Experts share their best advice on treating all kinds of stains and smells.
cat carpet stain
Credit: Getty / krblokhin

For as much as we love our four-legged family members, they can make our clothes, furniture, and bedding at home smell, well, pretty funky. Even worse, our beloved pets can leave behind odorous stains, which can be particularly tricky to remove from certain materials. "Pet stains on carpet can be especially stubborn to get rid of," says Kelley Dodge of Only Natural Pet, "given how porous carpet fibers are and how absorbent the padding underneath can be."

So, what to do when all your stuff at home smells like Fido? For starters, you can invest in rugs and other textiles that are washing machine-friendly. "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."

Looking for some more foolproof tips for getting rid of pet odors at home? We asked our experts for advice on how to naturally remove these pesky smells from our belongings, and here's what they had to say.

Start with vinegar.

Let's face it, the smell of pet urine is the worst. Luckily, Dulude says urine stains can easily be removed with the help of vinegar. "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," she says. "Keep scrubbing the stain with vinegar and cloth until the stain is gone and the odor is not there. Put a clean microfiber on the wet spot and apply pressure to get more of the stain out."

Treat each carpet stain differently.

All pet smells are not created equally. Which is why Dodge says it's important to start by determining the type of stain—urine, vomit, and so forth) and then choosing the appropriate cleaner for the surface. "For general carpet accidents, like an upset stomach, it's best to have an enzymatic cleaner on hand," she says. "This will work fast and effectively to remove new stains and odors. If it's a set-in stain, a couple rounds of an oxy-powered cleaner can help break down and remove the offending spot. For dog urine, especially marking, it's best to use a combination probiotic cleaner and no marking spray, such as our No Marking Deterrent Spray, to avoid any possible staining in the future."

Hardwood matters.

Much like carpet stains require their own special treatment, so do pets stains and odors on hardwood floors. "[Cleaning] hardwood floors can be as simple as [using] a mop and hot water if you get to it early enough," Dodge explains. "Unfortunately, if you're away when the accident happens, stains and especially odor, can absorb into the wood. Enzymatic cleaners work well to break down and draw out these stains."

Try some TLC for furniture smells and stains.

Nothing's worse than sitting on furniture soiled by foul pet smells. Fortunately, Dodge says with a little effort (and the right cleaner) you can treat the stain—and teach your dog to not do it again. "First, find the spot on your furniture that your dog has chosen and treat it with a plant-based, no marking spray to keep them from returning," she says. "When you see your dog pass it up, offer encouraging words and some healthy natural treats to reinforce the positive behavior. After your dog has stopped marking and showing interest in the spot, start using a probiotic based cleaner or oxy-powered cleaner to break down the set-in stains."

Keep your pets nice and clean.

If you don't want your stuff to smell like a stinky dog, then you might want to consider giving them a weekly bath—or more 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.


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