Everyone at some point in their lives has entered a pet-friendly home and thought ‘pee-uw, it stinks in here!’. Oily, dirty dogs, cats with that lingering fishy smell, cough-inducing kitty litter reeking of ammonia, and everyone’s favorite – the carpet that has been peed on too many times without a proper cleaning!
Does your house smell of pet odor? And if so, how do you sufficiently remove the offending odors without removing your pets?
A clean, fresh smelling house without the over chemically scents of many cleaners is possible but it does take some preplanning, the correct supplies, and a bit of elbow grease!
The First Step in Removing Pet Odors from your Home
This is the surprise step that few pet owners think about the health of their pet when discussing removing pet odor from their surroundings. However, whether known or unknown, if your pet has a medical condition that is causing the smell, how can you expect to get your house to smell clean and fresh?
Incontinence, urinary tract infections, infected anal glands, chronic diarrhea, ear infections, lip fold dermatitis, leaking lumps, and blocked male cats run the gamut when it comes to health concerns but they all have one common denominator - they all smell bad. Before you spend your valuable time and hard earned money cleaning the house, make sure your pet does not have a treatable medical condition that is causing the malodorous odors otherwise its all for naught!
The Easy Clean Ups!
One of the simplest ways to remove pet odor from your house is to regularly wash your pet’s bedding as well as anything else he may sleep on. In fact, if he has a favorite spot to lie on the couch or your bed, cover that area with a sheet or washable blanket so clean up is a breeze! His bedding, your bedding, the curtains, the pillows on the couch, the slip cover over his favorite chair, throw rugs, and his own bed are all washable – take advantage of the washing machine and make sure the fabrics in your house are clean and fur free.
Secrets to clean, odor free fabric? Add baking soda to the wash, do not machine dry the fabrics and if an offensive odor lingers, use a pet waste enzyme neutralizer, available at most pet stores.
Dirty kitty litter is another easy stench to remove permanently. Cats prefer a clean litter box so use clumping litter and clean daily. If the litter box is old and has a few scratches in the bottom, consider purchasing a new one and cleaning the old one up for the recycling bin. Protect the new litter box by making sure litter is layered deep enough and the box is cleaned regularly.
Removing Pet Odors from Carpet
Pets and carpet are like kids and playgrounds: all about serious play and covering as much ground as possible! Both dogs and cats love to explore, learning the feel of the new carpet and sniffing out all the thousands of new smells. And along with new smells sometimes comes ‘marking’ behavior. Although this is normal behavior dating back long before these animals were domesticated, it is a lingering behavior that in our modern, often antiseptic world is no longer socially acceptable.
To clean the smell, you first have to locate the smell. In the case of feces, this is usually easy but dried urine can hide in dark carpets. Your options? Get on your hands and knees and prepare your nose for a serious workout or purchase a black light from your neighborhood hardware store. Black lights make bodily fluids fluoresce, making finding the stain far easier. A word of caution however: black lights show you every bodily fluid stain so be prepared for what could be considered ‘too much information’. An old carpet can tell a story, possibly one that was better left unheard!
If the accident is fresh and your carpet is treated with a stain resistant coating, gently place paper towel over the wet spot and allow moisture to soak up without undo pressure as this only pushes the liquid deeper into the carpet fibers. Once the pooling liquid is soaked up, begin applying pressure to clean up the dregs.
To Shampoo or not Shampoo
The jury is out on how good regular steam cleaning is for your carpet. Harsh chemicals break down carpet fibers, shortening its lifespan. However, unpleasant stains and odors shorten a carpets lifespan just as thoroughly. Spot cleaning with a high quality carpet cleaner and pet odor neutralizer are definitely the first steps to help guarantee how long your carpet continues to look good and smell fresh.
If spot cleaning will not help combat pet odors, hire a professional carpet cleaner to tackle the problem. Carpet cleaners are experts at removing pet stains and odors while not over-cleaning and damaging fibers. Replacing wall-to-wall carpet is a huge investment, protect it by hiring professionals to help maintain it.
Is one area of the carpet worse then the rest? Sections of carpet can often be replaced if they are too worn or stained. Have a private carpet layer come into your home and offer suggestions on how to replace damaged areas and provide an estimate on the work.
Paint – The Last Resort to Removing Pet Odor
As surprising as it sounds, long term, strong odors can become absorbed by paint. This is especially true for urine no matter whether it is a tomcat spraying the walls or a stinky kitty litter sitting in a small room for too long.
Easiest solution? Repaint. Paint does help seal bad odors in, giving your house a new, cleaner scent appeal. Odorless and odor removing paints are now available as well, perfect for houses with multiple pets and kids!
Removing pet odors from your home takes a bit of work. The most important step, however, is making sure your pet is healthy and happy, then removing the scent in conjunction with possible retraining.
A clean, fresh, pet odor free house is possible, even if your home feels like a zoo sometimes!