Is dog smell stinking up your house and you want to remove it?

Don’t you absolutely hate it when someone tells you that your house smells like your dog?

We certainly do.

Most pet parents would snap back at them saying that the house belongs to our dog and not pesky guests. But sometimes you can’t help but wonder if it’s true.

Does the house really smell like a dog? Do dogs emit an odor that lingers in the house?

Sadly, the answer is ‘Yes’!

Dogs have a unique smell and odor caused from a number of factors. These odors can seep in to your furniture, curtains/drapes, carpeting and more.

These odors become a big problem for you when you are trying to sell your house.

People don’t want to smell your doggie when they are looking for a new place to live and it is critical that your house smells good when preparing to sell.


picture of dog that looks smelly

Where Do These Dog Odors Come From?


For starters, they secrete natural oils and sweat. Oh yeah, your doggy does sweat despite what you might’ve heard. Perhaps you’ve been neglecting that bath for more time than usual, causing the smell to aggravate.

picture of dirty dogA dog’s diet can also contribute to it. Starchy food with very little omega fatty acids can lead to skin infections, which adds to the odor. (source)

Maybe there’s wax build up in their ears causing the odor. Or your puppy fancies the carpet more than the yard, to mark his turf. Like we said, there can be reasons galore.

Some people, especially pet parents, may find the smell to be a normal part of living with a dog. In fact, our olfactory organs (smell sensory system) is designed to become “blind” to the smells we encounter on a daily basis.

Others though, may find these odors to be quite offensive.  If you are a landlord, then that’s enough reason to lose valuable tenants.

What to do / Where to Start?

Today, we are going to share with you, a bunch of simple techniques which can help get rid of the dog smell from the house permanently. And with some extra effort, you and your pet can live in a home that smells as fresh as a daisy.

It might be a long read. So grab a tub of popcorn, sit back and enjoy it.


picture of wrinkly dog

Cleaning & Eliminating the Sources of Dog Smells in Your Home


The first step involves detecting potential ‘odor traps’ in your home. And believe us when we tell you this, they are EVERYWHERE.

picture of a dog relaxing on couchAs your dog walks, sits, runs, sniffs, licks and goes about their usual doggie business around the house, they are leaving traces of their odor. This gets absorbed in soft furniture, in the carpet, on the floor, on the wall and just about everywhere else, forming what we call ‘odor traps’.

For example, if your puppy peed on your carpet or on the drywall months ago, then that’s a potential odor trap and works like a vent stick, constantly emanating stink.

Then there’s a perpetual supply of dog fur and dander being distributed all over the house which can be invisible to the naked eye.

It might sound overwhelming, but you are going to find out each one of them and eliminate or neutralize them.

Let’s start with the one of the most persistent odor sources, doggie urine.

Step 1: Find Old Dog Messes with a Blacklight

Tools needed to find old dog messes

Product NameAmount Needed
LED Ultraviolet Blacklight Pet Urine Detector1
Masking Tape1-2 Rolls

Method: Grab a black light or an Ultraviolet light. Turn off the lights in the room if you are doing this after dark.

Else, pull the drapes. Make the room as dark as possible.

Wear your safety goggles because this might take longer than you expect, especially if you have multiple rooms to check.

Take the painter’s tape and get started.

Turn on the black light and hold it two feet above the ground. Take a walk around the room.

picture of dog stains under a blacklightYou will be greeted with a splatter of stains and marks that were invisible to you earlier. There will be all sorts of colors too.  Fluorescent white, green, blue, yellow.

You’ve got to keep an eye out for the brownish yellow marks or the greenish yellow ones.

Those are the urine spots.

Mark the spots using tape and reconfirm that it is urine using your old, reliable olfactory sense.

You might be surprised to find traces of urine in places that you thought you’d cleaned, especially the carpet.

Urine when absorbed into the carpet can also spread under the main padding. In such cases, mark the outline of the entire stain to ensure that you clean it thoroughly.

Repeat this process in all the rooms.

Step 2: Vacuum Everywhere

Tools needed to vacuum properly

Product NameAmount Needed
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Vacuum1
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum1

Method: Now that you have identified the old urine spots, it’s time to vacuum the entire house before you start to clean them.

