Dog and owner

They say a dog is a man’s best friend, but how do you handle your best friend stinking up your home and car? You try your best to wash your dog and vacuum but sometimes that wet dog smell, drooling, and shedding causes strong odors that you need a deeper clean to get rid of. If you have been living with these stenches for a while, this guide will teach you how to get rid of dog smell.

Getting Rid of Dog Smell in the Car

Dog in car

Whether you just got back from a day at the beach or you frequently take your pup on drives to run errands, your car can be harboring some pungent smells. Bacteria and extra moisture can grow in your car so it’s important to clean it regularly to have it smell fresh. Odors from your dog can easily be embedded into the seats and carpets of your car, so follow these steps to have it smelling as good as new:

  • First, remove all trash, old clothes, and anything else that could be causing odors in your car. Remember to check the center console, the glove compartment, and the pockets in the back of the driver and passenger seat.
  • Wipe down all surfaces like the dashboard, cup holders, windows, etc. to remove any dog slobber or loose hair.
  • Then, vacuum the seats, carpets, and floor of your car to pick up as much dog hair and loose dirt as you can.

Vacuuming car

  • If your dog has thick hair, it can be hard to get out of fabric seats just by vacuuming. A way to remove all remaining hair is to fill a spray bottle with water and spray your seats and carpets. Use your hands or a squeegee to brush the fur into a small pile and remove it from the car.
  • Now that all dog hair and debris have been cleaned out, invest in shampoo for pet stain and urine removal. This will work better than regular car shampoo because it’s designed to specifically handle pet odors. With a small brush, scrub the upholstery and carpet with the shampoo to get out any dirt trapped inside the fabric folds.
  • When shampooing your car, use water sparingly because too much water will take a long time to dry and can leave a musty smell, adding to your odor issues.
  • Don’t allow any excess water to pool. You can use an extracting machine with a clear nozzle to remove water from the seat. As soon as the water begins to run clear and you don’t see any dirt coming through it, you will know that all of the dirt has been removed from your car. Your seats will be left a little damp but will dry soon, especially if you keep your car in the sun with the windows open.

Shampooing car

  • If your car still has that lingering dog smell, there are tips you can try with household products.
  • You may do this to keep your fridge smelling fresh, but it works anywhere. Grab a box of backing soda and pour some into a small bowl. Place the bowl anywhere in your car and leave it overnight. Because of the chemical reaction that occurs when baking soda reduces the pH in the surrounding air, the soda will actually absorb any lingering odors.

bowl of baking soda

  • If you won’t be using your car for 24 hours, charcoal is an odd but proven way to absorb bad smells. Get activated charcoal because these have been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms, making it perfect to trap carbon-based impurities like pet odors. Place crushed up activated charcoal in a small bowl and put it under the driver’s or passenger seat to absorb dog smells. 

activated charcoal

  • A good way to keep your car smelling fresh in between big cleans is to make your own cup holder air freshener. All you need to have is a mason jar, baking soda, essential oils, and a piece of breathable fabric. Scoop ¾ cup of baking soda into the jar and add 5 drops of any scented essential oil. Place the piece of breathable fabric over the jar and then secure it with the lid ring. Voila! You have a natural air freshener that will actually absorb pet odors instead of masking them.

mason jar air freshener

Getting Rid of Dog Smell in the House

dog on couch

The car is one centralized location that can harbor bad dog smells. You might even start to take your dog on less trips to avoid having to clean it often, but how can you get dog smells out of the house without removing the dog? With these steps, your house will smell fresh and clean so you can enjoy spending time with your furry friend instead of avoiding your own space.

  • First, wash all linens, pillows, blankets, and slipcovers to remove dog smells from places your pet may love to lounge. Put ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in your wash to completely rid of all odors.
  • Vacuum and/or sweep all of your carpets and hardwood floors to pick up any lingering hairballs; remember to get all corners and underneath furniture. Use the detachable nozzle on your vacuum to pick up any dog hair stuck in the corners and crevices of your furniture. Also, vacuum your mattress and flip it to get all of the dog hair. 

Vacuuming Carpet

  • On your carpets, mattress, and fabric furniture generously sprinkle baking soda and use a small cleaning brush to make sure it gets spread around and deep into the fabrics. Baking soda is safe to use around pets so let this sit overnight (do this in the morning for your mattress so you can have it clean before going to bed) so the baking soda has time to absorb all of the odors.
  • Once the baking soda has been working hard to get rid of your dog odors, vacuum it up from your mattress, furniture, and carpet and place your clean linens, pillows, and blankets back in their appropriate spots.

Vacuuming up baking soda

  • If any smells continue to linger, you might want to use pet stain shampoo to scrub your carpet. This can help remove any lingering dirt and pet odors.
  • If you want to keep your house smelling great after you’ve removed the dog smell from your belongings, check out How to Make Your House Smell Good Naturally.

After deep cleaning your car and house, you should no longer be dealing with pesky dog odors. You can now enjoy spending time with your pet and have guests over without worrying if they're being nagged by any stenches.