Seven Things You Haven't Tried Doing to Get Pet Odors Out of Your Home
From the stench of cat litter to that discernable wet-dog smell, having pets can mean that your home is less than fragrant. While some conventional cleaners-like bleach and all-purpose sprays-can get pet smells out of carpets, bedding, and other surfaces, they're not always effective or even safe for use around animals. And if you've tried everything you can think of to rid your home of pet odors without success, it could be time for something new. Here are seven deodorizing methods you can try next.
Rinse with vinegar before washing.
For items that you can toss in the washing machine-think: your bedding, pets' beds, and even sofa covers-do a "rinse" cycle with a quarter to a half cup of white vinegar before washing on a regular cycle, suggests Rachel Reisner, certified professional pet sitter, who adds that old, resistant odors might need two rinse cycles compared to fresh odors. This trick works with odors caused by "urine, feces, vomit, and that 'wet, furry animal' smell," Reisner says.
Keep a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water handy.
An accident on areas such as a carpet or furniture can be treated with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar, Reisner says. Simply combine the ingredients in an empty spray bottle and douse the affected area. Let it sit, "then just wipe it away," Reisner explains.
Sprinkle smelly spots with baking soda.
Still can't get the smell out of your carpet? Grab baking soda, sprinkle it on the smell, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, vacuum everything up. "Baking soda is a natural odor absorber, which is why we keep it in the fridge to control food smells," says Reisner.
Use an enzyme cleaner.
Enzyme cleaners, such as Anti Icky Poo or Nature's Miracle, can work wonders on feces and urine odors, Reisner says, because they eat away at the bacteria that causes those smells. "Spray on and let it sit. Then you might need to blot it and let the area dry."
Place activated charcoal sachets in strategic places.
Much like baking soda, activated charcoal can absorb pet odors. (Plus, they're easy-and inexpensive-to buy on Amazon.) Reisner says using them is as simple as placing the sachets where the odor is and letting the charcoal do its work. Leaving them near problem areas-such as where you keep the cat litter-can help prevent odors from spreading too.
Wash your litter box with vinegar.
If all-purpose cleaners haven't rid odors from your litter boxes, then try rinsing them with vinegar. "Plastic absorbs odors, so washing a litter box every week or two-in addition to daily scooping-will do a lot to help minimize litter box odors," Reisner says. If that doesn't do the trick, it could be time to replace your boxes. (You should do so once a year, she says.)
Move your litter boxes.
Unfortunately, litter boxes aren't always out of sight and mind. In fact, keeping litter boxes in smaller spaces-such as a closet-could make pet odors worse, warns Reisner. "Putting the litter box in a small closet will concentrate the litter box odors there," she explains. And while it may not be ideal to have a litter box where you can see it, if it's possible to move it to a larger, more open area-such as a laundry or mudroom-you may notice less odor.