If you have an old clunker for a vacuum, then it might not cut the mustard.

Upgrading to a specialized doggie vacuum can do you a world of good. These machines have extra suction power and special attachments that allow you to reach into tiny nooks and crevices that might be hiding doggie stuff.

Recommendation: Check out the best vacuums for pet hair on Amazon here.


picture of a man vacuuming dog hairBut if that’s not an option, then even a normal vacuum will do, provided it has enough attachments and suction power to absorb even the tiniest trace of dander, fur and scents.

Start with the floor.

If the room is carpeted, then vacuum the carpets twice just to make sure.

Do the same with mats, rugs, cushions and other soft furniture.

When you vacuum the furniture, don’t forget to vacuum under it.

Which are your dog’s favorite spots in the house? These need to be vacuumed twice as well.

When vacuuming the couch, use the nozzle attachments to reach into the corners.

Step 3: Use an Enzyme Cleaner for Old Pet Messes

Tools needed to clean old pet messes

Product NameAmount Needed
Enzyme-Powered Pet Odor & Stain Remover for Dog Urine2-6

Method: An Enzyme cleaner is a biological compound that helps to break down the molecules in biological substances like starch, oil and protein.

picture of a man with enzyme cleanersDog urine is made up of proteins and the enzymes in the cleaner are the best, foolproof way to completely break them down.

Grab the bottle of the enzyme cleaner. Pour a few drops or spray on the previously identified spots.

Let the enzymes soak in and do their work for at least 30 minutes.

Sometimes, it might take much longer to work and take repeated attempts. There’s no fixed rule to this.

The only way to be sure that the urine scent is completely eliminated, is to repeat the black light test again after cleaning the spots.

At times, tiny traces of urine might be left behind. Repeat the process until it is completely cleaned.

Tip: You can also use the enzyme cleaner to remove traces of dog poop.

Step 4: Steam Clean the Carpets

Tools needed to steam clean the carpets

Product NameAmount Needed
Bissell Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner1
Bissell Professional Pet Urine Elimator with Oxy and Febreze Carpet Cleaner Shampoo1-3

Method: Steam Cleaning is a superior cleaning method that uses hot water and a detergent of your choice.

(You can also swap the detergent with Vinegar if you wish to use a natural product instead of synthetic cleaners.)

picture of a carpet being shampooedUnlike conventional vacuuming, which helps to remove most dirt and debris stuck near the surface, steam cleaning uses high pressure and steam to penetrate into the tiny pores of your carpet and dislodges any dirt, debris or dander that may be trapped there.

Any grime or fecal matter stuck in the carpet will be melted due to the hot water.

That’s what makes it so effective in deodorizing a home.

Remove all the furniture from the room if possible. If that’s too difficult, then move it all to one side of the room and clean the room in two halves.

Start from one corner and make long passes from one end of the room to the other.

By the way, if this is the first time you are steam cleaning the carpet, then take some time to read the instructions on how the machine works. Some have a push-pull working mechanism whilst others only need to be pushed.

Make repeat passes if your carpet is wet even after the water is sucked into the cleaner.

Step 5: Deep Clean the Hard Floors

Tools needed to deep clean the hard floors

Product NameAmount Needed
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Vacuum1
Hardwood Floor Cleaner1-2
Hardwood Floor Wax/Polish (optional)1-2

Method: If you vacuumed the entire house earlier, then there’s no need to redo it for the hardwood floors.

picture of a woman mopping the floor with a dogJust grab a broom and sweep the floor thoroughly. You can also use a mop with a microfiber head and treat it with a dusting agent to remove dust and pet hair.

After dusting, damp-mop the floor to give it a complete scrub.

Grab a sponge or a mop, dunk it in the water (you can add a hardwood floor cleaner), wring it well to ensure that it’s almost dry and then mop the floor.

Once again, start from the corners and make passes across the room.

If the cleaning solution instructs you to mop the floor again with a clean cloth, then do it.

Else, just ensure that there’s no standing water that can damage the hardwood floor.

Power your ceiling fan on to allow the room to dry completely.

