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How to remove dog stains and odors

puppy leaving dirty footprints of dirt on carpet and rug

Our pets are part of the family. While we love them, we don't necessarily love the smells they leave behind. Whether it's a wet dog smell following a walk in the rain or your pup had an accident, these tips will help eliminate those pesky dog odors in your home.

Start with the source

Whether it's an accident your dog had on the floor or a general “dog smell” caused by fur and dander, you want to begin by removing the source. Clean the area where your dog had an accident, vacuum up the hair and dander, mop up mud that your pup tracked in after their walk. You may be surprised by just how much this reduces the smell.

Carpeting and upholstery

For new stains that are still wet

Immediately get paper towels and thoroughly blot the area until it is no longer damp. For carpeting, you want to make sure that you exert enough pressure to soak it up out of the carpet pad (standing on the paper towels usually does the trick). Once you're done blotting the area, get a damp rag and wipe, or blot, the area to dilute any remaining urine or feces and blot dry.

If the stain has already set

Apply an enzymatic cleaner according to the products instructions. We always recommend testing in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that the product will not cause your carpet or upholstery to bleed, discolor, or fade. We do not recommend using steam cleaners or carpet shampooers, as heat can cause the stain and odor to set making removal much more difficult. If you do use a shampooer, make sure that it is not heating the water first.

If an odor remains, it's possible that the urine penetrated into the subfloor and may need to be treated directly. You can try a heavy application of enzymatic cleaner for trying to penetrate down to the subfloor, but be careful doing this as you want to ensure that you can thoroughly and completely dry the area. You may need to set up some fans and a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. If an odor still remains, the carpet may need to be lifted in order to access the subfloor below.

Wood floors

For new stains that are still wet

Clean up the area as quickly as possible with water and then follow this up with a thorough mopping with your favorite cleaning product (don't use anything with wax).

If the stain has already set

You may notice that the flooring has discolored, or the shine has faded. This is caused by the acid in the urine reacting with the varnish on your hardwood floors. Depending upon the severity of the stain, you may need to refinish the floor.

But, here are some things to look for:

  • Lighter stains

    These are generally superficial and may be able to be removed with a paste wax product that removes a layer of varnish. Apply the product according to its instructions evenly being sure to go well beyond the stain area. Once you've gotten the stain out, apply a good wax product, such as Murphy's Oil Soap on the entire floor area.

  • Darker stains

    Especially, ones black in color are deeper stains that have penetrated into the wood. These stains will require refinishing to get out unfortunately.

Machine-washable items

Whether it's the dog's bed, their toys, or a blanket they lay on, with any luck, the item holding the odor is machine-washable. Run it through a normal cycle on cold (because hot water may set the stain and odor) and add a cup or so of baking soda to your detergent. If you can still see the staining or smell an odor, do not run it through the dryer. Instead, try pre-treating the area with an enzymatic cleaner and run through another cycle on cold water. If an odor still remains, you can try soaking the item in the sink with some enzymatic cleaner for an hour or two and then run through another cycle. By this time you should have removed the stain and/or odor. If not, it may have been set permanently.

Where else can dog odors hide?

Your dog's bed

It should be cleaned regularly in order to reduce odors. We really like dog beds with removable covers like the LaiFug Orthopedic Memory Foam Pet/Dog Bed with Durable Water Proof Liner and Removable Designer Washable Cover. If the odor is persistent, you can follow the recommendations under machine-washable items above.

Your dog's toys

They can get downright nasty and can even harbor dangerous bacteria. Clean your dog's toys regularly to ensure that they are safe for your pet.


They readily hold odors if given the opportunity. Do you lay blankets down for your dog? Do they lay against the side of your bed? These blankets can take on odors, and because they could be localized can be tough to track down. If you have an odor in a room and you're having a hard time placing where it's coming from, it is most likely coming from blankets or other soft goods.

Our dogs add a lot of love and companionship to our lives, but that doesn't mean we need to love dog odors. With these tips, your house will smell fresh and clean!

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