Pets are the best, but even the most passionate animal lover will probably agree: They should be seen and not smelled. Unfortunately, even a pet that's fully house-trained leaves behind dander, tracks in dirt, passes gas—and can leave your house with a lingering odor.
Managing odors just comes with the territory for pet owners, and you probably already know how important it is to clean up any accidents promptly and vacuum regularly. But there are also some less labor-intensive ways to keep the whole house smelling fresher. Here are eight hacks:
- Get a machine-washable pet bed. Your pet's bed will get stinky fast, so make things easy on yourself and buy one you can throw into the washing machine on laundry day. The next-simplest option is a bed with a durable, washable cover.
- Focus on the litter box. The very best way to keep a litter box from smelling is to scoop your pet's waste immediately. But the easiest way is to either use an odor-controlling litter (go here for some guidance) or to just sprinkle a little baking soda over the litter after you change it.
- Keep paws off the upholstery. You might like snuggling with your dog on the couch, but upholstery can be difficult to clean and deodorize. If you don't want to train your pets to stay off the furniture, an option is to train them to lie only in one designated spot—which you can keep strategically covered with a washable blanket.
- Feed them a high-quality diet. Poor-quality dog food containing soy, corn, wheat or rendered fat can cause digestion problems and flatulence, which is another famous source of pet odors. Focus on high-quality food and follow these feeding tips for a healthier and more pleasant pet.
- Stop dirt at the door. You probably have a doormat at the front door for your human guests. But your much messier pet probably uses the back door more often—so be sure to put a mat there, too! It will catch some of the inevitable dirt and debris before it ever enters your house. If you're patient, you might even be able to train your pet to wipe its paws.1
- Rethink food storage. Some of your everyday pet odor is probably coming from pet food. Consider putting an open box of baking soda or a charcoal air-purifying bag in the cupboard where the kibble is stored—or even repackage it in airtight containers.
- Filter the air. An air purifier is a very effective—and totally passive—way to remove lingering pet odors from the air. The SoClean Air Purifier's portable design lets you move it around the house to wherever it's needed. (As a bonus, it also removes pet dander and other allergens from the air!)
- Mask pet scents with nicer ones. There are lots of ways to add a pleasant scent to every room in the house, and if your remaining pet odor is minimal after trying the above tips, then a diffuser, a candle or even a bouquet of flowers might be enough to cover it up entirely.
Even with furry family members, a little investment of time, the right purchases and some planning can go a long way toward keeping your house smelling clean and fresh.
- "How to Train Your Dog to Wipe Paws," Wag, accessed November 2020.