If there are any pet stains, then you can use floor wax with ‘000 steel wool’ to cover the stains.

If this doesn’t work, vinegar might help remove the stains.

You can wax the area again after the stain is removed.

Step 6: Deep Clean the Furniture

Tools needed to deep clean the furniture

Product NameAmount Needed
Cleaning Towels1
Lint Free Cleaning Cloth1
Pet Stain & Odor Miracle - Enzyme Furniture Cleaner1-2

Method: There are many ways to deep clean the furniture at home. Some of them are more time consuming than others.

In the end it all boils down to how thoroughly you feel the furniture needs cleaning.

picture of wiping down furniture with cleaner and ragIf you were diligent with your weekly dusting routines for wooden furniture, then you can just opt for the easiest method.

If not, then it might take multiple passes on the furniture to completely remove pet hair.

Start by using a lint-free cloth to wipe the wooden furniture. If there’s a lot of dust then it might get dislodged into the air and settle on the carpet or on other furniture, negating the effort that you’ve just put in.

So, you can dampen the cloth a little before you wipe.

You may also use a lamb’s wool brush because the static energy created in the bristles help to trap dust and debris completely.

After wiping with a damp cloth, use a clean dry rag to wipe the furniture again.

Tip: The cloth must only be damp, not soaking wet.

If you are using cleaners, then always use it in an inconspicuous part of the furniture first to check whether it affects the surface stain.

If your couches and soft furnishings have removable covers, then remove them and toss them into the machine for a quick wash. Any dark spots or stains can be removed with baking soda.

If not, then you can use any brush with soft bristles to dust the upholstery before using a damp cloth to wipe it.

Fabrics like leather and silk will need to be treated more delicately. Either use plain water or use water diluted with vinegar. Ensure that you don’t saturate the fabric with water. Remove any remaining water with a dry cloth.

Step 7: Give Your Doggie a Bath

Tools needed to give your doggie a bath

Product NameAmount Needed
Smelly Puppy Dog Shampoo1
Dog Drying Towel1

Method: This method is for pets that are acclimatized to the bath routine.

Take the dog brush and brush the dog’s coat gently to remove any mats. If your dog breed is double coated, then use a specialized brush, like the Furminator to brush the undercoat.

picture of a dog getting a bathGet everything ready. Plug your dog’s ears with cotton balls.

Check the water temperature before you begin. Your dog only needs lukewarm water.

Start off by wetting the entire body starting from the shoulders. Now apply dog shampoo and work up a lather by making small concentric circles.

Making a thick lather near the shoulders prevents fleas and other pests from making a beeline for the face area when the rest of the body is being washed.

If you have a brachycephalic (flat nosed) breed, then gently lift the folds of skin and clean inside. You will need to calm the dog down, especially if they are not used to frequent cleaning in the folds.

Let the dog rest for a while with the shampoo on their body. This allows the shampoo to soak into the dog hair and also neutralizes the odor.

The dog will now try his best to shake the water off their body. If you have a large dog breed, this can translate into an impromptu doggie shower for you too.

But it’s best to let the dogs do this before you soak the water using dry towels.

Once again, it might take a lot of dry towels to completely dry the dog’s body. Do not vigorously scrub your dog with the towel to dry them. Instead, gently pat dry the dog with the towel.

Always treat them to appreciate good bath behavior.

Step 8: Wash Your Dogs Bed and Blankets

Tools needed to wash the dogs bed and blankets

Product NameAmount Needed
Odor Removing Laundry Detergent1

We told you it’s going to be a long read. But we are getting there.

picture of woman doing laundryNext up is your pet’s bed which will be crammed to the brim with hair, drool, urine drops, traces of fecal matter as well as grass, dirt, water, ticks, fleas and other things if FIDO loves the outdoors.

Always check the manufacturer’s instructions before you wash the dog’s bed and blanket. If it is machine washable, then the task becomes a lot easier.

Just remove the cover and toss into the machine with some mild detergent and a tablespoon or two of vinegar to remove the debris.

The foam bed can be hand washed in the bath tub.

