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How to Get Dog Smell Out of the Carpet

There are several ways to remove the smell that your beloved dog leaves on your carpet. Freshen the carpet with baking soda and vacuum up odor-causing hair and pet dander. Tackle urine smells with an arsenal of tricks, including a simple vinegar and baking soda spray or an enzyme cleaner. Keep your dog clean by bathing and brushing it regularly, and by wiping its paws clean after walks.

Cleaning the Carpet With Baking Soda

1. Vacuum your carpet. The first step to eliminating dog odor from your carpet is to vacuum it thoroughly. Pet dander and hair can easily get embedded in carpet fibers, leaving a lingering smell. Use a full sized vacuum for larger carpeted areas, or a handheld vacuum for throw rugs and small mats.

  • If you don’t own a large vacuum cleaner, rent a wet/dry vacuum from a local hardware store.
  • Use the vacuum hose attachment to get into hard-to-reach corners and under furniture.

2. Sprinkle baking soda and let it sit for 2-3 hours. Baking soda is a perfect tool for neutralizing odors that may be stuck in your carpet fibers. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over your entire carpet. Let it sit there for 2-3 hours to absorb the smell.

  • If the dog odor is concentrated in one area of the carpet, sprinkle baking soda in that area only to focus your cleaning.
  • Be sure to keep pets away from this area while the baking soda sets in. It is not toxic to dogs but it can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.

3. Vacuum up the baking soda. After 2-3 hours, vacuum your carpet a second time. This should remove the baking soda along with the odor it has absorbed. Be thorough to make sure you remove all of the baking soda from the carpet.

Removing the Smell of Dog Urine

1. Use a black light to spot dried-up urine stains. If your carpet has a lingering smell of urine, it might be difficult to spot the dried-up stain causing the odor. Purchase a black light flashlight online and shine it over your carpet to spot the soiled section. Apply an odor neutralizer directly to the area to remove the smell.

  • Black lights designed specifically for pet messes are available online or in select pet stores.

2. Blot up fresh urine stains with a clean cloth. Soak up as much urine as you can from the carpet before cleaning it. Use a clean cloth or several paper towels to press down gently on the stain to absorb it. Repeat until you have soaked as much liquid out of the carpet as you can.

3. Make a vinegar-baking soda spray. Mix 2 cups (0.47 L) of white vinegar, 2 cups (0.47 L) warm water, and 4 tablespoons (59 ml) of baking soda in an empty spray bottle. Spray the odor-removing mixture generously onto urine-stained spots on your carpet and let it sit for 5 minutes. Using a clean cloth or several paper towels, gently blot up the liquid.

4. Use a pet-friendly enzyme cleaning spray as an alternative. To remove a lingering odor of pet urine that vinegar and baking soda can't get rid of, look online or in your local pet store for a pet-safe enzyme cleaner. Enzymatic formulas should destroy the bacteria that causes odor, leaving your carpet smelling fresh. Look for a non-toxic spray that is good for carpets, vet approved, and safe for kids and pets.

5. Avoid using a steam cleaner to clean lingering urine stains. Steam cleaners are an excellent way to remove many stains from carpeting, but they can permanently set the odor of urine into a carpet. The heat from the steam may cause the urine protein to bind into the carpet fibers, making it even more difficult to remove. Even if urine stains linger after you target them with other cleaners, it is best to keep steam and other sources of heat away from them.

Preventing Dog Odor

1. Bathe your dog as often as your veterinarian recommends. A key step to avoiding dog odor in your carpet is keeping your dog as clean as possible. Some dogs require more bathing because of skin conditions, breed specifications, or activity level, while others require less. Ask your veterinarian how often to bathe your pet and stay on target with their recommendation.

  • Outside of regular baths, bathe your dog if its coat gets soiled while playing outside.

2. Use specially designed pet wipes to clean your pet's feet. Your dog can easily transfer dirt and odors to your carpet with its feet. Purchase dog grooming wipes from a pet store or online to freshen your dog's paws after going for a walk or playing outside. Gently pick up each of your dog's paws and wipe them with a disposable cloth.

  • Reward your dog by petting it or giving it treats after you clean its paws so it develops a positive association with the process.

3. Brush your dog regularly. Depending on the specific breed you own, you should be brushing your dog somewhere between every day and every few weeks. Brushing removes pet dander, dust, and dirt from your dog’s coat, leaving it healthier and cleaner. In turn, brushing regularly can improve your dog’s odor and prevent your pet from shedding on your carpet.

  • Brush your dog on an easy-to-clean surface, like a ceramic floor.

4. Air out the room. Prevent dog odor from settling into your carpet by promoting air circulation in your home. Open doors and windows whenever the weather allows to let fresh air in. A stuffy room will be more likely to hold in odors, which will settle into carpet fibers over time.


  • If these methods don't work, call a professional carpet cleaner, as most of them have more aggressive cleaning methods that will do the trick.