Have a stinky house? Are your pets to blame?
Unfortunately, there are no magic ways that will keep your house smelling fresh and clean when you have pets. Basically, it's a constant battle of maintaining a diligent schedule of keeping your house clean and bathing your pets and making sure that your pets behave in your home.
But there are some tips and tricks that can make it a bit easier to battle against the stinky pets and stinky home syndrome. So here are some simple methods you can try to help minimize pet odors in your home... without having to get rid of your pets:
What To Do About Pet Odors
1. Keep The Windows Open
Yes, this first tip is stunning in its obviousness. By opening the windows daily and keeping them open as much as possible, you will let fresh air into the house. This will help your home smell fresher, and combined with a nice fan or two to help circulate air, pet smells will be less noticeable.
2. Use Air Fresheners And/Or Odor Absorbers
Air fresheners can work wonders as a temporary solution. By spraying an air freshener around your furniture and on your floors, you'll be able to cover the smell of pet odors for a few hours or so. Plug-in air fresheners can help mask pet odors as well, and in tandem with open windows and fresh air, it will help quite a bit. Some folks will point out that all you are doing is masking odor problems, but covering up unpleasant odors with nicer smelling ones is a smart thing to do if you need a quickie solution.
Just be careful to pick something that is non-toxic to your animals. One thing that some pet owners swear by is vinegar. Yup, a plain cup of non-toxic vinegar can help reduce stinky smells in your room. If you don't like the smell of vinegar, just add some citrus rinds to it to make it nicer smelling or use apple cider vinegar.
For folks who want to avoid having to cover up odors, you can also try odor absorbers. Moto has a popular air purifying bag product that most users seem to love. I have not personally tried them yet but there are so many positive reviews, I am planning to try them out soon especially for the areas most heavily used by my pets.
3. Get A Really Good Air Purifier or Neutralizer
Many air purifiers are a waste of money, but a really good air purifier can help significantly reduce pet odors in a home. Our favorite air purifier is the GermGuardian. You can read a great product review about the GermGuardian here. Activated carbon filters to remove odors as well as air filters to reduce pet dander can make a noticeable improvement in the quality of the air you breathe as well as reduce the overall stink level of the air in your home. If you put the air purifier in the stinkiest room in your home, it should help improve the overall air quality in all the rooms in your house.
Another option is to get a CritterZone Air Neutralizer. The CritterZone was specifically created to manage pet ordors, including even the stinkiest problems of pet urine and pet feces. Rather than filtering the air, the CritterZone neutralizes odors by charging it to eliminate bacteria, dander, allergans and odors without filters or chemicals. The CritterZone creates a chemical reaction that breaks down and cleans the air much like what happens outdoors with the sun. You can read more about it and check out reviews for it here.
Also remember for the HVAC air system in your house, to change out the filters frequently. It will help your system run better and with fresh filters, will do a better job of cleaning the air in your home.
4. Use Baking Soda To Sprinkle Around The House
Baking soda is not only the primary ingredient in most vacuum powders, but it naturally absorbs bad smells and pet odors. Since too many cleaning solutions and odor controllers can be toxic to your pets, baking soda is a safer alternative.
Just sprinkle baking powder over carpets and rugs and over any smelly furniture. Let the baking soda sit overnight, and then vacuum it up the next morning. Just like that, everything will smell better.
If you like, you can add some pretty smelling essential oils to the baking soda to act as an air freshener and not just an odor absorber. Just drop in a drop or two of essential oil into the baking soda, leave the baking soda to mix in with the oils for a few hours first so that it has time to absorb fully, and then use the nicer smelling baking soda for sprinkling around the house and vacuum up. (If you don't want to use baking soda, you can just add some essential oils to water or vodka in a spray bottle and mist your smelly stuff with that to give a fresh scent boost.) Just be careful using any essential oils - use only a tiny amount since pets are more sensitive and can even be allergic. Be especially careful with tea tree oil for dogs and cats and oregano, thyme and citrus oils around cats.
5. Keep Your Pets Off The Furniture Or Use Pet Throws
If you have a dog, it might be tempting to let him on the furniture. As nice as it is to cuddle up on the couch with your dog, it usually causes pet odors to permeate throughout the house. To prevent this from happening, the best thing to do is to train your dog to stay off the furniture.
If you're looking for a way to prevent pet odors without stopping your dog from climbing on the furniture, consider laying down a blanket or a good pet throw for him to lay on. These pet throws are a good option. This way, the blanket will absorb the odor. Just be sure to wash the blanket once a week to prevent the odor from spreading or sticking around.
Another thing you may want to consider is replacing your pet's bed if it is a source of strong odors. You can find good pet beds with covers that are designed to repel odors and be anti-bacterial. There are some great recommended pet beds here with water-proof and drool-proof liners.
6. Address Your Pet Urine Problems Promptly
Urine odors from your dogs and cats are likely to be one of the biggest potential sources of bad odors in your home. Here's some detailed tips on how to address any pet urine smells and problems in your house promptly. Buy a good enzymatic odor neutralizer to use for any pet stains. One pet stain remover we really like is Rocco and Roxie's Stain & Odor Eliminator. The key with urine or poop odors is to clean it up as fast as you can and to make sure to use an enzymatic cleanser.
7. Groom And Wash Your Pets More Frequently
While your dogs and cats may look clean, a closer look may show that they may need more frequent bathing or grooming.Less pet hair and dander and a freshly washed pet will really help in keeping your home smelling fresh. Here's tips on the Best Way To Keep Your Dog Clean and some Home Remedies for a Stinky Cat. Ideally, you'd wash your pet weekly, yes weekly. If you can't do that, try using gentle baby wipes to help wipe down your pet between cleanings. If you're looking for good baby wipes, my new favorite is the Amazon Elements Baby Wipes, they are cheap, strong and free of many irritants.
8. Set A Cleaning Schedule You Will Actually Follow
The most effective solution for pet odors is simple and obvious: keep your house clean...really clean. All the other tips here will help keep odors under control but you need to uphold a regular cleaning routine to keep pet odors out of your home.
A really good cleaning routine would look something like this:
This schedule may be a bit much for folks who have better things to do. I am just sharing this list to give you a good idea of what it takes to have a meticulously clean home. If you can't meet this schedule, that's fine but just think of doing a little more of what you can.
If you can't vacuum all the carpets daily, how about vacuuming one key room a day?
If you can't mop all the floors daily, how about mopping the most often used rooms a day or at least once a week?
Figure out what you can realistically do, and make up a routine that works for you.
The important thing to do is focus more on the "hot zones", the areas of your home where your pets spend most of their time. So if there is a room or area of the home where your pet spends a lot of time, make sure to clean that part of your home more frequently.
I like to do the "must dos" cleaning task daily, like the dishes and emptying the trash and cleaning up a hot zone, and then pick one extra item to do everyday. I split my house into 4 general zones and focus on deeper cleaning one of the four zones a week for the extra item. It keeps the house pretty clean overall and still makes the task of cleaning the house manageable.
With these solutions, your house will start smelling better in no time! Are there any remedies that you rely on to reduce pet odors in your home? If so, feel free to share! (Remember to save and share this articles. This is one of our Always Fresh Articles - articles that are updated several times a year with the latest recommendations and tips - so when you need it, the info is the best current available info for you.)
Originally published August 2012 and last updated October 2016.