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We love our pets, but sometimes…they stink. Sometimes your house just smells like dog, or the carpet smells disgusting. Maybe there is a mysterious odor that you can’t full identify the source.
This can still be an issue when there are only one or two pets roaming the house, but once you’ve crossed into the territory of five, six, or more pets, you might have to take serious action against pockets of unpleasant smells in your house.
Never fear! This list should help you narrow down the tools you need and what to tackle to help keep your home nose-friendly.
Let’s start with this dreaded task. Besides regular detergent, here are two other things I love for the laundry room:
Scented beads for the wash can be a blessing, and I love them for my bedding, bath towels, and clothes. However, I don’t use them on the dog blankets since Mei Mei tends to sneeze more when she burrows down in strongly scented blankets. So just watch your pet’s reaction and adjust accordingly.
Lots of paws means lots of mess. After spending a small fortune on various tools over the years, here are my favorites:
When I had carpet, I kept the Bissell Little Green ready to go at all times. Being able to spot clean small messes right away saved many carpets and rugs. I have only tile and hardwood now, but if I ever had carpet again, I would go back to keeping this on hand.
If the carpet in your house overall smells, you may need to go all in with a full carpet steamer such as the Hoover Powerscrub XL Pet Carpet Cleaner Machine.
And in between deep scrubbings, don’t forget a good carpet powder to help freshen the house when you vacuum.
For hard floors, vacuuming is still an important step. I love this stick vacuum from Eureka.
The Bissell Spinwave does an amazing, effortless job at mopping. I’ve used other electric mops and this one is by far my favorite. I keep extra pads on hand so it’s always ready to go.
If your pets tend to be a little extra, or if you like to use more natural cleaning solutions, then the Bissell steamer is a great investment. I love using steam as a second pass on the floors after using the Spinwave. This also has a built-in scrub brush feature.
Traditional mops aren’t up to the task in a multi-pet household. Since I find myself spot cleaning all day, the mop head can become gross, fast, despite regular rinsing. I also don’t like dealing with buckets of water. Instead, I keep a spray mop, such as the ProMist from O Cedar, on hand for quick clean up, and extra pads so I can easily throw them into the wash.
Even though it can’t be automated, my favorite way to freshen the air is with incense. I love the little ritual of lighting a stick in the morning or before I settle in to work, and there’s nothing quite like the smokey scent drifting through the air. Even better, I find that I can use incense with other air fresheners too without an aroma conflict.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of many kinds of plugin air fresheners. Sometimes, though, I will use wax warmers. I find scents like cinnamon fill the house and smell amazing. There are so many scents to choose from that you’re sure to find a few favorites.
However, if I need to get rid of an odor immediately, there’s only one product I’ve found that works in seconds, every time: Febreze Air Freshener Dog Cleanup Pet Odor.
For a particularly troublesome area of the house, perhaps near a habitat, a room air purifier can be worth their weight in gold. In the past, I’ve used Germ Guardian with good luck. With over 43 thousand reviews on Amazon averaging at 4.7 stars, I seem to be in good company.
If for any reason I were to try an air purifier besides Germ Guardian, I would be interested in trying the one from Levoit. It has over 23,000 ratings/reviews averaging at 4.6 stars. It seems like a worthy competitor.
Tip: Use smart outlets to control any air purifiers and wax warmers in close proximity to each other, so you are not running both at the same time. The scheduling feature within the Alexa ecosystem can be handy for such situations. You do not necessarily need to leave the purifier and the warmer running all day and night.
This is my favorite smart outlet, and it currently has over 500,000 ratings and reviews. It can be controlled via Alexa.
The Pets, Themselves
You already know to bathe them, but since most animals can’t, or shouldn’t, be bathed too frequently, consider using a waterless shampoo in between baths to freshen up. Of course, this won’t apply to all pets, but it’s useful for cats and dogs in particular.
You can also freshen them up with a deodorizing spray, such as the one from TropiClean.
Also, don’t forget dental care! Dogs are notorious for having bad breath, but it’s not inevitable. If plants in a five-foot radius die when they yawn, please consider a visit with the vet. That stench can often indicate many rotten teeth that need to be removed.
However, if your dog or cat just needs a little breath freshening, try a water additive.
Or for the truly bold, try pet toothpaste.
If your dogs are like mine, they spend a lot of time hanging out on their bed. This is where they sleep, play, and even sometimes eat. They love their beds—and that means the beds get dirty, quickly.
The simplest one to keep clean that I’ve found isn’t the most aesthetic, but dogs seem to love them. That is the Coolaroo Elevated Dog Bed. Even the cats have stolen one for themselves. This bed is amazing in that I can simply hose it off and let it dry, and it’s good as new.
Another factor to consider is if you are puppy training, or simply live in an arrangement where the dog does not have regular access to a yard. In that case, you may find using puppy pads the easiest solution. I’ve found a good quality reusable puppy pad greatly reduces odor and are easy to keep clean (especially with an occasional soak in OxiClean with OdorBlasters.)
I switched from disposable puppy pads to these reusable ones, and they made all the difference.
Naturally, the biggest task with keeping cat-related odors down is usually by cleaning the cat box every day. A covered box will go a long way with helping control the odor as well, versus an open pan. I’ve used the one from Catit for years with good luck.
The right scoop helps with making an unpleasant chore slightly less annoying. I love the durability and comfortable handle of the one from DuraScoop.
With over 33,000 reviews/ratings and an average of 4.8 stars, it would seem I am not alone in my opinion.
If you’re still dealing with more odors from the box than you would like, experimenting with cat litter brands will help. I like Scoop Away Multicat, and usually stock up when I visit Costco. The larger package is now four smaller packages, which was an appreciated change around here, since the cat litter goes upstairs—all 120 pounds of it at a time.
Investing in an auto cleaning cat box can be a big jump, but for some it can be a useful one. I’ve used self-cleaning boxes in the past, back when they were a revolutionary idea. Those often ran into problems, and I eventually went back to a regular cat box. However, auto scooping technology has greatly advanced since then (what a time to be alive), and I’ve considered giving them another try. When I do, it will be the Litter Robot as it seems to me prone to fewer issues than other designs, judging from reviews and feedback.
Unfortunately, sometimes the issue isn’t contained within the box at all. Cats eliminating outside their box is a topic unto itself, but for the purpose of this article, I’ll just point you in the direction of some great enzyme cleaners. Enzyme cleaners are the most effective way to remove cat urine smells from fabric. Nature’s Miracle is my go-to.
However, Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator has over 100,000 reviews/ratings with an average of 4.3 stars, so next time I need
We’ve covered the big stuff, but there are a few more areas to consider.
First, the refrigerator. If you’re keeping open cans of food in there, it might mingle a little too unpleasantly with the already overwhelming scents of your own leftovers and groceries.
I find a simple hack works great. The amazing little gadget, Chilly Mama, is meant to be filled with baking soda and left in the refrigerator to absorb odors. Instead, I fill it with activated carbon, taking a good product to great.
Also, if you find yourself washing remnants of pet food down the disposal while cleaning the pet dishes, don’t forget a deodorizer such as this one from Arm and Hammer.
Just run one of the beads in the disposal, then light some incense and take a break to spend some time with the amazing little creatures that share your home.
Lastly, if you need to protect your mattress, this cover from Utopia has stood the test countless times over in my household.
What pet-related area of the home do you struggle with? Let us know in the comments!