I try to avoid using cleaning chemicals in my house wherever possible. I am thrilled if I find a natural method for anything that typically requires chemicals.
Since we got our dog, Xena, a few years ago, I have had to learn how to keep our house clean and smelling fresh so that she can live with us in harmony.
I have never owned a dog before her, only cats, so it has been a considerable learning experience for me!
Unfortunately, her breed can be quite smelly and she drops hair constantly, so her aroma quickly moves onto the carpet. I like to do my yoga practice on the carpet, and if I can smell dog, it's a little off-putting!
Another thing she loves to do on the carpet, which makes it even smellier, is rolling. It seems as if her life's mission is to spread her scent everywhere!
So this leaves me with a problem. How to get rid of dog smell in the carpet without resorting to chemicals?
Fortunately, ridding the carpet of dog smell doesn't require anything special. Simple baking soda is all you need.
Today I am going to spill the beans on exactly what I do to make our carpets smell fresh again. It is safe and doesn't involve chemicals. The last thing I would want to do is to replace dog smell with a chemical smell.
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Does baking soda really get dog smell out of a carpet?
Baking soda has long been known to be great at absorbing smells.
It turns out there is science behind this.
Baking soda is a natural alkali. Smells such as dog odor and dog sick are acidic. So baking soda has the effect of neutralizing the acid-based odor and therefore removing the smell at the source. Most cleaning chemicals tend to mask the smell instead.
How to get rid of dog smell in your carpet with baking soda
Step 1 - Vacuum
To start, vacuum the whole area thoroughly making sure to remove dog hair. I recommend using a vacuum with a revolving head so that all hair is removed such as the Miele Cat and Dog vacuum or Shark DuoClean. If you don't have a suitable vacuum for dog hair, you can also use a squeegee or a pet hair roller. You can also use rubber gloves.
If you don't want to buy a new vacuum specially designed for dog hair, a really great solution is to go over the carpet with a Bissell Sturdy Sweep first. I find mine brilliant for picking up hair.
Step 2 - Sprinkle baking soda
Next sprinkle baking soda on the whole area. For large areas, it will be easier to put your baking soda in a sieve and simply tap the sieve as you walk around the area,
Step 3 - Allow to sit for 2-3 hours or overnight
Leave the baking soda to sit for at least 2 hours. For very smelly areas leave it overnight to work. Remember not to allow any pets or children in the area.
Step 4 - Vacuum
For the last step, simply vacuum up the baking soda. I use my Shark cordless vacuum because it has a cup I can empty into the bin. My other vacuum has dust bags that I don't want to waste!
You should find that your carpet now smells normal again, with no chemical smell. If you still smell your dog in the carpet, do a second treatment.
What else can you do to remove dog smell from the carpet?
Regularly vacuum. Keeping your carpet regularly vacuumed is essential. Make it easy to do by having a cordless vacuum to hand. I recommend a Shark Cordless vacuum. My Shark has been going strong for a few years now and I wouldn't be without it. Here's more about that - How Long Do Shark Vacuums Last?
Have the carpet professionally cleaned. If you have the funds to call in a professional, I recommend doing so. Alternative hire a carpet cleaner which should give you near professional results.
Steam clean the carpet. Steam cleaning is a great solution for getting rid of dog smells without using chemicals. This can be especially beneficial if your carpet has a deep pile that other methods fail to touch.
Vinegar. Vinegar is naturally deodorizing and sanitizing. It does a great job of removing smells from carpets. Make up a spray bottle of half distilled white vinegar and water and liberally spray over the area.
How to tell if your house smells a little 'doggy'
We all get used to the smell in our houses. Our noses can naturally become de-sensitized to the most common smells.
I often wonder what my house smells like to visitors, but I'm too embarrassed to ask! So what is the best way to tell if your house smells like dog?
Here are some things to try:
- Pop out for several hours. Shut off doors, windows, and air vents. Smells will be accentuated when there is less air circulating so you are more likely to detect a doggy smell when you arrive home again.
- Get down and sniff. Give your carpet a sniff from close range. If you can smell your dog, then your house probably smells like dog much more than you think.
- Ask a close friend to give you an honest opinion. Preferably from someone who doesn't own a dog.
How to prevent your house smelling like dog
There are several things you can do to keep your house smelling fresh:
Regularly vacuum. Dog hairs, dander, and general dog slobber can make your carpet and floor smell! Invest in a good vacuum and try to keep on top of vacuuming and floor mopping. I find that having a cordless vacuum to hand makes me do it more regularly.
Keep your dog bathed. At least once per month is best.
Wash your dog after muddy walks.
Use a dog spray in-between baths. Dog sprays are great for keeping your dog smelling fresh in-between baths. Here's a very effective homemade recipe.
Dust regularly. Smells tend to hang around in the dust. Find out the best way to clean dust without spreading it around.
Invest in a HEPA air filter. Air filters do a great job of removing smells from the air along with particles that cause those smells.
Keep the house aired. If you can, open windows and doors regularly to help fresh air circulate around the house.
Keep your dog's bed clean. If your dog's bed is smelling less than fragrant, it can make your whole house smell. In-between washes use this homemade dog bed spray to keep it fresh. If your dog has a blanket, make sure it is regularly laundered too.
Frequently asked questions
Why does my dog smell so bad?
If your dog is smelling awful despite regular baths, go and visit your vet to rule out any health conditions. Dogs need a bath about once per month and a wash after muddy or wet walks. In between baths a dog spray can help to keep your dog smelling fresh.
Can you use vinegar to get rid of dog odor in a carpet?
Vinegar makes an excellent sanitizer and deodorizer. Make up a spray bottle of equal amounts of distilled white vinegar and water and then spray it on your carpet. The vinegar smell will soon go away along with the dog odor.
How long does it take baking soda to deodorize carpet?
It will take a couple of hours or overnight for baking soda to work on deodorizing your carpet.
Does bicarbonate of soda get smells out of the carpet?
Bicarbonate of soda is the same as baking soda and can be used to deodorize your carpet. Liberally sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda or baking soda over the carpet and leave it for a couple of hours or overnight. Vacuum up in the morning.
Can carpet spray get rid of dog smell?
Some carpet sprays such as Febreze have a special ingredient that neutralizes the smell in the carpet. I have used Febreze in the past to get rid of urine smell on our sofa and it worked brilliantly. If you find that baking soda isn't working for you, I recommend you try that instead.
Why does my house smell like dog no matter how much I clean?
A smelly dog can cause a smelly home no matter how much you keep it clean. Bathe your dog once per month and in-between baths and always wash your dog down when he comes in from a muddy walk.
For in-between baths try out this homemade dog spray and your dog will smell sweet all the time.