Experts say these 6 products will get rid of dog odor in your house

It's hard to get rid of dog odor in your house. I spoke to vets and pet groomers to find out their tips and tricks for eliminating pungent smells indoors

Dog lying on sofa
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I love my dog like another member of my family, but the truth is that she smells. People with dogs either spend years acclimatizing to that distinctive dog smell, or they spend their days constantly battling it. I'm in the latter camp, always opening windows and washing bedding, so I decided to seek some expert advice on how to tackle that wet dog smell once and for all.

While investing in one of the best vacuums for pet hair will go some way to eliminating dog odors, it won't do it alone. There are lots of tricks that people with nice-smelling homes swear by. However, if you have a damp dog bounding round the house, it's much harder to keep your house smelling fresh. Even your best diffuser will need to overpower the lingering smell of dog.

There are plenty of home remedies, such as cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, but these haven't ever fully eradicated the persistent smell of dog in my home. Following the advice of vets and pet groomers, I've turned to wet vacuums, steamers, and air purifiers instead. 

There's a lot of different ways to tackle dog odor in your home, starting with your furry, four legged friend. I've grouped together six of the products that you need in your home to fully eradicate all dog smells. This is how the experts do it.

The Quick List

Dog odors can be ruff, so I've packed this article with the products and tips that experts shared with me. I've included some other product suggestions, so that you have options to choose between. However, if you can't wait to get to work on the dog smells in your home, here's a quick summary of the best products on the market.

1. Dog shampoos

a spaniel being washed with soap

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Without stating the blindingly obvious, if your house really smells of dog, you should make sure that you've washed it thoroughly. Katlin Primrose, professional pet groomer, told me 'many owners don't bathe their dogs correctly. When shampooing, your dog should be frothing with bubbles, head-to-toe. The only exception is the face, which you'll need to manually clean with your hands. Don't forget their teeth, bum, and groin too'.

The best shampoos for dogs won't irritate their skin. If you use human shampoo it will only make the smell worse. Look for products which are pH balanced, and gentle on the natural oils in your dog's coat. These are the best shampoos and conditioners on the market, recommended by experts.

Pet Groomer
Kaitlin Primrose
Pet Groomer
Kaitlin Primrose

Kaitlin is a professional dog groomer who works from home, so she knows a thing or two about getting rid of bad dog smells. She uses enzyme dog cleaners (which you'll see further down) and makes sure that every dog is properly cleaned.

2. A steamer

A dog on a rug

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Once you're dog is clean, the next place to tackle is fabrics. Dirt and hair can become embedded in cushions, carpets, and bedding, making them a source of pet smells. 

Before you start steaming, experts recommend that you clean your dog's bedding and toys with a pet-friendly detergent, we recommend this one from Walmart. Always air drying dog bedding after washing, because the sunlight helps to break down some of the bugs in the bedding and a light breeze will air out any smells too.

Once air dried, you can introduce your steam cleaner. Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale, called this his 'secret weapon' when combatting dog odor. You can use steam on your carpets as well as cushions, sofas, and your dog's bed. The heat helps to get rid of any bacteria and 'will break down the odors lurking in your home, especially the spots that your pet habitually returns to'.

We have tested a range of steam cleaners and mops in our homes. All of the ones which we recommend can be used on carpets and they have special attachments, so that you can use them on cushions and curtains too. Remember to always check that your materials are not synthetic before using a steamer.

Dog Expert
Daniel Caughill
Dog Expert
Daniel Caughill

Daniel is one of the founders of The Dog Tail, a site which supplies resources, answers, and products for dog owners. He has a team full of passion and dog-expertise, so he knows a thing or two about getting rid of dog smells.

3. A wet vacuum

VAX wet vacuum with a dog beside it

(Image credit: GettyImages)

We've all tried frantically vacuuming the house, trying to lift every last dog hair from our carpets. When I asked experts, they all recommended using the best vacuums for pet hair, especially if you use one which is compatible with scented cartridges like the SEBO

However, if these aren't doing enough for you, Veterinary Advisor Dr Cheri Honnas recommends taking your vacuuming to the next level. She says that ‘a wet vacuum is a fantastic investment. It can clean floor thoroughly, keeping those dog smells under control'. If you would like some ASMR, watch the water in your wet vacuum as it transforms from crystal clear to murky and brown. It’s both horrifying and satisfying.

