How to remove pet smells from the home

One of the compromises most pet owners will have to make is a pleasantly scented home. This need not be the case. Follow this advice and your home could be smelling wonderful, regardless of how many pets you own.

Prevent chewing with oil of cloves

Puppies do chew – even on the legs of tables and chairs. Discourage chewing by dabbing the most attractive spots (your shoes, a cardboard box and anything wooden your puppy can get his teeth around) with oil of cloves. The bitter odour and taste are a deterrent to nibbling.

Quit the chewing with frozen teething bagels

This is a great method for soothing painful gums in young teething puppies: freeze a few bagels until they are rock-solid and ice-cold. Let the puppy chew on them to ease his painful choppers. When the bagel becomes soft, take it away before he eats it and replace with a dog toy.

Odour-eating vinegar

Accidents do happen, especially with new pets. Eliminate unpleasant urine smells from carpets with a 50:50 solution of white vinegar and warm water. Pour it onto the affected area so that it soaks through to the carpet padding, then allow it to sit for half an hour. Wash the affected area with cool water until the vinegar is rinsed out, then pat the carpet dry with towels. Cover with a 1cm-thick layer of dry, clean white rags, towels or paper towels, weight them down with heavy objects (bricks, paperweights, door stops and the like) and let the absorbent material sit for several hours to soak up the moisture.

Clear the air with coffee beans

Some pet owners have found that they can remove pet odours from a room simply by heating a cupful of freshly ground coffee beans in a cast-iron frying pan over low heat. As soon as the scent is released, remove the pan to the smelly room and put it on a trivet. By the time the ground beans have cooled, much of the pet odour should have dissipated.

Do away with pet hair

It’s embarrassing when guests don’t want to sit on your sofa because they don’t enjoy ‘wearing’ your pet’s coat on their clothing. Here are some ways to remove dog and cat hair from your furniture and clothing – and prevent pet hair from getting there in the first place:

  • Lightly mist your hair-covered garment with water, then put it in the tumble-dryer with a damp towel and a fabric-softener sheet. Dry on the air cycle for a few minutes.
     
  • Gently rub upholstered furniture and clothing with a slightly damp kitchen sponge to remove pet hair.
     
  • Wrap your hand with masking tape or gaffer tape, sticky side out. Run both your palm and the back of your hand over furniture or clothes to collect hair.
     
  • Put on a rubber glove and rub your fingers back and forth over furniture until the pet hair forms a ball and you can lift it off.
     
  • Cover a sponge, a whiteboard eraser or your hand with a fabric-softener sheet and rub away pet hair.
     
  • Try vacuuming your pet, using the brush attachment on your vacuum. If she doesn’t mind the noise, make this a weekly task that will collect loose hairs before they start flying around the house. If your pet doesn’t like being vacuumed, try holding the vacuum brush about 5cm away from her fur.
     
  • Try an Ionic Pet Brush which removes odours as well as brushing away loose hairs. 

Kill carpet odour with bicarb

If a musty smell has infiltrated the carpet, as often happens with recently cleaned pet urine spots, use bicarbonate of soda to neutralise it. Once the carpet has thoroughly dried, sweeten the area by working about 2–3 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda into the pile. Wait for 15 minutes before vacuuming it up.

Foil as a noisy deterrent

Noise deters pets from jumping on furniture. To train cats to stay off upholstered sofas and chairs, top the cushions with aluminium foil. When cats jump onto furniture, the crunching sound of foil acts as a deterrent.

Recycle a plastic shower curtain

Covering your furniture with an old plastic shower curtain is likely to keep pets at arm’s length. It isn’t comfortable to lie on and the crunchy plastic makes an unpleasant noise when animals climb onto it, which they hate.

For more advice on how to help your home smelling wonderful with out the use of chemicals, take a look at these air freshening house plants.

Browse our pet shop here