When we got our first dog, Xena, a couple of years ago, we were quite naive about the effect she would have on the house. We let her do things that in hindsight we probably shouldn’t have done. That included sleeping on the sofas.
We always made her sleep on a mat, but even so, the sofas began to take on a doggy smell. Her hair began to accumulate in-between the cushions. However much I tried, I could never get rid of the hair completely!
One of our sofas is leather. We thought leather would be the perfect type of fabric for dogs. Although leather sofas are easier to wipe down, they do unfortunately begin to smell just like fabric sofas can. In the past, I’ve thrown fabric cushion covers into the washing machine and they have come out smelling odor-free, but it isn’t so easy to do that with leather.
So what can you do to your leather couch or sofa to remove the dog smell?
The best way to remove dog smell from a leather sofa is to vacuum it thoroughly and then rub it down with a damp cloth. Then choose a deodorizing spray such as Odoban, Febreze, or white distilled vinegar. Finish up with a leather conditioner. Then buy your dog her own bed.
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How to remove dog smell from leather couch
Let’s take a look at the top things you can do to remove the dog smell from your leather couch.
If the source of the odor is dog sick – here is a simple guide for getting rid of vomit smell from your sofa.
Vacuum & wipe
First things first, you will want to rid your sofa of pet hair, dander, and anything doggy your friend will have deposited.
Thoroughly vacuum the whole sofa including under the cushions if you can. Some leather sofas don’t have removable couch cushions so you will need to use the crevice tool of your vacuum to get right down and into the corners and edges.
If there is still hair present in hard-to-reach areas, put on a damp rubber glove and poke your hand into the gaps. You should find that hair will cling to your glove.
Now take a clean damp microfibre cloth and wipe over the whole sofa until you feel no friction and the cloth glides effortlessly.
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Air your sofa outside
If you can get your sofa outside in the air it will thank you! Choose a warm sunny day but keep your sofa out of direct sunlight to avoid sun bleach.
Stuff it with newspaper
If you can’t get your couch outside, the next best thing is simple newspaper. Newspaper is great at absorbing smells and moisture. Pile them on top of the sofa and stuff them into corners and then leave for a day.
Sprinkle with baking soda
Baking soda or bicarbonate of soda has a natural ability to neutralize smells.
Sprinkle baking soda all over the couch and leave it for as long as you can to sit. Then vacuum it all up.
Make a rub
Mix 118 ml (1/2 cup) linseed oil and 118 ml (1/2 cup) of white vinegar.
Use a microfibre cloth to rub the solution into the leather. Then buff up with a clean dry cloth. Follow with leather conditioning cream.
Spray with vinegar
The natural acidic properties of vinegar make it perfect for neutralizing odors and killing bacteria. White distilled vinegar is best.
Make a spray bottle of half and half vinegar and water and spray over the sofa.
I have a recipe here for a dog bed deodorizer spray that will work on furnishing too.
Wash your scatter cushions
If you have smelly scatter cushions on your couch give them a vacuum and then launder the cover. If your cushion doesn’t have a zip here is how to wash your cushion with no fuss.
Spray with Febreze
I’m not usually a fan of chemical sprays but I have found that Febreze does a great job of neutralizing odors. Some sprays simply mask the smell but Febreze will banish smells for good.
All you have to do is mist over the sofa after you have vacuumed and wiped. If you prefer something more natural, check this recipe for homemade dog bed deodorizer which works brilliantly on sofas too.
Spray with Odoban
Odoban is a fabric disinfectant and freshener, which I’m told by my American friends works very well at eliminating pet odor. I can’t buy Odoban here in the UK, but I would think it is very similar to Febreze which is commonly available in supermarkets and hardware stores.
Use Lysol wipes
A friend in the US told me that Lysol Wipes work well for keeping on top of dog odor on her leather couch. This is another thing we can’t get here in the UK. The equivalent would be these Dettol Wipes.
Finish with leather conditioner
When you have finished cleaning and deodorizing your sofa you will want to give back some moisture. Use a leather cream or conditioner to restore the moisture and make it more supple and less likely to crack in the future.
Re-cover your sofa
If you find the dog odor in your couch is still bad and you’ve tried everything to remove it, your last resort will be to replace the couch covers. This of course is no small task when it is made of leather.
How to get rid of dog pee smell on leather couch
We were lucky with our dog. She came to us fully house trained and so I have never had to clean up dog pee.
However, I have plenty of experience cleaning up human wee from my two boys when they were potty training!
The thing with pee is you need to catch it quickly before it can seep into carpet underlay and in between the crevices of wooden flooring.
With couches, it is even more critical you clean it up quickly because there is so much more padding that it can leak into.
If you have a pee smell on your couch try some Odoban or Febreze to neutralize the smell and kill bacteria. For a natural method make up a spray bottle with 1 part water to 1 part vinegar.
Then use a leather conditioner to keep your couch moisturized and extend its life.
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How to remove odor from faux leather couch
Cleaning a faux leather couch will be similar to cleaning leather. Vacuum it first and then wipe it over with a damp cloth. Air the couch outside or stuff it with newspaper to absorb odor and moisture. Spray with Odoban or Febreze to neutralize smells. A vinegar spray also works well if you prefer a more natural solution.
How to prevent dog smell on a leather couch
When I asked my pet-owning friends about what they do to keep their sofas free of dog smell, the number one advice was to train my dog not to go on the furniture! It’s an obvious one. We all love snuggling up with our pets. But if you want your sofa to last a long time you must not let your dog on it!
Here’s some great advice on how to keep your dog’s bed smelling fresh.
Keep your dog fresh
Keep your dog groomed and bathed as frequently as necessary. We can’t bathe our dog, Xena, more than once a month due to skin issues, so I use this homemade dog spray to keep her smelling sweet in-between.
Keep on top of cleaning
It’s easier said than done, but if you can vacuum and clean your sofa regularly it is going to have less hair on it and therefore odors will be reduced.
If your vacuum cleaner has started to smell like your dog (as mine did) I reveal here what I did to finally rid my vacuum cleaner of dog smell.
Use a dog spray
I already mentioned the dog spray I use. I love it because it is totally natural and leaves her coat smelling gorgeous – Homemade Dog Spray for Odor – A Natural Recipe That Works.