Have you ever walked into your friend’s house for the first time and you suddenly get hit in the face with a powerful dog smell?
You know the smell. It smells like frito feet, dirt, and dust all blended into one distinct, yucky smell.
I don’t know about you, but when I smell houses like this, I usually don’t want to stay very long. Even if your house looks clean, the dog smell can be unbearable for many.
Fortunately, there are several natural ways to get rid of the dog smell in your house, and we will be going over all of them today!
Air Out the House
The first way to start getting the dog smell out of your house is to air out your house.
By opening up all of the windows and doors, you’ll be letting in a steady cross breeze of fresh air and pushing out the “dog house” air. Just make sure that your dog is secure and isn’t able to run out the front door and escape!
I like to do this daily in the spring and the fall when the weather is nice and cool. It really makes a big difference.
Buy Air Purifier
Since it can be difficult to air out your house in the summer and winter months, buying an air filter is another great way to dissipate a dog smell in the house.
I like to keep one in the bedroom and another one in the living room where the dogs spend the most time.
I purchased the Levoit Air Purifier (affiliate link) from Amazon, and it does a fantastic job of cleaning the air. It sucks up all of the dog smell and instead cleans the air so it smells like fresh snow!
This is also a great idea if there are any family members with pet allergies. My husband’s sneezing at night dramatically decreased after we put a filter in the bedroom. And the pups still sleep in our bed!
Unlike humans, dogs do not have sweat glands all over their body. But they do sweat…just through their feet! This is a major contributor to the “frito feet” smell that many dogs have.
When your dog walks through your house, they are leaving stinky paw prints across your floors, even if you can’t see them.
Make sure to sweep your floors daily to collect any pet dander and dirt that your dog has left behind.
Once the debris is gone, make sure to mop your floors with vinegar and hot water at least once a week to break down the smell and grime that’s remaining.
You’ll be shocked at how dirty the mop water is, even if your floors looked spotless.
I personally think that carpet is one of the grossest things on the planet.
Coming from Brooklyn, carpet usually meant that your apartment had all sorts of critters living with you, from rats to roaches. For this reason almost all living spaces in New York City are carpet free.
However I know in other parts of the country many homes have carpet installed in them.
Carpets are known for absorbing odors and locking in smells, good or bad. This is especially true if you have a dog.
Dogs track in dirt, sweat, dander, and urine on their feet. When they walk across your carpet, those particles get absorbed.
Don’t forget to add in any accidents your dog may have had in the past. You’d be shocked at the smells and mold locked into the carpet padding underneath your carpet.
The first solution to this is to rip up the carpet all together! You may have beautiful original wood floors you never knew existed. And chances are that if you ever plan on moving, you’ll have to rip up the smelly carpet anyway in order to sell.
If you really do love your carpet though, you can hire a professional to steam your carpet to release all of the trapped smells.
If you don’t want to hire a professional, you can do it yourself with this carpet cleaning vacuum (affiliate link) made just for pets!
Just make sure that your dog does not go on the carpet until it is dry. Do this every 3-4 months to keep the smells minimal.
For in between treatments, sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet and let it sit for one hour. Baking soda is an odor neutralizer, meaning that it takes away bad odors, but leaves no odors behind.
After letting it sit, you can vacuum it up and enjoy a fresh smelling room!
You may not think of it, but your walls may be one of the reasons you have a dog smell in your house.
This is especially true if you have a male dog that likes to raise his leg high in the sky to mark his territory.
There are two ways to fix this.
The first way is to actually cut out the soiled drywall by using a blackout light, (affiliate link) and replacing it all together.
If you want a less serious project, you can use stain-and-odor sealing paint primer (affiliate link) to cover up any soiled walls.
This paint is normally used by contractors that renovate houses where the past owner smoked indoors. The cigarette smell locks into the walls, and this paint is the only thing that covers it up.
Though I’ve recommended it to any friend who had a dog marking problem, and they said it worked great!
Blankets, Pillows, and Dog Beds
Just like carpets, blankets and pillows absorb smells.
If you’re like me and millions of other dog moms, your dog probably sleeps in your bed with you.
After about a week, you’ll start to notice that your blankets and sheets have a “puppy smell”. Make sure to wash your blankets weekly to keep the smell to a minimum.
If you really want to get your clean on, try laundry stripping your blankets once every 6 months to really unlock trapped grime and dirt.
You would be absolutely disgusted at what comes out of your “clean” blankets when you strip them in the bathtub.
This is also a great way to clean your couch if it has cloth covers on it. I stripped my used couch that the dogs lay on every day and the water was black after sitting in the tub for 6 hours.
If your dog has their own beds and blankets, be sure to strip and wash those too for the ultimate clean experience.
Not only do your sheets and blankets trap in your dog’s smell, but your mattress does too.
Just like the padding underneath the carpet, your mattress can trap smells that seep through the sheets. This is especially true if your dog has ever urinated on your bed.
If your dog has ever peed on the bed, you can spray white vinegar on the spots to eliminate odors.
If your mattress just has a regular puppy smell, you can sprinkle baking soda all over and let it sit for one hour. Vacuum it up once you’re done for a fresh mattress.
In addition, make sure to let your mattress sit out in the sun once a year to kill any dust mites and other bacteria that could be adding to the smell.
Along with your dogs pet dander, their saliva can also get pretty stinky.
One of Archie’s favorite hobbies is to slime all over the dog toys, making the whole toy box stink.
An easy solution to this is to simply wash the toys! Many hard chew toys are dishwasher safe. And all of the cloth toys get tossed into the washing machine with the puppy blankets.
The best part about this is that since their toys no longer smell like them, they often get excited thinking they’re brand new!
Change Air Filters
Changing your air filters won’t make a huge difference in eliminating the dog smell in your house. But it will increase the flow of fresh air coming into your house. Especially in the months where you can’t open the windows.
I live in an old house where dust always seems to build up quickly. So I change out my air filters every 4 months.
If your house is less dusty, I recommend checking on them every 6 months to make sure they are clear of dust and pet hair.
Blacklight to Find Remaining Issues
If you’re still having trouble finding the source of the dog smell in your house, I would recommend getting a blacklight to find the source.
Though many cleaning products show up under a blacklight, they will often appear white. Stains from bodily fluids usually will appear as a pale yellow or green.
I had a blast using this blacklight (affiliate link) when I moved into my new apartment.
The previous owner had a dog that they said was well behaved, but the blacklight proved otherwise. There were urine stains on the floors, walls, and doors!
Fascinatingly, my puppy was always marking his territory on these same spots, and I could never figure out why until I whipped out the blacklight.
Now the spots are clean and there are no more house accidents from Archie.
Keep Your Dog Clean
Lastly, if you want to keep the dog smell out of your house, it is important to keep your dog clean!
The American Kennel Club recommends that your dog gets a bath every 4-6 weeks in order to keep the smell to a minimum.
If your dog has a shorter coat, they can go even longer. The rule of thumb being “to bathe your dog when they’re not huggable anymore.”
Also make sure to keep your dog’s nails cut and their paw pads trimmed to limit the amount of dirt that gets stuck to their paws.
If you have a dog, chances are that your house has some level of dog smell in it.
Fortunately, there are many natural solutions to removing the smell, as well as maintaining freshness in your household.
What natural cleaning tips do you use to get rid of the dog smell? Let me know in the comments!
Want to know more about keeping your home fresh? Check out how I keep my 2 dog household clean and organized!