How to Get Dog Smells Out of Your House (An 8-Step DIY Guide)

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated October 11, 2022
Golden retriever puppy lying on a yellow armchair
Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial / Moment / Getty Images

Send those dog odors packing (yes, we're fur real)

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Most dog owners consider their four-legged companions to be like family. But even the biggest pup lovers may plug their noses when the chronic smell of wet or stinky dogs enters their home.

Fortunately, eliminating dog smells in your home isn't too difficult if you're willing to put in the work. We’ll help teach you how to get dog smells out of your house so you can get back to that game of fetch. 

Why Do I Have Dog Smells in My Home?

The cause of dog smells can vary, but surfaces such as your carpet, furniture upholstery, dog beds, and even dog toys can hold onto these odors and leave them lingering in your home. Along with giving your dog's fur a good rinse with some shampoo, these are the areas you should target to reduce these scents.

A dog's fur contains bacteria and yeast that produce that typical "dog" smell. And, while a bit of doggy slobber let loose during a game of fetch may seem like no biggie, a dog’s teeth, tongue, and gums can be a breeding ground for bacteria that, left unchecked, can result in yucky smells.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Dog Smell?

How much you’ll pay to rid that pesky dog odor from your home depends on just how intense it is and how much ground you will need to cover. Hiring a pro to clean your home typically costs between $120 to $235 on average, but if they need to deep clean your carpets or perform other intense cleaning tasks, this can drive the price up significantly.

Hiring a cleaning company offers the benefit of experience, as well as special tools and cleaning products designed to eliminate smells at their source. Because each situation is different, speaking with a local house cleaning pro will help you get the most accurate price estimate for you. Just make sure you specify that you’d like to get rid of pet smells when you hire them, so they use the right tools and products for the job.

Prepping to Remove Dog Smells In Your Home

A dog on the carpet in the living room
Photo: FollowTheFlow / Adobe Stock

If you're going to eliminate dog odors on your own, you'll need to make a trip to the store or order supplies online. For a complete clean, you'll want to get:

  • Dog shampoo

  • Pet stain removal spray

  • Rags

  • A bucket

Having a mop and vacuum handy will also be helpful. Oh, and once you clean your wet dog, you'll need to keep him or her away from furniture and carpet surfaces while you tackle the rest of your house. A good game plan here might be sending your pup on a playdate or having a family member take them for a fun outing.

How to Get Dog Smells Out of Your House

Following a few steps to eliminate dog smells from your house can set you up for success and a better-smelling home. 

1. Clean Your Dog

Go to the source: Even the cleanest house won't stay smelling that way for long if your dog needs a bath.

You may choose to do a DIY clean in the bath with some basic dog shampoo or use a pet grooming service. Don’t forget to clean their teeth for good oral health and to prevent bad breath odors.

2. Vacuum Your Home (Then Do It Again)

Remove as much fur as you can with a vacuum before advancing to the next steps. Make sure to go over all carpets, targeting corners or areas that your dog frequents the most.

If your pet likes to sleep on a particular couch or chair, use the hose extension to get as much fur out of these sections as you can. Even when you think you’ve gotten it all, giving your surfaces another once-over with the vacuum never hurts.

3. Search For and Remove Pet Stains

Accidents happen. Cleaning up pet stains, while not the most fun thing, is just part of having a pet. But urine and fecal stains can leave really displeasing scents in your home, so you should work hard to get rid of these using pet stain removal products. Be sure to read and follow any instructions that come with the cleaner.

While the best time to clean these stains is right after the accident happens, if you suspect serious pet stains to be lingering around your house, invest in a black light. A simple UV flashlight costs $12 online and in a dark room can help you find problems you might otherwise miss.

4. Clean Your Carpets

Carpet fibers can be a haven for the bacteria and yeast a dog's fur leaves behind. Not only can dog fur make its way into your floors, but carpets can also be a vessel for anything else your dog carries into the home—dirt, leaves, dander, etc. 

You can rent a steam cleaner for 24 hours for around $30 from home improvement stores. Keep in mind that hot water and chemicals might bring up old scents locked deep into the carpet, which is why ventilation (step eight) is super important later on, but opening a window at this stage is also a good idea.

If your entire carpet smells, it's quite likely that the source of the odor has made its way into the carpet padding. In this case, you're probably better off hiring a local professional carpet cleaner to replace or deep clean the pad.

5. Clean Your Furniture

Like carpet, upholstery can also hold onto pet smells. Fortunately, there's a simple remedy for furniture that's safe to use around your dog and family: baking soda.

Sprinkle baking soda onto furniture that smells and leave it overnight. Baking soda acts as a natural neutralizer and absorbs smells. In the morning, vacuum your furniture thoroughly. Just a note: Although baking soda is safe to use around dogs, they shouldn’t consume it, especially in large amounts, so be sure to close this room off to your furry friends while the baking soda is working its magic.

In the meantime, pop machine-washable cushions and pillows into the washer.

6. Remove (or Replace) Your Dog's Bed

As with your furniture, sprinkling baking soda on your dog's bed can help neutralize any odors. 

If the dog bed is old or seems to be past its prime, you might consider simply replacing your dog bed with a new one. 

7. Clean Your Dog's Toys

Most of these steps have focused on eliminating things like pet urine and dog hair, but a dog's saliva can also be a source of odors in your home, especially if they have chronically bad breath (sorry, buddy). 

To clean your dog's toys, mix warm water and baking soda (1 quart water for every 3 tablespoons of baking soda) and let them soak in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes. Wring out water from any plush toys and let them dry outside.

A trip to the doggy dentist might be worth it if you're really trying to eliminate all smells.

8. Air Out Your Home

Once you've cleaned everything, open up windows and turn on fans to help get any leftover scents out of your home. Otherwise, they could settle back into susceptible surfaces.

This step is especially important if you've cleaned any surface using water, such as steam cleaning your carpets or spraying pet stain solutions into furniture.

Tips for Keeping Dog Smell Out

Although some minimal pet smells will probably always be present, some upkeep can help keep your home smelling great. Going forward, there are a few things you can do to ensure your hard work doesn't fade away:

  • Vacuum regularly (at least once a week).

  • Invest in an air purifier to help suck up smells.

  • Limit dirty play time for your dog (i.e., avoid mud, standing water, etc.)

  • Brush your dog once a week and dispose of excess fur in the trash.

Adding nice smells can help get rid of minor lingering scents. Fresh flowers, scented candles, and time-released air scent diffusers can all help you achieve this goal. Just be sure any scent you buy is dog-safe, as some essential oils can be dangerous for pets.

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

You can certainly tackle most tasks involved in getting rid of pet smells, especially if the issue is limited to certain areas or rooms of your house. However, if, say, your entire home smells like pet odors, and you're getting ready to sell, it could make sense to have a pro deep clean your home.

Hiring a professional carpet cleaner also might make sense if you suspect the scents are locked deep into the carpet pad. If your dog is prone to accidents and is beyond his puppy stage, you may consider pulling up the carpet and using the cement or hardwood floors beneath.

Frequently Asked Questions

We love our pets, but a dog's fur, gums, teeth, and butt can all be sources of lingering smells that affect your home. If your dog is wet or dirty from playing outside, they can easily bring these scents into your house as well.

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