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How To Get Rid Of Pet Odor In The House: 12 Practical Options

couple in a smelly house

Having a house that smells like your dog can be embarrassing. It leaves many people wondering how to get rid of their home’s pervasive dog smell without getting rid of their pooch. Pet odor can cause people to stop entertaining and frantically search for the source of the smell. In many cases, the smell is coming from everywhere at once. This is a discouraging experience, but it is reversible. There are many reasons to want your house to smell fresh and clean again, and there are an equal number of ways to get rid of pet odor. Pet odor is not permanent.

Here are 12 practical options to get rid of lingering pet odors in the house.

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Top 12 Ways to Get Pet Odor in the House

1. Clean With Enzyme Cleaners

One of the most underrated cleaning materials is enzyme-based soap. There are specially designed cleaners that are made to specifically break down the microscopic structures that cause dog odor. Cleaning an area that has been occupied by a pet without using enzyme cleaners could leave invisible traces of your pet behind that will continue to cause odors.

Enzyme cleaners are not expensive, and they are readily available at most stores. There are enzyme cleaners designed specifically for both cats and dogs to provide the best results for your specific situation. You can even mix the two if you have a house with both types of pets.


Are you looking for an enzyme cleaner that can keep your house clean and your pet happy? We recommend the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray, which permanently gets rid of the most stubborn stains and smells. There’s even a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you can try this cleaner risk-free! Click here to order your first bottle.

At House Grail, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool cat company!

2. Steam Clean

Steam cleaning is one of the most effective ways to clean surfaces and get rid of pet odors. Steam cleaners can be rented (or purchased) and are excellent at getting hard floors and soft furniture clean. Steam cleaning has been proven to effectively clean and eliminate odors of all kinds, especially pet odor.

Giving your house a good once-over with a high-quality steam cleaner can be an effective first step in ridding your house of pet odors for good.

3. Change Your Air Filter

If you are wondering if your house has an air filter, it does. If you have to think about where the air filter is or what size it is, it is likely well overdue for a change. Air filters fill up with dust and dander from your home, and once they are full, they are no longer effective at trapping unwanted particles circulating in your air ducts.

A dirty air filter allows odor-causing particles to freely circulate throughout your home. Finding your air filter and buying a replacement can quickly improve the air quality inside your home. Be sure to make a note of the size (because there are many) and remember to change it regularly. Buying air filters in packs can help remind you to change them periodically. There are also air filters specifically designed for homes with pets in them.

Replacing the filter in the central ventilation system
Image Credit: VidEst, Shutterstock

4. Use Natural Air Fresheners

Natural air fresheners are a great way to help combat pet odor inside. Artificial air fresheners work by pumping your home full of artificial smells to help cover up bad odors. Natural air fresheners can help reduce pet odors with equal or greater efficiency without using chemicals that might upset your pet. Great natural air fresheners include lemon juice, baking soda, and lavender. There are many more out there that are sure to be a perfect fit for your home.

After cleaning, put out some natural air fresheners to keep the smells away while enhancing the air quality inside your house.

5. Immediately Clean Up After Pets

Cleaning up after your pet might sound like common sense, but time is of the essence. The faster you can get to a mess made by your pets, the more likely you are to eliminate the stench before it can set in. As soon as you see your pet making a mess, pick up the droppings and clean the area thoroughly. Use vinegar, enzyme cleaners, or baking soda for the best results. Do not let wet spots sink in. Always dry everything as completely as possible.

If you suspect that your pet might be sneaking out of view to do their business or is doing it while you are not home, make sure you go around and identify the suspected spots as quickly as possible for the best results.

cleaning cat litter tray
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

6. Keep Pets Clean

Most people shower every day to keep themselves smelling fresh. But how often do you bathe your pets? Animals need to be bathed periodically as well. This is especially true of dogs. If you aren’t regularly giving your dog a bath, they will start getting stinky. Don’t blame them; you would too.

Dogs need baths more regularly than other animals like cats. Make sure that you are giving your dogs regular baths, especially if they are smelly. It is a good idea to bathe your dogs at the same time you clean their bedding for the best results. There is little purpose to cleaning dog bedding and not the dog, and vice versa.

