How to reduce pet dander and pet odors

June 1st, 2017

When you open your home to lovable critters, you often adopt the pet odors and pet dander that come with them. Fortunately, there's a lot of ways to help your house smell like normal people live there instead of a ton of fur babies.

Baking Soda is Your Best Friend

Baking soda is a neutralizer, so it's great for removing pet odors. Ever had anyone recommend you leave baking soda in the fridge to eat up weird smells? Same thing applies outside of the fridge, too!

Sprinkle it on "odorific" areas and it should absorb most of the smells, especially if you're dealing with pet urine. Then after a few minutes, vacuum up the baking soda.

Vinegar is also a great deodorizer but be careful using it if you have cats in the house. The smell of vinegar is similar to ammonia, which is similar to the smell of pet urine, which can attract them to continually mark or pee on certain locations. This tip is NOT feline friendly, so if you have cats, skip the vinegar.

If you want something more specific than baking soda or vinegar solutions, enzymatic cleaners are also a great way to target pet urine stains and smells.

Keep Pet Accessories Clean

Does your dog or cat have a favorite (conveniently machine-washable) toy? Do you use the same harness and leash every day on your walks? Is the dog bed completely covered with fur, dirt and other lovely doggy byproducts?

Clean up! Clean out food and water dishes regularly. Throw toys, leashes, pet beds and other accessories into the washing machine (or wash by hand).

Wash Your Human Accessories, Too

If you let your pets onto the bed or couch, you're going to have to keep those areas clean too. Target the areas where your animal stays regularly and make sure they're vacuumed and free of pet hair and dander.

Change Your Air Filters on a Regular Basis

So we might be biased here, but changing your air filters consistently (especially if you have more than one pet) is an effective way to help deal with pet smells. If you have allergies or guests who may be allergic to your animals, it's also just the considerate thing to do in the long term.

Brush Your Pet(s) at Least Once a Week

Brushing is not only a way for you to bond with your pet but also keeps the fur from flying. Some sources recommend brushing your pet daily but it also depends on the length of your animal's fur - the general guideline is long-haired animals are best brushed daily (to prevent tangling and matting of fur/hair), medium-haired animals are best to be on a weekly basis and short-haired animals can go a few weeks but at least once a month is best.

Pro-tip: this also prepares your dog to be a Good Canine Citizen as being groomed is part of the American Kennel Club's test!

Clean The Dander Traps

You may need to incorporate some new areas into your cleaning regime or restrict the areas that your pet plays to keep him/her away from some of the more common pet dander trap areas. Follow these quick tips to help eliminate pet dander.

  • Do not allow pets near your bedding.
  • Bathe your pet weekly, at least.
  • Keep pets off of the couch.
  • Vacuum soft surfaces (aside from the normal carpet vacuuming) like drapes, curtains, sofas, and stairs.
  • Consider replacing carpet with hardwood floors or selecting a home that has more hardwoods than carpeting, as carpets are a HUGE trap for pet dander.
You do not have to ditch your furry pals. By implementing these items, you can reduce (if not eliminate) pet odors and pet dander from your home. Not only will your home be more pleasant without pet odor, but reducing pet dander improves your indoor air quality. If you or your family have allergies or asthma, you can reduce allergy symptoms and asthma triggers by fighting pet dander in your home.
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