26 EASY WAYS TO CLEAN YOUR HOUSE IN NO TIME
How to Get Your House to Not Smell Like Your Pets
You may love your animals, but that doesn’t mean you have to love the way they make your house smell. A house that smells like pets can create all sorts of problems. You might be embarrassed to have people over, or spend less time inside. Don’t worry--pet odor is something you can tackle with a few simple actions and changes. They key is focusing on the source before addressing any lingering odors.
Cleaning Odor Sources
Vacuum.Your pet can leave a smelly trail as they wander around your house. This trail might include stuff like fur, dander, mud, and traces of urine or feces. To remove these odor sources, vacuum your entire house.Use special attachments when necessary, and don’t forget to vacuum:
- Carpets, rugs, and mats
- Under furniture
- Areas where pets spend lots of time
Clean old pet messes with an enzyme cleaner.Hidden or improperly cleaned messes are often the culprits behind pet odor. If there are areas where there have been recent pet messes, spray the area with an enzyme cleaner. Let the cleaner soak in for 30 minutes, and then blot it dry with a clean cloth. You may find that the pesky pet odor has disappeared.
- Enzyme cleaners are best because they will break down the proteins in urine, feces, vomit, and other biological stains.
Clean the carpets.Spot cleaning stains will help remove smells from specific areas, but you may have a bunch of different smells over different areas of the carpet. Tackle smells all over the house with a thorough carpet cleaning. This might take time, but be patient. A smell-free house is worth the effort.You can either use a powder or wet shampoo to clean your carpets:
- For a dry cleaning, sprinkle a powdered cleaner over the entire carpet. Let the cleaner sit for at least 30 minutes. Vacuum to remove cleaner, dirt, and smells from the carpet.
- Try using a carpet shampooer. Fill the shampooer’s reservoir with water, and add the liquid cleaner to the compartment. Press the lever and vacuum the entire carpet. Allow the carpet to dry for at least 24 hours, and then vacuum.
Clean furniture.Pet smells love to hide in furniture. Your cat’s special chair may be host to all sorts of irksome smells. The type of furniture will dictate the best cleaning method, but you should always check the care labels before cleaning to make sure the piece isn't dry clean only. Care labels marked with an S mean don’t clean with water, and X means dry clean only.
- Take a brush to upholstered furniture like couches. Fill a bucket with warm water and several drops of liquid dish soap. Swirl the water to create suds. Dip a soft-bristled brush into the suds and brush the entire surface of the furniture. Wipe with a barely damp cloth and air dry.
- Leather and leather-like fabrics are a little more delicate, but can still be cleaned. Make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Soak a cloth and wring out as much liquid as you can, so the cloth is barely damp. Then, wipe the surface of the fabric to remove any troublesome smells that are lurking.
Give your pet a bath.Pets love to play, which often means getting into messes. Regular bathing is a good idea for dogs and ferrets, and some other pets could use a wash now and then as well. Get your pet (and their favorite bath toy, if they have one) into a bathtub, wash basin, or bucket. Use a hose or bucket to wet your pet’s fur. Apply pet shampoo to the fur and lather it in with your hands until it’s nice and soapy. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo, and towel dry their fur. They should smell great, and look great as a bonus.
- When washing, pay special attention to the paws, the behind area, and any areas where your pet may have rolled in something.
- Remember to be gentle with your pet. Do not wash your pet’s face, eyes, or ears with water and shampoo. Shampoo in the eyes can sting, and water in the ears can cause a yeast infection.
Wash your pet’s bed.This site of comfort can also be a site of stubborn pet odors.Luckily, most beds can be machine-washed using a regular cycle and warm or hot water. Tumble dry the bed in the dryer.
- Larger beds will likely have a removable cover on them. Wash the cover in the washing machine. To target odors in the stuffing, sprinkle the stuffing with a bit of baking soda. Vacuum off the baking soda, then replace the clean cover. A clean, odor-free pet bed awaits.
Wash your bed.Snuggling with your pet in bed can be blissful. However, it’s important to wash your bed often and well, since it will likely be harboring pet odors too. Strip pillow cases, sheets, fitted sheets, duvet covers, and blankets from the bed. Machine wash all the linens and blankets. Add ¼ cup (59 ml) of vinegar to the wash for extra odor-fighting power.Air or tumble dry all the bedding.