Just fill the tub with water, add mild detergent and vinegar and submerge the foam in it. Allow it to soak in the water for at least 8-10 hours. Now drain the dirty water, wring the foam to drain out the remaining dirty water and fill the tub again with clean water.

Submerge the foam in it again for a few minutes and compress it to clean it completely.

Now allow it to air dry.

If the instructions allow the bed to be dried in a dryer, then use the highest heat setting for 10-15 minutes to kill any parasites that might be clinging on to it.

Step 9: Clean Your Dogs Crate

Tools needed to clean the dogs crate

Product NameAmount Needed
Natural All Purpose Cleaner1
Cleaning Vinegar1
Scrub Brush1

Method: Remove the bedding, water bottle, feeder and toys from the crate.

Take it outdoors, grab a mop or a brush and sweep the crate to remove hair, fecal matter and dirt.

picture of a dog in their crateNow connect the garden hose to the water supply and wash the crate at the highest pressure setting.

Mix a cup of vinegar to two gallons of water and spray it all around the crate. Let the vinegar solution soak for half an hour.

Some people prefer using a household cleaner instead of vinegar. That’s perfectly okay as long as it isn’t too toxic for your pets.

Cleaners with ammonia are best avoided because they tend to smell like urine and might coax the dog into peeing again inside the cage.

After 30 minutes, take a close look at the sides, the removable bottom tray and the door. There might be clumps of fecal matter, large clumps of fur, especially in the parts where your dog rubs his body.

Remove these manually with a scrub brush and hose the cage one more time. Allow it to air dry.

P.S. If you do not have access to a garden hose, then take two large buckets of water and rinse the entire cage pouring small amounts at a time.

Step 10: Wash Your Bed’s Comforter and Sheets

Tools needed to wash beds comforter and sheets

Product NameAmount Needed
Baking Soda1
Odor Removing Laundry Detergent1

Method: Your comforter might be harboring dust mites as well as dander, especially if your dog jumps up into bed in excitement every morning.

picture of bad smelling dog blanketThankfully, most comforters and sheets are machine washable. Just ensure that you read the label to check for any special instructions, like dry cleaning only.

If there are any stains on the comforter, then spot clean them before you toss it into the machine. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to remove the stains.

Check if the comforter fits into the machine. Some large comforters will need to be washed in a commercial laundromat because stuffing them into a household machine can damage the fill.

Select the appropriate settings, add detergent and rinse.

While hot water works best for cleaning comforters and sheets, it will depend on the manufacturer’s instructions.

After rinsing, move it to the dryer and add some tennis balls which will allow even weight distribution and the filling from clumping up unevenly.

Dry at the appropriate temperature pausing it every 30 minutes or so to fluff the comforter.

It might take hours until it is fully dried. You can also remove and air dry it for a while.

Step 11: Wash Your Dog’s Toys

Tools needed to wash dog toys

Product NameAmount Needed
Baking Soda1
Cleaning Vinegar1

Method: Your dog’s toys can be a grody mess of drool, dirt, fleas and what not.

Yet, cleaning doggie toys is one of the most overlooked aspects of pet hygiene. Ideally, you should be cleaning your dog’s toys once a week.

picture of dirty dog toysBut if you are guilty of procrastinating it, then it’s not too late.

Instead of using toxic cleaning solutions, we will only use white vinegar to clean the toys.

Grab all the hard toys and line them up on the top most rack of the dishwasher. Add vinegar and run one full cycle.

Allow the toys to dry completely.

For the soft toys, we will use the washing machine. Just sprinkle them with baking soda or add a combination of white vinegar and water in place of the detergent. Run on the gentle cycle, wring out the dirty water and air dry.

If you do not wish to use the machine, then you can submerge them in the bath tub, just like you did with the dog bed.

Step 12: Consider Painting Walls, Trim & Ceilings

A lot of people get irritated when they discover that after scrubbing every inch of the house, washing all the linen, spraying it with gallons of vinegar and even bleach, a faint hint of the dog smell still remains in the house.

picture of woman painting wallsIf that’s the case with your home too, then it might well be in the walls.

When a dog repeatedly pees on the drywall, it can get saturated with urine and the only possible way to remove the odor is to prime and paint the walls with an odor-sealant paint.

