Is your home starting to smell like a dog kennel? Whether we want to admit it or not, we love our pets, but not the nasty smell they bring. Both cats and dogs can make your home stink, which isn’t a good thing if you’re having guests over. The solution is knowing how to keep the house smelling good with pets without the use of harmful chemicals.
Below, I share 12 tips to freshen up your home’s indoor air. These methods are guaranteed safe for you and your pet.
Why do pets stink?
Before I discuss the solution to the problem, I think it’s important to understand why our pets stink in the first place. Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Dander. Almost all furry pet animals will produce dander. These are dead skin cells that can get airborne and spread the distinct ‘doggy’ smell. This odor becomes worse when dander gets wet and mixed with bacteria.
- Dental problems. Rotten teeth, plaque buildup, and food traces will all result in bad breath. This awful odor will spread all over your house as your dog or cat drools or licks surfaces.
- Gas. Do you have a gassy dog? Flatulence can cause your home to stink. Pair that with dander and dental problems – the odor would be unbearable.
- Ear infections. Both cats and dogs are prone to ear infections, but bigger canines tend to have a higher risk. Such infections have a foul odor that could emanate from your home.
- Anal sacs. Oh, the ever-hated anal sacs. These are two scent sacs located on each side of the pet’s anus. In dogs, this can be filled with dirt and poop, which will produce a repulsive odor. The odor will get worse if you fail to express these sacs.
While all of these make pet ownership quite challenging, there are some ways to handle the odors. The following tips below would be a big help.
How to keep house smelling good with pets
1. Wash your pet’s stuff
The very first thing you should do is wash all your pet’s belongings. This includes the pet’s bedding, toys, food bowl, collar, leash, and so on. These items harbor dirt and odor from your pet’s body, which can emanate all over your home.
You can use a white vinegar pre-wash for all these items to neutralize bacteria and foul odor. Let it soak for a few minutes before tossing the fabric items into the washing machine. Let all of your pet’s items dry fully before putting them back.
Aside from your pet’s belongings, you should also vacuum and clean around the house.
2. Groom your dog properly.
To remove the bad odor in your house, you should clean its main source. It’s important to bathe your pet regularly and trim its overgrown fur. This will help prevent dander and fur from spreading in your home.
I also suggest bringing your cat or dog to a professional groomer once every quarter for deep-cleaning. The groomer will ensure that your pet is smelling good from nose to tail.
At home, you can use dry pet shampoo in between full baths to keep your furry friend fresh.
Aside from bathing, you should also brush your dog or cat daily. This will help remove dander and fur even before it scatters in your home. Daily brushing will also allow you to check your pet’s skin for any irritations.
3. Use an air purifier.
An air purifier is your bosom friend if you have pets at home. This device can eliminate dander, fur, and pet odors at once. However, make sure that you pick one with the right filter to sift all the pet-produced irritants in your home.
It’s also important to match the capacity of the air purifier to the size of your room. Aside from keeping your home free of pet odors, an air purifier will also help reduce allergies, nasal congestion, and respiratory problems.
The following are some of the air purifiers I recommend for pet owners:
- LEVOIT LV-H132 Air Purifier. This air purifier is powered by an H13 True HEPA filter, pre-filter, and a carbon filter. All of these will capture pet dander, fur, and malodors. It also has a compact size but is guaranteed to freshen up your home.
- Airthereal APH260 Air Purifier. The Airthereal APH260 has three stages of filtration, including a True HEPA filter. It’s suitable for rooms up to 335 sq. ft. If you have multiple pets, you can use this in a smaller space for better filtration.
- PARTU BS-08 Air Purifier. This air purifier is suitable for rooms up to 160 sq. ft. in size. It can trap up to 0.3 microns, including pet dander and fur. Thanks to its activated carbon filter, this can also neutralize pet odors.
- Blueair Blue Pure Air Purifier. This air purifier sports an advanced Swedish Filter Technology suitable for up to 540 sq. ft. of floor area. It’s also ENERGY STAR-certified to be energy-efficient.
- RENPHO RP-AP001 Air Purifier. The RENPHO Air Purifier boasts five filtration stages to remove the nastiest pet odors in your home. It’s rated for up to 301 sq. ft. of floor area with a whisper-quiet operation.
4. Clean out all your air filters
If your house still smells like dogs, you probably forgot to clean your air filters. You should conduct a quick check on your air conditioner, heater, air purifier, vents, and other devices that filter the air in your household.
It’s very important to clean or replace the filters to prevent irritants and bad odors from recirculating. Take note that failure to maintain your air filters can result in a more pungent odor in the long run.
If you don’t want to deal with the mess, you can call a professional HVAC provider. They can replace your filters and check your system to ensure that it’s in good condition.
5. Light up a ‘pet candle’
Do you want to light a scented candle but worried that it would irritate your pet? In that case, you should switch to a ‘pet candle’ instead. This is an especially formulated candle using soy wax and other pet-friendly ingredients. It’s guaranteed to destroy the nastiest pet odors while giving a calming feeling to your furry baby.
