A Guide to Getting Rid of Pet Odors in the Home

By Haley Kieser

Getting rid of pet odors is more than an arduous task – it flat out stinks. Bad pet smells can linger for months, embed themselves into the walls and carpets of the home, and can severely affect the value of the property to potential buyers.

Preventing pet smells is of course the optional course of action, but if you are looking to sell or buy a home that has lingering odors from furry friends, here are 5 best ways to get rid of the bad smells in your home, and what to do with items that are too odorous to stay in the home.

Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum

It might seem obvious, but vacuuming the home is the first thing you should do when tackling pet odors. Pet hair, mud from outside, traces of feces and urine, and other things pets leave behind naturally cause the majority of pet smells in the home and are mostly picked up by a vacuum cleaner.

Vacuuming should be a regular part of your cleaning routine when you own pets. Hair and dander can build up over time if not properly dealt with every day.

Use a Blacklight to Find the Sources

After vacuuming, use a blacklight on the carpet, walls, corners, furniture, and everywhere your pet regularly spends their time. Urine, feces, saliva, and other body fluids show up extremely obviously when this is shined on them, showing you the exact areas in the home that you need to focus on when continuing with cleaning.

Be sure to shine it in areas you wouldn’t normally look, like in corners, behind furniture, and other hidden areas.

Deep Clean Carpets

After finding the sources of pet odors, you can begin to tackle them one by one. For carpets, you have a few options, some natural and some chemical.

The easiest route is to rent or buy a specialty carpet washer and, as you would with a vacuum, use it over all the carpeted floors of your home. This can be a long process of washing and drying and so on, but it is a nearly guaranteed way to clean your carpets.

If you would prefer not to rent a deep cleaner and use solution and use a natural method instead, mix vinegar and water in equal portions in a spray bottle, and soak the areas you located with the blacklight in this solution. After scrubbing the area, pour baking soda onto the wet spot and leave it until it dries completely; you can then vacuum it up.

Wipe Walls and Floors With Solution

Similarly to washing your carpets, you can use store-bought products or natural home solutions to clean your walls and floors. There are plenty of products to choose from in stores and online, and pretty much all of them will get the job done.

If you want to try to make a solution at home to use instead, use a similar method to cleaning carpets naturally and make a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Wipe surfaces down with a sponge and dry. Use a higher vinegar concentration for particularly stubborn smells and stains.

Wash Pillows, Pet Beds, and Furniture

If your pets are allowed on furniture, on your bed and couch for example, you will want to wash them thoroughly. If your pet has its own bed, pillows it lays on, or other soft items such as toys that they use constantly, you will need to wash these as well. Washing pillows, pet beds, and toys is no hassle, as you can simply throw these into your washer and dryer.

Large furniture, like sofas, should be vacuumed first, then have baking soda sprinkled over it. Let it sit for a few minutes, or longer for strong odors, then vacuum again. For leather sofas, use a damp rag and soap to wash the surface. This generally gets rid of odors, but use a specialty cleaner if smells linger.

What to Do With Waste

If after going through this list you still have some items that cannot be cleaned to a satisfactory level, make sure you dispose of them in the correct ways. In many states, leaving large items of trash by the dump or on the sidewalk with no scheduled pick-up is illegal and classifies as illegal dumping.

Sort through your waste, figure out what can be recycled, and bring that to your nearest recycling center. Large furniture should always be picked up by either the city garbage service or a local junk removal company. You don’t want to get fined for something as simple as an old couch.

Good luck!