The other option of course is to strip down the drywall which can be an expensive chore that you can easily avoid.

While you are at it, paint the baseboards, the trims and the ceilings too.

Normal paint might not be effective at sealing the odor mind you.

That’s it folks! You have just completed the gregarious task of removing every possible, potential odor trap from your home.

By now, your home should be smelling like a fresh paint of coat.

But you’ve got to keep it that way, don’t you? And that will always be a challenge with your dog living with you.

No, we are not suggesting that you don’t keep a pet at home. Instead, you can easily prevent your home from smelling like a dog again by following a few simple methods.


picture of a cute doggie

Proactively Preventing Dog Odors from Returning


Here are a few proactive steps that you can take to ensure that your home doesn’t go back to smelling like your dog within the next few weeks.

  • Open the Windows: Is that so difficult? Yet most homeowners shun from opening the windows in their home once every day. When the weather permits, open all the windows in the house and allow the breeze to air out the freshly painted rooms. This will help the paint to dry as well as dissipate the chemical odor. More importantly, it will also help remove any faint dog odor that might be clinging on to your home. Even in the winters, you can open one window at a time allowing airflow into the home.
  • Use a HEPA Air Purifier: An Air purifier with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter will trap most of the pet hair and dander that become airborne. This can prevent them from settling on the furniture and walls. Even better, this will also trap dust and other allergens in the air. However, most HEPA air purifiers are small units intended for use in a room. You might need multiple units to cover the entire home. Always check the filtration capacity of the purifier before you buy it. Lucky for you, we reviewed 9 of the best air purifier for pets so that you can choose which one works for your home.
  • Change your home’s air filters: The air filters in your home should be checked at least once a week if you have pets. And changed once every three months. This will prevent allergens and odor bombs from recirculating in the house.
  • Absorb Smells with a Deodorizer: Having a deodorizer handy allows you to target pet stinks before they get absorbed into the furnishing or the carpet. You can use any store brand pet deodorizer. But even a mixture of water and white vinegar works. If you find the aroma of Vinegar offensive (it will dissipate after a while), you can add some lavender oil or any other essential oil to this. Keep it ready in a sprayer and spray around home before you open the windows.
  • Regularly Clean Your Home, Dog & Accessories: Make dusting and cleaning a weekly or bi-weekly habit and stick to the schedule. It can be a chore and a long one at that. But regularly cleaning your furniture, flooring, carpets and linen prevents the house from smelling like pets. The same goes for your dog and their accessories. Bathe your dogs regularly, brush them after their walks, clean dog beds, toys and crates. Schedule a deep cleaning session once every two months during which all the laundry, cushion covers and carpets undergo vigorous cleaning.
  • Groom your pet: Apart from the bathing, keep an eye on your pet’s coat, dental health, nails and ear health. Watch out for signs of an infection, like excessive scratching, rubbing the face on the ground or compulsive licking of the paws. The sooner you treat the infection, faster the chances of recover and fewer the chances of it leading to an odor situation.
  • Immediately Clean Dog Accidents: If your dog makes a mess, make it a priority to clean it immediately. If it is urine, feces or vomit, use an enzyme cleaner and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes. The more the better as it allows the enzymes to break down the proteins completely. Use a rag and clean the mess before allowing it to air dry. Recheck for traces of the mess using the black light.


Final Thoughts on Ridding your Home of Dog Odors


Living with a pet does not necessarily mean that you have to make do with a house that stinks.

picture of happy dog and familyWith regular cleaning schedules and pet grooming sessions, you should be able to neutralize most of the odor.

Please remember that some of the above mentioned steps might seem like overkill at times. But if your house is reeking of dog odor, then each one of these steps might be necessary to completely remove it. There’s no two ways about it.

Once you remove the dog smell from your home, check out our guides on the best air purifiers for smoke smells and  how to get rid of musty smells in your basement to make sure those odors are not a problem too!

Also, once the source of bad odors has been eliminated and purified, check out our best essential oil diffuser recommendations to indulge in some aromatherapy.

Do you feel that we missed out on anything?

Is there anything that you want to add to this?

Do share it with us. We would love to hear about it.


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