- While the linens are being washed, grab your handy baking soda again and sprinkle it over the mattress. Before making the bed, vacuum up the baking soda.
Clean your pet’s toys and accessories.Your pet is lucky to have a number of beloved toys and accessories. However, when unwashed and strewn about the house, these can create unpleasant odors. Wash fabric toys, ropes, towels, collars, and leashes in the washing machine. Tumble dry them in the dryer. Wash hard toys, bowls, and rubber toys in the sink with hot soapy water.
Replace the litter.Understandably, litter boxes can get pretty smelly. To clean your box, empty its contents into a plastic garbage bag, then scrub the litter box with soap and water. To remove stains and smells that put up a fight, pour some vinegar into the box and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Then, scrub the box with a brush, rinse it out, and let it air dry.
- When the box is completely dry, fill it with fresh litter. Pull out your baking soda again and sprinkle some in for extra odor protection.
Clean the cage.If you have rats, mice, gerbils, ferrets, rabbits, and other pets that live in cages with bedding, the cage could be making your whole house stink. Gently remove your pet and place the pet somewhere safe, such as a second cage. Then, get to cleaning:
- Empty the contents of the cage and throw out the bedding
- Clean all toys and bowls
- Clean the bottom of the cage with soap and water
- Let the cage air dry
- Fill the bottom with fresh bedding
- Replace all toys and dishes
- Return your pet to the cage
Eliminating Odors Around the House
Open windows.There’s nothing like some nice, fresh breeze to air out bad smells. In spring, summer, and fall, open windows throughout the house to create a breeze that will blow fresh air in one window and bad smells out the other.
- During cold weather, open one window at a time, and only leave it open for a couple of minutes to help air the house out.
Use an air purifier.Trap stinky dander, fur, and other odor sources with an air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter. If you have allergies, this solution is doubly awesome, because these filters reduce dust and other allergens in the air.
- Replace the filters in the air purifier every few months, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Absorb smells with a deodorizer.There are lots of deodorizers that can target pesky pet smells. You can purchase one from the store, or make your own if you’re feeling crafty and thrifty. Two of the most popular items are baking soda and vinegar, which you can spray around the house, on carpets, on beds, and elsewhere to help remove smells. To make your own deodorizers:
- Fill a spray bottle with plain vinegar. Add five to 10 drops of essential oils if you like, such as lemon, lavender, or vanilla. Spray the vinegar around the house.
- Add ¼ cup (55 g) of baking soda to a spray bottle and fill it with water. Shake well and spray liberally.
Freshen the air.Whether your house is plagued with pet odors or not, air fresheners can always sweeten your home’s scent. Pick a commercial freshener, or make your own. Either way, you'll have a ton of options, from warm vanilla to fresh citrus. When you opt for commercial sprays, gels, or plug-ins, make sure they're specially formulated to be safe for pets.Spray it around the house to freshen the air.
- You can also make your own air freshener by filling a saucepan with water, citrus peels, and your favorite herbs. Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer on the stove to infuse your home with delicious smells.
Preventing Pet Smells
Get into a regular cleaning routine.Cleaning can be a drag, but the best way to stop your home from smelling like your pets is to clean regularly and stay on top of messes. A good cleaning routine will include regular vacuuming, floor washing, laundry, and dusting. For the best results:
- Vacuum three times a week
- Clean hard floors weekly with a vinegar and water solution
- Dust weekly
- Do laundry as necessary when you have a full load
- Clean carpets every couple of months
Clean pet messes immediately.You may be tempted to leave extra nasty messes for later, but try to act as soon as possible to avoid lingering odors. Pick up solid waste and throw it in the garbage. Blot the mess to absorb excess moisture. Spray the mess with an enzyme cleaner, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, blot the area with rags or a cloth and let it air dry.
- Urine, feces, and vomit can leave especially troublesome smells, so prioritize these for a better smelling home.
Wash toys, bedding, and accessories regularly.Pet smells build up over time, so it’s important to stay on top of cleaning and washing. Wash your pet’s bed, fabric toys, leashes, and collars in the washing machine every month. Wash hard toys every month in the sink with soap and water. Water bowls need more frequent attention--wash these with soap and water every week.