Veterinary Advisor
Veterinary Advisor
Dr. Cheri Honnas

Cheri is a Veterinary Advisor to Bone Voyage Dog Rescue. She has been a doctor of Veterinary Medicine for over six years and has worked with animal sanctuaries worldwide. She says that this has given her amazing experience with dogs, but has also left behind some less pleasant olfactory reminders too.

4. Fabric cleaner and odor removers

room spray in a clear bottle

(Image credit: GettyImages)

With hundreds of fabric cleaners on the market, it can be hard to work out which is the most effective. I can tell you now it’s Nature’s Miracle. Almost every single expert I spoke with (and I spoke to 47 different people) recommended this.

Nature's miracle is designed to lift skunk odor from fabrics using a fast-acting formula, but it’s really effective for any accidents that your dog might have too. Dr Linda Simon, veterinary consultant, told me that the 'enzymatic cleaning chemicals in this spray target organic compounds common in urine, vomit, and faeces'. It’s safe for pets and leaves a fresh scent in your home. If you’re looking for a fast and low-cost option, this is where you should start.

Veterinary Surgeon
Linda Simon
Veterinary Surgeon
Linda Simon

Linda is a veterinary surgeon, but she's best known as a member of the consultant team at Try Fetched. It's an informative dog blog, which focuses on dog health, supplements, and behaviour. 

5. An air purifier

A pug beside a white air purifier in a white bedroom

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Air purifiers are such an obvious choice, I'm embarrassed I'd never thought of them before. If you invest in an air purifier, make sure that it has HEPA filter, because these will remove pet dander, hair, and other allergens from the air.

I’ve currently got the Dyson Pure Cool fan in my home and it’s a miracle worker. The tracker will tell you how pure your air is and adjust itself depending on its results. If your dog is in the room, the Dyson will work quickly and quietly to restore air purity and balance.

6. Candles and room sprays

Trudon Room Spray

(Image credit: Trudon)

Candles and room sprays are not the sole solution for smelly dogs. All of the other products that experts recommended tackle the cause of the problem, rather than masking it. Room sprays should complement your cleaning efforts rather than replacing them.

Dr Cheri Honnas, recommended candles and room sprays because they can 'work wonders', giving your home a fragrant flourish. She says to 'look for scents specifically formulated to neutralize pet smells. Natural scents like citrus, lavender, and eucalyptus can help create a refreshing atmosphere'. Always keep these away from curious paws and make sure that they're safe to use around your dog too.

I've recommended these room sprays, because I don't trust my dog around candles. However, if you like the atmospheric lighting of candles, these companies all make candles too.


How do I stop my house from smelling like dog?

There are lots of ways to stop your house from smelling like dog. You don't have to spend lots of money either. Start by airing out your room, attacking any accidents straight away, and keeping your dog clean. This will stop any dog smells from becoming overpowering, but if you really want to tackle dog smells, you'll need to start vacuuming, steaming, and spraying your home with dog-safe products. Thankfully, I've put all the best ones on the market here, so you can have them in your home with just a few clicks.

Is it easy to get dog smell out of a house?

If you don't tackle dog odor properly, the smell is persistent and difficult to eliminate. However, with the useful cleaning products and air purifiers that I've recommended, it's easy to establish a routine which will have your home smelling fresh rather than furry.

What neutralizes pet odors?

There are natural remedies, using baking soda or vinegar, which will naturally neutralize dog odors. However, if you want to tackle unpleasant smells more aggressively, an air purifier or odor neutralizing spray for the fabrics in your home will work wonders.

What's a quick fix for dog odor?

If I have friends coming round and I feel overwhelmed by dog odor, I open the windows in my home. I'll then bake bread, cookies, or brownies, and leave them on the side (away from hungry jaws) and let the smell of cooking fill the house. It's not the best solution, but it's a good short-term option.

Our Verdict

A dog on sofa cushions with a blanket behind it

(Image credit: GettyImages)

The key to staying on top of dog odor is establishing a routine. Washing them, their bedding, and their toys regularly will get to the source of dog smells in your home. Then, using a vacuum, especially a wet one, or a steamer will help to uproot pet hair, dander and dirt in your home. 

If you can clean often, along with running an air purifier and scent spray, people will hardly notice that you have a dog in your home. All the effort is worth it in the end anyway; there's nobody as enthusiastic about you walking through the door as your dog.

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.