffuser does wonders with pet odors. I’ve also mixed up several drops of this oil with water in a spray bottle for a room spray! It’s amazing!!!

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Thanks for the tip!

    2. Carolyn Maloney Avatar
      Carolyn Maloney

      Ditto Purification. We have a friend who could not be in my sister’s dog and cat friendly home for more than 10 min. and the holidays were coming up and we wanted Peter and his wife to be part of our annual gathering. She diffused Purification on the main level and the Lower Lever Rec. Room for the 2 days before, and to all our amazement, he was able to stick around for the whole time. Needless to say, a good time was had by all. Just in case anyone wants to order from Young Living my No. is #613523.