Keep your pet well-groomed.A well groomed pet not only smells good, but looks good, too. Regularly bathe your pet, clip their nails, and brush their teeth. Keeping up with regular grooming can drastically improve the smell of your house, because fur, dirty nails, and even bad breath can make your house stink.
- Brush your pet every day to remove excess fur and dirt.
- Brush your pet’s teeth at least three times a week for good oral hygiene and fresh breath.
- Bathe your dog at least once a month, and more for dogs with particularly smelly fur.
Wipe paws before your pet comes inside.Pets love to explore. This brings them a lot of joy, but also means that they can track all kinds of stinky substances into the house. To prevent this, leave a towel by the door and always wipe your pet’s paws when it comes inside. This is especially important on rainy and muddy days, or if your pet rolled in something outside.
Put a washable cover on furniture.Your pet may have proudly claimed an armchair or a spot on the couch as their own. This special space, or any other furniture where your pet lounges, will need frequent washing to keep the odors at bay. If your pets spend a lot of time on your furniture, it’s a good idea to invest in washable covers like slip covers. That way, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of vacuuming and scrubbing your furniture. Instead, just throw the cover in the wash.
- You can also invest in easy-to-clean furniture, such as microfiber, that won’t absorb smells and stains like furniture with a thick weave will.
Keep the litter box clean.Grab your pooper scooper, and get to scooping daily! This will minimize urine and feces smells. You should change the litter monthly.
QuestionThe smell of my pets is carried through the air by my central air system. I have changed the filters but with no results, what else can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are scented attachments that clip into filters that will push fresh scent throughout the home.Thanks!
QuestionI have cleaned my cat, all cat toys, the litter box, and my bed. I have hard flooring and have opened my windows. What else can I try to get rid of the smell?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCats love to rub their smell on the corners of couches, chairs, tables, walls, doors, fridges, bench bases, or anything else they can potentially mark with their scent glands (ever see your cat rubbing their face on your legs?). Try wiping furniture with vinegar and washing all curtains, too.Thanks!
QuestionWould setting a box of baking soda beside my rat's cage help absorb the odor from its litterbox?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but don't let the baking soda get into the cage itself. The small particles from the baking soda can get into your rat's respiratory system and cause serious problems.Thanks!
QuestionCan I wash the floors with baking soda and vinegarTop AnswererYes, although baking soda tends to leave white streaks.Thanks!
QuestionIf I spray air freshener regularly will this clear up the smell in my house?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt will help, but you'll need to clean your house frequently and regularly to eliminate the underlying odor. There are a number of enzymatic cleaners designed to remove pet odors from your home.Thanks!
QuestionWe have had our dog for 6 months now and have had trouble toilet training him. Our house stinks of urine. We had it professionally cleaned, but it still stinks. It obviously has gone right through to the underlay. What can we do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour best bet is to replace the carpet and underlay, and regularly shampoo if his behavior continues.Thanks!
QuestionMy puppy starts smelling bad again a few days after I give her a bath. Is there anything I can do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhat you are smelling may just be her natural dog odor once the shampoo's fragrance has worn off. If it smells like it's something else, try to figure out if she is getting into something that gives her that smell.Thanks!
QuestionWill the techniques in the article work for odors caused by pet rabbits?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt should work with all animals, so yes. Many people like to just put a box of baking soda next to their animal's cage. The spray also seems like a good idea.Thanks!
QuestionMy pet smells bad even after she takes a bath. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat might be a skin condition, and you should consult your vet.Thanks!
QuestionMy dogs body smells really bad, what can I do to make her smell better?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI had the same problem and tried Vetericyn FoamCare Medicated Shampoo with great results.Thanks!
What do I do if I moved into a home and it smells like cats?
To get your house to not smell like your pets, start by vacuuming all of the floors, carpets, and furniture in your house. Then, wipe down any upholstered furniture with warm soapy water and let it air dry, which will help eliminate odors trapped in the fabric. You should also machine wash your bedding, your pet's bed, and your pet's toys to get rid of any odors coming from them. Also, try opening up all of your windows and setting up an air purifier.
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