Dogs might be man’s best friend, but when it comes to their smell, they can sometimes leave a lot to be desired. Whether you’ve got one dog or a whole pack of them, you might sometimes notice a distinctive odor in your house. Or worse, you might not be able to smell it, only to notice visitors wrinkle their noses when they enter your house. It’s not just the accidents from toilet training puppies, but even older dogs can leave a lingering oder that smells a bit like moldy wool.
This smell can get into your carpets, and every time your dog comes in from outside, whether they’ve been frolicking in the sunshine or dashing through the rain, they’ll just add to the smell. Grooming your dog regularly and making sure they eat a healthy diet can help, but you’ll also need to follow these steps to make sure your carpet is nice and clean.
Why do dogs smell so bad?
A smell for a dog is a bit like their signature outfit. It’s their own distinct smell that lets every other dog know exactly who they are with just one sniff. A dog’s scent has lots of layers, from their stinky, hot breath to the wet, dripping saliva they love to lick on your face. They have oily skin and waxy ears, just like us, and they even sweat through their feet. So it’s no wonder that we can find their scent less than pleasant.
Read this guide to find out how to keep your carpets smelling fresh.
Clean up accidents straight away
Time is the most important factor when it comes to dog accidents. If your dog has done a wee on the carpet, you don’t want it to sit on the carpet for too long, as this can cause stains and stubborn odors. The first step is to use paper towel or newspaper to soak up as much of the urine as possible. If you have something else more absorbent that you can throw away afterwards, feel free to use that.
Take your paper towel or newspaper and press it down on the wet spot to soak up the urine. It’s important to wear gloves for this step, to prevent getting the urine on your skin.
Make sure you check regularly for spots and stains, and are thorough in cleaning them. Undetected spots can allow bacteria to thrive, which can make stains and smells worse.
A UV light or UV flashlight is a handy tool if you have a dog that’s prone to accidents. If you know you’re dog has had an accident, but you’re not sure exactly where, shine the light over the carpet to see where the urine is. UV lights are also great for spotting older urine stains that you might have missed.
DIY pet odor removers
Once you’ve soaked up as much of the urine as possible, there are lots of DIY homemade removers that are great for removing the smell. You can make a lot of these using ingredients you already have in your home, and as they mostly use natural ingredients they’re great if you don’t want to use too many chemicals in your home.
Baking soda is a really useful multipurpose product for your home, and it’s great for absorbing bad smells. It’s the perfect option if you want to use something that is natural and safe. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the area where your dog had the accident. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight. The next morning, clean the area with your vacuum cleaner.
Another option is white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, which will help prevent bacteria growing from your dog’s urine. Fill a spray bottle with the vinegar, and spray it onto the stained carpet. Leave it for five minutes, the carefully blot the area dry with a paper towel or a clean, dry cloth.
Commercial enzyme cleaners
If you feel like the stain or odor is too heavy duty for the natural remedies outlined above, it’s time to try a storebought enzyme cleaner. Enzyme pet urine removers can be bought from your local pet store, and contain special enzymes that help break down urine molecules to remove lingering smells of dog urine from your carpet.
If you buy an enzyme cleaner, you’ll need to remove the directions listed on the product. Generally this consists of spraying or blotting the cleaner onto the stain, letting it sit for a while, then scrubbing to remove the stain. These enzyme cleaners often take time and multiple applications to completely remove the odor and stains.
Air out your house
Even after you’ve given your carpet a thorough cleaning, you might find that the dog smell still lingers in the air. Airing out your house can help boost your odor-removing efforts. This can be tricky, not to mention expensive, to do when it’s really hot or cold outside, so try and do it when the temperatures are mild.
The next step is to open as many windows and doors as you can safely manage. This is easiest if your doors and windows are screened. If you have a screen door, make sure it’s closed securely. If you don’t have one, make sure there’s no way your dog can get out onto the street when your door is open.
If you’re going to open your doors, make sure your dog and home stay safe. It’s easier if you have a screen door. If you don’t have one, make sure your dog doesn’t go out into the street when you open the door for air. You might find a pet gate helpful to keep your dog contained.
Turn on any ceiling fans you have, and the fan in your central unit as well. Don’t turn on the heating or air conditioning – just the unit’s fan. If you’re lucky enough to have an attic fan, switch that on as well.
Filter the air
If fresh air alone isn’t doing the trick, you might find an air purifier helpful. There are lots of air purifiers available to help your home smell better. When you’re shopping for one, just make sure you look for one that is marketed as addressing pet odors.
It’s also important to make sure you change all of the air filters in your home. If the air filters are clogged, the air isn’t going to flow as well around your home. You can save money on your air filters by buying them in bulk.
Clean your dog’s bed
Just like you change your own bedding regularly, you need to wash your dog’s bedding often. Your dog is constantly leaving hair, skin flakes, dirt, saliva and urine on its bed, which means it’s probably the smelliest item in your entire house – apart from your four-legged friend, that is!
Check your dog’s bed for cleaning instructions. Most good dog beds can be cleaned in your washing machine – just take off the cover and put it through the wash. Dry it according to the instructions provided – some can be tumble dried, which other need to be hung out to dry.
You’ll also want to check the core of the bed for stains or odors. Hopefully it’s clean, but if not, check the cleaning instructions. If you can wash the core, go ahead and do so, otherwise you might need to replace it.
Once your dog’s bed is clean and dried, you might like to treat it with a stain repellent. This will help to keep it cleaner and less smelly, so that you can go longer between cleans.
Have your carpets steam cleaned
If you have really stubborn odors in your carpets, steam cleaning might be an option. You can hire a steam cleaner, or get a carpet cleaning service to come in and get your carpets back to pristine condition. Whichever option you go with, make sure pet friendly carpet cleaning chemicals are used.
Make sure you dog is safe in your garage or backyard for the duration of the carpet cleaning process, and leave the carpets to dry completely before you let your dog back inside. The change in smell from the cleaning chemicals can sometimes encourage dogs to mark their territory, so keep a close eye on your dog if it looks like it’s about to mark your freshly cleaned carpets.