7. Circulate Air

Keep the air in your home circulating when you are experiencing pet odors. Sometimes pet odors simply build up because a house is stuffy. This happens a lot during the winter months. Open your windows. Turn on fans. Turn the air conditioner on and set it to blow. Get that air moving. Moving air is much less likely to hold a scent than stagnant air.

You can circulate the air before, during, and after cleaning.

ceiling fan
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

8. Invest In a Good Vacuum (And Use It)

Not all vacuums are created equal. There are plenty of vacuums on the market, but only a handful of them are made to take the strain that pet hair puts on a vacuum cleaner. Getting a vacuum specifically designed to tackle pet hair and odor is essential. Regular vacuums can clog and even burn up if too much pet hair enters them and that eventually causes pet hair to be left behind.

After you get a vacuum made to handle your pets, you have to use it regularly. Regularly vacuuming can dramatically cut down on pet odor within your home. This is especially true if you have a pet that sheds a lot. A quality vacuum that is used regularly is the perfect way to get rid of dog odor in the house.

9. Sweep and Mop Regularly

Pet hair is one of the biggest sources of pet odor in a house, and it gets everywhere. Even if you can’t see it, it is likely that there is a fine layer of fine hair covering some surfaces in your house. Don’t worry. That is true of any house that has regular pets. The easiest way to get rid of this pet hair is to sweep and mop regularly. Pet hair doesn’t just get into the carpet. It can also cling to hard flat surfaces as well. Sweeping and mopping regularly is a critical way to reduce and eventually eliminate pet odor in a home.

cleaning the floor
Image Credit: Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock

10. Clean Furniture

One of the biggest repositories of any odor inside a house is furniture – especially soft furniture. Couches, chairs, and beds all trap odor and let it slowly out into the air. Cleaning these pieces of furniture is a surefire way to eliminate pesky sources of pet odor indoors.

Soft furniture can be cleaned by hand with a special cleaner, or they can be steam cleaned. Cleaning soft furniture is an important step to eliminating any and all pet odors from a home, especially if you are trying to get rid of dog odor in the house.

11. Wash Pet Bedding

Most pets have a favorite place where they like to sleep. Some animals even have their own beds or towers that they like to call home. After a while, these spaces become contaminated and are likely a big source of pet smells inside. One of the easiest ways to eliminate a big source of pet odor is to clean and wash your pet’s bedding.

Pet bedding can include dog beds, old blankets, cat condos, or even throw pillows. The best course of action is to put these items through the washing machine if possible. If not, use upholstery cleaners to break down lingering smells and freshen up those special pet spaces.

Smiling Ridgeback Shepherd Puppy Dog on Bed
Image Credit: Jen McCormack, Shutterstock

12. Get Your House Professionally Cleaned

If all else fails, you can get your house professionally cleaned. This costs money and comes with a unique set of challenges of its own, but afterward, most of the pet odors should be eliminated from the space in short order. A professional cleaning might be a good idea for anyone struggling to remove pet odor altogether or for people who need to get the odors out quickly and permanently.

If you plan on getting a professional cleaning but still intend on keeping pets, you will still need to adhere to the other options on this list in order to ensure that the odors do not come back in the long run.

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What Causes Pet Odor?

It is no surprise that pets cause pet odor, but what exactly about pet smells? It is a combination of things. First, some pets do their business inside, either on purpose or by accident. Cats, for instance, often use an indoor litter box. That causes odor over time.

Even pets that never piddle in the house still can cause a space to smell. That is because animals, like dogs and cats, let off dander that gets into the air and causes odor. This dander is made up of pet hair, dead skin, sweat, and other bodily fluids that are hard to see. These invisible byproducts cause odor and can ignite allergies. Pet dander is a leading cause of pet odor, and the best way to get rid of it is to simply clean it up using the methods mentioned here.

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If you have been wondering how to get rid of pet odor in the house but feel hopeless in the endeavor, you should now be heartened. There is a solution to your problem. Pet odor is not permanent, and it is not so pervasive as to be impossible to eliminate by normal means. It just takes time and know-how to get the job done properly. Everyone can use any combination of these practical options to eliminate pet odor in any home.

Featured Image Credit:, Shutterstock


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