Like typical scented candles, pet candles are available in different scents. I personally prefer the Pet’s Favorite French Vanilla Candle. It’s a hand-poured candle that promises to remove 99% of all pet odors.
6. Use enzymatic cleaners for pet ‘accidents’
No matter how house-trained your dog or cat is, they can have ‘accidents’ from time to time. They can pee on the floor or poop in your kitchen. You need to clean all these areas to prevent your pet from retracing its accident spot and ‘planting the bomb’ once again.
Take note that surface cleaners and bleach don’t work in removing all the traces of animal excrement. While it may seem clean to us, the strong sniffers of animals allow them to detect even the slightest remains of their urine or feces.
This is why you should have an enzymatic cleaner handy. This formula has live enzymes that consume the remaining proteins of your pet’s poop or pee. It prevents future accidents while eliminating all the odors.
7. Wipe with diluted vinegar
If enzymatic cleaners aren’t available, you can dilute equal parts of water and white vinegar. You can use this solution to wipe pet accidents and in giving your pet’s items a quick clean.
A vinegar solution also works for pet stains on the carpet, but you should conduct a patch test on a hidden area first to ensure that it won’t cause discoloration.
Don’t worry about the sour smell of vinegar because it will wear off soon. After that, it will leave a neutral odor without any pet scents lingering in your home.
8. Utilize furniture covers
No, you don’t have to use plastic. You can purchase furniture covers made of fabric, which will blend well on your furniture and home. For example, you can use a couch cover if your pet’s smell is sticking on it too much.
The good thing about using furniture covers is that you can easily pull it out when you have guests, and your couch will be clean instantly. Also, you can toss the covers to the washing machine, which saves you time and effort from cleaning your dirty upholstery.
9. Deodorize your carpets
Carpets are not the best part of the house if you have pets. It’s cozy, but it’s also an odor magnet, much so if it’s a high-pile type.
Carpets can harbor dander, fur, pet urine, and other contaminants that you simply can’t remove using a vacuum.
To deodorize and sanitize your carpet naturally, you can use baking soda. Simply sprinkle the powder on the carpet and leave it for a few hours before vacuuming. This is also an effective solution if your pet urinated on the carpet. Baking soda will suck out the moisture causing a bad smell.
10. Open your windows
Proper ventilation will do wonders on the odor of your indoor air. This will allow pet scents to dissipate naturally.
However, this solution may not be possible if you’re living in a polluted area. If it’s the pollen season, it’s best to try other methods listed here.
11. Hang activated charcoal bags
Activated charcoal bags can be bought at a small price and in different sizes. The charcoal inside absorbs malodors. It’s also safe for pets and children since charcoal is a natural substance.
You should hang activated charcoal bags on your pet’s sleeping corner, your living room, your kitchen, and even your bathroom for the best results. Aside from removing odors, charcoal can also absorb excess moisture.
12. Diffuse essential oils
Diffusing essential oils is a great way to defeat strong pet odors. But before you rummage for your oil bottles, you should know that not all essential oils are safe for dogs and cats.
The likes of pine, pennyroyal, cinnamon, wintergreen, and tea tree oils are dangerous for animals when diffused. Instead, you should diffuse lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or frankincense oil.
Whatever you choose, always dilute it first using a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil. This will tone down the intensity of the odor since pets have a stronger sense of smell than humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does my dog smell so bad even after a bath?
A: If your dog still stinks after a bath, you probably failed to clean its anal sacs. This has to be expressed to remove the trapped dirt. Most pet owners will ask a professional groomer to do this since it’s quite messy and smelly.
Q: How do you deep-clean a house with pets?
A: To deep-clean your house with pets, start by vacuuming the floors and upholstery. This will remove hair and dander on the surface. Don’t forget to vacuum underneath furniture, especially the feet of the fixtures where pet hair can easily accumulate.
Q: Can I use floor cleaners if I have pets?
A: If you have pets, you must choose a floor cleaner with natural ingredients. Avoid formulas with extreme odors and off-gassing as this can irritate both your family and your pets. Nevertheless, you should keep your pets away from the area being cleaned to prevent exposure to the cleaning agents.
Q: Are Clorox wipes safe for pets?
A: Clorox wipes aren’t harmful, but it contains chemicals not suitable for pets. You should never use Clorox wipes near areas where your pet eats or drinks. If your pet shows signs of irritation due to Clorox wipes, you should consult a veterinarian right away.
Q: Is it hygienic to have a dog in the house?
A: Dogs will increase the cleaning needs of your home, but it doesn’t mean they are already unsanitary to have. The key here is to keep both your home and your dog clean at all times. Regular grooming and house cleaning would help manage the demands of raising a canine.
Knowing how to keep house smelling good with pets shouldn’t be a burden. There are simple steps you can take to manage malodors while raising your furry baby. In the end, it’s all about proper household management, good hygiene, and added patience.
Home Air Quality is founded by Bernard K to provide information on Indoor Air Quality in Homes and enlighten people about what they need to know about creating and maintaining a comfortable and healthy home environment.
We believe that “Quality air brings a healthy life.”