How to Get Rid of Pet Odors in Your Home

Our four-legged companions often leave behind lingering odors on our couches, bedding, carpets, and more—luckily, they're easy to remove with a few basic tricks and cleaning supplies.

Cleaning, pets, red cat lying on the bed and close-up of a vacuum cleaner brush
Photo: Valeriy_G / GETTY IMAGES

For as much as we love our four-legged family members, they sometimes make our clothes, furniture, and bedding at home smell less than ideal. Whether you have a dog that loves to dig in the dirt or a cat that spends a little too much time in its litter box, unwelcome odors are an inevitable part of owning a pet. But when those smells linger it can feel impossible to get them out of your home—which is why it's helpful to know a few pet odor removal tips that will quickly eliminate your furry friend's smells from your space for good.

Vacuum Regularly

It's no secret that many pets shed. When their fur builds up on surfaces it can leave behind lingering odors. To prevent this from happening, it's important to regularly vacuum any areas of your home where pets are welcome—that includes floors, couch cushions, pillows, carpets, and beyond.

Remove Odors

How to Remove Odors on Fabric

Use Vinegar

As far as natural cleaners go, vinegar is one of the best. It's especially effective at removing stains and odors when your pet has an accident inside your home. "To get pet urine smells out, spray vinegar directly on the stain, and then use a microfiber cloth to rub the urine and vinegar out of the rug," says Kelley Dodge of Only Natural Pet. "Keep scrubbing the stain with vinegar and cloth until the stain is gone and the odor is not there." Put a clean microfiber towel on the wet spot and apply pressure to get more of the stain out.

Use an Enzymatic Cleaner

All pet smells are not created equally. This is why it's important to first determine what the smell is from and then choose the appropriate cleaner for the surface. "For general carpet accidents, like an upset stomach, it's best to have an enzymatic cleaner on hand," says Dodge. "This will work fast and effectively to remove new stains and odors. Spray the cleaner on the odorous area, then pat the spot with a microfiber cloth.

How to Remove Odors on Hardwood

Much like carpet stains require their own special treatment, so do pets stains and odors on hardwood floors. If you catch an accident early, cleaning hardwood floors can be as easy as using a mop and hot water to prevent smells from setting in. "Unfortunately, if you're away when the accident happens, stains and especially odor, can absorb into the wood," says Dodge. "Enzymatic cleaners work well to break down and draw out these stains."

Use Your Washing Machine

Take some of the maintenance off of you by investing in rug, blankets, and other textiles that are machine washable. "Use washable rugs in your home if possible," says Kadi Dulude, founder of Wizard of Homes. "Ruggable makes very affordable and beautiful rugs that can be put into the washer if spot-cleaning the rug is no longer working to keep the smell out."

Bathe Your Pets Regularly

While odors can certainly come from your pet having an accident, most pet odors come from your pet's fur. If you don't want your belongings to smell like your furry companion, then you may want to consider giving them a weekly bath—or more often if they get dirty. "Bathe pets with gentle, natural shampoos, or use grooming sprays for a quick spritz in between bath times to keep them clean and fresh-smelling," Dodge says.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles